January 3, 2013

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about the football team (okay, it’s been a while since I had some time to write much of anything). So, time to hit the links.

Cam Saddler is back with the team and down in Birmingham. Arthur Doakes, however, is not.

Pitt redshirt sophomore Arthur Doakes , who started the final four games of the regular season at right guard, was suspended for at least one game for violating team policy, a university spokesman said Wednesday. Doakes won‘t play in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday against Ole Miss, but coach Paul Chryst hasn‘t named a replacement. Redshirt sophomore Shane Johnson , who never has started a game in three seasons at Pitt, is listed behind Doakes on the team‘s two-man depth chart. Doakes, 6-foot-6, 340 pounds, had replaced regular starting right guard Ryan Schlieper , who suffered a season-ending ankle injury Oct. 27 against Temple. Doakes is the second Pitt offensive lineman suspended this season. Redshirt junior Juantez Hollins was suspended for the season before the start of training camp.

Nothing to worry about there. Why the last time there was a last-minute loss of an offensive lineman before a bowl game with little to no help behind him it was only the Sun Bowl. No reason to panic. None at all.

In other comings and goings, Pitt has two more players leaving the team.

Pitt running back Corey Davis and tight end Brendan Carozzoni have left the team and will not accompany the Panthers on Tuesday when they travel to Birmingham, Ala., for the BBVA Compass Bowl.

Davis, a sophomore from Gladewater, Texas, who was recruited by former coach Todd Graham, was fifth on the depth chart at running back and had no carries or receptions. Last season, he rushed for 48 yards on 17 carries and caught five passes for 64 yards as a freshman. He also averaged 21.1 yards on 17 kickoff returns.

Davis‘ departure leaves Pitt with only 12 players from Graham‘s 21-man recruiting class of 2011.

Carozzoni, a redshirt sophomore from Rocky River, Ohio, had no receptions this season after making four catches for 43 yards last season.

That leaves 12 players from the Wannstedt-Graham class of 2011. That, of course, opens up two more scholarships. By remarkable coincidence, both Tyler Boyd and Jaleel Hytchye are planning to announce their verbals this Saturday.

The standard storyline for the bowl games is always about seniors getting ready to finish their college careers. The usual stuff about leaving it all on the field, no regrets, all that. Well, maybe just one…

Sunseri and Turnley each said they had no regrets about their time as Panthers, but Sunseri said he often questioned what would’ve happened if Pitt had hired Paul Chryst in 2010, rather than Todd Graham.

Sunseri would have another year of comfort in Chryst’s pro-style offense, and there would have been no failed “high-octane” experiment.

“Things happen for a reason. It builds character,” Sunseri said. “We understand what it’s like to be left, we understand now what it’s like to have a coach and have somebody there for you that wants to see you succeed.”

Safe to bet that Tino Sunseri would probably have heard a little less criticism if Todd Graham had never happened. Here’s a puff piece on Sunseri in the Birmingham paper.

On the flip side to a miserable 2011 performance, Ray Graham admits he started to give thoughts about going pro last year (until he got hurt).

“Old Ray” would have been hard enough to duplicate. When he went down, Graham was Division I-A’s second-leading rusher with 958 yards through eight games. Things were going so well, Graham admitted the thought of leaving school early for the NFL draft crossed his mind.

“The way I was going, the way everything was going, it definitely would have been a decision me and my family would’ve made,” he said. “Who knows? I don’t know. It would’ve been a tough decision I would’ve had to make.”

Now he’s got one final game (and the East-West Shrine game) to help raise his stock for the NFL Draft.

Well, the good news (I guess) about the BBVA Bowl. There’s a certain familiarity with everything.

It might not make a big difference, but every little edge matters, especially in a game between two teams as apparently evenly matched as Pitt and Mississippi.

“We understand the field, we understand the locker rooms, I don’t think there’s anything new to you,” Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri said.

“I think the biggest thing about bowl games is you just have to make sure you get as much preparation up here as you possibly can. Because whenever you’re down at the bowl site, there’s so much stuff going on.”

Pitt certainly will have its hands full with extracurricular bowl events once they arrive. Mornings will be spent practicing at Hoover High School – the same location the Panthers practiced last year – and afternoons and evenings will feature events like a trip to the Civil Rights Institute, visits to a children’s hospital, a comedy club and a bowling night.

Kind of reminds me of an annual grade school field trip to the local historical site. Been there. Seen it enough times. Know the place. Nothing new, but it sure beats being stuck in the classroom all day.

If Ole Miss doesn’t like the cold, maybe it helps Pitt. But, they don’t seem too bothered to practice in it at the moment.

Ole Miss players endured temperatures in the upper 30s and overcast skies on Wednesday for their first off-campus practice in preparation for Saturday’s BBVA Compass Bowl at Legion Field.

Most of the Rebels’ workouts in Oxford, before a week-long Christmas break and after, were inside their indoor facility.

The last workout, on New Year’s Eve, was in the stadium.

“It’s good for us to get out and get a practice in this type of weather. It’s a little colder here than it was the other day at Vaught-Hemingway. It’s different on the quarterbacks and receivers, the specialists especially,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.

Practicing in the cold means the Ole Miss defense looks sharper than the offense. Since the defense doesn’t have to worry about handling the ball. At the same time, the gameday temp is expected to be in the low 50s. Not the 30s they are practicing in at the moment.

Just about every team member wore compression gear from head-to-toe during the practice, held on the campus at Birmingham-Southern, and more than a few huddled for warmth.

It made for a cute scene, unless you’re a quarterback trying to get ready for Saturday’s BBVA Compass Bowl (noon, ESPN).

“Bo (Wallace) was not himself today, Barry (Brunetti) and all the quarterbacks,” coach Hugh Freeze said. “The ball is a little harder, slicker and for receivers and specialists it certainly was a different game.”

The Rebels are gutting it out with Bo Wallace at QB. Wallace has a hamstring problem and a bum shoulder that may require off-season surgery.

Thanks for the thread.

Must admit, I am concerned about what Pitt team we will see on Saturday.

It’s widely understood now that the problem plaguing this team all season was motivation or lack thereof.

Would like to think the team really did learn its lesson following UConn.

But then again there’s no Huxtable. And from what we’ve heard he more than any other coach could be counted on to get players’ attention.

