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August 29, 2007

The downside to the opening game on Saturday night, is trying to make sure I have everything done around the house that I promised the wife. She’s going to be stuck with the 5-year old and 4-month old while I’m seeing friends, drinking, watching football, drinking. Generally having a good time and spending the night in the ‘Burgh. That she lets me do that — as others I know can’t escape their domestic situations for the game — still comes at a price. Not getting much time online today was one of them.

Let’s see, matching puff pieces on MLB Scott McKillop and his older brother DE Chris. Great, and Scott was going to tattle to DC Rhoads that Chris wouldn’t be quiet in the huddle. Moving on.

The P-G rolled out its college football preview stuff. Oderick Turner is listed as a key player for Pitt.

If he has a good season, it will force defenses to keep their safeties deeper in coverage and open things up for the Panthers’ other talented receivers. If he doesn’t pose a threat, defenses will give the Panthers’ receivers much less room to operate.

I guess Bill Stull would have been too easy a pick for that. Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been the correct one. Turner and the rest of the receivers can’t do much if the ball doesn’t come to them.  Besides, the deep receiving corps is one of the few areas where there isn’t vast concern even without Kinder.

At least this year, there is some more depth at more positions.  Talent level and drop-offs are different issues.

Scouting report on Eastern Michigan from the Detroit Free Press. Expect more of the same from last year.

EMU’s head coach is 9-25 in his 3 seasons. More good news for him, his AD gave him a vote of confidence. Start honing that resume.
As for 5 keys to the season, is there any shock that the O-line and D-line were 1 and 2? I didn’t think so.
Derron Thomas is playing a final season at Duquesne. The former Pitt linebacker is publicly saying all the right things about his former team and coaches.

AP Story on LaRod Stephens-Howling having to keep an eye on LeSean McCoy trying to get the starting tailback gig.

When McCoy signed in February, Wannstedt was asked what he expected. Wannstedt’s answer may prove to be telling.

“Get him here as fast as we can and get him the ball,” Wannstedt said.

With Pitt opening its season against Eastern Michigan and Grambling, McCoy could get enough carries to flash what might be ahead in his career.

“We’re going to play him. How much? I don’t know,” Wannstedt said. “We’ll see how LaRod is doing and take it one series at a time.”

Handling McCoy

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players,Recruiting,Tactics,Wannstedt — Dennis @ 6:07 pm

LeSean McCoy is coming to Pitt with a lot of fanfare and with fans holding high expectations. The way Dave Wannstedt and the coaching staff actually handle him is important, though, for both this year and the future. Wannstedt is known to play upperclassmen over younger players, but is it a mistake having him behind LaRod Stephens-Howling? Stephens-Howling, a junior, is the starter as of now, but should McCoy, a true freshman with possibly more talent, be starting over him? LaRod is listed as the started on the two-deep depth chart with Shady as the #2 guy.

The way that McCoy’s situation unfolds under Wannstedt will be a huge factor in determining not only how we do this year, but how well we are able to recruit big name players in the future. If we show that we’re too incompetent to use McCoy well (and often), why should any other player like him come to Pitt?

I’m not saying that McCoy deserves the starting nod for the opener over Stephens-Howling, because frankly I haven’t seen enough of either. The time I watched them at Fan Fest was nowhere near the type of situation needed to make a choice. I’m counting on the coaches who see them in scrimmages to get them each the appropriate amount of carries this year. I think by the end of the year we’ll see McCoy listed over LSH on the depth chart to show that we’re starting our big name guy. They might get equal numbers of carries, but McCoy (and other potential recruits) want to be the star in the spotlight and saying that they are the “starter” is a big deal.

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