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January 24, 2012

Not Sure Pitt Can Be This Picky

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 1:55 pm

Brandyn Cook is a consensus  3-star center out of Ohio. He was one of the earlier commits to Pitt. But while Coach Chryst stated that all scholarships would be honored, that did not mean he wouldn’t make it clear what kind of opportunities would (or in this case would not) be available to actually play.

Cook, 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, said new Pitt coach Paul Chryst suggested he look elsewhere because of his height.

“He didn’t think I would be able to get a fair shot at Pitt, basically because of my height,” Cook said. “Being a competitor, I wanted to go where I can play and to a place where I am needed and a place where I am wanted.”

Cook said he committed to Graham two days after receiving a scholarship offer and did not entertain further offers.

“I am a man of my word,” Cook said. “I shut it down.”

So Cook is heading to Miami (Ohio) instead.

 

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Quick Word About Comment System

Filed under: Admin — Chas @ 1:12 pm

As you probably know, the comment system went ka-blooey last week. I’ve since made some alterations to fix and address a lot lot comment spam that was worming its way into posts.

The new system seems to be working well, but there is one significant change. If you are new to commenting or use more than one computer to post comments, then there may be a delay on seeing your comment posted. The first comment will be sent to “pending” for approval. Once I approve that first comment, your comments will start posting immediately.

Obviously the one flaw is that I have to be on the site to approve, and there will be some time gaps depending on when the comment was made and when I get on the computer. It isn’t that you did something wrong (unless you did, and I previously banned you). It is that I can be lazy.

January 23, 2012

Another Disappointment

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 1:18 pm

Travel day yesterday kept me away from the computer — and it was probably a good thing.

I don’t know what to say at this point. It seems as much in the players’ heads at this point as it is to the issues of talent. You don’t go on a slide like this. Losing the way Pitt has for the past month. I mean after watching Pitt football for the past couple of years, we should all be able to recognize a team that just doesn’t seem to have it all together when the other team doesn’t roll over.

Woodall was rusty — which should not have been unexpected. The initial spark he provided the team simply by his presence was quickly extinguished by foul troubles.

There are a lot of fingers pointed at guys like Robinson and Gibbs. And I’ll agree on the defensive side, they did not do a good job. Offensively, they were okay. Yes, Gibbs was only 5-13, but he was 4-10 on 3s. That’s much better than what he has been. Good production from Lamar Patterson (14 points. 6-9 shooting). Even Talib Zanna (3-6, 7 pts) and Dante Taylor (4-5, 8 pts) generated offense inside. The problem, offensively, is as it has been for the last month. No real production from anywhere else on the court.

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In regards to some fan’s angst over HC Paul Chryst losing committed recruits, it is important to understand that Dakota Conwell is the only recruit who PITT has actually ‘lost’ so far. It is apparent that the new coaching staff allowed WR Corey Jones to switch to Toledo without much of a fight to keep him as evidenced by Jones’ own words in this Post Gazette Blog article.

“When coach Graham was there, I would get a lot of phone calls from Pitt,” Jones said. “After he left, that slowed down. I just felt like things fell off or something. I felt like I wasn’t a main priority for them.

“I wasn’t sure of how Pitt was going to handle things, how I was going to fit into their offense and if I was still in their offensive schemes. … [Pitt's coaches] are cool, but I’m just trying to do what is best for me and I think Toledo’s offense is what’s best for me.”

At 5’9 and 165 pounds you can see that Jones fit the stereotype of WR that Todd Graham was recruiting. That didn’t seem to be a priority for Paul Chryst at this time.  I would have liked for PITT to keep Jones though, talent is talent and I feel it’s a good use of a scholarship.

Note also that both Corey Jones and DB Chas Whittaker, who had committed to WVU, are teammates who made this decision together.

From the looks of things, as detailed in this Trib-Review piece, our staff is still in hot pursuit of others who will fit their plans for the type of football players they want to field this season.

“Meanwhile, Chryst offered a scholarship to defensive back Ryan Lewis, of Sammamish, Wash., his father said.

