May 22, 2012

Football Links for 5/22

Filed under: Football,Players — Chas @ 8:48 am

Lot in the offline world, so I’ll just push out some stories.

Pitt athletes going to Haiti. Doing some of good at orphanages. Not just the football players. No excerpts for this. Just read all the pieces.

A reminder that the players experience at Pitt has been nothing like they expected.

There’s no other way to say it: no group of players has ever been screwed over like these Pitt players.

From Dave Wannstedt to Mike Haywood to Todd Graham to Chryst. Meet your new coach, fellas.

Now go out and make it work in crunch time, play like it’s second nature and don’t — for the love of pigskin — underachieve.

“We had great coaches with (Wannstedt), we respected them and they were let go,” said Pitt guard Chris Jacobson. “Then Graham gets here and we buy into what he’s saying, he leaves and it’s here we go again. Then (Chryst) gets here, and now everyone is buying into what he’s saying.”

Jacobson is then reminded he missed a coach in Haywood.

“Just a handshake,” Jacobson said, “and he was gone.”

Then it ends with the circle — possibly closing.

Chryst also had played for three coaches in four years at Wisconsin in the late 1980s. Maybe Pitt finally has found the perfect match.

We can hope.

The CFN/ preview of Pitt keeps expectations modest by putting a good season at getting 7 wins.

It’s not asking for the moon, especially since two of the team’s non-conference games will be against Youngstown State and Gardner-Webb. In many ways, 2012 represents a second straight transition year at Pitt, as the team adapts to a new staff, a new playbook and a lot of new starters on both sides of the ball. If the program can earn the seven wins needed to bowl, and get increasingly comfortable with the philosophy of first-year head coach Paul Chryst, it’ll serve as a table-setter for 2013.

I guess Pitt fans feelings on Sunseri are rather well known at this point.

Senior Tino Sunseri is back for one more season as the starting quarterback. Cue the groans from Panthers fans.

The preview has expectations that Hubie Graham will thrive in the offense, but notes the very real concerns on the O-line. Especially at the tackle spots.

As for the defense, the secondary is noted as the strength, and the big question marks are in regards to the linebackers.

Strength: Range. Thanks to the recruiting of Dave Wannstedt, Pitt boasts a coterie of terrific athletes on the second line of defense. Thomas, Gordon and Williams, in particular, play the game very fast, going from sideline to sideline with the same urgency as the team’s safeties.

Weakness: Muscle. The linebackers move like safeties because, well, they look an awful lot like safeties. With the exception of Gordon, it’s a group consisting of no one who weighs more than 220 pounds. In a conference, such as the Big East, that favors a blue-collar brand of offense, Pitt could struggle to hold up at the point of attack.

Outlook: The linebackers are small, quick and explosive. In other words, they’re a better fit for the last regime than the current one. It’ll be a very busy summer for this juggled group, with all three positions being up for grabs. There’s hope that the competition, and the healthy returns of Price and Mason, will help elevate the unit to a higher level.

The predicted 2-deep is worth noting. Despite (or maybe because) the offense returning 8 starters as compared to only 4 on defense, we all expect the defense to be the strength of the team this season.

Although he recruited Holley, K Wiliams, Tags and Hendricks, not sure Wanny deserves all the credit for a strong DB since the ONE good thing Fraud did was to get some really good DB transfers in here.

I would hope that the OLBs are in better shape than indicated with a healthy Thomas, E Price and and E Williams. There is also a lot of quality on the DL .. just worried about the depth.

Comment by wbb 05.22.12 @ 9:36 am

A couple of counter points…

Yes, Tino is named starter… which surprises me. But, I still say wait until the rubber meets the road heading into the season.

Unless Chryst and Company is even better than what I think they are at turning average quarterbacks into winners… Myers or someone else could soon get the call.

Naming Tino the starter so early is the one question I’ve had with Chryst since he signed on. But who are we to criticize at this point?

As to schedule and wins this coming season… I really believe a Va Tech upset is in play.

Of course there’s Notre Dame… but my real concern is Temple where Addazio is quickly proving himself to be a top-level head coach and has quietly turned Temple into a force to be reckoned with.

But with Tino, unfortunately, everything is in play.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.22.12 @ 10:20 am

Hmmm, that was strange. Before I clicked to open the link, I thought it was an article about the Tino Sunseri who played QB for Pitt. Turns out it musta been a different Tino Sunseri.

