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October 17, 2011

“WHAT AM I, CHOPPED LIVER?” ™

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 8:11 am

After waiting for a few days to completely absorb the latest failure, and it takes that long to actually digest what we saw, Chas’s excellent take of the Utah game and the team’s disposition needs expounding on.  Since football is more than just statistics and how they affect the overall won / loss record, this is the perfect time to really look at what shape the football program is in and how the team represents the tip of the overall iceberg that is PITT football.

It wouldn’t hurt to reread what Chas had to say in the previous post because he hits the root cause of what is happening between the whistles and makes great points about the pieces of the puzzle that are missing during the execution of playing the games.

But, and since my educational and professional background revolves heavily around psychology and sociology (two worthless degrees except when following PITT football apparently); I see cause and effect around every corner and under every rock.  Some of those jump out and bite you in the face. To wit:

The 2010 off the field problems — the on field problems — Wannstedt’s firing — Haywood’s hiring — Baby Daddy smack down — Haywood’s firing — Graham’s hiring — Radical changes in style of football — uncertainly among the players — poor results on the field — dissention in the rank and file — Same Old PITT.

Last Friday we had some great discussion on here about what we saw and what we thought about after the Rutgers debacle.  In the comments was this exchange of two views on the team’s problems

I wrote:

The issue of team chemistry has been on the knife’s edge since Wannstedt was fired back in December. These seniors have been through a lot over the last 10 months and then to institute such sweeping changes in the style of play… well, you can see how the seniors may just be saying “Let me just get through this year”. And it isn’t like 2010 was such a great year that they were really looking forward to 2011 in the first place.

But none of these seniors are in the team’s future anyway or are really benefiting from this 2011 season. The new offense and defense systems haven’t showcased any of their individual talents.

There isn’t a bunch of motivation to be found for the seniors there anyway especially when considering that the HC who nurtured (pampered) them for three or four years was ingloriously (fired).  Top that off with those big changes, Graham’s emphasis on playing newcomers and our close losses, and those had to be morale killers especially with the grandiose promises we heard from the staff, and it’s a real formula for senior apathy IMO.

I really do think that that loss last week (Rutgers) wasn’t the end of the season but I wonder if it didn’t just make those seniors more apt to care less about the team’s present and future and the underclassmen, then they would in a normal non-drama filled year…

Answered by Dr. Tom with this:

Reed, I don’t think your spin on this team’s mindset is valid at this point in the season.  I didn’t see any “Quit” in the team in general against Rutgers. I just saw a team getting their asses whipped by a team that wanted it more and they couldn’t recover due to poor performance on their own part. 

Now after you get kicked in the teeth like that, how you respond, especially in a non conference game, the next week DOES demonstrate the mindset of the team going forward.  Football, like life, tends to be just a series of problems strung together that routinely screws with your head. How you pick up the pieces and move on spells the difference between success and failure.

Coach Graham has a big job ahead of him. This game will be a tough one if he finds that the team is still hanging its collective head after last week’s loss. It could also serve as a wakeup call and a rally point to challenge these kids to get up off the floor and get back into the fight.

Both valid opinions and Dr. Tom hit the nail in the head with the key point in that last paragraph. Which do YOU think happened?

Chas wrote about it as referenced by his view of how the offense performed and Paul Zeise of the P-G gets into some detail with this in today’s Red Shoes Diary:

EJ Borghetti did his best to coach up the players who came into the interview room so as to make sure they showed a “united” front and didn’t point fingers, etc., etc. Both quarterbacks were not made available to the media today and it was clear there was more “kumbaya” being sung by the players – real or forced – than at any youth group retreat I ever attended when I was a kid….(Note: watch the first minute of the kumbaya video and imagine Steve Peterson after the last game)

What is important to understand is that this is unusual for the PITT SID to do; Borghetti very much takes a hands-off attitude with player interviews and allows the players (all adults BTW) to individually express their thoughts.  Not this time though.  That raises another warning flag on my horizon.

We knew one of the key issues coming out of the camps was the level in which the players ‘bought into’ Grahams philosophy and the dramatic playbook changes he was instituting.  All looked well as the team was getting up to Graham and staff’s expectations of what needed to happen with the players and how they executed during camp.  So we have to assume that reality began to not match theory during five weeks of actual play.

Whether this is an offensive players vs. defensive players situation as the defense is certainly playing well enough for us to have won our last three games and the offense has crapped out, or a loss of confidence of the players with the QB and/or the staff, one thing is certain – what we have seen in games six and seven should scare the hell out of us fans.

As we all said after the RU game, ‘one incident could be an aberration but let’s wait until the Utah game to see if it constitutes a trend’.  Folks, there is a definite direction in which this team is moving and it ain’t a good one.  To me, the most interesting thing to watch for as PITT goes forward is if Graham is going to stick to his stated goal of getting his offense installed at all costs .  This brings us to…

Mark Myers! The Cleveland Kid! The Scion of St. Ignatius!  The Punter With the Golden Arm!

