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August 20, 2010

13 Days Until the Offense Has to Put Up

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 12:16 pm

There’s so many tabs I expected to get to the last couple days and then the offense went splat in the final scrimmage and that kind of overwhelmed everything.

The one thing I didn’t read that much about was how much was it the offensive line being overwhelmed and how much was it the QB play stunk. A lot seemed to fall on the QB, but clearly there are still concerns.

The starting offensive line is going to be Jason Pinkston, Lucas Nix, Alex Karabin, Greg Gaskins and Chris Jacobson. I know we’ve been told there is an open competition at some of the spots but Gaskins has taken pretty much every snap with the first team and Karabin’s primary “competition” at center was from Jack Lippert, who coaches are talking about moving to guard. The good news is this unit of five has played together all camp, so they should have some chemistry by the time the Utah game comes around. But as yesterday showed, the unit still has some work to do in order to prove it can be the kind of unit which can dominate defenses.

Let me see if I have this straight. The walk-on senior is going to be the starting center. Fine. Sounds good. Reasonable, all things considered when you have converted a D-lineman that is a redshirt freshman as his back-up. Let him spend the year really learning the position and being ready to take over next season, getting ready to play this year.

Wait, what?

You are even discussing moving the only other guy listed on the depth chart at center to guard? Having him learn another new spot on the O-line? When there is no one else there to play center next season? That is, unless true freshman Artie Rowell is going to be the starter in 2011?

Oh, dear god. Are Turnley and Gaskins really that bad at the right guard? I’m at a loss. As much as I want to say that I trust Wise and Wannstedt on the O-line, I’m having a real hard time doing it right now.

One thing has emerged from the second scrimmage. The odds of seeing 4WRs are slim and none with the present O-line.

The second issue is that the offense yesterday again showed that it could be tough to not have Henry Hynoski on the field. Simply put Mike Cruz is not Nate Byham in terms of being a blocker and the offensive line isn’t quite good enough to block without the help of a fullback. Again, there are still more weeks to get things cleaned up but at least for now there has to be a little bit of concern that the offense is not going to be as good as it was last year.

Then there is the play at QB. Paul Zeise even speculates that this is something of a pattern emerging with Tino Sunseri.

Tino Sunseri was very good early in camp last year and seemed to hit a wall where he never got better and even regressed a bit. I’m not saying that has happened this year but he is not progressing in terms of becoming more consistent the way you’d like. He is still missing throws, he is still struggling with some throws which by now should be easy and he is still just having a hard time with his consistency.

Zeise tries to end by saying he thinks Sunseri will get it together, but this is not good for a guy who has had the job since the spring. The guy who is supposedly bonded with the WRs.

At least Tino Sunseri is still positive.

Last two a day!!!!! 13 days

Why am I thinking the over/under on Dion Lewis carries this year will be around 350?

Where can you find happiness this summer?

Go to sleep until 9/2

Comment by Steve 08.20.10 @ 12:23 pm

Just an interesting side note while driving into work today.

Kirk Herbstreidt was asked about his assessment of the BigEast FB on Mike & Mike today.

First, he indirectly suggested it was a weak conference, but felt the UConn is the team to beat.

He mentioned while everyone seems to be on the Pitt bandwagon and Dion…the Panthers have no experience at QB.

Not critiquing his assessment one way or the other…it is a valid point after all…but I thought you might be interested in his assessment.


Comment by DaveD 08.20.10 @ 3:36 pm

Tino had a real good practice on Friday according to In the 7 on 7 & 11 on 11 drills.
He was like 24 of 32.

Really can he be worse than Stull was the first year he was the starter? (not the year he got hurt in Game 1) If PITT can win 9 games with Stull that year, they should certainly be able to win 10 or 11 with Tino. Frankly I’m more concerned with the O-line and the injury to Ray Graham, since Jason Douglas (a redshirt freshmen) has apparently passed up junior Chris Burns (who Zeise thought was going to be the starter last year) on the depth chart at TB.

Also the lingering back injury for Romeus means little practice time and no reps.