Because the article mentions the following attributes, which cannot apply to Pitt’s guy:

“When given time, he’s actually a steady passer, with just enough zip on his throws to maximize the talent around him.”

WHAT?? If Tino Sunseri’s a 6′-2 steady passer, then I’m a Japanese fighter pilot (FYI, I’m of Swedish & German descent).

Dude can’t throw a ball more than 20 yards without it looking like a pooch punt. No truth to the rumor that his coaches clock his hang time on his punts (errr, passes…).

Not to mention he’ll hit his WRs in the shoes on one snap, and then overthrow 6′-5 freak of nature Jon Baldwin (with 40+ vertical) by 10 yards — 10 yards too HIGH.

And then it’s the accuracy of our “steady passer”: 10 yards in front of his man one snap, 10 yards too far behind him the next.

Who can ever forget that gem at Utah two years ago, in OT. He threw it so far behind Pitt’s WR on an out route that Utah’s DB — trailing on the coverage — had to reach behind him to pick it.

The article also said Tino Sunseri {will] hopefully [get] more help from the supporting cast. I think the truth is the other way around, let’s hope the supporting cast gets some help from their QB.

Pitt’s OL wasn’t perfect, but OUR version of Tino Sunseri made them look worse. The Balto Ravens OL couldn’t give our guy the time he wants to hold onto the ball for weeks per snap.

Who can forget the “Tino Trifecta” our guy made in the Backyard Brawl two years ago, while playing in a pro-style system that (allegedly) suits his “skill set.” A lost fumble, bonehead sack, and pick-six, all in the first quarter!

So, yeah, hopefully our Tino gets help from his supporting cast (snicker).

Like I said, that article musta found another Tino Sunseri to cover. Because it doesn’t sound like our guy at all…

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 05.22.12 @ 11:05 am

Cincinnati game extremely important to win with Va Tech the following week. The five games before ND are all potential wins. Next round on me if PITT is 7-1 heading into the ND game! Hail To PITT

Comment by DC33 05.22.12 @ 11:11 am

Imma – I thought the same things after reading the article. It mentioned a strength of the Pitt offense will be experience at QB. Since when does experience at being horrible translate to something positive?

Comment by Pittastic 05.22.12 @ 12:15 pm

‘Iffy’ games on the Pitt schedule for 2012.

USF (maybe)

There’s 5 possible losses so I guess the 7 win prediction is close, but…..

Having USF at home (warm weather team) in December (USF is infamous for its late season collapses) I think will be a win. +1
Louisville at home can be a win considering we handed it to them last season without Graham. +1
ND and Cincy away. Can we split? Probably. +1
VT at home. Pitt did get the better of VT in the seasons prior to the defection. But since that was a decade ago, it doesn’t matter. Let’s say Pitt loses this one.

Based on the exhaustive research above, saying they might win 10 isn’t a stretch. True there may be injuries or brain cramps (or in Sunseri’s case, arm cramps) so let’s say they lose another.

9 wins is obtainable and would be considered a good season in Chryst’s first year. With this season’s schedule, I’d put it at the over/under.

Comment by pghFred 05.22.12 @ 1:11 pm

7-1 going into Notre Dame.

10 wins isn’t a stretch.

I love Pitt, but you guys are smoking crack.

With all due respect.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 05.22.12 @ 1:35 pm


Nope, just a little doobage.

Do you really think that with the weak schedule they have, that 9 or 10 wins is not obtainable?

Please elaborate.

Comment by pghFred 05.22.12 @ 1:39 pm

6-6 sounds about right with our qb situation.

Comment by Tony C 05.22.12 @ 1:44 pm

3-3 under Tino
4-2 under Chad

7-5 and another garbage bowl

Comment by TX Panther 05.22.12 @ 1:51 pm

8 and 4 maybe but most likley 6 and 6 it all depends on tino if he is his old self and sucks well then 6 and 6 if he has changed then 8 and 4 but fat chance of him changeing he sucks so 6 and 6 unless the freshmen is good and takes over bye game 3 than maybe 9 wins.

Comment by Frankcan 05.22.12 @ 2:26 pm

this may interest some …

link to

Comment by wbb 05.22.12 @ 3:48 pm

Imagine if PITT had beat Iowa & ND last year & thay should have won both games. How different the season would have been. If the O & D lines play well & PITT runs the ball well the QB position will not be required or needed to win games. Tino can manage a game but not comfortable putting the game “on his shoulders. Maybe I am on drugs but this schedule could set up nicely for PITT. HTP going 10-2 / 9-3

Comment by DC33 05.22.12 @ 3:53 pm

sucks to lose Samuelson, yet he was a surprising bonus imo. I think Reese’s ceiling is higher fwiw. Just wait for the crickets to start screaming that Chryst has no idea what he is doing in recruiting! Kid was from Indiana, c’mon man!