The howling is in high gear for the third string QB to get his shot and it certainly isn’t unfounded based on what we have seen from Sunseri and Anderson so far.  You’d think this would be an easy decision for the HC to make… if you didn’t realize the multitude of reasons Graham has in his brain pan not to do it.  What has transpired between Myers and Graham over the last seven months none of us fans truly know, but one obvious reason is whether Todd Graham is going to stick with what brung him to PITT and his $2M salary.  If so Myers will stay on the bench.  We discussed this in an article after the Notre Dame game:

 “I believe strongly in the system,” Graham said. “As we progress and become more mentally and physically conditioned, then we will get better. I looked at the film, and our mistakes were not made from being too tired or playing too many snaps on defense.  “An offense is about running a rhythm and you can’t just change the rhythm and expect to be successful.  “Our tempo is not why we lost the game, but because we turned the football over and made too many mental errors.”

The message here, and it’s been repeated over and over by Graham, is that not only does he want to win games but he wants to get his offense (and defense) in place as soon as possible so as to have a head start on 2012 and beyond.  I’m not surprised at this at all.  That is what he was hired for and what the PITT administration expects.

In the maritime trade we place a bar of zinc anode directly onto the hull of the ship as a “sacrificial waste piece” so that bar will take the corrosion before the hull does.  In a real way I believe this season is serving as Graham’s waste piece for the future seasons.  Not that he doesn’t want to win in 2011, but that isn’t the end all be all in his plans.

This pisses some PITT fans off to no end but in the long view, which I believe the PITT administration is taking, what happens in 2011 is nowhere near as important as what happens in 2012 and beyond.  This is what PITT paid that big money for, to have Graham get his systems in place and running as soon as possible and at this point it will only happen if the returning 2012 roster players have as much experience with it as they can.  IMO Graham doesn’t believe playing Myers will expedite that happening.

Of course, Graham could always adapt his offense to accommodate Myer’s abilities and get him in there.  On one hand I’d like that to take place.  He could also bend to pressure and change his line of thinking but I strongly doubt that pressure will come from the people who pay his salary which, at this point in time, are the only ones he needs to listen to. But Graham is as stubborn as a Texas mule and I don’t see him doing it, he could of course, but we’ll see.





$10 Mill is still pretty much pocket money for some of these schools. It’s tax deductible anyway. lol

Comment by EMel 10.17.11 @ 11:12 pm

LET’S GOOOOOOOO PPPPPPPIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Tony Dews and Don'ts 10.17.11 @ 11:51 pm

Myer’s offer list was week because he committed to Pitt during after his Junior season when he wasn’t a major prospect yet and all he had were offers from MAC schools.

During his senior season, he became a star and was upgraded to a 4 star recruit by most services.

At this point, most major programs didn’t bother offering him bc he’d already committed verbally to Pitt and showed absolutely no signs of wavering.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 10.18.11 @ 12:54 am

His offer list wasn’t just “week”, it was also “weak”!

Sorry, I shouldn’t post while half asleep. But my point still stands, to the guy that says that nobody good wanted Mark Myers.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 10.18.11 @ 12:56 am

this season is officially done as TG threw the towel in on any open QB competition. How can he really honestly say that Tino gives them the best option at winning, and how can he say that QB rhythm is interrupted when it never even gets started? I am frustrated like many of you and will probably go back under the stone I crawled out from till next season. Hopefully TIno is nowhere to be found at that time!

Comment by chicken little 10.18.11 @ 5:01 am

so in a sense, the sky has fallen on this season, but i will wait for 1 -2 years for anymore judgment on TG.

Comment by chicken little 10.18.11 @ 5:15 am

Jimbo’s Dad – sure, you can speculate on that but when a school really wants someone they keep on him until LOI day, it’s a common thing to do. But the facts are that the schools who actually offered him a scholarship to play football for them was minimal and of low caliber.

How many times have we PITT fans sweated out the week leading up to LOI day until players actually sign on the dotted line… because other schools are lobbying them, regardless if they are a ‘hot’ recruit or not, to go to their school instead of PITT right up to the last moment. It happens all the time to players of all star levels. Our school does exactly the same thing with recruits we want. A player like Ejuan Price comes to mind right away as does Jabaal Sheard but we’ve discussed many other players who have said something like “PITT kept the pressure on but I just felt I had to go to XXX university in the end.”

But it didn’t happen in Myers case at all. Either he didn’t get the offer in the first place or the teams that did offer him and would have kept the pressure on to switch were MAC schools.

Hey, what I’m stating is no indication that the kid can’t get on the field and do well. But for every Dion Lewis (two weak offers & great success) we have guys like Pat Bostick and Shane Hale who had great offers and didn’t pan out.

My original point stands also. PITT fans drastically wanting the third string QB to play is no indication of guaranteed success. If he didn’t show it in his second year in the program and through two camps and countless practices the odds are that it’s a long-shot that the player gets in the game and seizes the starting job on the way to stardom…especially in this offensive system. Put it this way – if DW was still here Myers would be riding the pine behind Sunseri until 2013 anyway and that’s in his comfort zone pro-set offense.

BTW – only Rivals upgraded him to a four-star, Scout had him at three and ESPN thought so poorly of Myers they gave him two stars and a 103rd best QB rating. So he was all over the board from a 11th best to a 32nd best to a 103rd best. Hmmm, makes you wonder doesn’t it?

Grand success could happen, anything is possible in sports but he’s not a lock for it by any means and we’ll probably not find out anyway before he transfers.