Lewis, who visited the campus over the weekend, is the son of Seattle Seahawks vice president of football operations Will Lewis and the nephew of former Steelers defensive coordinator Tim Lewis, who played cornerback at Pitt.

“Ryan really enjoyed his visit and the coach enjoyed having him there,” said Will Lewis, who is a cousin of Pitt linebacker Tristan Roberts. “(Ryan) is going to think about it for a couple of days and get back to him, sooner rather than later.”

Lewis, 6-0, 185, has offers from Colorado and Utah. He is rated a 3-star recruit by rivals.com.

Pitt welcomed several recruits to Pitt over the weekend, including defensive tackle Willie Henry and defensive back Sean Draper of Glenville (Ohio); defensive tackle Terrell Jackson of Marion Franklin (Ohio); and New London (Wisc.) offensive lineman Gabe Roberts, who also is considering Wisconsin.”

Of course, Chryst & Co. have some other more familiar names that they have been working on to play thier college ball at PITT.  J.P. Holtz and J.J. Denman, at TE and OL respectively, are highly sought after recruits who have interest in PITT.   Safety Bam Bradley and LB Deaysean Rippy are possibilities also among others the staff has contacted and worked to commit.

On the flip side we may lose Adam Pankey to WVU as he visited the Mountaineers on the 13th, but no solid news on him so far.  So it looks like we’ll get some real recruiting news over the next eight days.

 

January 22, 2012

JOE PATERNO DEAD AT 85

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 11:55 am

Say what you will about the PSU-PITT rivalry or the Sandusky scandal, his death is big news for college football.

Personally, I’ve looked at Joe Paterno as a positive influence on college athletics overall. More so during the 1960s through the 1980s. PSU hasn’t been the same since Paterno became so old he was mostly a figurehead at the helm.

He’ll be missed, by some more than others, and we had to know this wasn’t completely unexpected given his age and the events of the past two months.  First Bear Bryant now Joe Paterno.

Their lives were consumed by their professions and they had nothing to live for after it went away.

January 21, 2012

LiveBlog: Primetime GameDay

Filed under: Basketball,liveblog — Chas @ 3:06 pm

Thanks to Volvo and the Biggest Fan in the Big East contest, I’m at the Louisville-Pitt game (hint, go vote for me). Went to the morning GameDay telecast. If you are going to the game, be sure to stop by Hemingway’s to say hi beforehand. I’ve got some Volvo/Big East schwag to give away.

There will be a liveblog for tonight. Silver Panther in NYC has offered to run and moderate things. I really don’t think he knows what he has decided to do to himself. Not that I don’t appreciate it, running liveblogs this season has not exactly been rainbows and unicorns. Help is much appreciated.

You will see comments from me from Twitter during the game, but I won’t be able to respond. I may try to check in on things during halftime.

 

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Good Time At GameDay

Filed under: Basketball,Media — Chas @ 1:40 pm

Well, that was fun. Just a quick check-in before I wander Oakland for fun and to grab a bite to eat.

Got in last night well before the storm hit. Have to say, it was fun driving the Volvo S60 last night. I also want to make it clear that at NO TIME did I learn that the V6 325HP car can easily reach 120 mph on the Ohio Turnpike. NEVER. IT DID NOT HAPPEN.

Took the car out in the slush and snow for “fun” this morning (and to get some bagels). Not surprisingly, since it is a Volvo, it handled it all easily. It almost felt like cheating.

Good time at Gameday. The Oakland Zoo brought the energy. Others brought them donuts.

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PITT’S NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT DAY

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 9:07 am

The PITT Panther Club is holding its 2012 National Letter of Intent day at Heinz Field on the evening of Wednesday, Feb 1st.  It will be in held the East Club Lounge with a 5:00 PM door opening with the event starting at 6:00 pm.

The event is open to Panther Club members, season ticket holders and their guests.  RSVPs have to be in, with your guests’ name, by Friday Jan 27th  to 412-648-888 or pantherclub@athletics.pitt.edu.

