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September 30, 2011

That Was a Needed Win

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 1:21 pm

I watched the USF-Pitt game in the morning. Went to a total media blackout to avoid finding out what actually happened. I have to admit, though, I had a suspicion of good things. Mainly because my one friend didn’t try to send me any texts. Last year, I had to DVR delay a couple games. Both times a friend sent pissed-off texts. I didn’t even look at them, but he tends to fire off texts to me when Pitt is losing games. This time, nothing.  Still, the way it happened was a surprise.

Really, if someone had told you that Pitt would lose Lucas Nix on the second play of the game and Pitt would absolutely kill USF, would you have believed it? I wouldn’t. Maybe the USF D-line isn’t that good (maybe?), but even then the job by the Pitt O-line was a big surprise.

The O-line gave Sunseri some time. They opened up some holes for Ray Graham, and coupled with the speed with which the offense was executing, flat out wore down the USF D-line.

(more…)

   There is a lot to discuss about PITT’s solid, and welcomed, win against the USF Bulls at Heinz Field last night.  Team play, individual play, units charging ahead even with the injury of a key player… but most of all it is important to discuss just how wrong the author of yesterday’s article was, whoever that may be.  Here are some key Blather whiffs.

Sorry, I’m not optimistic at all about this match.  I think USF deserves it’s #16 ranking this time and shows why against PITT tonight.  38-17 USF

WRONG!  PITT wins 44-17, surprising the hell out of almost everyone and on national TV yet.  I don’t know if USF deserved that high ranking or not but this was the biggest game so far in 2011 and we came through with flying colors.

Our running game, the most overrated part of our offense, will fall short and it will be ugly out there.”

WRONG!  PITT rolls up 308 yards on the ground for 5.3 ypc.  Ray Graham slips his name under the door for Heisman consideration with 226 yards on 26 carries for 8.7 ypc and we reiterate that this is a run-first offense.  All this done with a make shift OL who played their hearts out.

He’s (B.J. Daniels) having a career year this season and has all the confidence in the world, as do his teammates in him.  Stand by for heavy rolls as he rips us up tonight (with his passing).  

WRONG!  PITT’s pass defense holds Daniels to 226 yards on 18/36 attempts with zero TDs, very respectably limiting him to a 50% completion percentage.  The best thing though is that we held fast on the third down passing situations this game.  By my count USF was 0/9 in 3rd down pass attempts… that’s zero completions folks, not just zero 1st downs passing off those third downs.

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September 29, 2011

Open Thread: USF-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 7:39 pm

As I indicated earlier. I’m in limbo. No chance to get to the game. Not able to watch tonight because of shuffling my work around for Rosh Hashana.

Hopefully Pitt pulls of the stunner on the Bulls.

Unsure on a Thursday Night

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 2:31 pm

Thanks Big East and ESPN. Bad enough that you have Pitt’s Thursday night game on Rosh Hashana. Not at all inconvenient, but I am not surprised. I don’t think there has been a season go past in the last ten years where at a Pitt game didn’t land on a High Holy Day. This year, though, they upped it with the Rutgers Game on Yom Kippur. I am trying to picture making it through the Rutgers game in the final hours of fasting. No booze. Not a happy place.

That was a roundabout way of getting to part of why I won’t be at the game tonight. Shifting work things around for today, cost me the night as well. I won’t even be able to watch the game, except on DVR delay.

Well, something has to give tonight. USF is 0-6 on Thursday nights and has lost three straight to Pitt. But, USF has also won 5 straight road games.

Pitt has lost three straight Thursday night games dating back to 2008 when Pitt beat — the Bulls. There’s also the fact that the last time a Florida team came to Pitt on a Thursday night game, the results were… unpleasant.

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Can He Get Eligible by Tonight?

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 12:47 pm

Big, big and needed commit. Adam Bisnowaty out of Fox Chapel. A 3- to 4-star offensive tackle has given his verbal to Pitt.

“I thought this was the best thing for me,” said Bisnowaty, who said he chose Pitt over Florida.  He paid official visits to both schools in the last two weeks.

He had 14 Division I offers, including Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Virginia.

“This is great, going to your to hometown team. Being around good people is really what I was looking for.”

Bisnowaty, 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, is a four-star prospect, according to rivals.com. He said he plans to add weight to his long frame, and he already has discussed a training program with Pitt coaches.

“I’m excited to get going,” Bisnowaty said.