Comment by Reed 10.18.11 @ 5:18 am

I actually don’t have a problem with Graham saying he’ll stick with Sunseri. He did give another QB a decent chance and Anderson didn’t answer the bell. Myers is off the radar screen as is Gonzalez unless drastic QB injuries happens. Hey, anyone who has watch Anthony Gonzalez in practice and in scrimmages understands exactly why he is at receiver now.

At this point putting the only player who has had any success in the position back on the field isn’t that bad of a thing to do.

Comment by Reed 10.18.11 @ 5:29 am

As Pitt football fans, let’s look on the bright side; at least we have this forum to commiserate on. The day will come when Pitt football will make us proud — hopefully, before I die. 😉

HTP!

Comment by MariettaMike 10.18.11 @ 6:42 am

Time to change the subject

link to pittsburghlive.com

I think having a low post presence will be welcome

Comment by wbb 10.18.11 @ 7:36 am

From what I’ve seen Sunseri is the best option to get this offensive system running. There have been glimmers of hope with some significant production with Tino in there. The O line is a mess with Jacobsen and Nix both out, but this could be a blessing in disguise, since we’ll have Jacobsen back for a 6th year and the back ups are getting the reps needed to develop them into the future starters that we will need next year anyhow.

What else can Graham do? He has given Anderson a real opportunity in the last couple of games and Trey has not responded.

The O line depth was an issue before the injury bug hit. Now it magnifies the problems at the QB position with the injuries that we’ve had.

You just got to play the cards that you’re dealt and keep on swinging. The mental side of the equation is the real quandry now. Easy to practice and prepare fresh off a win. Tough when your still hurting from getting your ass kicked the previous week.

Like I said before, These next couple of games could be the tipping point in the fight for the soul of this team not falling into a dark, ugly mindset.

We’ll see.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.18.11 @ 7:40 am

Tino is the starter for the rest of the year. YAY! Enjoy 4-8 And guess what, He’s going to be the starter next year too!!!

Tickets should literally be free for the rest of the season because nobody deserves to pay to see this national embarrassment.

Hey, if we double the offense from last week we can throw for 100 yards and run for 70!!! Now thats high octane!

Comment by Coach Ditka 10.18.11 @ 7:42 am

Dr. Tom – Jacobson isn’t guaranteed a sixth season at all. Most appeals for that to the NCAA get refused I believe.

Comment by Reed 10.18.11 @ 8:12 am

TG said he’s commiting to Tino the rest of the year. Just great. When does BB start again?

Comment by Pittastic 10.18.11 @ 9:03 am

I don’t say how anyone could say that Anderson was given a “real shot”. that is a bunch of BS. He was given opportunities but not a true shot. This is a lost season, Sunseri is not the answer and I’m not saying that Anderson is either, but we can kiss bowl eligiblity goodbye-that may be a blessing. I recognize I am not the coach, but what is the harm in opening up the competition and see who truly wants it. Sunseri in many of our opinions has played himself out of the job, unfortunately no one seems to want to seize it from him. My thoughts on Myers is to throw him in a game situation and see what happens, who knows maybe he practices poorly but performs in game situations. I still stand behind TG, but I am going to try to not be as emotionally vested in this year as I have been. ONe step to do this might be from avoiding the blog and the postgazette. Can’t say I am looking forward to BB cause i am in the middle of ACC craziness and don’t have a team to pull for yet. TG standing behind Tino is like the trainer throwing the white towel in on a player that is already beaten. Will be a long rest of the way.

Comment by henryhudson228 10.18.11 @ 9:10 am

Jimbo’s dad made one of the first objective statements about Meyer’s – about having to wait his turn behind a succesful upperclassanat the end of the year he had offers from Wisconsin and OSU. Transgering to Wisconsin would be good for him so he could recive coaching from a real college QB coach Were any of our other QBs 1st team all state (fact), participated and started and threw the winning touchdown in the USA high school all-star game. Finally the grap about his slow feet is simply guess on why Graham has not played him. The blogger obvious never played basketball as Myers did and excelled. As a basketball player in my youth and a basketball coach for several years no one succeds in basketball at the top high school level without good footwork. Basketball players make excellent players (not necessarily the reverse)because they have to develop quick lateral and backward movement with their feet and be on their toes at all times to effectively guard their man. Also they have to devlop quickness of their feet to rebound effectively. Since Myers was an all-conference basketball player it is unlikely he has problems with his footwork. He may have mechnical problems with his delivery but I am not sure Dodge would recognize this and regardless it could not be worse the Tino’s and Anderson could have Marino delivery but still could not throw the ball beyond 20 yards. If Myers as rated coming out of high school by NFL scouts as a possible NFL caliber QB in four years (this is arguably not a science -based I image on size and arm strentgh)he needs to transfer from Pitt immediately. With the Pitt QB coach and the system they run no aspiring NFL QB would consider Pitt.

Comment by DRW 10.18.11 @ 9:34 am

Post script – I am a Pitt fan of 40 years. I am embarressed by what I saw against Rutgers and Utah. It is obvious what we all believed for 2 years that Tino is not a D1 college QB. As for Anderson as Smeisck admitted in an email return yesterday that Anderson does not have the skills to play at the college level. He ended with the same nebulous remark about Myers “I assume that if the coaches are not playing him they must think he has not any better than Anderson.” The point is from the press who covers the team is “I assume.” This coaching staff is like the Nixon whitehouse – no transperancy. Last time I will say the obvious -watch the defensive formations against Pitt 7 within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. It does not matter if the QB can run if he can not pass at least 30 yards without the ball floating like a dead duck.

