We can discuss the slew of injuries that USF has endured that make them the proverbial wounded bull that could still harm Pitt. And frankly it just doesn’t seem natural that for the final meeting with USF, there is no B.J. Daniels to throw the ball to imaginary targets that only Daniels could see. All while looking so athletic that you forget the record and brain farts for moments to get wistful that he was your QB. Then he throws a pass in the dirt, one over the head of his own coach and into a safety just sitting in the middle of the field… and the moment passes.
We could discuss Ed Tinker getting a chance when Devin Street was hurt. Or how Coach Chryst avoided playing many freshmen this year. Watch it, the whole, “he won’t play freshman” meme is a protected trademark of Coach Jamie Dixon.
There’s the Skip Holtz is on the hot seat issue. Well, he is with the fans. Given the uncertain future of the Big East and by extension the USF athletic program — and their budgets — Holtz should survive this season even if he finishes 3-9. He had the good fortune of an athletic director that was a little too eager to give him extensions.
After all, he signed a contract extension in June that will pay him $2 million per year through 2017, and USF owes him a $2.5 million buyout if he is fired.
Mind you, that extension came in just his second season at USF, where the Bulls finished 5-7 and there was no one sniffing around him.
Let us keep this simple. If Pitt wants to win tomorrow night, they have to score first. I don’t know why, but Pitt hasn’t won a single game this year if the opponent scores first. Obviously, Pitt’s offense is geared to playing from ahead. This is not a comeback team. We all know that. We’ve known that for quite some time. The failed comebacks against Syracuse and UConn were bitter reminders.
Maybe it’s that both sides of the ball just feel more confident when they get on the board first. Maybe the coaches relax just a little to call the game to the players strengths and the situation rather than to the scoreboard. Maybe it is just a chicken-egg debate that is pure coincidence. Whatever the reason, the defense gets after things more. The offense is less stagnant.
The O-line has to have a second straight good game. Not as common as it seems. The O-line was outstanding against ND. Against UConn it was horrid. Then, last week it was back to being very good. The wins and losses may be coming in twos this year, but not the consistency of the line.
The defense has to tee off on USF. Their offense has been poor without Daniels, plus their starting running back and two WRs. All lost to injuries. They have scored a total of 32 points in their last three games. Without Daniels, they have scored one touchdown. They are purely trying to grind out games. Control the ball for as long as possible, because their offense at this point can’t score enough.
So, the defense has to make sure the offense gets out there for the opportunities, and frankly they should be embarrassed if they let this USF team score more than 17 points.