I haven’t been to one yet but I plan on making the drive up and attending this year.  The fans I have talked to who have attended have all said that it is a lot of fun as the staff (these guys will stick around, promise!) introduces the recruits, talks about why PITT wanted them and shows film on their HS play.  It will consist of two hours on Rushel Shell, an hour discussing Chad Voytik , intermission and then a five minute wrap up on the other guys.

Just kidding, I have no idea how long it lasts but I’d think a couple of hours at least.

There is “game day” food and booze available by concession so if all else fails we can sit in the back, drink beer, bitch about Fraud Graham, generally bullshit and make extraordinarily absurd predictions regarding the  upcoming season.

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January 20, 2012

Meet Us At Hemingway’s

Filed under: Marketing,Uncategorized — Chas @ 3:45 pm

Picked up the Volvo S60 for the weekend at my local Volvo dealership. Got a crash course (figuratively I mean) about the car and all the features. It’s going to be a lot of fun to drive — even into a winter storm.

Well, I popped the trunk on the Volvo S60 I get for the weekend thanks to the Biggest Fan in the Big East contest. (Please, vote.) And in there was a box filled with t-shirts, mini-basketballs, beer cozies and hats. Emblazoned with Big East and Volvo logos. Needless to say, I have little corporate goodies to give away tomorrow.

As for the where, I’ll be at Hemingway’s around 6 pm tomorrow. Also definitely going to be there will be at least one of the Bryan’s from PittScript blog. Unfortunately Cardiac Hill almost certainly cannot make it. Please come on over and have a drink (or more) with us.

Battle of the Bricks Is Possible

Filed under: Basketball,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 11:34 am

One of the most frustrating things during this losing streak. At least from my perspective. Has not been the turnovers. Not the lapses in defense. It has been missing the easy ones. The bunnies. The open look. The lay-ups. We saw it against Syracuse. Saw it in several of the games. Point blank misses.

Now comes Louisville to the Pete. Guess who is having similar issues.

As much as the injuries, the plague of bad shooting by these guys is difficult to understand. They’ve missed layups. They’ve missed shots in the paint. And the threes? Woeful.

With Kuric injured, Pitino has only two players on the roster shooting better than 33 percent from the arc. If you’re not going to overwhelm teams with talent (and this team never was), and if your zone defense and ball containment are suspect (and this team’s are), you’d better be able to execute on offense and shoot the basketball.

You can draw up all the X-and-O stuff you want. You can discuss personnel all day. If this team doesn’t start making some of the open shots it has been missing, none of the rest will matter. The Cards don’t need a doctor. They need a shot doctor.

Well, Kuric is expected to be ready for the Pitt game, but my god swap out Cards, Kuric and Pitino with Pitt, Woodall and Dixon and you could use it to describe Pitt right now.

Maybe Woodall Returns?

Filed under: Basketball,Injury,Players — Chas @ 10:06 am

While the return of Tray Woodall to the line-up would not be the pure cure-all, it would definitely help. Well, it seems as if Woodall will be doing all he can to be out on the court for Saturday night’s game with Louisville.

Woodall, who has missed 10 of the past 11 games with an abdominal injury, said Thursday he is close to returning to game action.

“I definitely feel like I’m ready to play,” he said after going through a full practice for the first time since a game Dec. 27 at Notre Dame. “I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’m going to go through two more days of practice, see how I’m feeling. Whenever I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go.”

Not exactly definitive, but the general buzz seems to be that Woodall expects to be out there on Saturday.

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January 19, 2012

Football Recruiting Notes

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 11:17 am

Well, while waiting to learn if Bostad is or is not going to be the O-line coach at Pitt or the Chicago Bears, here are some little things from the world of recruiting. Info is limited at this time. The Trib doesn’t do much with recruiting. The P-G sticks mainly to WPIAL stuff with Mike White. Neithe newspaper beat writer for Pitt has had any real chance to build a relationship with the new coaches to get any inside slant. So for the most part, the only place to get info is from the recruited players themselves. Most of which falls behind the paywalls of the recruiting sites.