Comment by DRW 10.18.11 @ 9:51 am

Nixon Whitehouse?? Why use such an archaic reference, when you could have easily used a contemporary reference, the Obama Whitehouse???

For God’s sake, use your return key and use the break, and give us a break reading. How many times do we have to ask??

“Last time I will say the obvious”, ya, and I got the proverbial swampland in Florida for sale!!!

You’ll be sayin’ the “obvious” tonight around 5:00, 10:30, tomorrow morning, Thursday afternoon and all of next week!!!

“keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”

Comment by Dan 10.18.11 @ 10:06 am

Good Dokish article out under Smizek’s blog this morning.

Comment by TX Panther 10.18.11 @ 10:50 am

Scheme or no scheme….

No QB + No LBs = Poor performing Offense/Defense

No Player Leadership + Underacheiving Talent = Inconsistent play from week to week basis

No wins = No butts in seats

Same old Pitt.

Graham made the fundamental sales job of overselling and underdelivering. Instead of coming in and saying that we’re going to blow this up, take our lumps, and be better for it…he sold us on excitement, innovation, and change…to help sell seats. His next error was trying to run his rinky dink system with marginally talented pro-style players. Square peg, round hole. What scared me is he NEVER considered adapting to the talent until he “bred out” the Wanny players NOR did he say…we’re going to build this with my guys and this is going to be painful, but buck up.

News flash….noone gives a damn about style, just win, baby. Winning will fill seats. Period.

I keep coming back to Brady Hoke. His first week on the job at Michigan…he came in with his Pro-style DNA and said…”Guess what guys, I can’t make this change overnight. I gotta dance with the girl I got. We’re going to run this thing until I get my players and system in place over time. I got kids that are built for the spread, so we’re going to run that for a little bit. If I put my system in place today, with the kids I got, we won’t win ONE GAME. Period.

Where was this realization/Flexibility on Graham’s part?

Comment by PaulyP 10.18.11 @ 10:51 am

It’s kind of comical to me that so many people are looking to Myers to save the team now. Not going to happen

Comment by Tony Dews and Don'ts 10.18.11 @ 11:03 am

I read Dokish’s article. It was good. Thanks TX Panther.

link to panthersprey.blogspot.com

Comment by Pittastic 10.18.11 @ 11:03 am

Dokish is right on in his assessment. However, the one part that he consistently ignores is how Graham’s exuberance and over-selling of the system is what got him in hot water to begin with. You have to be realistic in your assessment. If you’re going to make a wholesale change in scheme/system, then you can’t sell people on the IMMEDIACY of an impact. Don’t get me wrong, I love being positive and him not being a Debbie Downer like Wanny, but come the eff on….

High Octane will be on his tomb stone. What a stupid, silly, moronic ploy by Slippery Steve (AND GRAHAM) to sell tickets and reenergize a morose fan base.

Just shut the eff up about style and bring wins. IN the meantime, EXPLAIN what you’re doing and be realistic. We get it. Stop with the “selling” Todd… try something like this…

“Guys, I’m exicted about the great tradition and great potential at this University. We want more from our football program, and I believe that I can get us there. I have an innovative system that is going to produce wins and make us a consistent top 10 team. It’s going to take a little time to implement, and we’re going to have some growing pains…but rest assured, we are going to play hard, we are going to keep teaching and implementing the system overtime we will have players and a system in place that WILL produce consistent wins. And, I will make proud of this team and how we win. Day 1 is today, and I look forward to the challenge and I am excited for the future of Pitt Football. Let’s go to work.”

IS THAT SO EFFING HARD? Why all of the High Octane buzz word crap.

Comment by PaulyP 10.18.11 @ 11:20 am

Pauly P,
We’ll just have to disagree on this.
As others have alluded to in the past on this board- What player and recruit would not want a coach coming in with all the excitement in the world? I don’t fault Todd Graham for bringing excitement- it’s his style and we’ll see if it pays off.

Comment by Tony Dews and Don'ts 10.18.11 @ 11:42 am

@Paulyp. Would have been an excellent opening for Graham.
Great job.

Steve had a lot to do with this, what he doesn’t realize, we’re honest people, we understand, the ultimate goal is to win, and you will have fans. Winning, that’s it!!!

Will we ever have 65,000 sell outs for every game, no, of course not, we’re not Alabama or Texas or the Nitters. We’re not, no need to be mad about that. Reasons have been argued ad nauseum…city school, pro teams in city, huge population loss etc. etc.

If you win, you would get a nice, consistent crowd of 40,45, 50k, as simple as that. You would usually sell out for ND, PSU, and WVU. We may lose those games because of realignment.

Hopefully if he can get the program going, maybe we’ll get some sell outs for Clemson, Fla. St, Miami or GTech, whoever may be in the top 10 at the time.

With a good team, that wins, is exciting and an ACC home schedule, one solution, just win baby, you will have some fans in the seats.