The degree to which the team is ready to play will be a good test to see how far Chryst has come in his first year as HC.

Comment by PittofDreams 01.03.13 @ 1:23 pm

@Big Bill – Pitt/WVU photo – link to

Comment by Pitt Dad 01.03.13 @ 1:39 pm

I am really concerned about the lack of a DC for this game. Calling plays by committee never seems to work. Quite frankly, I’m a little surprised that Huxtable departed so quickly. Then again loyalty only occurs on paper…..

Comment by DJS 01.03.13 @ 2:09 pm

Heading to B’ham tomorrow… my son works as head and neck surgeon there… any tailgates planned???

Comment by The Turk 01.03.13 @ 2:39 pm

@The Turk – enjoy the game (and seeing your son!)!

Comment by Pitt Dad 01.03.13 @ 3:47 pm

Turk, can your son recommend a butt and hands surgeon in the Pittsburgh area?

We have a freshman center who could use some help there.

Comment by steve1 01.03.13 @ 4:00 pm

Maybe your son could make sure that Tino has his head screwed on right for the game. Pitt will need a mentally sharp Tino to beat Ole Miss.

Comment by TX Panther 01.03.13 @ 4:13 pm

And while you’re at it, do something with his neck also to aid in the prevention of spontaneous uncontrolled choking.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.03.13 @ 4:30 pm

Bad feeling about Ole Miss game just got worse.

Comment by DC33 01.03.13 @ 4:39 pm

I’m realy glad that the locker room at the BBVA Compass Bowl will be an old familar friend to the Pitt team. Nothing can lead to an unexpected defeat quicker than a strange locker room with all of the unknowns, angst and mystery associated with its dark and spooky corners. Tino’s quotes sometimes are really priceless.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.03.13 @ 4:45 pm

Doc, LOL.

But Penn State’s locker rooms are darker and spookier.

Comment by steve1 01.03.13 @ 4:56 pm

and dont forget the showers

Comment by TX Panther 01.03.13 @ 5:17 pm

When state penn finally does come off sanctions and goes to their first new bowl game, a definite gift in their bag of goodies should be a “soap on a rope” just to be safe in those situations when the soap gets hard to hold onto in those spooky state penn showers. LOLx2

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.03.13 @ 5:37 pm

What is it going to take to get these knuckleheads to understand that PC means biz and violations of team rules will seriously impact your team. With the Shell, Pitts, Hollins, Saddler, and now Doakes all getting suspensions during the year its clear this is not a group of young men who get messages when they are clearly sent. PC’s actions are matching his words so WTF is the problem with these guys.
I hope that PC’s recruits understand the English language, can read the rules laid out for them, and most importantly are not selfish idiots who don’t care that their actions negatively impact their teammates.
Having a new OG with no experience and a QB who has never handled pressure resulting in stupid mistakes is not a recipe for winning.

Comment by Taxing Matters 01.03.13 @ 5:44 pm

At least we only have to watch 3 quarters of the game if we are behind, because Tino has never had a 4th quarter comeback. I was thinking the no INT’s could be a bad thing that he never goes for it when the game is on the line, just sack after sack.
(fingers crossed “Please Win Please Win Please Win”)

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 01.03.13 @ 5:45 pm

I hope Pitt players watched the L’Ville game last night and are a little less concerned about the big bad SEC now.

Comment by Jackagain 01.03.13 @ 6:02 pm

It is best to suspend and make your point early: that way the precedent is set and you have the chips to use. It also is smart to make the point when you have less to lose.
I hope we hit hard and knock the snot from their runny noses.
Last point.
Will someone, anyone, please tell the Yinzer on 93.7 that the name is Ole Miss; not Old Miss?

Comment by SFPitt 01.03.13 @ 6:19 pm

SF, are you sure the Yinzers aren’t referring to Pitt?

Comment by steve1 01.03.13 @ 6:39 pm

kareem hunt a nr RB will be in for a vist on
1/ 11 / 13

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.03.13 @ 7:27 pm

the new orange bowl pay out will be 55 million
the ACC share will be 27.5 million.
unless it is a year ND plays in it then the ACC
will make more money and ND share will be less.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.03.13 @ 7:42 pm

ND should never get a penny of FB revenue from the ACC.

Comment by Jackagain 01.03.13 @ 8:04 pm

JACKAGAIN ND share will not come from the ACC
when 2 teams playin a bowl they each get money
for there conference.
on the years that the acc plays say a big 10
school the acc gets 27.5 million
the big 10 a little less than that.

on the year that the acc plays ND the acc gets more and ND gets only 13 million or close to that.
but the money is from espn for playing in the bowl

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.03.13 @ 8:24 pm

Wow. Big Ten and SEC are getting a ton of bowl money in the new system.

Comment by Chris 01.03.13 @ 9:01 pm

Bill O’Brien interviews with the Cleveland Browns and “dazzles” them according to 93.7. Oh if he leaves i cant wait to hear the nitters whine.

That will really bury their program and id every second of it.

Comment by rhyno527 01.03.13 @ 9:13 pm

i cant see the penn state coach leaveing he has a 9 million dollar buy out who whould pay that mutch.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.03.13 @ 9:27 pm

i cant see the penn state coach leaveing he has a 9 million dollar buy out who whould pay that mutch.

Comment by FRANKCAN

Billionaire owners keep 9 million in their socks. lol

Comment by Joe Bull 01.03.13 @ 9:45 pm

he is only talking to the pros so penn state will pay him more he wants them to pay him another million a year.
he will stay. he is a prick.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.03.13 @ 9:46 pm

Terrish Webb the WR will vist pitt on 1/11/13
i think he will commit at end of vist just a hunch

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.03.13 @ 10:12 pm

espn now reporting he will stay…shit.

Comment by rhyno527 01.03.13 @ 10:20 pm

I frankly doubt that Bill O’Brien’s wife wants to spend the next 15 years in Unhappy Valley. He’ll be in the NFL before he’s in a PSU bowl game…

Comment by Jackagain 01.03.13 @ 10:36 pm

I hope so..

I have this bad feeling that he and Hackenburg are going to end up being pretty successfull and coming out of the sanctions they might be even better..

i truly hope im wrong

Comment by rhyno527 01.03.13 @ 11:37 pm

Apparently the familiarity of the locker rooms at Legion Field didn’t factor in to last years ass whipping by a C-USA team (SMU).

