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August 31, 2011

Full Pitt Basketball Schedule

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 2:27 pm

Briefly, here is the full Pitt schedule. TV times and stations will be added later (I assume).

Sorry about the strange link location. Trying to do this on my phone.

I suppose it is typical of the Big East. Only a couple days before the start of college football season… and it is time to release the Big East schedule for basketball.

The full schedule from Pitt will be released after 1pm.

The Big East and ESPN, though, have their TV schedule out.

Pitt has two Big Monday appearances this year. Bad news, both on the road. At Syracuse on January 16 and at WVU on January 30.

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Graham Knows Fans

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Graham — Chas @ 10:52 am

Coach Graham loves his hyperbole.

We’re going to put it in the left lane and put the hammer down. The way we take the field, call the plays, execute the plays, are all high tempo. Guys are going to play Pitt football with a lot of passion, very physical, and flying around. Fans will hear, see, and feel Pitt football.

He also knows how fans can react.

He is hopeful the Panthers get out of the gates fast Saturday against Buffalo and pleases the crowd, but he knows there is no guarantee that will happen.

His first game at Tulsa showed him how fast things can go wrong.

“The first snap of the game, we snapped the ball over the quarterback’s head, and they picked it up and ran it back 65 yards for a touchdown,” Graham said, with a laugh. “A guy stood up in the stands and said ‘High octane my … ,’ “

Considering that Turnley will be under center for the first game there could be a bit of deja vu.

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August 30, 2011

The countdown to the opening kick-off of a new season, with a new coach and a new style has will hit T-minus 100 hours at 2 pm today (significantly less from when the tailgating begins). The depth chart was released yesterday. Also taking place yesterday, the Big East coaches teleconference and Coach Graham’s first gameweek presser.

The most interesting thing — at least to me — that came out of Graham’s time in the Big East coaches teleconference  (mp3 file) was where his offensive philosophy came from.

Paraphrasing, but it went back to 1993 when he was coaching defense in D-II and had to go against DickRod’s team. The no-huddle spread “fascinated” him, and as a defensive coach this style was what he hated to defend and plan to stop.

That struck me as a very open-minded and creative approach. Definitely getting out of his comfort zone. Frequently head coaches from the defensive side tend to favor more traditional offenses. Basically, the offense they generally expect their defense to play most of the time.

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August 29, 2011

This was the last full weekend where the wife was going to get me to do work around the the house and/or do family time that doesn’t involve a football or basketball game. Once college football season gets started, she knows every Saturday until sometime in Mid-April will find me unavailable. She knows it, and for whatever reason continues to put up with it. It is why I don’t give her a hard time about whatever she asks me to do for those 4-and-one-half months of no college basketball or football.

Briefly on the topic of Big XII. I won’t lie. Part of me would love to see Notre Dame join the Big XII just to see the egos of ND and Texas collide. You have two narcissistic, controlling, big-egoed programs and alumni trying to coexist in the same conference. Both used to totally getting their own way. Texas by dictating to the conference. Notre Dame with its independence. The backbiting, the leaks, the complaints. You know it wouldn’t last, but it would be entertaining to see both programs try to tear the other down behind the scenes.

As for Pitt’s non-denial about the Big XII, it bears repeating. Pitt is being given a rare chance to put more pressure on the Big East powers with respect to the conference’s expansion plans and the coming media contract. If the Big East basketball side wants to continue holding up football expansion or force Villanova into the spot, then Pitt now has options — now and in the future. Options that aren’t limited to simply waiting/hoping for the Big 10/12 or ACC come calling. Plus, assuming the Big XII stops at just one program — BYU or Houston — for now, the door remains open for Pitt and WVU to go to the Big XII and bring it back to 12. Pitt is playing it smart.

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Parsing the 2-Deep in Week 1

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 10:25 am

The game notes for Buffalo-Pitt are out (PDF). More importantly, the 2-deep is in there (page 4).

Quick things worth noting, before this gets crowd-sourced and parsed to death.

The No. 2 QB is “Trey Anderson or Mark Myers” but with Anderson listed first on there, that is mildly surprising despite the praise in camp.

Probably an old format issue, but Hubie Graham is listed as both the starting Tight End and H-Back. Pitt’s cloning factory started with an Illinois transfer?