I just wish they would have played a cupcake or two (with a new QB) before playing Utah on the road. That is an extremely tough opener for anybody. Utah routed national champion Alabama in the 2008 Sugar Bowl(which is like a home game for the SEC).

Comment by carolinapanther 08.20.10 @ 3:40 pm

Utah is having their problems too, I have been following them on ESPN insider, their coach feels they are not ready for Pitt.

I agree this is going to be a very tough opener, but not impossible to win.

Utah’s defense is suspect but Pitt’s offense is suspect in certain areas (interior O line and QB).

The game is going to come down to limit the turnovers on Pitt’s part and for the Pitt defense to stuff Utah’s offense, aka field goals instead of TD’s.

If Pitt’s d-line can dominate and get to the QB there is a chance.

UConn will not win the Big East, they will finish 4th, they are a bit over-hyped because of their coach.

Comment by The Oakland Jew 08.20.10 @ 4:02 pm

I’m already resigned to a second or 3rd place finish.

Comment by Jeff 08.20.10 @ 5:27 pm

I think some of us need to stop hyperventilating. Lewis, Baldwin and Hynoski did not play in the scrimmage and they were trying a one back set. Remember last year, the defense was way ahead of the offense. This team is deeper than last year and will be very good. it is safe to say they won’t go undefeated but they should win 9 or 10. If they get lucky and avoid untimely turnovers or injuries who knows. It is the toughest schedule in a long time so it will be a very competitive season which I think is what we have all been waiting for.

Sure there are questions, in college football there always are strengths and weaknesses. When was the last time we had this many stars and this much depth?

Comment by gc 08.20.10 @ 6:43 pm

Is ESPN insider worth it, and if so, why?

Comment by quaziemoto3 08.20.10 @ 6:56 pm

Carolina Panther – you ask “Really can he be worse than Stull was the first year he was the starter?” and the answer is ‘possibly’ and “most assuredly” if he falters in the one thing these DW offenses are built around… not throwing INTs.

In 2008, while Stull didn’t throw a lot of TD passes he also didn’t throw a lot of INTs – his INT to Pass Attempt ratio was an excellent 1:33 (w/ an even better ’09 at 1:40).

That stat means everything when you have an offense that is built around the run, getting first downs and eating the clock.

So as far as I’m concerned the real determination of how well Sunseri might do, or is doing, isn’t how strong his arm is or how well he can scramble – it’s making the right reads, being accurate with his passes and not panicking… thus not throwing picks.

It’s the quickest way for catastrophic failure on the football field.

That’s not going so great so far in camp. Ricky Gary (all 5’8″ of him) had three INTs just yesterday.

If Sunseri can avoid INTs and even just produce average play at the QB position to start off the season then he’ll be fine. He needs, IMO, to not try to do too much and follow the script. He has playmakers who can do magical stuff once the ball is in their hands – he doesn’t need to force success.

Comment by Reed 08.21.10 @ 4:45 am

I expect Sunseri to roll out a lot and avoid his passes getting hit at the line along with costly interceptions if he can’t see the secondary behind the line…

Comment by Pittastic 08.21.10 @ 7:25 am


I find it to be very informative regarding all sports, my nephew gave me a yearly subscription for a gift, since then, the yearly renewal is really cheap and they throw in the insider internet access.

Comment by The Oakland Jew 08.21.10 @ 10:41 am

Even though everyone interested in Pitt football has already prognosticated the final outcome of our home opener with Utah and have detailed the individual performance of those involved in the game, I’d just like to confirm, that they still are planning to play the game on Thursday night, right? I don’t want to be disappointed if the result has previously been penciled in by those in the know and I find out its been cancelled right at 8:30 on Sept 2nd while I sit in front of my flat screen with beer in hand. Last time I checked, the issue will still be addressed by the guys who have been sweating through 2 a days for the last couple of weeks. I’ll wait until then to assess our player’s performance. Maul the Mormons, Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.21.10 @ 10:55 am

Dr. Tom, the Utah game is not the home opener. It’s the season opener. Home opener is against New Hampshire, but you knew that, right?

Comment by Annie 08.22.10 @ 4:27 pm

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