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November 30, 2012

The Basic Piece to Beating USF

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 8:59 pm

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, oneĀ  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.

Very simple, if the Pitt players want the bowl then they will play hard for it or …

My guess, USF players will probably play hard for their coach and seniors.

Comment by frank MD 11.30.12 @ 9:36 pm

Pitt commit James Conner 6 carries for 36 yds in loosing effort vs NA. Pitt commit Titus Howard dislocated elbow in Clairton’s win tonight.

Comment by alcofan 11.30.12 @ 9:57 pm

This one worries me. A wounded team, their only chance to salvage some respect this season, and their only chance to send their seniors off on something positive. Pitt had better be totally focused and ready for a dog fight, er bullfight but in this one the bull is also armed. Go Panthers!!!

Comment by opfim 11.30.12 @ 10:29 pm

If they play like they did against Rutgers, this will be a pleasant game to watch.

Comment by Chris 11.30.12 @ 11:18 pm

Hope it happens that way Chris.

Comment by opfim 11.30.12 @ 11:22 pm

Defense, defense, defense.
For the most part, our fortunes lie with our D. YSU, UC, UCONN, UL, are in the D.
The loss to Cuse and ND, I place on the O.
I always assume every team will play hard. We need to play physical football and move quickly out of the huddle on offense.
USF is a colossal dud. Smack dab in the heart of the most fertile area for college talent, they lay eggs. Rotten eggs to boot.
If we tackle well, we win.
Pitt 23

Comment by SFPitt 11.30.12 @ 11:59 pm

The season of streaks of 2 continues. 24-13 Pitt

Comment by Iron Duke 12.01.12 @ 12:03 am

SFPitt – we held a 20-6 lead going into the 4th quarter against ND and the defense then gave up two TDs to tie the game.

ND had 34 1st downs, gathered 522 yards or offense and held a 10 minute TOP edge.

To me it is rather apparent that they are to blame.

Comment by Reed 12.01.12 @ 1:04 am

alcofan, I get it. Possible bad omens.

But I’m going to go out on a limb. I believe this team has finally got it and have taken to heart the words of its Head Coach, “A CHANCE TO GROW.”

The evidence suggests this Pitt team has grown through the ups and downs of the season.

Omen, shmomen. For the first time Pitt refuses to play down to their competition and wins a one-sided game with a solid performance.

My only concern is the feeling that Tino’s streak of no interceptions could come to an abrupt end.

But this is not the time to harbor negative thoughts. You can just feel there’s a lot on the line tonight.

A real chance at the first “Big City Backyard Brawl.”

So many recruits vital to this program’s future teetering on the edge of commitment.

Man, am I going to be nervous by gametime.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.01.12 @ 8:50 am

If the coaching staff cannot get the team prepared for this game, they should take the next stagecoach as far west as possible!

Comment by Stanley Schweiger ('60) 12.01.12 @ 8:54 am

Doesn’t everyone’s pre-game tension usually revolve around Tino? We have a solid defense and a good running game. The x-factor in any game is usually Tino. Although he has good stats this year, we all know that when he makes a mistake or two he really comes unraveled. Pitt wins as long as Tino keeps it together.

Comment by Floyd 12.01.12 @ 9:03 am

I have only two words for the Panther’s locker room pregame speech. These two words cover all the points necessary for a team with this amount of raw talent to come away with a win tonight.

These two words encompass the attitude necessary for each and every Pitt player to perform up to their full potential when they buckle their helmets on and take it to the field.

These two words embody the the “lead by example” doctrine that everybody on the Pitt team can feed off of when considering what “leaving it all out there” really means at game’s end.

These two words define giving 100%, no matter whether a win or a loss results. But when the game is played with the level of intensity when chanting this mantra, the win will usually result as a simple byproduct of those effort.

These two words should serve as a rally cry for the Pitt Panthers, inspiring them to salvage a season that could easily be viewed as a failure, with a loss tonight, due to squandering lost opportunities all year long.

These two words should propel Pitt into the new era of Pitt Football in the ACC, with recent memories of finding their competitive spirit at season’s end, while producing a three game win streak and a bowl victory to carry them into Spring ball.

So I only have two words of encouragement for the Panthers tonight. Two words to consider before they go out and take care of business,,,,,

Panthers,,,, MASON UP!!!!


Comment by Dr. Tom 12.01.12 @ 9:18 am

Reed, the Pitt offense was nothing but 3-and-outs for the entire 4th quarter against ND. The defense played extremely well for 3 quarters because the offense held it’s own. The 4th quarter collapse was the fault of the offense (and the phantom pass interference call). I seldom bash Sunseri, but he was putrid in the 4th quarter of that game, it was clear that he was thoroughly flustered and would not make another play the rest of the game (he did settle down a bit in OT).

Comment by Sean 12.01.12 @ 9:20 am

Pitt offense in 4th quarter: 4 possessions, 8 yards, 6:09 time of possession.

On D, the first TD was made possible because of the BS PI penalty against Williams on 4th down. On the second ND possession, Williams came up with the interception. The D blew it on the 3rd possession. And the 4th possession, the D forced a punt.

So O and D each had 4 possessions in the 4th. The O failed miserably on each. The D made a stop for no points on 3 of 4, but the refs took one of those stops away. Clearly, the offense lost that game, it’s not remotely ambiguous.

Comment by Sean 12.01.12 @ 9:31 am

Regret to say that this is exactly the type of game Pitt losses.

Hope this time is different..

Comment by JR 12.01.12 @ 9:33 am

I thought this game was going to be for the BE championship at the beginning of the year. Turns out it is still relevant, its for a bowl? Anyway I think it will be a neat opportunity if we get to play WVU in a bowl. As for today’s game, I hope we finish the season strong and carrie some good momentum into the offseason and next year. Because lets face it, there has been no continuity or momentum the last 2 years. I feel that this teams and staff would benefit from 2 more wins.

Comment by Bones 12.01.12 @ 9:44 am

Five years ago today: 13-9

Comment by BATR 12.01.12 @ 10:28 am

See Sean’s comments above.
But as our D goes, so we go.
Rather apparent.

Comment by SFPitt 12.01.12 @ 11:57 am

I’m fired up Dr Tom. I’m ready to go…begin tailgating that is.

Comment by TX Panther 12.01.12 @ 1:47 pm

Guys – I get that but a basic premis of football is that if you go into the 4th quarter of a game with a two TD lead you should win it – even if you don’t score again.

However, sometimes I see it your way also. I felt that our offense lost the game against Iowa last season because they couldn’t maintain drives to keep Iowa off the field and limit their scoring chances.

Bottom line it that it takes a whole team to lose games like that I suppose. Neither the O or the D helped each other in both of those games.

Comment by Reed 12.01.12 @ 2:00 pm

When your offense can’t make a single sustained drive in the fourth quarter, it isn’t the defense’s fault if you lose. Period. No defense can be expected to play its lights out for 3 quarters against superior talent and not get tired and not start giving up some plays. If you want to blame anyone, blame Huxtable and PC. The offensive playcalling was bad at best in the 4th and when ND shifted to having Golson run around the defense didn’t adjust very well. Of course it shouldn’t have mattered except for the zebras because the defense did step up and got screwed on the PI and the refs refusing to call holding on ND.

Comment by Deepelemblues 12.01.12 @ 3:17 pm

The defense wasn’t able stop ND in the fourth quarter because they weren’t able to contain a scrambling quarterback. If they’d have had and answer for that they’d have stopped ND cold many a time.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.01.12 @ 3:30 pm

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