Some would say, those people are bandwagon jumpers, yes, they are, and we need them.

We need the guy, that is going to take his wife, his buddy, and his three kids that only brings them when we are winning. So, what if thats the only time he brings them. Win, and he’ll bring them to several games. WIN!!!

Detroit Lions!!!!! Anyone see their stadium Sunday??? SRO!!! Guess why???

Heinz Field is too big for our fan base, but, win and be consistent in the top 20, you’ll have some good crowds, for Pitt games.

Hopefully, Graham will end up being thrilled to have “High Octane” on his tombstone. We shall see in the next few years.

Comment by Dan 10.18.11 @ 11:55 am

If O Line depth is a problem, and we’re stacked pretty well on the D Line, why not…?

Never mind. It’s not in the system to do such a thing.

Comment by steve 10.18.11 @ 12:21 pm

I agree with Dokish that graham needs much more time, but his disain of Wanny is obvious and even exceeds Chas’s (but not Reed’s)

He went way over the top in a few areas like saying that Pitt spent the money on its program like many of the elite programs .. when the fact is that Wanny and staff were the lowest paid in the BE, and as such, was most probably near the bottom of all BCS programs.

Dokish then claims that Pitt should at the level of Ok St, Stanford and Clemson (3 schools who are currently having really good years.) Fact is why doesn’t he pick Kansas, Tennessee and NC State. Another facts is that Ok St, Clemsonand Stanford are not only in more attractive conferences, the are privy to MUCH better recruting areas than what Western PA is now.

Lastly,and most revealing, is Dokish’s characterization of the lack of leadership Wanny showed when leaving the program as he did. I would like to know how Dokish would like it if he had to hold a press conference to announce his resignation of a job that he really like, just to make the guy who fired him look good. Both Pederson and Oliver Luck should have learned a valuable lesson on having the guts to fire someone instead of wimping out the way they both did.

Comment by wbb 10.18.11 @ 12:50 pm

I agree Stevie should have handled Wanny’s dismissal better, but Wanny could have shown some more class on the way out as well. Wanny dragged us along for weeks as to whether he’d coach the bowl game even after his emotions died down. A bitter root he was. But bygones. With Pitt now in the ACC, cheapness shouldn’t get in the way of finding and keeping good coaches. Wanny took a hometown and alma mater discount. Hopefully we get what we paid for in Graham. $2 million can buy alot of jelly doughnuts or fish samiches.

Comment by TX Panther 10.18.11 @ 12:57 pm

I have to bow to the judgment of the coaches on this situation. I am aware of Myers’ credentials. But if he couldn’t even beat out Anderson there must be something significantly lacking in his game. — Bob Smizik
Sorry guys to beat a dead horse /the comment that stated that Graham never mentions Myers when he has a medicore QB starting and #2QB who should not be at Pitt befuddles me. As I said I was excited about Myers being the highest rated QB Pitt had recuited in a number of years. If you read Smizik response to me about Myers – I wrote it to be placed as a comment in the paper since reading the comments it was obvious that the writers were unaware that Myers was on the team and more importantly that he was a top QB recruit. I listed all his ranking and awards to inform the Pitt fans who do not use the blog. It was obvious by his response that he is avoiding the issue as the coaches have. The statement concerning his abilities and Andersons is ridiculous based on any objective measure and that there must be “something wrong” with his game is the same assumptions not based on observation as “he has slow footwork” or a “slow release” His response as a sports writer in Pittsbugh is an insult to Pitt fans stating conjecture (as ridiculous as it was) rather than stating that he or other reporters have watched Myers in practice and his glaring weaknesses are
1.,2.,3., The press seen as evasive as the coaching staff.

Comment by DRW 10.18.11 @ 1:24 pm

10.18.11 @ 1:24PM LMAO!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Dan 10.18.11 @ 1:37 pm

You got it, Dan. BTW– when Pitt was great in the mid 70s to early 80s, our crowd was just as fickle and just as picky with a shitbox stadium on campus….

Just win, baby.

Comment by PaulyP 10.18.11 @ 1:48 pm

Today’s Trib Article with TG saying Tino is the starter is filled with contradiction. I won’t even go into it.

Suffice it to say: How does putting a kid who didn’t take many or ANY snaps with the 1rst team for a whole week of practice, then insert him in for a Quarter, then yank him, then put him back in with the game on the line, QUALIFY AS AN OPPORTUNITY. And then on top of that, you put him in a game because Tino couldn’t throw in the 40 mph wind gusts. And on top of that, you have the kid throwing 50 yard bombs, down & outs and other types of passes which is asking much of qb with no 1rst team practice, BUT IN THOSE CONDITIONS WITH THE 40MPH WIND, it’s totally ludicrous. Certainly someone in the media most have noticed how ridiculous that whole situation was.

I have managed people, and you have to put them in favorable situations where they have at least some potential to succeed. IMHO, this kid was put in with the least favorable situation and conditions one can imagine, which 90% of the time will lead to failure.

That IS NOT GIVING ONE AN OPPORTUNITY, THAT IS SETTING THEM UP FOR……FAILURE.

Comment by EMel 10.18.11 @ 2:08 pm

I hope TG can win out being 8-4 which is exactly his winning percentage (66%) for the 5 seasons in the brutal USA conference. Anything less will be below his past college coaching standards. This does not include his record at Rice of7-6 or Pitt 3-4.