Now Scout.com pegged him as a 3-star recruit and the 46th best OT nationally. All other recruiting sites had him a bit higher. Rivals.com, 24/7 Sports and ESPN.com (insider subs) all pegged him at the 4-star level and a top-30 OT.

Regardless of the star issues, the fact that Bisnowaty held offers from Florida, Michigan, Michigan St and a bunch of others should make it clear that he is an upper-level recruit, and a very important commit for Pitt. To say nothing of the obvious need for help on the O-line.

   Here comes our third game in 12 days.  Not a great schedule when you are struggling and coming off close back to back losses.  In both games against Iowa and ND only three points and one or two missed opportunities kept us from a win.  The two games were almost polar opposites in how we played our opponents,  against Iowa our offense was clicking for three quarters until the bearings seized up in the fourth quarter and our defense forgot that the game really is 60 minutes long.  A 21 point deficit was not insurmountable for the Hawkeyes as they came back to swing the momentum and take the win.

In contrast, the ND game was a close, defensive game on both sides, full of penalties by both teams and missed chances to extend a small lead by PITT to secure the win.  We had a last quarter drive when down by three points but ended up going backwards at an alarming rate when close to FG range that would have tied the game.

In both cases it was apparent that this PITT team just doesn’t know how to close out games and can’t understand what it actually takes to win against a good opponent.  We’ll find out if we learned anything by midnight tonight when our game against the University of South Florida has finished.

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September 28, 2011

Poynter Damages Its Credibility for ESPN

Filed under: Internet,Media — Chas @ 1:22 pm

Time to go off-topic to a media criticism.

In July, Bruce Feldman was a cause for the college blogosphere. A symbol of ESPN tyranny. Of the ongoing injustice of a college football landscape without Mike Leach on a sideline. Of the continued bad judgment of allowing Craig James anywhere near a microphone and camera.

ESPN denied that Feldman was suspended, and within a few days, the Poynter Review Project — ESPN’s indedpendent ombudsman thingy — put together a story that was not well-received.

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September 27, 2011

Link Items 9/27

Filed under: Conference,History,Money — Chas @ 3:26 pm

Just some other stuff to get out there.

UConn. Really? Didn’t your state’s governor learn anything from the Missouri governor trying to get his state school into the Big 10?

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, speaking to reporters outside his Capitol office, said he no longer expects the ACC to act quickly after adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East earlier this month.

“I think there was expectancy built up initially that this was quickly going to be resolved,” he said. “That’s clearly not the case. The ACC has the first decision to make and that’s whether they’re going to stay at 14 teams or stay at 16. I know that there’s one team, one school that they would like to get into the ACC that would guarantee them going to 16 teams and that’s been speculated to be Notre Dame. I suspect that that’s true. I don’t know how likely that is to happen or not happen. Although, I tend to think it’s not terribly likely.”

Malloy said if Notre Dame isn’t interested the ACC must decide if there is any compelling reason to expand again.

“Beyond that, then you fall back to the Big East,” he said “The Big East then has to rebuild itself to fill the loss of the two teams that left and has to worry about its ability to compete on the major sports of basketball and football in particular, as well as how do we make that work for student athletes.”

Well played, governor. I’m sure announcing that UConn will settle to fall back into the Big East will do wonders for the effort to rebuild the conference. It just enhances that image of stability.

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That while he confirmed much of what many fans thought regarding Tino Sunseri and the offense in yesterday’s presser, the buck still stops with him.

“I have a great deal of confidence in these players,” Graham said. “I really like how the team leaders have taken ownership of this team. And one of the things that I want to make perfectly clear is that everything we do, I am accountable for. Period. I am.

“I’m not pointing fingers and you will never hear excuses come from me. When I say “we” aren’t getting the ball out, I’m not talking about Tino Sunseri, I’m not talking about Trey Anderson, I am talking about we, I’m talking about [quarterbacks coach] Todd Dodge, I’m talking about Todd Graham, because it is our responsibility to coach and teach them.”

Coach Graham probably needed to do this.

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“O” IS FOR OFFENSE….

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 6:21 am

   After reading Graham’s press conference yesterday I felt that if we put the recurring storyline to rhyme it would be easier for us to recall after each game and will save us the time of having to actually listen to him talk.

“O” is for offense, believe it or not

“F” is for FUBAR and that’s what we got

“F” is forget to get rid of the ball

“E’ means elusive like winning at all

You get the picture.

