November 26, 2012

Belated Thoughts from Rutgers-Pitt

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 11:55 am

Where to begin…

I am not immune from bouts of ABT. As I watched the game on DVR delay, purposefully cut off from the internet, I listened to Beth Mowins and Joey Galloway praising Tino Sunseri in the first quarter. The same Sunseri who started 2-7 on the first four possessions and looked dreadful. Prompting me to wish that Coach Paul Chryst would snap and bench him on senior day.

But he recovered to do a good job in a game that earned him Big East Offensive Player of the Week honors. Yes, a 21-39 for 227 yards and 2 TDs was enough in the second last weekend of the season to be the best offensive performance in the conference. That’s not saying a lot about the rest of the conference. His game also led to this actual headline on the the Star-Ledger websiteRutgers defense meets its match in Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri.

/spit take

Heading into the game, I couldn’t help but hope Rutgers would be looking past Pitt. Thinking only about how they can win the Big East on Thursday against Louisville. That’s sure how it looked. Even as the players naturally denied such a thing had occurred.

“Guys were excited. Guys were prepared,” said linebacker Khaseem Greene. “At the end of the day, they just out-executed us.”

And for one of the few times this season, the offense, defense and special teams couldn’t bail out the other struggling units.

“They beat us. We didn’t execute. I can’t make any excuses,” Nova said.

The way this first quarter went. Offensive incompetence on both sides, but Rutgers getting slightly better field position with each punt. Well, it made me think a lot of the previous game between Rutgers and Pitt. In that game, on a cold day, both teams relied on defense (or dealt with some offensive incompetence) in the first half. Rutgers eventually capitalized on worse incompetence by Pitt to blow the game open in the second half.

Thankfully, this time the offensive incompetence was on the Rutgers side, and it happened earlier.

“I regret the whole game,” said the sophomore quarterback, who completed 18 of 37 for 157 yards and a touchdown. “I didn’t execute well enough.”

Nova spent much of his time fleeing the onslaught of Pitt linemen as Pitt surprised Rutgers, 27-6, yesterday in a Big East Conference matchup.

“They did a good job putting pressure on me,” he said. “They beat us up.”

The Rutgers O-line which had been doing a fine job of protecting Gary Nova this year, was overwhelmed today. They — well, they looked a lot like Pitt’s O-line against UConn a couple weeks ago. They gave no holes for the running game and the QB was under constant pressure to get rid of the ball.

In this 11th game, there has been so much other stuff that it is hard not to reference, flash to or fear will happen again. So when Pitt built a 14-0 lead and got the ball back with less than 2 minutes near midfield, I was flashing back to the poor work done. Especially the Louisville game when Pitt got too aggressive and ended up giving up points. So I was not feeling good when Pitt faced a 3d and 6 with a little over a minute and called a timeout. Afraid that Rutgers would just air it out before the half and get some penalties or that breakdown in the secondary that changes everything.

The aggressive playcalling by Chryst finally paid off, but I won’t lie and say that I thought it was a good plan when it was happening. Just burned by it too much this season.

If there is any doubt that Ray Graham gets up for playing Rutgers and his half-brother, the last two meetings should end that debate. He had 165 yards last year and 113 this year.

But really this game was about the Pitt defense showing up. After the UConn debacle, Coach Chryst actually questioned the desire and effort of the team. Questioning if they understood what it took to win. DC Dave Huxtable had the defense practicing without arms in an effort to get them to try and get back to fundamentals. It seemed to get their attention. Not to mention a little bit of pride probably being on the line in the home finale.

Probably most impressive was defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who had seven unassisted tackles and a sack.

“He set the standard that he should play well,” Chryst said. “It’s pretty neat to be around a guy (that) when the bar is set high, he can achieve that level.”

The Panthers found a level of consistency that has been missing in many games, appearing to draw inspiration from a respected group of seniors playing their last home game.

Coach Chryst was due for a “neat” reference.

Yes, Rutgers may be a tad overrated. But given Pitt’s inconsistent performance, I don’t feel like judging. The Panthers played a solid game that still gives Pitt a chance at a 3d straight trip to Birmingham. Though, the bigger opportunity could be the Pinstripe Bowl against the Hoopies.

If it means perpetuating the 2-2-2-2-2-2 streak. So be it. At least get one more win.

Pitt at USF. 7pm on ESPN2. Why? Because there’s airspace to fill.

i’ll take my chances with the QB situation next season .. if Bollinger can make a silk purse out of sow’s ear with Sunseri like he did this year, imagine what he can do with somebody with talent …

Comment by Hoopzebra 11.26.12 @ 5:06 pm

Hoopzebra – which QB “has talent” for 2013? Savage? The others haven’t shown any sort of talent that Sunseri doesn’t posses…. and neither has Savage for that matter.