Comment by DRW 10.18.11 @ 5:11 pm

DRW – please show me anywhere…anywhere, where it states Myers had offers from OSU and Wisconsin. I even provided you links to all three of the recurting sites so that you can see for yourself what his actual offers were.

Here it is again in case you just skip over anything that has my name attached:

BTW – only Rivals upgraded him to a four-star, Scout had him at three and ESPN thought so poorly of Myers they gave him two stars and a 103rd best QB rating. So he was all over the board from a 11th best to a 32nd best to a 103rd best. Hmmm, makes you wonder doesn’t it?

Go on those links and show me any offers other than Toledo, Bowling Green, Akron, Ball State and PITT. That’s right, you can’t because there wasn’t any. We can speculate until the cows come home but offers are offers.

It does kind of crack me up though that you hang your hat on one scouting site’s ranking of Myers at 11th, but disregard the other two rankings of 32nd and 103rd.

Cherry pick much?

Comment by Reed 10.18.11 @ 6:53 pm

wbb, why do you love Wanny so much? Yes he loved Pitt, but Pitt wasn’t any better than they were under Harris. In fact, Pitt was actually fun to watch under Harris.

If your pissed at the way Wanny was dismissed then fine but we weren’t even in the ballpark of being on the cusps of a top 10 or 15 program. People are pissed about Graham not adapting and this is coming on the heels of one of our most inflexible, stubborn coaches of all time at Pitt. The guy refused to deviate from his coaching philosophies on both offense and defense. A coach who believed in a base defense to stop a pro-style attack even though 3/4 of the schedule was against the spread. Give me a freakin’ break. Wanny got fired and deservedly so. It sucks because he had a connection to the school but he dug his own grave. His departure was messy but it was always going to be messy…He quit midseason as the Dolphins coach.

Attendance was stagnant because there was no excitement. Graham overhyped the excitement aspect leading to a let down but IF he does implement this offense successfully, the fan base will be rejuvenated.

The ACC has been dissed almost as much as the Big East for football and the Pac 10 wasn’t far behind until Oregon and Stanford stepped up the competition to USC.

Recruiting hotbeds are overrated. Penn State has no issue recruiting – coaching is another story. Wisconsin doesn’t seem to have a hard time recruiting. Boise State doesn’t seem to have a hard time recruiting. There may be some advantages but as many as you would think…start winning and the recruits will come.

Who would have thought 10 years ago that Pitt would have a top 5 recruiting class in basketball…they do next year.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.18.11 @ 7:19 pm

DRW – I’ll keep beating that dead horse with you. Beat writers and columnists will almost never criticize a particular player unless that player has publicly shown his errors and faults, as in a public scrimmage (spring game) or during the season. At best they will allude to certain things and couch it in terms like “needs work on…”, “has to have a fire lit under him” or “has a problem with consistency”.

They certainly won’t come out and really criticize an individual, even if it’s warranted, based solely on what they see in practice as that pretty much bites the hand that feeds you.

So, I’m not sure what you expected Smizik to say that you already haven’t either read yourself or had quoted for you. Speaking of which, Smizik doesn’t have the PITT beat for the P-G, Zeise does and Smizik doesn’t attend practices or scrimmages. He very well may have never seen Myers in action at all thus his non-committal response to you.

This is almost like you are shopping your question around to the writers until you get the answer you want, which probably won’t happen.

And exactly how can you use the phrase “by any objective measure” when talking about Myers and Anderson as you have never once watched Myers take a snap in practice? Have you, ever? Hell, just a few days ago you based your opinion on Myers’s abilities because a friend of yours told you he looked good in warm-ups before a game. Do you know how silly that actually sounds, especially when beat writers, scouting site reporters and others who actually have seen him in action are telling you something different.

OK – so here are some takes on him based on what I saw in some practices and remember I’m not a QB coach so these are my impressions as a fan watching him practice.

1. His footwork/mobility was such that he had problems avoiding pressure. He wasn’t too good at escaping pressure and throwing on the run or at rolling out. He’s a 5-7 step drop back QB for sure.

2. His passing timing wasn’t much better then anyone else’s on the roster (save Gonzalez). He threw some easy picks when I watched him. His release is slower then the others and even though the ball gets going quickly when thrown it takes some time for that action to happen. Not like Bostick’s wind up, but slower than the others. I would think he has a problem with the “one, two, go” requirement.

3. He had some problems with getting the signals from the sidelines and getting the players lined up and executing. Sunseri grasped this right away early in the spring and cemented the #1 spot; Anderson did the same and landed at #2 because of it.

4. IMO, because I wasn’t in his head, he looked to be going out there with no real energy for practicing. The other guys were very vocal and jumping around wanting to get their reps and Myers was just kind of there. As stated in comments above though, there was probably a good reason for this due to the external circumstances he’s found himself in. He’s a big guy but he looked to be carrying more pounds then he did last season which probably didn’t help his mobility.

I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been discussed at other times during the seven months from April until now by guys who watched way more practices than me. Of course he also has positives such as a strong arm and better accuracy on the deep ball then anyone we’ve seen, his deep ball truly is ‘deep’ he won’t underthrow his receiver. He throws a nice strong out pattern also.

