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November 10, 2012

Flat and Flattened

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 10:48 am

You won’t get the Pitt coaches or players to admit they were still emotionally back in South Bend. No. There was no hangover from that loss. No matter what everyone else saw, it just happened to be a coincidence that Pitt came out looking like they didn’t want to be in Connecticut.

“We came out too sluggish,” said running back Ray Graham, who was held to 41 yards on 15 carries, his second-lowest output this season. “We just were too flat. Definitely give credit to them, but we stopped ourselves.”

Coach Paul Chryst said he didn’t sense lingering effects from the tough loss to Notre Dame last Saturday.

“UConn outexecuted us,” he said.

Do you know what made the game just that much more upsetting? What kept pissing me off more than anything else?

The goddamned commericals for ND-BC that kept airing. Hyping this game as if it could possibly be an upset. All because Pitt had the game and then lost it — which would have rendered that game to regional interest. Brian Kelly talking over images of ND about how his players know that “every team is going to give them their best shot.” Juxtaposing in my mind how Pitt looked last week, and how they clearly weren’t able to muster the same energy or effort against UConn.

Sam Werner at the end of the brief post-game blog post probably offered the simplest, most devastating critique of Pitt’s lack of effort.

Players talked all week about the motivation of playing for one more game with this group of guys, but that motivation didn’t seem too evident in the first 30 minutes tonight.

The urgency never kicked in until the 4th quarter, down 21 points. When it was too late.

I mean, it isn’t like anyone who watched UConn with any regularity saw this coming.

In the end the offense came through.

Let’s say it again: In the end the UConn offense came through.

No, try again. They really did not see this coming.

What the UConn football team did to Pittsburgh on Friday night? Utterly inexplicable. Mostly anybody who has seen the Huskies play this year, particularly in the four games prior, figured there would be more of the same. What UConn gave the 33,503 gathered at Rentschler Field was more of what everybody wanted to see all year and some of what they never want to see again.

The UConn beat writers are saying this. They were stunned. UConn came into the game averaging a paltry 82 yards on the ground. Lyle McCombs had 120 on 29 carries last night.

The incompetence of UConn’s offense, and in particular their playcalling, vanished for a bit more than a half of football.

There aren’t as many stars on offense. But Griffin, at 6-6, 247, the senior tight end is as good as anybody on the team.

That’s why it’s a bit mystifying that [Ryan] Griffin wasn’t targeted more the first half of the season. He caught one pass for 34 yards against UMass. He caught one for 4 yards against NC State and one for 2 yards against Maryland. After three catches against Western Michigan, one for a touchdown, he only caught one again against Buffalo.

That’s seven catches in five games. Granted, fellow tight end John Delahunt also was targeted some. Still, seven catches in five games wasn’t nearly enough for a guy who is capable of making pro money on Sundays.

Griffin had 31 catches as a sophomore in 2010. He caught 33 balls last season for 499 yards and three touchdowns. On the John Mackey Award Watch List, he had just 20 through nine games this year. Granted four of them were for touchdowns, including a 42-yarder against Temple, but we saw in the first half exactly what kind of a pass-catching bear he can be.

UConn needs to feed the bear.

Griffin had six receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown in the first half alone. And then … he finished with six for 84 yards. The only time Griffin was targeted in the second half, Chandler Whitmer overthrew him on what would have been a fourth-quarter touchdown and ended up as an interception by Jarred Holley.

Well, that explains some of it. I guess. UConn’s offensive coordinator Greg DeLeone has been ignoring their best player on offense for the last month to sandbag Pitt in this game. There’s a reason Paul Pasqualoni holds a 13-3 lifetime record against Pitt.

Speaking of mystifying…

/shakes head

/deep sigh

/deep breath

Tino Sunseri…

/ducks

I’ll get this out of the way, first. The O-line reverted to terrible status last night. They were shoved backwards regularly. They gave very little protection. They created no running lanes. It was pathetic.

Now, back to Tino. He was poor, and apparently even worse in person. The entire game, Pitt beat writers were tweeting that he was completely missing, ignoring, not seeing — something — the downfield receivers. Particularly, Devin Street.

Here are the samples:

Yes Sunseri had defenders in his face most of the night, but apparently he had enough time if he wasn’t — and this is shocking — just holding onto the ball too long looking for something else.

Really, the die was cast when the defense came out with nothing in the opening drive of the game.