The Tailback spot goes five-deep. and there is an “or” after Zach Brown (2nd) to Isaac Bennett (5th)

The Fullback is redshirt freshman Mark Giubilato. Who?

At the Spur (Outside) Linebacker it is Andrew Taglianetti or Todd Thomas as the starter. Bit of a surprise.

The WILL LB is Max Gruder or Tristan Roberts. Sure it is.

At Defensive End, it is Aaron Donald or Justin Hargrove as the starter. Kind of surprised.

Big disappointment, Shayne Hale not on the 2-deep.

Ray Graham, to my relief, is not listed on the 2-deep at kick or punt returns.

August 28, 2011

Big XII Fantasy Land

Filed under: Big XII,Conference,General Stupidity — Chas @ 1:41 pm

You remember last year — or any other year for that matter where the Big East seemed like it was at risk of being raided? Or people wanted to explore the idea of expanding the football? There would be highly ridiculous scenarios devoid of any sense of reality. BC, Penn State and Maryland all leaving their stable, wealthy conferences for the Big East was always a favorite to see.

In some sense I think these fantasy scenarios were laid out for a couple of reasons. The first being that natural delusion that comes from being a fan. My school is great. Others — even if they’re rivals — want to be associated with my school. Ergo, they want to be in my conference, and thus they would be happy to come to the Big East.

There is also the attitude that, if this is going to happen, the conference needs to go big. This seems to stem from the sense of denial that the realistic choices suck. That the real choices are C-USA leftovers from the first Big East raid.

Another is the reverse logic approach. You start at the conclusion you want, and work backwards to create the framework. It requires creating assumptions and claims that may not be true (often times using theories or claims that a program is secretly unhappy with their lot within the other conference).

And finally, just the throw s**t up against a wall because all the realistic scenarios have been covered and this is all that’s left.

Well, kind of weird to watch this happen with the Big XII, huh?

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August 27, 2011

Pitt to Big XII/IX? NO

Filed under: Big XII,Conference,General Stupidity — Chas @ 10:11 pm

Really? You really really want to pretend this is serious? That after Texas A&M runs from the BIg XII/X to the hard mother embrace of the SEC that Pitt or any other BCS conference program would actually entertain jumping to the Texas-dictated conference?

Fine, I’ll play along and rehash my reactions from Twitter. Tell you what Big IX. You do indeed get Notre Dame to not only give up its independence, but join the Big XII in all sports, then Pitt will indeed give serious thought to this idea.

I mean, forget for a moment the TV money set to be brought in to the BIg IX vs. the Big East right now. Consider recruiting. As much as everyone wants to be able to tap into that Texas talent pipeline, is it really worth it to sacrifice Ohio, NY/NJ and Florida in both football and basketball? Am I missing something? Some hidden vein of talent in Kansas? Missouri? Oklahoma?

I have to imagine, though, that all these “discussion” by the powers of the Big IX to go after ND, BYU, Arkansas and Pitt are much like my discussions with Jessica Biel and Jessica Alba to have a threeway. Completely one-sided and delusional.

August 26, 2011

Freshman Speed or Impatience

Filed under: Football,Players — Chas @ 1:05 pm

Kids today. Harumph. Get off my lawn!. Always in a hurry.

“I am ready to get the ball in my hands and have smoke behind me,” [Corey Davis] said. “When I turn on my jets, it’s just about over with for anybody who is chasing me.

“But I am very humble to say that.”

Pitt’s Malcolm Crockett, another freshman back competing for playing time behind Ray Graham and Zach Brown, speaks with equal conviction.

If Crockett is forced to take a redshirt this season, coaches might as well ask him to wear a straitjacket. Coach Todd Graham wants to strain and train his players, but Crockett has no intention of allowing anyone to restrain him.

“When I came here, I had a mindset not to redshirt,” he said. “My mindset was to learn quick, don’t play like a freshman, play like I have been here for a couple years.”

Both will likely see action. The article already indicates that Davis is competing for kick return duties.

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Sunseri’s 2010 Summed Up

Filed under: Football,Players,Puff Pieces — Chas @ 10:12 am

The Trib’s Dean Kovacevic pretty much nails it down with regards to Tino Sunseri in 2010 and the overall “meh” feeling most fans had towards him.