Comment by Gordo 05.22.12 @ 4:04 pm

FWIW, I remember CFN and Phil Steele saying that Tino was better suited for Todd Graham’s system.

CFN used to be really good, but now they just cater to the SEC schools and the other usual suspects.

Even with Tino playing, a 7-5 record would be a very bad sign. Based off the schedule changes alone, that would be like going 5-7 last year. And that’s not even considering the system change and the injuries.

Comment by originalether 05.22.12 @ 4:26 pm

Welcome to the Head Coaches fraternity, Paul Chryst. Now you know first han that there is NO ETHICS in big time college ball. I was hoping you had learned that previously by observation while at Wisconsin. So Dan Samuelson of Plymouth, Ind. has “FLIPPED” from Pitt to Nebraska. Of course, Bo Pelini, formerly of Cardinal Mooney in Youngstown is totally innocent of the STEAL. Yes, I know the rules about LID Day. I also know what kind of HARD BALL is the norm around Mooney. We don’t know much about the Hoosier OT, evcept for his impressive size stats. We DO KNOW or SHOULD that the Big Ten or 11 or 12 and many, many “BIG TIME universities have few standards when it comes to recruitment. I hope your eyes have been opened,Coach Chryst, there are few “NICE GUYS” left in the world of college sports. Good luck, Dan Samuelson and good marketing Bo Pelini–you deserve each other. Rev. George from Columbus where everything is ALWAYS ABOVE BOARD. SIC!

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 05.22.12 @ 4:41 pm

He Rev….we do have a Michigan transfer from Mooney now and he is a Bo Pelini type player…guess when he plays for you it is “ok”. Maybe we can get a player from Ursuline to balance the act!!!

Comment by SFPitt 05.22.12 @ 5:30 pm

dont worry dont worry we dont need to worry
chryst is goining to ask them to come to pitt no hard sell just come and they will it wont madder that the acc is looking like big east 2
if chryst ask them they will come dont worry dam were did i put that bottle of rum i need a drink.
i am going to be a wreck untill loi day and if things dont turn out well i will find a tall place to jump from were did i put the rum dam it.

Comment by Frankcan 05.22.12 @ 6:14 pm

Derrick Burns suffered a stroke today and is in bad shape. Some things are WAY more important than LOI day and recruiting. Some perspective, please.

Comment by The Incline 05.22.12 @ 6:56 pm

Oh my, prayers for the young Mr. Burns.

Comment by Digdug 05.22.12 @ 8:15 pm

God be with DB and praying for him and his family both personal and Pitt.

Some perspective is in order, particularly in respect to recruiting. Flipping out about recruiting in light of PC being hired when he did and so forth is inane to say the least. Give the guy a chance. Some of you act towards recruiting like it was your portfolio so to speak. Wait to the end of the season please.

It will kind of make me sad when the conference jumping misinformation dies down. It means ranting about recruits will ratchet up once again…

Comment by Kenny 05.22.12 @ 8:43 pm

Our prayers are with Derrick and his family. OTHER matters are trivial! As far as the safety transferring to Pitt from Michigan, the situation is totally different. I won’t go into that in public print, but it is not an “eyes of the beholder matter”. The point really is there is little honor among thieves. Getting someone from Ursuline will not suffice. Ohio State got a tight end from that school a few years ago and he immediately got into trouble with the police. Pitt had a gifted QB from Ursuline tears ago and he recently got out of the pen. Sorry, but tit for tat in rec ruiting WARS is much too simplistic for the sordid world of college sports today. Again, we should all pray for Derrick’s recovery. Rev. George from Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 05.22.12 @ 9:27 pm

Gods speed to D. Burns.

Not concerned about the transfer situation. More than anything, they followed their prior coach. What happened today is a different scenario. Look, we will not know how we do in recruiting until February 2013. Winning games will assist in the process.

Again, gods speed to D. Burns.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.22.12 @ 11:10 pm

“Pitt had a gifted QB from Ursuline tears ago and he recently got out of the pen.”

Rev. George, I enjoy your posts; however, I believe that the gifted QB of whom you speak graduated from Cardinal Mooney.