The other QBs sure have some problems also, we definitely have seen that over seven games. But really, from what I saw I wouldn’t say that he is a lock to play any better than what we’ve already seen. He could do of course but it isn’t like he’s superman with a football in his hand. We have to remember that whatever ills the offense has, such as the OL, will still be there if Myers plays.

Comment by Reed 10.18.11 @ 8:21 pm

sociolgy 78, ssw 2004. it is not a waste! love your analysis. too many “fans” go overboard. it is frustrating, i agree.

Comment by nw pa pitt fan 10.19.11 @ 11:06 am

Reed here are two -Myer’s offer list was week because he committed to Pitt during after his Junior season when he wasn’t a major prospect yet and all he had were offers from MAC schools.

During his senior season, he became a star and was upgraded to a 4 star recruit by most services.

At this point, most major programs didn’t bother offering him bc he’d already committed verbally to Pitt and showed absolutely no signs of wavering.

Comment by Jimbo Covert’s My Dad 10.18.11 @ 12:54 am
Mark Myers, a four star quarterback from Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius, played against some pretty stiff competition throughout his high school career.

And he’ll be facing even tougher competition in the Big East next year at the University of Pittsburgh.

But even Myers, who has seen a handful of his high school teammates go on to the collegiate level, was surprised at how talented his fellow players have been as he’s prepared to line up under center on Team USA in Saturday’s “USA versus The World” game- the game will be aired on NFL Network live at noon eastern.

“It is so wild,” Myers said. “There is no drop off. There is no one on the field that is not good.

“Everyone is going to be a college football player.”

Myers was not alone with his surprise.

“I keep forgetting I am not coaching a typical high school team,” Team USA head coach Chris Merritt said. “The talent level here is amazing.”

Merritt, who also was on the staff when Team USA played an international tournament in Canton, Ohio last year, says this collection of players is something he has never been involved with.

“The interior lineman are baby giants,” he said. “When we did the tournament last summer, the kids were very good high school players, but this group is something else.”

The group of miniature mountains includes six Rivals.com three-star players as well as three four-star players on the offensive line. None of the group is smaller than 6-foot-2 and 256 pounds.

The defensive linemen are also huge, standing on average at 6-foot-4 and weighing on average at 246 pounds.

Adam Shead
One of those players is three-star lineman Adam Shead.

Shead, who has been committed to Oklahoma since May 2009, has been taken aback by his teammates.

“Everyone is so impressive,” Shead said. “For me to be involved with this group is a tremendous opportunity.”

The experience was not lost on the 6-foot-4, 315 pounder.

Shead and at least nine other teammates from Cedar Hill (Texas) High will be signing a letter-of-intent to play college football next Tuesday, but even he is impressed with what he has seen from teammates.

“We have two very good quarterbacks,” he said. “The offensive line is great. And our wideouts are all on point.

“This really is special.”

Coach Merritt, who coaches at Miami (Fla.) Columbus, thinks the depth of this team could push Team USA over the edge in the upcoming contest.

“When we take out our running back that is going to LSU (Jakhari Gore) we put in one that is going to TCU (Ethan Grant),” Merritt said. “Our first group is outstanding.”

So is the second.

And third.

Five to watch

With all of the talent Merritt has on the field, separating who deserves more time than the next could be the hardest coaching job he has this weekend.

Merritt says that while many people have stood out on the practice field, he has been impressed with a select handful of players.

Players he expects to have a big game on Saturday:

Kendall Montgomery – The 6-foot-6 tight end has not yet committed to play for a particular college and could use this game as a launching point for more offers. Merritt says Montgomery has great hands and can run like a deer. He added that Montgomery will be a big part of the pass game causing a mismatch in the middle of the field.

Keiwone Malone – A four-star wide receiver committed to Alabama, Merritt said that Malone is one of the most explosive players on the roster and thinks that he will be involved early and often in the passing game.

Sam Gagliano – The two-star player from Waxahachie (Texas) High has yet to commit to a school but has multiple offers. Merritt said that he has run very crisp routes all week and as the third receiver could be tough to cover.

Keion Payne – One of the local players on the roster, Payne is from nearby Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas and is committed to Miami. Merritt called him the best “cover guy” he had on the defense and expects a “lock down” performance on Saturday.

Kevin Schloemer – The lone offensive lineman singled out by Merritt, Schloemer, who coaches simply call “Cincy” because of his commitment to the University of Cincinnati has been physically imposing all week. The 6-foot-7 tackle will most likely be lining up to protect the blind side of future Big East foe, quarterback Matt Myers.
Friends off the field

Quarterback Mark Myers is making the most of his experience getting to know players that could end up as friends off the field, but enemies on it.

“It is really cool getting to hang out with all these guys,” Myers said. “Some of them I will be playing against in college.”

Myers also is spending time getting to know his opponents for Saturday’s game.

“The international guys are really good guys,” he said. “They have a lot of different experiences and some of the same. It is neat sharing stories with them.”

The 6-foot-4 quarterback says while the experience is something that he will always remember he hopes that his friendships can last.

“I am rooming with Tyler Smith and he has been really funny,” Myers said. “He is headed to Maryland so we may play each other but I think we can stay friends.”