Yes, he threw for 2,572 yards, with a 64.5 completion percentage and 16 touchdowns, respectable figures all. But … well, there was something missing, and it wasn’t easily quantifiable.

He just didn’t look like a big-time Division I quarterback.

I saw a 6-foot-2 kid playing much smaller, getting dragged down by one-handed grasps. I saw a passing form little different than when he was at Central Catholic, resulting in a lot of wobbly flicks. And in the one that maybe sticks the most in the craw, I saw a blue-chip receiver in Jon Baldwin go underutilized without the deep ball.

You can talk about the perception/belief that he was not a leader at the position that demands it. That he behaved arrogantly and petulantly towards the coaches. That it was fostered by being handed the starting position last spring without any competition — other than what was claimed by the coaches.

The article itself is a positive one on Sunseri. It is encouraging, and I am hoping it isn’t just an optimistic preseason puff piece. He just played smaller. Like the games, the moments were too big for him. That’s part of the perception that Sunseri will have to overcome this year. Well, that’s not true. Fans will have to overcome that perception.

Sunseri is in a different offense. He has different coaches, and seems to have responded well to them, what they are teaching, and the system itself. By all accounts his confidence is much higher and his game looks a lot better. We will all start getting answers in 8 days.

August 25, 2011

Hope many of you can make it out to FanFest. They are usually laid back, entertaining affairs. Think of it as the light appetizer before college football kicks off in a week, followed by an evening home-opener next Saturday. It should be a good evening.

As much excitement as most of us feel for the new season, the new style, the new players. It’s tempered by that bit of unknown. The unknown cuts both ways. It can fuel the excitement as you can project whatever you want. The offense being wide-open and constantly driving to be wildly successful. Then an attacking defense that puts teams back on their heels and forces opposing offenses into hurried mistakes.

On the other hand it is worrying about the O-line (as uusal). Can Ryan Turnley handle being the center for the season? Is the empty hole, lack of a true center ready to play going to doom the offense? Will Tino Sunseri truly thrive in the new offense the way everyone keeps saying? Will he show the consistency in game situations that he appears to have demonstrated in practices?

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August 24, 2011

The wheels of justice turn slowly, very slowly in Lancaster (insert Amish buggy joke here).

In December, Lamar Patterson got caught in a dine-and-dash debacle. He and his cohorts master scheme, undone by leaving behind his brother’s ID.

In February, he was actually charged. That was when Pitt suspended him for a game.

Now, the end of August, and we have this complex legal matter mostly resolved.

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It was a brief scare last week when freshman wide receiver Darius Patton collapsed/fainted during a non-contact practice drill.

He was taken to UPMC, where he regained consciousness and all his vitals were apparently normal. While he was kept there over night for observation, there appeared to be no major issue, and he was discharged on Friday.

“We hoped that he is doing well,” Todd Graham said yesterday. “We are very pleased that things are going well with that situation and that he is doing well.”

Graham did not give a timetable for when Patton might get back on to the field.

And since then, nothing.

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August 23, 2011

Settling The O-Line

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 11:01 am

I have a dream. It’s been the same dream since this blog began. A dream of a solid O-line that does not feel as if plugged in spots with just a warm body. An O-line that inspires confidence, not concern. Oh, so briefly it appeared Pitt was getting there in 2008, but injuries showed the lack of depth. 2009, was the peak, but that quickly faded in 2010.

Now we stand at the beginning of the 2011 season, and at least the starters (for now) have been named.

Redshirt sophomore Juantez Hollins of Aliquippa has played his way onto the line at left tackle, moving Jordan Gibbs to right tackle and Lucas Nix of Thomas Jefferson to his more natural position of right guard.

Hopewell’s Ryan Turnley has won the center job, allowing Keystone Oaks’ Chris Jacobson to play left guard.

The signs had been there for the over a week that Coach Graham was going to keep Turnley at Center and have Jacobson go back to left guard.

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August 22, 2011

The Oakland Zoo has the new design for the Zoo t-shirt this year. It’s a clean look and apparently already on sale.

Pitt also announced the non-con schedule for 2011-12. I’m not saying that the Pitt athletic department was purposefully downplaying this news, but I get suspicious whenever information like this is released on a Friday.

Looking it over. Yeah, it’s not exactly one that screams out “daunting.”

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