What made Connecticut’s opening 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive even more embarrassing was this: Eight plays gained at least 5 yards. Players were out of position and outside linebacker Eric Williams , who had played so well against Notre Dame, missed a tackle at the line of scrimmage on McCombs’ 12-yard run to the 2.

Fun fact for 2012. Pitt is 0-6 in games where the opposing team scores first.

And why did Pitt’s defense seem to not have a clue for the entire first half?

Whitmer never broke open the game, but was ruthlessly efficient, completing 18 of 24 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown. Griffin had six catches for 84 yards and a score, all in the first half and most on play-action fakes.

“I think [we had problems with] our eye discipline,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. “Which is a problem on the play-action pass.”

“Eye discipline?”

And then there was the punt return for a TD. To who?

Connecticut’s second touchdown came courtesy of a familiar foe for Pitt. Midway through the second quarter, the Huskies forced Pitt to punt from the 40. Huskies returner Nick Williams took the punt 80 yards for a touchdown to put the Huskies up, 17-0.

In 2010, Williams returned a kickoff 95 yards against the Panthers to swing the momentum in Connecticut’s favor and eventually propel the Huskies to a win.

I realize Chryst wasn’t here for that game. But, but, but… [long, long, long string of expletives deleted]

It’s not too early to start drinking again? It is the weekend afterall? I kind of feel the need after writing and recapping.

 





oh Russell Wilson is only 5’11” as well.

Comment by Emel 11.11.12 @ 11:55 pm

And Saban competed in the SEC not Shit East. Chryst wouldn’t be a ball boy on Saban’s staff.

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.12.12 @ 12:00 am

This was the first game I quit watching since 2001 when I began following the program because I knew I would be a future student.

I quit in the second quarter. All I can say is that this isn’t fun anymore. I used to never miss Pirates games and now I could care less. Why? It wasn’t fun anymore?

Paul Chryst, Stevie P., is there anything you can do to make this fun again?

Comment by AJ 11.12.12 @ 7:58 am

And I even defended Tino all these years saying we had no one better but to throw ol’ Harper under the bus…hey hey, ho ho, I can’t wait for Tino to go.

Love Emel’s Tino countdown clock idea.

Comment by AJ 11.12.12 @ 8:04 am

Pitt football with Tino at QB is about as much fun as watching pasta boil.

Comment by TX Panther 11.12.12 @ 10:16 am

Pretty obvious that this team has given up. They don’t want to try for their incredibly crappy in every way “leader” QB. They just want the Tino era over.

Comment by deepelemblues 11.12.12 @ 11:20 am

@AJ
Asking Steve Pederson to improve the football experience is a lesson in futility. He is the engineer of this train wreck of a program.
Empty seats followed by announcements of higher attendance; being played for a fool by Haywood, then Graham and then the adminsitration playing us, the buyers as fools, by letting everyone responsible for the disaster stay in their jobs.
Firing Wanny is one thing: treating him like shit is unacceptable, but he did that to Solich too.
At least Nebraska admitted their mistake.
Pitt athletic fundrasing is somewhere between 1965 and 1974.
Next to nothing and going nowhere fast.
Pederson doesn’t create revenue, he costs us money.
Him staying in his job tells you what Nordenberg really thinks of athletics.
Nordy would not let this malaise sink into any other university department, but he relishes in sucking in football.
Have you noticed the low profile of Pederson this year.
there is only one plausible explanation…..Pederson has got to have pictures of somebody…was Petraus at Pitt over the last 2 years?

Comment by sfpitt 11.12.12 @ 11:50 am

Stevie needs to go. He is a piss poor fundraiser. Has alienated alums and boosters. Has a poor track record in hiring coaches. And, is just a plain old douchebag. Pitt will wallow in mediocrity until he is removed. He is the second coming of Bozik.

Comment by TX Panther 11.12.12 @ 12:07 pm

Pitt football with Tino at QB is about as much fun as watching pasta boil.

Comment by TX Panther 11.12.12 @ 10:16 am

LMAO…actually we made some pasta over the weekend, it was much more fun. Now boiling Tino … forget it ! lol

Comment by Emel 11.12.12 @ 12:18 pm

Here’s something I’ve thought for quite awhile so I’ll float it now.

Any time this team has any adversity on the field, mainly falling behind, they pretty much pack it in. Oh you can score a few TD’s if you’re way behind as opponents drop into prevent defenses and are willing to let you nickel and dime your way down the field in exchange for time off the clock. But they are more mercy td’s than anything else. Anytime they want they can dial up the defense, apply some pressure, tighten the screws and invariably Sir Tino will fold, and therefore the offense folds.

