All peaceful on the football front this week. I like to think that it is a purposeful calm. Devote all healing energies to Lucas Nix. Put Tino Sunseri in a zen (or semi-hypnotic) state where he can breathe and re-establish that mind-body connection so he doesn’t forget all the things he is supposed to do — set the feet; get rid of the ball before the count of 3; and never, ever attempt a pass longer than 15 yards. Meanwhile, Greg Gaskins is looking in a mirror repeating the following over and over, “I’m a good offensive lineman. I’m good enough for the Big East. I really can pass block. And goshdarnit, Tino likes seeing me on the line.”
Aaron Donald gets a puff piece as he has emerged as a force on the D-line. Now leading the team in tackles for loss, sacks and QB hurries.
Randolph, like Graham, said Donald still needs to work on his technique and fundamentals but, along with his natural ability, his work ethic and his intensity almost ensure that he is going to be successful against any offensive line.
“Aaron has done about everything I’ve asked him to do,” Randolph said. “We wanted him to work on his fundamentals and as you can see now with his production. His fundamentals have gotten better and it shows up on game day. His work ethic and his mindset and his natural ability — he just makes plays.
“When I look for guys to recruit in the future, I’m looking for guys like Aaron Donald with that first step, that explosiveness and, on top of that, the violence in him is what I really like,” Randolph said.
“He enjoys playing the game and, to me, he is kind of a throwback. He is an old-school guy, but his first step, his attitude and temperament — those things are what make him such an explosive player.”
Donald was humble/media savvy enough to deflect a lot of credit to his teammates on the D-line.
Outside linebackers/special teams coach Randall McCray is in Charleston, Illinois to interview for the Eastern Illinois (1-AA) head coaching job. Good luck to McCray, but my god is that in the middle of nowhere. Also, the possible loss of McCray means the Pitt coaching staff could be down to only two coaches with facial hair (Norvell and Magee). The lowest numbers since Walt Harris was in charge.
A story on how Pitt has used several players in the threeback spot. I still find it confusing since the coach in charge of the position is still called the tight ends coach (Tony Dews). The spot has been occupied at various times during the season by Hubie Graham, Drew Carswell, Anthony Gonzalez and Brendan Carozzoni.
“Ideally, we’d like to have one guy who can do it all so we don’t have to change personnel in between plays because when we have to sub them in and out we can’t go as fast as we like,” he said.
“But until one person emerges who can do that, we will keep mixing them in and, really, we’re excited to have four or five guys of different talents who we can use throughout the game.”
“One of the best things schematically we’ve done, is try to figure out what they each can do and what they are good at and try to use them in those roles,” Dews said, “rather than try to fit a square peg in a round hole. As the season has gone on, we’ve gotten even a little better at finding what they do well.
“We have been able to shuffle them based on their own unique ability and sort them out and put them in position to be successful.”
I think maybe Pitt might be better off just sticking with calling it the H-back. A google search of “threeback” yields some interesting results (NSFW), but really not helpful.
Paul Zeise’s chat is relatively fluffy this week. Hard to get much when it is a bye week and Pitt actually won a game.
WVU media guy reflects on seeing a bunch of former Hoopie coaches on the Pitt sideline next week.