This could be an ominous sign.

I must remember this factor from now on when I pick teams to bet on.

Comment by Emel 01.04.13 @ 12:22 am

Interesting to note: the Birmingham newspaper covers Pitt better than either the Ped Gazette or the Fib.

When’s the last time either of them wrote an article that long about Pitt, or that well.

And I don’t remember either EVER having an article about Pitt with SIXTEEN (16) accompanying photos. And I mean EVER !

That’s how horrendous the two local rag sheets cover dear old PITT.

Comment by Emel 01.04.13 @ 12:33 am


That is unless O’brien’s wife is like Sandusky’s crazy wife. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

I just don’t understand why Jerry sleeps in the basement with 10 yr olds and not with me.
But no, he’s not a pedophile.

Comment by Emel 01.04.13 @ 12:38 am

Food for thought.

Louisville’s football program has now been to both the Orange Bowl and won and impressively won against a supposed great SEC team in the Sugar Bowl last night.

So in effect they’ve lapped PITT twice. For their football program fell on hard times after Motorcycle boy (Petrino)left after winning the Orange Bowl and were rebuilt by Strong who promptly takes them to a BCS bowl and huge win in only YEAR 3 of his tenure.


Why is it seemingly so easy for schools like Louisville and Cincinnati to get to BCS bowls and in L-Ville’s case actually win them ?
When it seems, and it is, such a huge mountain to climb for PITT ??

Something my friends is amiss here. Something just doesn’t add up. There is more than meets the eye here.

Something is rotten in the state of Pennsylvania.

Comment by Emel 01.04.13 @ 12:53 am

Let’s see how it goes having the same coach for more than a year whose name is not Wannstedt.

Comment by PittofDreams 01.04.13 @ 1:19 am

Are our academic standards higher than L’ville’s or Cincy’s?

Comment by steve1 01.04.13 @ 6:37 am

Emel, Louisvile doesn’t have Stevie getting in the way. And their President is very committed to winning unlike ours. The fish rots at the top.

Comment by TX Panther 01.04.13 @ 7:10 am

I don’t know the buy-out conditions on Bill O’Brian’s contract, but Paul Chryst’s diminishes each year. If that’s the case with O’Brian, then he may have to stay two or three years for a buy-out of his contract to become a realistic option.

Comment by Justinian 01.04.13 @ 7:47 am

Emel, Louisville has 35 players from Florida. I would think it would be difficult to get that many to consider coming up north. I know Florida is now the hotbed of football talent, but there are still a lot of good football players in western PA and we need to get as many of them as we can. Yes, we also need to recruit in Florida New Jersey, Maryland and other areas, but we need to concentrate in the areas where we can have best degree of success.

Comment by Justinian 01.04.13 @ 8:10 am

And Strong is a damn good coach with good assistants and good recruiters.

But da ville proves it doesn’t take long to get back on top. Pitt should accept no less. Demand it and throw away anyone who trys to obstruct.

Comment by TX Panther 01.04.13 @ 8:14 am

Emel, I often wonder the exact same thing. How can these other programs achieve success so much quicker with seemingly less to work with? I am convinced Pitt athletics are cursed.

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.04.13 @ 8:25 am

Pitt fans truly are the Charlie Browns of college football. Every time we think we are getting close to kicking that football it gets yanked away at the last second and we end up flat on our asses.

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.04.13 @ 8:27 am

Who needs a win more saturday? Hoops or Football? I start thinking football needs a win for recruiting & because the guys deserve a final win after the turmoil the past 2+yrs. But, then I remember the second half of the Cincy game & I feel the hoops team needs to come out strong saturday against Rutgers & they need a win. Is it possible for my beloved PANTHERS to win both games? Great day for 2 WINS!! Hail To PITT !

Comment by DC33 01.04.13 @ 8:38 am

If I remember correctly…Louisville did not turn it around right after Petrino. They had a coach for a while in between there. Kragthorpe maybe, for 3 years I think. This is Strongs third year. SO it took five years at least.
For every Louisville there are 50 schools like Pitt that keep trying. There are more that fail than succeed by far.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.04.13 @ 9:00 am

That being said, the ACC has to be laughing at the Louisville for Maryland trade. Strong was a great hire, they look strong for years to come.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.04.13 @ 9:03 am

Return the SCRIPT & all will be well

Comment by DC33 01.04.13 @ 9:05 am

I think one thing that may help in next years Pitt QB situation, no local big name QB in the mix.

We all like to think a local big QB recruit is the answer but sometimes maybe not. Next year will be different with no local QB in the mix.

Comment by frank MD 01.04.13 @ 9:09 am

frank MD == Are you saying a local QB may feel more pressure to perform?

Comment by DC33 01.04.13 @ 9:16 am

Yes but also the fans expect maybe to much.

Comment by frank MD 01.04.13 @ 9:19 am

Hey whatever it takes to win! Certainly would have helped if PITT hit on all cylinders for more than a few games.

Comment by DC33 01.04.13 @ 9:27 am

I’m not feeling good about this bowl game. I keep reading about how much speed the Ole Miss team has and that could be a killer for us.

This year’s version of the Panthers might be the slowest in history… especially considering that Trebitz will be in at MLB again as Gordon won’t start.

Comment by Reed 01.04.13 @ 9:44 am

Ole Miss may be playing w/2nd string QB. The game is all about attitude. Will it be a Uconn or ND/VT performance? PITT has proven to be a formidable opponent when they “show up & bring it” HTP

Comment by DC33 01.04.13 @ 9:52 am

Maybe it is my Pitt paranoia, but I am worried we lose both games and both recruits this weekend.

Will Tino overcome the odds and go out on a winning note, not likely. This is our first game on the road and the RAC is a tough place to start.

After Foster, I am gunshy.

Maybe Dr. Tom or the Good Reverend can talk me off the ledge.

Comment by gc 01.04.13 @ 10:00 am

Coach Ditka, In the late 80s, after Godfried was let go, Posvar and Bosic had delusions of grandeur and thought we were Standford. Raising the academic requirements really stunted the program for years. Louisville has no such pretentions. They just want to build a good football program. When you win, admission applications go up. The year after Virginia Tech played in the national title game, their admission applications more than doubled. It brings attention to the university and successful athletic programs are a major drawing card.