Or they just pack it in altogether and why not, they know they have absolutely no chance to come back.

One thing… in any endeavor, you gotta believe !

Comment by Emel 11.12.12 @ 12:27 pm

On the Petraeus thing, good thing he’s gone from the CIA, if this guy can’t hide an affair I surely don’t want him in charge of one of our intelligence agencies. Do you ?

Might have more to do with not wanting to testify about the Benghazi boondoggle.

Comment by Emel 11.12.12 @ 12:31 pm

Emel,

My mistake on Saban’s first year at LSU, I misread when he started, DiNardo had the 3-8 record. Thanks for pointing that out and thanks for pointing out that Saban’s only loosing record came as a HC in the pros. Both he and PC had to live with some of the previous mistakes of DW and management in their 1st year!
My point on talent is that HCPC can be criticized for some of his coaching (learning) moves, but the talent level has to lower due to the instability of the coaches that have been hired/fired. I would like to see him him succeed.

Comment by markp 11.12.12 @ 12:34 pm

No problem markp.

However Saban won in his first year at Miami Dolphins after Wanny left. It was his 2nd year that he had a losing season.

And like I posted, PC has more talent on this team than he’s going to have the next several years as we lost the TOP 20 class Wanny had recruited before he was booted for Baby Daddy, he of the one year HC’ing experience. So that class that Graham assembled was average at best, as was one PC assembled when he got hired and the current one is as well unless he gets Foster, Johnson and the Clairton kid.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and some of the kids will get better as they develop. Who knows !

And maybe PC will get better with in game decisions, again who knows !

If they don’t do something or get better, it will be more a matter of…..Who Cares !

Comment by Emel 11.12.12 @ 12:52 pm

I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take it anymore. Oh the humanity. Why can’t we join the MAC or Sun Belt?

Comment by AJ 11.12.12 @ 1:25 pm

Pitt fan at the office, who I just ran into….

“that was so bad, I was gonna text you, then I thought, ‘it’s not even worth texting about'”.

Comment by Dan 11.12.12 @ 1:25 pm

I can see it now…Pitt 2013 Sun Belt Champs. We could play in the Superdome in the Wyndom Hotels New Orleans Bowl. We would dominate fierce rivals like the North Texas Mean Green and the UL Ragin’ Cajuns. Maybe we could even bring back Wanny.

It’s not too late to leave the ACC. We might all need to go to Western Psych if we go to the ACC.

Comment by AJ 11.12.12 @ 1:27 pm

lol AJ,

I’ll be able to witness more of these meltdowns in person, being here in the middle of ACC country.

Luckily nobody down here follows BigLeast football so they don’t know how horrendous we’ve become.

Here’s the latest from the Trib, with a classic quote from Sir Tino:

But he completed less than half of his passes (10 for 22 for 161 yards)in the first three quarters before Connecticut loosened it’s coverage in the fourth. Sunseri hit 9 of 12 for 141 yards in the final 15 minutes, leading a rally that fell short.

“We have to be crisper in our protection” he said.
“We have to be crisper in our routes”. We have to be crisper throwing the ball downfield as an offensive unit.”

Wrong, we have to be CRISPER throwing the ball downfield as the QUARTERBACK !

Today’s word has been crisper. Sir Tino just learned it over the weekend on Sesame Street. lol

Comment by Emel 11.12.12 @ 1:40 pm

My experience in background checks is that affairs are discovered during the due dilgence phase.
Did the FBI let this one go as the “general” was already on the inside (I guess he was “inside” now wasn’t he).
Perhaps Steve Pederson was part of the investigative team enlisted.
If two people know something, it isn’t a secret, especially when clothes are on the floor.

Comment by sfpitt 11.12.12 @ 2:17 pm

On a positive note, the season so far has been two losses, followed by two wins, followed by two losses,followed by two wins and then followed by two losses. Ergo, we should win the next two games.

Comment by Pitt Dad 11.12.12 @ 2:32 pm

its tino time its tino time tino gives us the best chance to win tino gives us the best chance to win.WTF WTF WTF HOW CAN HE PULL THE WOOL OVER 3 COACHS EYES.
I dont belive it i never will thank god it is all most over.
dont double pump to the open recever
street was poen all day.
we need to be crisper WTF.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.12.12 @ 2:46 pm

My ‘O’ fries need to be crisper sometimes. Pitt just needs a new QB. Hotter oil is the solution.