Comment by Reed 11.26.12 @ 5:16 pm

Can I get in on the Tino to the Pros bet?
I say NO way.

He has the worst footwork for a QB I have ever seen (I counted 6 throws off the wrong foot Saturday), has no arm strength long or any accuracy over 20 yards. He is a head case who many times during a game forgets the snap count…see Saturday at the 1 yard line, ND 3x under pressure late. Scouts watch and take many notes to go with hours of tape. Hope Tino has another profession in mind.

I hold him responsible and him alone for our current 5-6 record.

Comment by Dan 72 11.26.12 @ 5:27 pm

how about nova, he would be next up, savage starts, anderson clip board, voytek transfers, chapman pushes savage, chas is this sunseri sht filler,

Comment by paul shannon 11.26.12 @ 5:46 pm

Savage will play and will perform well. If Chryst can make a quarterback (if not a winnter) out of Tino he can do it for a 6-5 guy with a cannon for an arm.

After next year, Chapman is the future… or at least untill Kincaid actually signs and gets a chance to show if he’s really that good.

Voytik is the odd man out. Maybe a future at safety.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.26.12 @ 6:03 pm

pghFred, I meant there are only 30-some jobs for QBs on the practice squad (because teams don’t carry two practice-squad QBs, and some don’t carry any). Not that the NFL only had 30 QBs.

Since Tino the Magnificent is one of the worst QBs in Division 1, there are 100s of better QBs for those 30-some openings just this year, let alone those from recent years. I suggest you better save some serious $$ to pay off your bets.

Go back and watch tapes — the NFL scouts will — of some of the collosal 4th Qtr screw-ups dude had in his career, losing dozens of games all by himself: SMU Bowl game last year, all three vs. ND, two vs. WVU, two vs. UConn, Iowa last year, Cincy last year, ‘Cuse this year.

But if you’re right, God help the poor NFL franchise that signs Tino Sackseri because of how well he practices, without also considering how abysmally awful he performs in the 4th Qtr of most (not all) games.

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 11.26.12 @ 6:05 pm

should have added content contains sarcasm .. because from all the ABT; he has the job because of his father; the coaches are all stupid for playing him, etc etc conversation here – Trey Anderson, Chad Voytik, even Anthony Gonzalez who moved to DB have more talent and are better equipped to play QB immediately and apparently without taking first string snaps since August .. and certainly a 4* like Tra’von Chapman must be better even if Savage isn’t .. so maybe, just maybe Tino has given them the best chance to win all along .. i still say, even if it is a small sample size, based on Tino’s improvement from his junior to senior years, Brooks Bollinger has shown he can get the most out of a QB …

Comment by Hoopzebra 11.26.12 @ 6:07 pm

Until this team finds a HEART it will not matter who is under center. The entire team has underachieved & players have been quoted as saying they have played to their level of competition. Record doesn’t lie. HTP.

Comment by DC33 11.26.12 @ 6:44 pm

Pittofdreams, Chapman is 6’1 and didn’t get any offers from really any top programs…Not even in Ohio. Curious why you think he is so good. He wasn’t even ranked that high for a 4 star. Have you seen him play? His strengths look like a run first kinda QB. Is Chryst gonna change his system?

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.26.12 @ 6:48 pm

Tino will get signed as a FA and then cut very early. If for no other reason than a courtesy to his Dad. You need arms to throw to draftees and other free agents because established QB’s don’t do that in mini camp or early fall camp.
As for Reeds’ comment about us looking back longingly to Tino’s production numbers from 2012, I’ll take my chances.
A bigger factor will be the loss of Shanahan, who apart from the ND game was MVP. Shanahan will play on Sundays.

Comment by SFPitt 11.26.12 @ 6:53 pm


Have only seen video of Chapman, both highlights and game. He’s more like 6-2 or a little more.

Has a bit of a hitch in his throwing motion. But has a surprisingly strong arm. No question stronger than Voytik’s who now admits to having less than a “cannon.” This is contrary to the scouting reports and guys like Dokish.

Chapman had a really good senior year. Based on the various comments from teammates and others he’s more of a natural leader.

Although his team lost in the playoffs and he did not play exceptionally well in the game they lost, reports say he was basically the whole team throughout the season.

My gut tells me he has a chance to be good and give Chryst someone who can be counted on to make a play when the game is on the line.

I will say this. Kincaid looks good too and reportedly is also a leader among his teammates.