Comment by Justinian 01.04.13 @ 10:46 am

@gc, it’s only “paranoia” if it’s not warranted!!!

Comment by Dan 01.04.13 @ 10:49 am


Louisville Timeline:

1946 fields first football team
1957 Plays in first Bowl game winning Sun Bowl
1963 Joins Missouri Valley Conference
1970 Lee Corso leads L-Ville to 2nd Bowl Game
the Pasadena Bowl ???
1972 First End of Season ranking #18
1975 Becomes Independent again
1977 wins 3rd bowl, Independence Bowl
1990 Schnellenberger leads them to Fiesta Bowl win
1990 2nd end of Season ranking #14
1993 win Liberty Bowl ending #24
1996 join Conf. USA
1998-2006 play in a Bowl Game every year
2003 Petrino takes over for John L Smith
2005 lose Gator Bowl ending #19
2006 win Orange Bowl ending #6
2007-2009 Regress under Kragthorpe
2010 Charlie Strong leads them to winning season and Bowl win in 1rst season
2012 In only 3rd season defeat Florida in the Sugar Bowl, will finish in Top 15

Also the way they modeled their football stadium is something Pitt needs to look at. (other than the stupid name)

The Louisville Cardinals football team plays its home games at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The stadium was constructed with a capacity of 42,000 in 1998 for $63 million. However, the university completed a major expansion and renovation for the 2010 season. The $72 million project, which began in December 2008, features an elevated south-end terrace connecting the east and west sides of the stadium, 33 additional suites, 1,725 additional club seats, a second 100-yard-long club room, and 13,000 more chairback seats, bringing the total capacity to 55,000-plus.

Comment by Emel 01.04.13 @ 10:50 am

Bozik truly set Pitt football back. I would like our Chancellor and AD to aspire building a great football program. Basketball is already very good…still not great or elite, however but much closer than the football side. Football will accelerate once Nordy and Stevie are gone and the right replacements are found. I still want Pitt to excel on the academic side but I want our football team to quickly rise from the garbage heap.

Comment by TX Panther 01.04.13 @ 10:50 am

There is the model. Even Stevie Cornhole couldn’t screw it up.

Comment by Emel 01.04.13 @ 10:52 am

It’s an open ended horseshoe with 2 tiers. I would prefer my new Pitt stadium to be one tier with boxes on top. Doesn’t have to be open ended since as I believe Emel previously stated, our TD Cathedral is tall enough to see. I passed this stadium on the highway a little more than a year ago. You can see practically all of Louisville’s athletic fields from the highway including their baseball. Very impressive. They are serious about sports.

Comment by TX Panther 01.04.13 @ 10:58 am

Let’s hope we get some positive news this weekend on the recruiting front. Getting good players makes you look much smarter a coach. Finishing up strong, with this year’s class, would be a big boost for the program.

Comment by Justinian 01.04.13 @ 11:01 am

TX Panther, Im with you on that one, being close to action makes for much better game experience. That’s one of the things I really liked about Pitt Stadium. At Heinz Field, unless you at the very bottom of the upper deck, you’re too far away.

Comment by Justinian 01.04.13 @ 11:06 am

Strong was 7-6 in each of his 1st two seasons. This year ws a break through.

Comment by markp 01.04.13 @ 11:43 am

The upper deck at Heinz is a Cardiac Hill.

Comment by Houston Panther 01.04.13 @ 11:48 am

btw I don’t buy the local qb thing.

L-Ville in 2005 & 2006(Gator & Orange Bowl) had a local Louisville kid starring for them at QB. That being the Brian Brohm.

Only difference was, he had talent.

Comment by Emel 01.04.13 @ 11:59 am

OBrien gets a $1.3M raise to stay at Nitter Nation and now makes $3.6M, 3rd highest paid Big 10 coach. Football still first at Pedo State. The cult is alive and well.

If your idiot governor (and I know idiot governors being from Texas), sues the NCAA because the sanctions were too severe, that is a perfect example of politicians going places where they should never tread. Mind you, they still get to play football so I don’t see how the state is damaged economically and State Penn agreed to these sanctions voluntarilly and unconditionally. Corbett should be suing the NHL instead if he has the lawsuit itch.

Comment by TX Panther 01.04.13 @ 11:59 am

ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack said Pedd State made the deal to avoid the death penalty and now there governor want to void the deal. Essentially, they’d get away scot free…

Comment by Pittastic 01.04.13 @ 12:13 pm

Corbett is a PSU trustee…isn’t that a conflict of interest?

Comment by markp 01.04.13 @ 12:28 pm

@gc, keeping with the Charlie Brown parallel, Good Grief! If you have a spare nickel, go immediately to see Lucy and she’ll counsel you off the ledge. You must remember, Tino is very comfortable with the Legion Field locker room for his final game there on the threepeat. That alone has to be a good omen for Pitt. LOL!

But seriously, as strange as this season has been for Pitt, losing out of the gate to YSU, winning the VT game after the awful 0-2 start, playing ND into triple OT, and getting tough at the end of the season to sneak into this bowl game, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tino provides the cherry on top of this wacky season and does the unimaginable and actually brings us back from a late game deficit and gets the MVP for the game in the process.

This crazy concept would be so fitting for Sunseri’s last game, considering his past track record of always coming up short in the clutch. A completely out of character performance, just so he could have the eternal luxury of thumbing his nose at all of his detractors from that point forward, wouldn’t it be the perfect ending to the Tino era of Pitt football????

Stranger things have happened. Keep the faith gc, no matter what transpires tomorrow, better times for Pitt football are on the horizon. As us Pitt fans like to say, “wait until next year”.

Hail to Pitt! May the Rebels RIP.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.04.13 @ 12:31 pm

Chas (or anyone!)who is Jaleel Hytchye? Since he was mentioned with Tyler Boyd, can I assume that he is top recruit? WR?

Comment by DobieGillis 01.04.13 @ 12:42 pm

I see the bball team beating Rutgers by at least 10. I think the football game will be close. Can Tino finally lead a game winning drive and can Harper kick the game winning kick? If so, it could be a little redemption. It still won’t take away the many disappointments from the past, but it would be positive for the future.

