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September 10, 2012

Now What?

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 7:18 am

Pitt has a ton of problems. And, yes, I have posted for a couple straight days with attention to the coaching staff. There’s a reason for that.

The deficiencies and strengths on this team — regarding the players/talent/depth — were mostly known coming into the season. The unknown was how the coaching staff would use them. How they would coach and prepare them.

So far, it has not been pretty. There’s no way to pretend otherwise. Yes, the coaching chaos the last two years have taken a toll. Almost certainly it has had an effect on the team psyche. Yes it has impacted the overall talent on the squad. Yes, there are injuries — especially to the linebackers. Yes, there has been a bit of overestimating the overall talent on this squad.

None of that is sufficient to explain the performance of this team in the first two games. Losing by 14 — and never even leading — to YSU. Not being competitive in the Cinci game. Sorry. This team should not be this bad.

Coach Chryst will and should have the time to set up this program his way. He’s also a first-time head coach, learning and making mistakes. We wish otherwise, but the on-the-field performance and the way the team has started in the first two games demonstrate that right now he is finding 0ut how steep the learning curve can be in moving from coordinator to head coach.

Changes. Shake-ups to the coaching staff won’t happen until the off-season. (And there absolutely needs to be a shake-up just based on these first two games.) So, the position coaches had better find their own sense of urgency.

[Editor note/UPDATE: Holy crap, Wisconsin just fired their O-line coach, 2 games into the season!]

What I will be looking to see over the rest of the season and going forward:  will there be improvements? Will the players be better prepared to start games? Will they have more urgency? Will they be in a better position to use their strengths, and can their weaknesses be masked?

It sucks to be in week two and already writing off even a .500 record, but that is the reality right now. It sucks for guys like Holley, Tags, Jacobson and seniors who have worked their tails off. Done all they can. Left bits of cartilage and brain matter on the field for Pitt.

The reality is, this season is lost. They lost a gimmee, and failed miserably in a game that was believed to be a toss-up before the season started.

The defense is a mess. The D-line is being shredded, and that further exposes the very depleted linebackers. The secondary, which was supposed to be the strength on this team is struggling badly to play man coverage.

Sunseri is not the reason Pitt has lost their first two games — the defense takes a larger share of the blame so far. He’s been his maddeningly-inconsistent-tight-when-it-matters-unable-to-hit-a-man-more-than-20-yards-downfield-self. But the offensive line remains lousy. Giving him no time, and not giving the running backs anything inside. That said, Sunseri’s not helping, and I am ready to rip the redshirt off of Voytik.

The only thing that gives me pause — and it has gotten much smaller the more I think about it — is playing behind the Pitt O-line. The O-line is technically at full-strength (Notwithstanding Juantez Hollins) — or at least closer to full available players than last year — and it is just as bad at pass protection. No one should feel that comfortable throwing a freshman QB behind that O-line, least of all the coaches. Of course it can rationalize that away because Voytik is supposed to be a better runner.

It’s defensible to keep Voytik’s redshirt in a lost year, but it less defensible to keep trotting out Sunseri. At this point it just seems like wasting time.

After that, what other changes do you make to the line-up? Plug Bisnowaty and/or Demhasaj in at the O-line? Give Rippy a look at linebacker (actually, yes).

Blame the loss of the 2011 recruiting class all you want, on the lack of talent, but those would only be sophomores and redshirt freshmen. As tumultuous as last year was, the 2012 recruiting class held together and brought in some good talent. To say nothing of how all summer, plenty were supporting the idea that stars and recruiting rankings were not the end-all-be-all.

Ultimately the only losses I can really point to from the last two recruiting classes that hurt in terms of present depth and need are all from the 2011 class: Gary Nova (QB), Marquise Wright (DT) and Quintin Alston (LB) — and the loss of Alston was arguably negated by picking up Ejuan Price after the Tressel firing. After that, there really aren’t many other players that decommitted from Pitt who would really be an upgrade at the position on this particular squad.

What do you want or hope to see from this team at this point?

 





Interesting thought… After 92-96 Majors 2 debacle. “Not my Fault” Walt Harris came in and got a team that had maybe 12 wins in four years to believe and play way above their talent level. Exhibit Miami win and near miss at PSU..

It starts with the Seniors… This senior class has no drive and definitley no heart.. That is very sad..

Chryst should start playing the underclassmen….Maybe they still care….The Seniors do not…

Comment by Conservative Panther 09.10.12 @ 10:43 pm

Stop being critical of Tino. He throws a great field goal.

PC is not the problem. The AD is the problem.

Why complain about the YSU loss? Look they have 65 scho;arship players that have bought into a system, play like they are taught, have limited aspirations of going pro and because of that play for each other. Pitt cannot play for each other when the player that touches the ball on every offensive snap, is just that, offensive. Tino is polarizing as is our AD.

Our AD messed up Wanny, Haywood and Graham. All of those lost in their power struggle with Pederson. All have indicated that it is not the talent at Pitt, but rather the “other things”. What they are saying is no “all in” support from the AD. The AD nearly killed Nebraska football and is trying to replicate that at Pitt. We all allow this continue, so we get what we get.

Personally, I do think that Chryst is the man to lead us into a bright future. I spent the last four days on tobacco road (possible relocation to Raleigh/Durham) and to the person, each thinks Paul Chryst will be successful. That said, each person ridiculed our AD for how he handled the coaching debacle and the Nebraska fiasco. Is it a wonder how Solich has become successful so soon after separating from Pederson? As much as I hate to see it and you all hate to read it, Graham looks to be successful too (early). They can coach if the Pitt AD gets out of their way.

No coaches need to be fired, now. Pitt cannot play copy cat of wisconsin for one reason. Pitt needs stability in all of its ranks. Recruits are already being affected negatively with all the coaching changes, with competing coaches telling them that PC will not be at Pitt when they get to be Juniors and Seniors. Same will be said about their position coaches. Tweaks at a later date if you can improve the coach…and pay them. Step back from the ledge people. The good days are coming. Patience required!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 09.10.12 @ 11:02 pm

How does a team like UCLA, that looked soft the last couple of years, match/exceed the physical play of a reasonably good (but not great) Nebraska team this past weekend? UCLA punched Nebraska in the mouth. The UCLA kids may have a few more stars than the Pitt kids, but Nebraska is arguably better than either YSU or Cincy. Is this simply a matter of UCLA getting a couple of months (1st year coach) of quality coaching plus a motivational kick in the pants? Why can’t Pitt do that? (admittedly, I never coached anything so don’t really know what it takes…) But, if UCLA can do it…

Comment by Pitt in Oregon 09.10.12 @ 11:25 pm

Two points:

1) Play Voytik in a series or two against VA Tech. He needs to understand what college game speed really is. Then get him QB snaps in between games to be ready to be used seriously.

He isn’t that great of a QB where we should worry for one minute that if we burn his redshirt he won’t be a four year starter – that won’t happen anyway.

2) Graham’s ASU team is twice as fast as PITT’s was last season. I’m not surprised he’s haveing success there and think that had he stayed at PITT for a few years he would have recruited players that fit his system and probably won here also. I’m glad he’s gone though.

Bonus point: Chryst will have winning seasons at PITT, it just won’t be this season.

Comment by Reed 09.11.12 @ 9:22 am

PIO – UCLA was used to be great – they failed to invest in their athletics (including facilities) while others (Oregon,USC) did…last few years they’ve invested and it now shows…Pitt needs to allow the HCs hire who they want. We’ve had 2-3 years of poor classes – give PC the time and the money to build a program.

Comment by markp 09.11.12 @ 12:09 pm

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