But don’t count out Chryst’s nephew just yet. I’m not.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.26.12 @ 7:38 pm

And… Chapman was a pass-first quarterback.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.26.12 @ 7:45 pm

oh Imma Man

all of that is certainly true.

However you are overlooking one key ingredient, Sir Tino is a coach’s son (who btw coached in the NFL for several years under John Fox (another one with some serious connections) with the Carolina Panthers). And they take care of their own. Rest assured Sir Tino will be in a NFL camp.

He might even end up on someone’s practice squad.
Stranger things I’ve seen. lol

Comment by Emel 11.26.12 @ 7:59 pm

Emel… you are right in more ways in one.

Keep in mind too that Tino is known to be an EXCEPTIONAL practice player.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.26.12 @ 8:03 pm


Chapman is a lot like a guy that Chyrst got a ton of mileage out of. In fact rode the guy to a Big 10 conference championship and a Rose Bowl Bid, where they shot it out with Oregon. And in fact that success led to PC getting his first HC job.

A guy that should be known to Pitt fans, that being the Russell Wilson, who is only 5’11”.
He also didn’t fit the mold of a traditional Wisconsin game manager QB. Think Chryst liked the options Wilson gave him over a game mgr QB. Don’t you ?

Comment by Emel 11.26.12 @ 8:06 pm

Savage is a wild card. One has no idea how he will perform after a 3 year layoff. (as far as actually playing a real game)

Which is why I thought it was (and still is) reckless on PC’s part not to get someone,anyone some more game experience next year. Especially after if became evident we weren’t going to win the BigEast.

Because if Savage is a flop, he’s then going to have to play someone with no game experience at all.

Even now, is a 6-6 season and a trip to some schmuck bowl worth jeopardizing next season.

When Pitt was up 27-6 in the 4rth, not even a hint of maybe bringing Anderson in to mop up. Because at that point he could have done exactly what Tino did in the 4th quarter. Nothing. lol

Nope not to be, nothing in 37 starts is allowed to get Sir Tino off the field. Only Graham had the pure gaul to take Tino off the field (for horrendous play). And we saw what happened to him….lol

He left in the middle of the night, was so scared to even come back to Pittsburgh, he had to text his team goodbye and left so fast, his Christmas Tree lights never got turned off. lmao

Comment by Emel 11.26.12 @ 8:24 pm

savage is a player, saints or cards for t,maybe it was because anderson sht the bed both times

Comment by paul shannon 11.26.12 @ 8:45 pm

Thanks guys….boy the Eagles are a joke this year. How Andy Reid has a job is as bad as Steve Pederson having a job..

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.26.12 @ 9:06 pm

Not a fan of Reid either, but he’s a better coach than Poison Pill Pederson is an AD.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 11.26.12 @ 9:28 pm

Well guys that’s why they have spring football. We’ll see who performs well and who doesn’t. I remember some guys at Pitt who didn’t have the strongest arms but did pretty well. John Congemi and Pete Gonzales were both competing against players with stronger arms, but they emerged as the starters and did well. They were both heady players with good touch on the ball.

Comment by Justinian 11.26.12 @ 10:01 pm

Pretty much a fan of Chryst and Bollinger, with what they did with Tino this year.

Still had his bonehead mistakes, over throws, taking the sacks, etc. etc., but, I for one, who easily threw him under the bus the past couple years, have to say, that he did improve vastly this year.

A good or great qb, no, but vastly improved on himself.

Look forward to what they can do with some new blood!!

Comment by Dan 11.26.12 @ 10:48 pm

I lived in Chester county when Reid took over. Now that was one bad football team.
Reid was always too cute. Fell in love with his “genius” and focused on pretty when sheer muscle was required, IMO. Tried to be too flashy and that kept them from 2 Lombardi trophies, also IMO.
With a dead son and the other a dead beat I suspect, ain’t much left in the tank….and that is one XXL tank! Just goes to show you that regardless of what God you pray too, if any, life can sometimes be very difficult.
Time for Andy to focus on something else and it ain’t the dirty birds. Please God, any God, take Pederson with Andy somewhere far far away…..Detroit would be far away enough.

Comment by SFPitt 11.27.12 @ 12:11 am

TRISTEN NICKLESN 6 foot 8 296 pound OT from texas to vist pitt.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.27.12 @ 12:46 am

Keep in mind that Pit’s new recruiting coordiator Dann Kabala is from Arkansas.

Despite all the criticism of Pitt’s recruiting… Kabala was highly thought of with the Razorbacks.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.27.12 @ 7:46 am

Forget Nickelson. He’s only TWO… count ’em… TWO STARS! No way can he be a player.

Wait a minute. He was offered by Alabama.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.27.12 @ 7:53 am

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