Comment by gdodson 01.04.13 @ 1:00 pm


Thanks for the info. So it did take Louisville 5 years to recover from Petrino.
I think a coach gets 3 or 4 years to show serious improvement unless the first couple are a disaster. If it isn’t there you have to move on. Pitt has to improve each year under Chryst.

I am sure we can all name teams that keep trying to produce that winning formula. NC State, NC, Maryland, Miami, Virginia come to mind quickly.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.04.13 @ 1:28 pm

@ DobieGiliis (BTW, I love that screen name) Here is the post I did on this recruit from the previous thread.

@ rhyno527, Jaleel Hytchye is a **** according to ESPN and has ONLY officially visited Pitt, and that was just recently. On top of that, a couple of assistant Pitt coaches went to Cincy to visit him at his own school just this week. This kid would be a fine get for the defensive secondary if he goes with Pitt. The feel I have is that he saw all he needed to make a decision to commit to Pitt after his visit. He actually has moved up this announcement a couple of weeks from a previously planned announcement date that was later this month.

Hope we get him, he would be a prime addition to this recruiting class. I have good vibes with Boyd coming to Pitt as well. I think that Boyd “wants” to be “da man” at Pitt, unlike Foster, who seemed to shy away from that immediate limelight, IMO. Boyd also, probably won’t have the same issues with qualifying academically that was a question mark with Foster. We’ll know soon enough come Saturday on both of these guys

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.04.13 @ 1:41 pm

L-ville was fine under Petrino. Steve Kragthorpe was horrible for 3 years and now Charlie’s got them doing very well in 3 years time.

Comment by Pittastic 01.04.13 @ 1:59 pm

Just think…Tino almost went to L’Ville….

Comment by Jackagain 01.04.13 @ 2:37 pm

That was my point. 3 years of bad under Kragthorpe, two under Strong to get back to where they were with Petrino.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.04.13 @ 2:41 pm

I really appreciate reading the comments the last few weeks – I learn a lot from everyone here. Thank you. (I grew up in Pitt stadium, pre and Dorsett years, Marino… and beyond).

I keep thinking the same thing as I remember those years and as we cover different issues here… stadium, recruiting, player mentality, fans…

The killer with Pitt for years… decades?… has been that the football has been “unpleasant” to watch… just not enjoyable. And this goes beyond win/loss. Even when they would “win” a game how many times did you just sit there in unease and with a constant sense of dread… even the “winning” seasons…. the same feeling you have an hour after eating a Big Mac…

… and just when was the last season when Pitt ‘won’ as !expected!… and closed out the season right (win bowl game!)… Sugar Bowl and Marino??? other?

How many games have left us feeling the way we did in WVU in 2007… Notre Dame few years ago? Too much the exception to the rule… think Utah, Cincinnati here… etc, etc.

Pitt needs to offer ‘enjoyable’ football to watch. That means winning… but as importantly it means a physically dominating football team in the best of WPA style/mentality of football that can get a lead, keep a lead… and do it by impose its will on other teams at key moments in most games.

Everyone… leadership, staff, players,fans, are conditioned by these years of underachievement — always disappointing at the perfectly wrong moment — and just being disheartening to watch. (And it would start with Wannstadt’s preseason press conferences where he would low ball expectations and never dare commit to wins or championships.)

Typical for this dark period of Pitt football… sound and look good in all settings except where it counts most… game day on the gridiron! Remember opening day vs. Notre Dame… the big tadoo-coming out party! ugh!

The most obvious symptom of this malaise is the infamous statement… that can only be heard in WPA at a Pitt football game… “hey, sit down… I can’t see the field”. Pathetic.

“Enjoyable” and winning football — for 1 good season — will cure all manner of ills… poor stadium attendance, top recruiting, national relevance, regional interest in Pitt football… and just getting freak’n fired up!!

And it starts NOW, tomorrow. Pitt has to win and win “well” – “enjoyably”. So that the doubters, even here, can start to believe, and people get FIRED UP about Pitt Football!!!

And there is another big reason why this MUST happen –all the new ACC members just earned their street cred’last week… beating Big 12 and SEC members “enjoyably”… now Pitt needs to physically kick Ole Miss’ ASS and show why it was offered an invitation!!

Chryst is the MAN to get this done… and the time is NOW!

Pitt WILL win tomorrow because we finally have the right coach to set a winning/dominant mentality… finally Pitt paid enough money, and for the right guy.

Rather than saying “Hail Pitt”…. I scream…

F#@$ing kill Ole Miss!!!

I no… I won’t sit the f%*& down!! 😉

Comment by PittScript 01.04.13 @ 3:02 pm

Its enjoyable when your team wins. Pitt football just needs to start winning. However, I would like to see Pitt basketball win in more exciting ways like an up tempo game with some press and some deadly 3 point shots. I just don’t think Jamie recruits those types of athletes…that’s a shame. At least in football, we would be getting faster and more dynamic with Boyd. That should please someone who visits this blog from time to time.

Comment by TX Panther 01.04.13 @ 3:36 pm

Intersting perspective regarding PSU Coach O’brien-interviews with Browns and then states that he loves PSU and committed to staying. Sorta like getting in a fight with your girlfriend, going to a bar to pick up some troll, get turned down by her so you go back to your girlfriend and say how much you love and respect her!!!

Comment by Bruce F 01.04.13 @ 3:41 pm

The Ville’s turnaround is attributable to one thing: recruiting. That is the lifeblood of college football. Strong may be a good coach but he is a better recruiter with deep ties to the most football rich state in the land. Said it here before, cant say it enough – we need to get in on some of that Florida talent. The more the better.

Also, both Cincy and Louisville have made a definitive commitment to their athletics and have ADs that draw praise from their fan bases, the media, and their peers. Leadership and $$$ are a winning combo.

Comment by Iron Duke 01.04.13 @ 3:43 pm

Dorian Johnson playing in the Under Armour All-American game on ESPN right now. I think Robert Foster is playing, as well.

Comment by Mailman 01.04.13 @ 5:01 pm

Emel, As long as the local quarterback is Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, or someone of that caliber, I’m ok with it.