Comment by TX Panther 11.12.12 @ 3:06 pm

TX Panther you said it the truth will set us free

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.12.12 @ 3:14 pm

Ron Cook of the PG wrote this in his Sunseri article the other day:

“He isn’t the best quarterback to play at Pitt.
Not even close. But he isn’t the worst, either.”

True, certainly not anywhere close to the best. duh

He isn’t the worst either, I will admit. Wayne Adams was the worst.

Sir Tino is the Worst PITT QB EVER to START for 3 years though !

Because usually if they were that bad that would be replaced. But not with our Santino. lol

Comment by Emel 11.12.12 @ 3:33 pm

This would be a trivia stat to look up for the extremely masochistic.

Who had more fumbled snaps from center when playing Notre Dame, Sir Tino or Wayne Adams ?

Comment by Emel 11.12.12 @ 3:40 pm

For thoes that care mark myers in 9 games has thrown for 2953 yd and 25 TD
and missed one game when hurt or would have 3000 yd.
i know it is div 3 but thoes are div 3 WR he is throwing to and div 3 OL men he is playing behind
so not a bad year.
and for thoes that say he cant throw short a lot of the TD WERE FOR 10 YD AS WELL AS OVER 60 .

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.12.12 @ 3:47 pm

OG Alex Officer sets up offical vist to pitt
6 foot 4 310 pounds

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.12.12 @ 4:59 pm

OT 6 Foot 7 290 pounds jaryd jones smith has pitt
listed as one of his top 3 schools

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.12.12 @ 5:07 pm

Are any other schools recruiting these guys Frankie?

Or are these only known to us?

Myers could throw short, that was a ridiculous excuse somebody came up with as a reason why he never got a shot. 3000 yards and 25 TD is good regardless. Kenny Anderson and Dave Kreig both were All-Pro NFL QB’s from D-3. Not saying Myers is but it shows that you can still be a quality player, even an NFL All-Pro coming out of D-3.

He mustn’t had been that impressed with PC or he would had wanted to be tutored by such an offensive genius. 🙂

Comment by Emel 11.12.12 @ 10:53 pm

Pitt’s Baldwin a bust in the NFL

link to kansascity.com

Comment by move_on 11.13.12 @ 3:42 am

Myers will get a shot at NFL. Sounds like Flacco all over again.

I guess Chryst went with Tino because he looked better in practice.

“Were talking Practice here”.

If we lose to Rutgers and Tino is QB at USF then something is going on we know nothing about.

Comment by Frank MD 11.13.12 @ 12:08 pm

Tino has dirt on Stevie and Nordy.

Comment by TX Panther 11.13.12 @ 1:50 pm

Gave up the ghost on this season — after nearly three years of this interminable Tino experiment, my spirit is finally broken…Chryst’s not taking him out at halftime of the UConn game just did me in. It’s like watching a drug addict or alcoholic — how many times can you get dissed before you just throw your hands up. Its not just the horrific play in the clutch and cowardly dropping down in the face of danger, its the comments and total fraudulence — and yet the protection from coaches and administration. If that doesn’t spell something rotten in Denmark, he is the luckiest college athlete I’ve ever heard of.

Comment by Matt N. 11.13.12 @ 1:52 pm

the horrid pg writer for pitt wrote that there was no one behind sunseri, yet myers leaves and performs well, how do we know what talent we truly have unless they are given the opportunity to show themselves. by now we all know tino gets bullshit stats that come from his receivers and running backs making plays, yet lacks any true talent and leadership on the field. i am for even putting trey in for at least 2 games just to give him some game experience. what at this point does tino give us other than frustration and a bunch of gray hairs. and all those stevie p haters, well he doesn’t play on gameday, so i am tired of hearing for his resignation/firing.

Comment by pittisit37 11.13.12 @ 9:11 pm

Myers was my pick to start prior to the season with Anderson pressing for time as the season goes on.

Simply could not see Tino ever leading Pitt to the promised land.

That viewpoint was roundly criticized by those who said Tino was simply the best quarterback on the team.

Fast forward… Record 4 – 6.

In hindsight, how bad could it have been if Pitt would have gone a different direction at QB?

For the life of me, never understood Chryst naming Tino the starter way back in Spring.

No question in my mind, his biggest mistake as first-year Head Coach.

Looks like the move may have been what drove Myers away and maybe, just maybe… killed any chances of Pitt having a winning season.