The biggest casualty in the questions about the status of (presently) Pitt O-line Coach Bostad may be J.J. Denman. Denman, to recap, initially committed to Penn State. Then decommitted and chose Wisconsin. Then Chryst and Bostad left for Pitt. He’s visited Pitt, but is now taking a second Wisconsin visit this weekend (Insider subs).

“I think it went fine,” Denman’s high school coach Galen Snyder said, “but I think he is still weighing his options.”

Denman, who lives near Philadelphia, began looking at Pitt when Chryst was hired. Chryst served as the Badgers’ offensive coordinator before taking the Pitt job in December. Denman’s lead recruiter at Wisconsin, however, is Thomas Hammock, who is still on staff.

Denman is a 4-star OT, and would be a big get for Pitt. His HS Coach indicated that Denman would likely make his decision by next week. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if he waits to announce on signing day. Heck, given the way he has shifted, I don’t know if it is solid until after the NLI is faxed.

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UPDATE (12:36): Well, now it appears to be nothing but denials. So it would seem the crisis is over.

I don’t know what Indian Burial sight the Pitt side of the Southside Complex was built upon, but something is clearly not right.

Reports are that Bob Bostad’s tenure as OC/O-line coach for Pitt is already over. He is apparently taking the same position in the NFL with the Chicago Bears.

WSCR-670 The Score’s Mike Mulligan reports the official announcement will be coming soon from the Bears.

That said, Bostad has a connection to Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Tice’s son, Nate, was a walk-on quarterback on the Badgers the last few years. Bostad also coached Bears offensive tackle Gabe Carimi at Wisconsin.

Tice was recently promoted to become the Bears’ offensive coordinator, replacing Mike Martz.

The only thing that might give pause is that Mike Tice was contacted by the Raiders to interview for their vacant head coaching job. I don’t know. This is just ridiculous.

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January 18, 2012

Todd Graham can’t leave it alone. Well, if I’m going to even pretend to be fair, there is no way to leave it alone. Any appearance or interview he does will bring up the issue of his departure from Pitt.

What FraudGraham can’t seem to stop doing is constantly changing the story. To try and drive up the drama of how bad things were for his family. Basically, to spin any tale he can to try and get sympathy.

When it started at his intro at Arizona State, he called it his latest “dream job” and pushed the idea that he was doing it in no small part because his in-laws are in Arizona. The kind of statement that even Arizona reporters and columnists said, “huh?”

Arizona State University just hired the first football coach in NCAA history who, if you believe him, changed jobs in order to move closer to his mother-in-law.

The spin quickly shifted to his wife really wanted the move to be closer to her family — and Fraud Graham would make the hard choice just for her. Which of course generated more outrage. Prior to the move, Penni Graham was a one-woman PR machine for her husband. Constantly tweeting about how much she and the family were loving Pittsburgh. Tweeting about Pirate and Pens games. Interacting with people on Twitter. Putting out photos of her kids dressed up for Halloween as the Pitt Panther. Building up a lot of goodwill that to some extent would be extended to FraudGraham.

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Spouting Off: Khem Birch Edition

Filed under: Basketball,Players,Transfer — Chas @ 12:21 pm

Birch or Graham? Graham or Birch? I would much rather not have to mention either one for at least six months. Instead they both decided to spout off this week. Well, since Birch went first, I’ll start with him.

Player transfers happen. Even mid-year ones involving high-level recruits. Every year there are a handful of them for whatever reason. It’s the first time it happened to Pitt so we may be reacting like it is something bizarre, but it really isn’t so far removed from reality. No matter how much some sportswriters decry it as a plague upon the game.

For the most part, these players find their new school. Make the choice and other than a few perfunctory interviews or press releases saying mainly that they just want to look forward to the future. Saying nice things about their new school and coach. Then they lower their head and are not heard from until they actually step out on the court in a year.

This works, because, they are athletes. They ultimately get judged by their performance on the court. Do well, and the transfer was reasonable and clearly was the right choice. Flop or fail to match the hype and you are a spoiled product of the AAU culture who can’t face his own failings.

 

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