Comment by Justinian 01.04.13 @ 5:12 pm

What’s holding Pitt back besides Stevie? An elite quarterback. And a coach that knows how to recruit and use one. Chryst just might be that coach and Chapman that QB. Then its tinsel town baby.

Comment by TX Panther 01.04.13 @ 5:16 pm

TX Panther, Talking about quarterbacks, I remember the late Beeno Cook’s comments when asked if Bill Cower would ever win a Super Bowl. After Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season, Beeno said,”Bill Cower will win a Super Bowl maybe two. You have to remember, the best quarter back he’s had up until now, was Neil O’Donnel.” He went on say, “Y”ou can win your division without a great quarterback, if you have a good team. But to get to, and win a Super Bowl you really need to have a good quarterback.”

Comment by Justinian 01.04.13 @ 5:46 pm

@ PittScript, I like the way that you think, but actually the time is Not now for Chryst to turn it around. That time began after Pitt unexpectedly handled Rutgers, with apparent ease, then followed it up with a sound thrashing of USF (although their own QB helped us with that thrashing, pretty well, with his pathetic performance).

So the way I see it, Pitt just needs to keep that two game win streak (that was responsible for getting us into the bowl game in the first place) alive and well, by just keeping that momentum going.

At the start of the season, after the USF and Cincy beat downs, even I was discouraged about the immediate future of Pitt football. So much so that I didn’t even make the trip from DC to watch the VT game in person (sold them to some VT fans). If you remember, both you and I predicted in the preseason that the Pitt-VT game was going to surprise a lot of people, when Pitt brought home the win. Well, of course they did, but only after receiving two bad a$$ whoopins themselves to start it off.

My point is, after the Cincy game, things look very dire for Pitt this season. At that critical juncture, who would have imagined that Chryst could have turned that bad karma around and gotten us to even this point, where we are at 500 and playing in a bowl game?

I agree with you, Chryst has potential, but Iron Duke speaks the truth. The future of every successful program is the recruiting, especially these days when the best of the best are usually gone to the NFL after 3 years. The question on how Chyrst and Company are going to bring in the next generation of Pitt players still remains to be seen. However so far, I’m liking what I’m seeing, with him stocking up on OL players, especially snagging Johnson so far in this year’s recruiting class. If he pulls in a couple more stars like that and he’ll have a great class. Boyd and Hytchye would be amazing gets to add to this class.

Tomorrow could be a fantastic trifecta for Pitt, if we beat Rutgers in BB, Ole Miss in FB and then Boyd decides to play as a Panther. Lets get er Done!

Hail to Pitt! Lets play tomorrow as if we expect to kick some a$$ and just Dis on Ole Miss!

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.04.13 @ 5:49 pm

what a dick Herm Edwards is — freezing the FG kicker with 2 timeouts in the Under Armour game

Comment by wbb 01.04.13 @ 6:21 pm

Hope to see some of you guys at the game tomorrow. Tailgating from a white GTI and hangin at the alum tent. Sitting in sect 13(?) row 8.


Comment by Pitt it Is 01.04.13 @ 7:59 pm

@PittScript, I agree with most of what you say, but these are not the dark years for Pitt football…do you remember the early and mid 90’s? We’re on the rise!

Let’s go Pitt! May tomorrow be a landmark day for us.

Comment by panther94 01.04.13 @ 9:38 pm

Watching Johnny Football, he is terrific.

The speed of the game is amazing.

Comment by gc 01.04.13 @ 10:22 pm

Did the kicker Blowitt?

Comment by dhuffdaddy 01.04.13 @ 10:24 pm

Panther94, In the early 90s I thought Pitt football was irrevocably lost. Walt Harris came in and saved Pitt Football. He took a discarded quarterback, Pete Gonzales, resurected his career, making Pitt “Wide Reciever U.” Harris put a winning team on the field.

Comment by Justinian 01.04.13 @ 10:30 pm

Justinian, agreed Walt worked some magic, but he didn’t take over until 1997, where we went to a bowl game, first one since 1989. Very long drought for the program. I was a freshman in 1990 and left Pittsburgh in 1996, the worst possible span of years in recent history, I would say.

Comment by panther94 01.04.13 @ 10:44 pm

Emel, I’ve been wondering that for years.

Comment by Jeff 01.04.13 @ 10:57 pm

Dr. Tom et al., If we get Tyler Boyd today that will be a big win for Paul Chryst.

If we don’t…. then I think this recruiting class is just like almost every other PITT recruiting class and that isn’t good IMO.

I understand completely the factors that have led some of the better targets to choose other schools – RB Jojo Kemp just picked Toledo over us yesterday – and that Paul Chryst has had an uphill battle in the recruiting front this season.

I’ll give him a pass on this season for all of that. However, I truly think that Chryst MUST do better than this if he wants to succeed at PITT. With a program like ours it isn’t enough to get one blue chip player a year… our talent level across the board hasn’t been good or deep enough for one player to put us over the top into conference championship seasons.

Didn’t happen with Fitzgerald, Palko, McCoy, Lewis or Ray Graham… and those are some excellent football players. We need solid starting talent out of each and every recruiting class. It isn’t enough that players turn into starters, that really isn’t an indication of their talent as someone has to be that.

In essence we need more Ryan Turnleys and less Shane Hales.

I’d love to say that I think this recruiting turn around will begin with a win in this bowl game but I’m not optimistic that we’ll match Ole Miss’s team speed. A loss today sets recruiting back again with two 6-7 seasons in a row. That isn’t good either.

So – let me be wrong and let PITT get both a win and Tyler Boyd and then go into the offseason on a very positive note…

Comment by Reed 01.05.13 @ 7:09 am

Panther94, Pitt experienced two dark periods. In the 90s when Posvar’s misguided academic policies put Pitt Recruiting at a disadvantage with their peer institutions. The Paul Hacket years were terrible and Johnny Majors in his 2nd campaign was not able to resurect the program. The other Dark Age was 1966 to 1972 where David Hart had 3 consecutive 1 win seasons. Johnny Majors came in 72 and the rest is history. When Walt harris came in 1997 he turned things around right away and Pitt became “wide Reciever U.” Johnny Majors and Walt Harris are the guys who saved Pitt football.