Oh well.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.14.12 @ 7:21 am

@ Emel again, 1st Dave Havern, now your name dropping includes Wayne Adams. I’m surprised a guy as old as you still has such an intact longterm memory. LOL! Poor, poor Wanye Adams, led to the slaughter like a Christian to the Lion’s den in ancient Rome, never to be heard from again.

Adams ONLY actual in game performance made Tino’s demeanor under pressure look calm and collected by comparision. Where’s Tom Yewcic when you need him.

Emel, of course you realize that most any Panther fan under the age of 40 probably has no idea of who the hell we’re talking about here. Take care my good old Panther Faithful friend. Keep up with the gingo biloba and omega 3 fatty acid fish oil capsules to maintain that sharp memory of yours.

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.14.12 @ 12:02 pm

I just read a quote from Coach Chryst,“You shouldn’t have to be coaching effort at any point, certainly (not) late in the year”.

WOW, Really? I guess that might be the case at the professional level that Chryst has coached at, or maybe even at the college level as well, IF the team is loaded with stellar recruits 2 deep at every position and has a solid current winning tradition like Wisconsin’s program was when Chryst left. Teams such as those have a “winners attitude” already instilled in the players. The old saying, “winning begets winning”. But this is Pitt 2012 that we are talking about here.

College football players are just kids. Many of these kids haven’t matured enough by college to even have a concept of what their potential is, both mentally as well as physically. IMO, at the college level, it IS the coaches responsibility to “coach effort”, because many young athletes really do not yet know what their effort potential even is yet.

Football is an emotional sport. The mindset of the overall team and each individual’s confidence level on that team can influence the effort put forth by those athletes for the team. The Head Coach is responsible for getting that process firing on all cylinders.

IMO, in light of the above quote, The UCONN loss sits right in the lap of Coach Chryst! He didn’t have this team emotionally prepared to play football on Friday, and coaching THAT part of the game is just as important as being an expert at the Xs & Os of the game.

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.14.12 @ 1:43 pm

I still think Chryst was the right choice for the job, and was the best REALISTIC candidate to fit the program here. As much as I dislike Graham, the fact is that he was, and still is, considered a top-level hire. You can’t really blame Steve P. for how that worked out – getting him was a real coup at the time, and IMO going to a spread is still not the worst idea in the world – just not with Fraud running it.

As far as this year, I do like PCs more balanced offensive schemes, and the potential there is obvious. However, I really don’t think much of Huxtable’s defense at all – big changes needed there IMO. I hated that bend-don’t-break crap when Rhodes was here too – never saw the advantage to it at all.

Unfortunately, we are seeing a lack of effort or emotion on the field at times, but no one should be surprised. The leaders on this team are still Wannstedts guys, and it’s the same lack of passion we saw when he was here. That’s the culture Wanny cultivated, and why he needed to go. I think we’ll see that change over the next couple of years. Yes, coaches can do what they can to try to get the best out of players, but at the end of the day, if they aren’t self-motivated to a large degree, then they shouldn’t be playing D-I football. It’s the same for any college kid studying any subject – it’s not a profs job to make them interested in studying. If they aren’t already motivated enough to do the work, then they don’t belong in college. The same goes for football.

Having said that, though, I wouldn’t mind seeing Chryst being a bit more animated on the sidelines sometimes. I like an even-keeled approach, but sometimes a coach does need to get fired-up a little to get the team going.

Comment by SteveS 11.14.12 @ 2:41 pm

@SteveS
So true. Pure logic won’t cut it. On occasion a leader must show some passion or his team won’t think he really cares. Eisenhower was once asked when did he get angry. His response was “when he needed to” (whether he really felt that way or not).

Comment by 66Goat 11.14.12 @ 5:34 pm

Pretty obvious that Chryst came into his first year as a Head Coach with an idealistic approach toward how to carry out out the job.

Based on his comments throughout the season it seems he really wanted to do it differently by treating players like good sons who can be counted on to respond to encouragement and take the initiative to do the right thing.

Think Chryst may be learning that might work with some but not all. As a coach, you inherit all kinds of kids, some functional, some dysfunctional, regardless of their abilities on the football field.

Some kids coming from less than the perfect home encironment and others who’ve been spoiled rotten as a result of the their success in sports… can at times require a little more.

Hopefully, Chryst is learning some players simply cannot be counted on to “self-motivate” for each and every game.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.15.12 @ 7:44 am

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