August 22, 2012

Towards Semi-Rational Optimism

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 10:11 am

A week ago Spencer Hall of Every Day Should Be Saturday tweeted out this nugget.

It took a few more days for Pitt fans to reach that point but after the second scrimmage, it happened.

There’s a feeling that 8 wins is no longer the ceiling, but the floor. That this team, with this coach, with this schedule, in this conference could very well win 8-10 games as opposed to the 5-8 that seemed to be the range dating back to the spring.

Yes there remains serious questions about the O-line. The front five are set, but questions remain in terms of depth, health and overall ability.

The D-line has its own questions. Can Aaron Donald still thrive with more attention (and double-teams)? Will others step up to make teams pay for doubling on Donald? Ezell? Clemmings? Murphy? Smith? Lippert? Can they really be War Daddies?

The linebacker spots all seem to have questions. Whether it is health or simply having stability.

And the QB spot remain a place of angst.


The secondary looks so strong. The safeties are legitimately two-deep — and experienced. The cornerback positions look to be as strong as they have been in years.

Even if it takes Ray Graham some more time to come back from his ACL injury, Isaac Bennett has been continuing a strong spring in the summer. He’s not shying away from competition or learning from others at the spot. Malcolm Crockett has also had a solid summer camp. Heck, Rushel Shell has started getting carries in practice as Bennett has been day-to-day, and he seems to be coming around — but regardless he seems to be accepting of possibly redshirting like a good team player.

The Wide Receivers should bounce back in the new/old system. The Tight Ends stand to thrive and have the talent to do so.

Then, of course, there is the new coach and staff. Paul Chryst has everyone feeling optimistic — as you would hope when there is a new coach. That he can coach the kids up.

Hell, Chryst coached up Tyler Donovan in 2007 to help Wisconsin to a 9-3 regular season. Scott Tolzien was 20-4 from 2009-10 in the regular season. Why is 8 wins with Sunseri as QB in the Big East so outrageous an idea? Besides with Chad Voytik coming on strong in the final week of camp, who is to say he doesn’t take the reins from Sunseri at some point during the season?

It’s amazing how easy it is. How seductive it is to talk yourself into this.

The optimism and hope are good, though. I’d rather see some irrational exuberance towards the season than, “meh” or “maybe in time.”

My feeling is still in the 6-9 win range. There is just too many question marks on the line. Too little depth and too much reliance on players staying healthy. I like where the program is heading. I want to see Pitt doing nearly everything it can to win every game. I just don’t see anyway to avoid this ultimately being (yet another) transition year.

@Dr. Tom LMAO!!

Comment by Dan 08.23.12 @ 9:13 am

Temple more of a concern than either Cincinnati or Virginia Tech.

Anyone who caught Temple in the bowl game last year knows the job that Steve Addazio has already done in elevating the program — more so than Golden actually accomplished.

Addazio had been my No. 1 choice for replacing Graham… Chryst No. 2.

Cincinnati is another well coached team that will be tough – could go either way.

However, already on the record with an upset of VAtech. See it as a defining moment for Chryst in his first season.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.23.12 @ 9:19 am

@ PittofDreams, great minds think alike, please refer to my post above (except for my math, if we stink we’re looking at 3-9 not 3-10).

VA Tech, has a history of letting an early game on their schedule get away from them. I live in Virginia and this OOC game is definitely being overlooked by the VA Tech faithful at least, hopefully we can catch them napping when they travel up to Pittsburgh. Hopefully Beamer and staff won’t be able to impress on them that they could get knocked off up at Heinz field if they don’t come to play.

We can only root that they beat Ga. Tech on their nationally televised home opener on Labor Day night, because if not, then Beamer will have them whipped into a frenzy for the next few games and that wouldn’t be a good thing for us.

This game will also expose our pocket/pass protection as well as our special teams execution. Hopefully both will stand up to their pressure. If we can keep the hungrey dogs up front from tearing Tino up, we definitely have a chance to shock the world.

It would be just the spring board of momentum that the Panthers could use to carry it forward into the meat of our schedule.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.23.12 @ 9:37 am

Good Doctor,

Something people might not know about Paul Chryst.

The guy is far more competitive than his easy going personality would suggest.

He loves the BIG GAMES and is cool under pressure when they arrive.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.23.12 @ 9:57 am

Hopefully in can transfer these qualities so as to become part of Sunseri’s character traits.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.23.12 @ 1:48 pm

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