Comment by Justinian 01.05.13 @ 7:52 am

Reed the coaching carosel at Pitt set the program back 4 years. We are to a large degree still working with talent recruited by Dave Wannstedt. The best thing Wannstedt did is raise the level of talented players on the Pitt Roster. He brought in LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, and Ray Graham. There is nothing I would rather see than Chryst finishing up this year’s recruiting class with couple of big commitments.

Comment by Justinian 01.05.13 @ 8:03 am

Reed :I understand completely the factors that have led some of the better targets to choose other schools – RB Jojo Kemp just picked Toledo over us yesterday – and that Paul Chryst has had an uphill battle in the recruiting front this season.

JoJo Kemp (Rivals – 3 star/ESPN – 4 Star) the rb from FL is still in play. Kareem Hunt out of OH picked Toledo over us. He had offers from Minnesota, Cincy, Akron, Ball State, Eastern Michigan. Rivals has him unranked, Scout a 2 star.

Comment by Former Oak Hill Resident 01.05.13 @ 8:05 am

Ok so we can all agree the following has set us back:
1 incompetent and alienating AD
2 lack of elite quarterback
3 not enough star recruits
4 no pipeline to Florida
5 instability of the Big East
6 coaching turnover
7 poor game day coaching
8 no sincere desire by the administration to be excellent and win championships
9 limited booster money and influence
10 pro city with a small core of true fans

I could go on with a few more but these are the main reasons and not in any order of importanance. I think Pitt is making progress in many of these areas so I believe the future looks bright.

Comment by TX Panther 01.05.13 @ 8:23 am

Note that Hunt is from the Cleveland area and has been getting a big push from MAC teams (especially Toledo) for a while ….and while scheduled to visit Pgh next weekend,he never did come into Pgh.

Nonetheless, there is no doubt that it is tougher to recruit for Pitt than most of you think. Western PA still has quality but not nearly the quantity it used to have. It is in an NFL city with a beloved team where even Pitt alums prefer Sundays at heinz than Satudays … and it has been playing in the least exposed of all BCS conferences.

Unless Pitt is able to establish a recruiting presence in FL, even if it doesn’t get the 4 and 5 stars, then it will be tough to compete every year in the ACC.

Comment by wbb 01.05.13 @ 8:48 am

Could the new DC be someone with ties to Florida?

Comment by TX Panther 01.05.13 @ 9:08 am

Let me state how much I want to see us turn the corner and beat Ole Miss. Here why it will not happen today. Maybe in a few years but not today. Ole Miss is a energized program. As younmaynor may not know they have been bad the last 3 years. The new coach has them excited and believing in themselves. I see them on TV a lot and they play with passion and heart because they bought it. Most SEC teams have looked flat, etc. I think it’s because they had good seasons and didn’t get up for the games. Needless to say the mighty SECmhasnt looked good. I think that wont be the story with Ole Miss under Freeze. They have solid talent but the programm is excited to make the turn and it shows. Look at ticket sales and that is huge. The support of the program is big where we have a few thousand fans that will go to the game. It’s all about where a program is and where they are heading. Tis Ole Miss team had LSU beat and close with Tex AM. If you are a betting man this is easy money in my opinion. Hopefully we can pull it out but I don’t see Chryst having the talent, gameplay to do so this year. I hope I’m wrong but at the end of the day we have Tino as our QB. Go Pitt!

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.05.13 @ 9:59 am

wbb, Yes, western PA isn’t the epicenter of the nation’s football talent, as once was, but we still have good talent in the area. From a recruiting standpoint, it’s the local players with whom Pitt has the best probability of getting. So you absolutely have to after them as a priority. Getting the top talent from Florida to come here is a more difficult task. We still need to go after them none the less. For the most part, the Florida players that you would a shot with, will be those flying under the radar. So you take a few more chances with sleepers or players who need refinement. I think the Panthers need to do a much better job locally in western PA and Ohio and re-establish links in New Jersey and Maryland. Dave Wannstedt got a lot of players from New Jersey. In addition to that, Pitt needs to look in Florida, for players who have talent and are receptive to playing here.

Comment by Justinian 01.05.13 @ 10:00 am

did you guys check out the designs on facebook from the graphic artist from pitt? he has a bunch of cool designs for pitt that would be a welcome change as we head to the acc.

Comment by pittisit37 01.05.13 @ 10:10 am

The top kids in Florida will not choose Pitt over UF, Fla. St. Miami, LSU, Bama, etc. we need to get the 2 stars and the kids that were passed up. Teddy Bridgewater left and where did he go? l’Ville to play for Strong and his Florida roots. We need someone with Strong ties, a Floridian, to connect with both parents and kids alike. We also need that same thing here in Texas. These are the talent hotbeds.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.05.13 @ 10:12 am

Pittisit37 – they are awesome.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.05.13 @ 10:14 am

i agree upittbaseball and i hope the administration takes notice. the guys seems to have talent and is passionate about pitt.

Comment by pittisit37 01.05.13 @ 10:15 am

also, so excited for tino’s last game! can we retire/burn number 12 so we never have to see it worn again!

Comment by pittisit37 01.05.13 @ 10:16 am

acc comish better be pulling a rabbit out of his hat, word has it he has got the hat,or we will be on the otherside of the 65 teams looking in.alot of crazy net rumors out there, but be worried about the ones you are not seeing, come on chas, print them.sad post pittsit37.sorry no caps ,i like the pens.pitt in a slugfest 20-14

Comment by paul shannon 01.05.13 @ 10:28 am

Here’s the thing about recruiting though…Pitt is not a prestige school that can pull in blue chips on name and reputation, but it does have specific advantages, namely that there is still a rather strong albeit more shallow talent pool in its backyard. Here’s a list of schools that do not have that advantage and have done ok: Oregon, Kansas St., Boise St., Nebraska, Wisconsin, Louisville, West Virginia…hell throw UConn in there, they’ve been to a BCS more recently than we have. Point being it can be done at Pitt, with arguably less effort than at many schools.

Comment by Iron Duke 01.05.13 @ 10:30 am

Justinian, I’m certainly not saying that getting the locals isn’t important … certainly we need them as a base for the roster.