Shead ready for signing day

Offensive lineman Adam Shead has been committed to the University of Oklahoma since May 2009 and he is ready to sign his letter of intent and focus on college football.

“I knew as soon as I got my offer I was going there,” Shead said. “I have been ready to sign since I committed.

“I am really excited just to get the formality of it over but I have been ready for months.”

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Reed you will have have to take my word and
Jimbo’s Dad, and for what it’s worth as someone mentioned Graham is not going to play him and after getting caught up for the first time in the mania of technology which in my opinion outside of specific areas prompts a cultural and intellectual waste wasteland I think I need to get the junkie off my back. As an one who values the worth of athletic competion and live and die with Pitt I just have not taken to Graham because of his manner and style of play. His record at the lower college football levels is above average 66% (not counting Rice or Pitt) so I fear farther problems because I do not think his sytem will work at this level and in Pitt’s recruiting area. His coaching abilities have shown to this point to be questionable. Finally based on my experience in athletics I can see no argument that Anderson should be on the team as for Myers and his offers before his senior year – Voylcic has susprising few offers from big schools., but he appears big enough to compete at D1level. But what high school QB would come to Pitt who aspired to play in the NFL? Myers mirros Flacco in that he did not get immediate attention in H.S. but he is the only QB on the current roster and next years roster with any outside chance of a pro career simply on his size and arm strength.
For me its back to the real world.
I think Pitt is going to be very tuff in basketball this year/they will not be a surprise to those who know the game.

Comment by DRW 10.19.11 @ 2:40 pm

School Interest Offer Visit Recruited by
Pittsburgh COMMITTED (09/29/2009) Offered 12/11/2009 Dave Walker
Ball State None Offered None
Cincinnati None None
Iowa None None
Notre Dame None None
Syracuse None None
Toledo None Offered None
Wisconsin None None
Reed as Jimbos dad stated Myers stayed with his commitment to Pitt so at the end of the year the other schools made no offersHigh School: Lauded by Rivals as the top quarterback prospect in the state of Ohio following an exceptional senior year at St. Ignatius…arm strength earned national recognition by the scouting services…was rated No. 4 on Rivals’ “country’s strongest arm” list…named the No. 11 pro-style quarterback in the country by Rivals…threw for 2,127 yards and 20 touchdowns with only eight interceptions during his final season at St. Ignatius… completed 54% of his passes (140 of 261)…selected first team All-Ohio Division I (largest classification)… Northeast Lakes District Co-Offensive Player of the Year…led St. Ignatius to an 11-1 record and the regional semifinals of the Ohio Division I playoffs…played under Coach Chuck Kyle…selected to play in USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The World” game, which matched USA Football’s 2010 Junior National team (45 of the country’s top high school seniors) against a world team comprised of 45 of the best players aged 19 and under from eight other countries…also selected to play in the prestigious Big 33 Football Classic…also was a letterman in basketball and track and field.

Comment by DRW 10.19.11 @ 4:26 pm

DRW – I completely understand how you think about this. What I don’t think you understand about my points are that it isn’t Myers himself so much – he may well turn out to be a very good QB – but that it is Todd Graham and the offense he is installing that precludes Myers from playing, not that Myers is a ‘bad’ QB – he isn’t.

Those observations I posted about were written in the context of how he practiced when I saw in IN REFERENCE to what is needed in the read-option offense and IN COMPARISON to the two QBs who Graham has lined up to play in it.

I’ve said many time that I think Myers would thrive had DW been here still or if he transferred to a school who’s offensive style fits his abilities.

Regarding the scholarship offers – I’ll say again that if a HS senior is a valuable prospect schools will continue to communicate with him and offer him scholarships. We’ve seen it happen often with lesser rated players. The fact that it didn’t happen speaks for itself – just as the three wildly divergent ‘national position ratings‘ he received from the scouting services.

You fixate on the highest one and conveniently disregard the other two, one of which is average and the other just flat out substandard. If you looked at Myers in the frame of those two ratings you wouldn’t question his offers at all.

But again, don’t think that I believe Myers can’t be a good QB – he sure can be just like anyone else can rise to the occasion. My point is that for Myers to see extended playing time Graham would have to change his offense and IMO he won’t do that.

Comment by Reed 10.19.11 @ 4:36 pm

DRW – just as a follow up to my comments about what I saw from Myers in practice… Here is a Q&A from Paul Zeise today:

Q: The question I have is how far off is Mark Myers at quarterback and does Graham ever state what’s preventing Meyers from being in the rotation, I mean he can’t be any worse then Tino or Trey can he?

Sean Farr, Pittsburgh

ZEISE: Mark’s sense of urgency and focus was lacking for much of the summer and into camp and as a result coaches felt like he didn’t seem particularly that interested in truly competing for the job. So he fell way down the list — Todd Dodge thought that moving Trey Anderson ahead of him would be a wake up call during camp and light a fire under him. It didn’t work and he became the odd man out.

I will say this — he seems to be getting more reps now in practice and he is working in the rotation a little more, so perhaps he has worked his way out of the doghouse and he has indeed thrown his hat into the ring again.

So – play close attention to that last paragraph as I’ll be posting an article tomorrow discussing some changing issues….

Comment by Reed 10.19.11 @ 10:11 pm

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