Comment by BigGuy 05.23.12 @ 12:11 am

Frank – Chryst recruited this kid well enough that he committed to PITT. It isn’t Chryst’s fault that Samuelson and his father don’t understand what “commitment” actually means.

If anything Chryst’s attitude of ‘look around before committing’ is a fair and good one – and BTW the exact same attitude everyone’s favorite son Dave Wannstedt had. What Chryst wants is what every HC wants. A player who has made a FIRM decision when he verbals. Obviously that doesn’t always happen.

That said, this type of move isn’t totally unexpected and is the reason why PITT is still recruiting kids who have verballed to other schools.

I liked this kid as a recruit and think it is a loss to have him choose UN over PITT.

Comment by Reed 05.23.12 @ 7:18 am

Big Guy, Always good to read your posts. I do, however, believe the talented Pitt QB of whom I speak, was from Ursuline in Y’town. He was and still is, my friend. Rev. George from Columbus. P.S. It matters not where he is from. My point is that college sports needs to become more circumspect in its ethics and actions.

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 05.23.12 @ 7:30 am

An intresting item, not actually, meant to be nasty, but noteworthy: In looking over the Cornhusker commitments this A.M. I saw that two players from Cardinal Mooney had verbalized to Nebraska. Coach Pelini (formerly of CM) must be working overtime in eastern Ohio and western Pa. Be forewarned, to whom may be concerned. Rev. George from Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 05.23.12 @ 7:52 am

Money and pressure to win makes men of morals into men of questionable ethics.

Comment by TX Panther 05.23.12 @ 8:07 am

We all should know by now that a verbal is a non-binding commitment, and these things happen all the time. Better now, I suppose, than what Khem Birch did.

In fact, one of our starting OL this year, Ryan Schlieper, originally comitted to Maryland but changed his mind and signed an LOI with Pitt.

Ane we should all remember Walt’s prize QB recruit, Anthony Morelli, after being committed to Pitt for about 9 months, making an 11th hour change and going to the ‘University of Penn State.’

Maybe the lesson here is something Cas had talked about before .. that more of a focus on recruiting should be on the eastern seaboard than the midwest where ACC football does not get much exposure.

Comment by wbb 05.23.12 @ 8:26 am

Coach Pelini may have shown an aerial view of cornhusker stadium (70,000+ – sea of red) and of heinz field (35000 – sea of yellow (empty seats)) and said “where would you rather play?” As much as we all love Pitt Football, until we start winning and put some people in the stands, you can’t blame at youngster for wanting a more football oriented school.

Comment by markp 05.23.12 @ 9:06 am

Rev. George, the QB that I am thinking of owned a farm in the municipality where you were once a pastor of a church. He was a public servant. He also was a member of Cardinal Mooney’s first graduating class. He has a page in Wikipedia where one can verify the high school that he attended. Perhaps another Youngstown QB drank from the same well as this Pitt alum. Regards.

Comment by BigGuy 05.23.12 @ 9:50 am

“As much as we all love Pitt Football, until we start winning and put some people in the stands, you can’t blame at youngster for wanting a more football oriented school.”

Ah, perhap or perhaps not:

link to

Comment by BigGuy 05.23.12 @ 9:54 am

Looking at it from his perspective, where would you want to go? Heinz Field playing Gardner Webb in front of 4,000 fans or Nebraska in front of a packed sea of red every week?

can’t really blame him. Hopefully we can pull more quality O-line men in.

Comment by Coach Ditka 05.23.12 @ 9:52 am

Pitt has a great history – we need to get it back – and get rid of those notre dame/navy/akron like helmets!

Comment by markp 05.23.12 @ 10:18 am

Markp, you could add to ND/Navy/Akron like helment with one more slash followed by “half the high school teams in America. Man do I hate that generic gold helmet!

Comment by HbgFrank 05.23.12 @ 12:21 pm

Big Guy, You are absolutely correct and I was in error. Indeed, the aforementioned former Pitt QB who became a U.S. Congressman WAS a graduate of Cardinal Mooney. He was also the sherriff of Mahoning County, Ohio at one time. He did some very good things in that post, including accompaning a youth mission team (HEALTH FAIR) to the hills and hollows of Ky. I was with him and he was above board. Sorry he took a wrong turn in his career, but his life is not over yet. Thank you, again BIG GUT and my apology to Ursuline. Rev. George from Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 05.23.12 @ 10:57 pm

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