However, just look this past decade as to how good the Florida recruits (ALL who have been passed over by SEC, Miami and FSU) have been. Antonio Bryant, Greg Lee, Torrie Cox, Clint Session, HB Blades, Jameel Brady, Gus Mustkas, Greg Romeus, Shane Gordon were all passed over by the bigger southeastern schools … and these guys are just from the top of my head … I’ll guarantee there arejust as many I have forgotten.

Comment by wbb 01.05.13 @ 10:39 am

But it takes good recruiters to spot these diamonds in the rough. Does Pitt have any at the moment?

Comment by TX Panther 01.05.13 @ 10:51 am

Reed, why so serious? Listening to you, it sounds like Pitt has nothing but unranked recruits committed to the program amd little hope for snagging guys who are still in play as uncommitted.

I disagree with you on the current class NOT being good, Right now it is NOT great but it IS good in the sense that it addresses the #1 glaring weak position that has hindered Pitt historically as of late and that is at the offensive line position. Besides Dorian Johnson, Chryst has 3 other quality OL recruits on board already. Another 3 star recruit out of Philly, Jaryd Jones-Smith is another uncommitted OT that has visited Pitt and is still on the radar too.

Now with Chryst also moving TJ Clemmings over to the offensive tackle position for the Spring, this reoccuring issue of being thin on the OL seems to have been adequately addressed in Chryst’s first recruiting class.

Now I’m not real big on recruiting site star ratings for HS kids but our entire class so far are solid 3 stars across the board,,, almost. Considering guys like Tra’von Chapman, Zach Challingworth, Chris Blewitt and Titus Howard, these guys have already proven their worth at the HS level and could bloom into stars at Pitt.

Chris Blewitt is a local kid from my area down here in Washington DC and I can tell you from his play at Potomac HS, this kid is going to be money in the kicking dept for us. He has already kicked clutch 50 yard field goals when needed for his HS team. So pardon me for disagreeing with you, but this class has potential right now as it stands, even if we don’t bring in one more quality recruit.

And in considering Tyler Boyd’s situation, we already have one good Clairton player in Titus Howard a 6’2″ CB. We also have another guy, Terrish Webb from Clairton, seriously considering Pitt as well because of Howard already coming on board with Pitt. Webb is also a WR and the only reason he is a little under the radar is that he was playing in the shadow of Boyd during his HS career. So who knows, we could end up with a trifecta from Clairton in this class when it is all said and done.

There is another guy a DT that is leaning towards Pitt too, Kenton Gibbs out of Detroit, he is definitely in play at this point. So this recruiting game is far from over. Come LOI signing day Pitt could be flush with 25 or more recruits, all with good potential.

So lighen up Reed, especially if we snag both Boyd and Hytchye, this class should pan out just fine.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.05.13 @ 10:52 am

Who recruits Texas and Deep South for Pitt? Who recruits Florida? Are they Texans? are they Floridians? White Guys from Wisconsin? Ex Ball Players from UF, Miami? UT, Tex AM? Do you see where I’m going with this? We need local guys from those markets that now live and coach up north. There is so much talent in those markets guys like Blades, Bryant, etc are passed up. We need to eat sleep breath in those markets. If you have. Teams of wpial kids you can’t win the MAC let alone a real Conf.

Comment by Upittbaseball 01.05.13 @ 11:04 am

Not sure why guys keep dinging Posvar and Bozik. Granted Gottfried was fired in the face of the academic standards change and the athletic programs fell into a malaise afterward. However, given that he never coached again, the fact that Gottfried left may not have been that significant. Posvar’s raising of the academic standards is in part what allows people to throw Pitt’s academic standing in the face of schools like WVU. After all, these kids are ostensibly supposed to be students first, and athletes second. It’s not supposed to be a trade school or the development league. Let the crap fall on that one!

An excerpt of the 1989 academic change:

Pitt will require prospective student-athletes to have a 2.3 grade-point average and a minimum 750 Scholastic Aptitude Test score. The NCAA requires a 2.0 average and a 700 score.

Really? That’s pretty daunting stuff.

Pitt’s last relatively significant bowl victory was in the 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl. They beat a stacked North Carolina team that included Hakeem Nicks. NC ended up vacating wins due to academic cheating and improper benefits. That bowl victory was after Pitt essentially lost the Big East Championship at Heinz Field to Cincinnati (coached by Brian Kelly) 45-44 in the most exciting game that I have personally witnessed. Pitt effectively lost because they couldn’t cover two Mardy Gilyard kickoff returns and Pitt’s holder botched a good snap on a PAT after Pitt’s final TD. We can argue about Dave Wannstedt’s culpability in those failures, but let’s not revise history too much. Let the crap fall on that one too.

Comment by Barvo 01.05.13 @ 11:19 am

Barvo, just like blaming all of last year’s basketball woes on Woodall’s injury, many Pitt fans seem to like to blame just one person for its teams’ failures. Before it was Wanny, and now Tino for these past 2 years even though Tino won 8 games in his very first year as starter … under Wanny!!

I certainly hope that a new QB will make evrything better for Pitt FB next year …. athough my bet it would be more because of 9 starters returning on defense (note that Pitt started this year with 8 defensive starters who had very little experience.)

Comment by wbb 01.05.13 @ 11:42 am

@Dr. Tom. Thank you. Your points are well taken and correct. You guys are right about Iron Duke’s statement as well… I guess my take on that is this is a chicken-egg scenario.. .what comes first… good play or recruits. Yes recruits, and if they know they are coming to a tough team with the right energy… even if the wins aren’t there yet, then it is easier.

Today goes a long way to solidifying the foundation but you guys are right about the bottom line… need the players.

@Panther94…. yeah you are right there… I was exaggerating a little bit to make the point.

Now I understand the history from the above posts! thanks, I was watching games for 2-3 yrs before Majors turned things around… dark days indeed!

Today is the day Pitt earns its invitation to the ACC and shows everyone a new day has dawned! Good “enjoyable” football and a WIN.

Hail Pitt… Kick $$…

Comment by PittScript 01.05.13 @ 12:19 pm

no graham shuffled oline lets start blaming u know who , why wait , gets ur final cheap shots in early, pitt now 20-18.

Comment by paul shannon 01.05.13 @ 12:25 pm

Bad start for sure.

Comment by frank MD 01.05.13 @ 1:15 pm

This this like the BB game or what.

Comment by frank MD 01.05.13 @ 1:33 pm

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