   Zeise of the P-G has an article and a blog on Graham’s public display of disaffection yesterday and both detail what is a very candid and, hopefully, honest assessment from Graham about what the ills of the offense are at this time.

It’s becoming a recurring theme that the players aren’t able to fully grasp what this offense requires of them and, in turn, they lose any chance at being consistent in any form.  This is what he states and this is what we have seen when we watch the games.

We’re just not executing the offense. [Against Notre Dame], we had guys not run the right routes, we had more mental mistakes then we had in the games before so we have to eliminate those things and get better. We haven’t been consistent, [Sunseri] hasn’t been able to get the ball out on time to be able to execute what we need to do. We have at times, but nothing close to what we need

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September 26, 2011

GRAHAM’S PASSING GAME

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 11:36 am

   A key point to understand when talking about Graham and staff’s aerial attack is that this offense’s short & intermediate passing game requires the ball to leave the QB’s hand in between two seconds and three seconds respectively.  That’s what they mean when they say “One, two, go!” and “One, two, three, go!”; the shorter period on the pure passing plays and the longer on the pass off of the option fake or the deep ball attempt.  On Saturday’s broadcast, Urban Myers, who knows a thing or two about football, said that protection from the OL is designed to hold for between 1.5 – 2.0 seconds on a three-step drop (or shotgun).

   This is what is driving Graham and Magee/Norvell crazy and why before and after each game our HC keeps talking about the ball being held too long.  The QB in this system has to combine quick recognition with a quick release to get these plays started.  Ideally, the targets for this quick pass will be speed on the receiving end. (more…)

Bravado Haunts

Filed under: Coaches,Football,History — Chas @ 10:15 am

If there is one thing Pitt fans should be aware after the past weeks, it is that past words will be thrown back in your face. It doesn’t matter if it was seven to eight years ago or seven to eight months. Chancellor Nordenberg’s statements after the ACC raid of the Big East in 2003 and 04 were constantly being cited and referenced last week after Pitt and Syracuse announced they were going to the ACC.

Now, after the loss to Notre Dame, the statements from Coach Todd Graham about winning and high octane offense are tossed back. Both papers had their columnists take the obvious shots. Referencing the high octane, sputtering, not matching the hype.

Not unexpected. Predictable, even.

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September 25, 2011

IN A CLASH OF THE INEPT…

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 5:41 am

   It was hard fought but we proved to have a bit more ineptitude than Notre Dame in giving away the game 15-12 yesterday.  But hey, there is enough blame to go around for every PITT fan to be able to point fingers somewhere if you are so inclined.

   It was, quite honestly, a pretty good display of defense in the first three quarters… until we lost our appeal to the referees to be able to donate $125 million dollars to charity if we could forego the fourth quarter of play.  That was a harbinger…

   A key turning point was in the third quarter when we finally put a TD on the board after a solid 80 yard, 19 play drive.  We then held ND to a three and out and on our next series it seemed like we could finally take the momentum and build a lead that would hold… only to go three and out on a penalty and two Sunseri incompletions.  That was it right there and we all knew it.  Any advantage or positive emotion PITT held disappeared like air from a balloon. (more…)

September 24, 2011

On the bright side, my daughter and I had a very nice day together. I just want to get my own thoughts down and out before reading comments and recaps. Tired and disjointed though they may be.

In the abstract, this could have been considered a positive. No Chris Jacobson on the O-line. A ND team that scored 82 points in their first three games. There wasn’t a lot of confidence in Pitt to win this game, so the fact that it was so tight could be considered a good sign going forward. But…

No. It felt, instead of more of the same so far this season.

Neither team “deserved” to win this game. They both played bad football. Both failed to capitalize on opportunities and the mistakes of the other team.

In the end, Pitt missed more opportunities. In the end, the same problems we have seen in the first quarter of the season happened in this game. It is hard to say that they won’t keep happening.

(more…)

Open Thread: Pitt-ND

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:03 am

It’s been an off week. The expansiopocolypse stuff alone probably would have thrown things off-kilter, but other things got in the way as well.

It’s not a promising game at this point. Late news on Chris Jacobson, not simply being out for this game but out for the season is a big blow. Pitt not only loses one of its leaders, and best offensive lineman. But also the back-up center. The translucent veneer of the O-line is terrifying at the moment. If there was a game where Pitt needed to start putting it together on defense, this could be that game.

I’ll have my Tweet thread open, but even that should be a bit off as I will have my daughter with me for the game. That means a lot more self-control in the tailgate and extra distractions in the stands.


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