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April 3, 2013

 

Number Four on my list of concerns, five being the least worrisome and one being the most, is our remaining talent at Running Back.

Anyone who has been following PITT football, (and letting our FSU friends in on it), has to know by now our projected starting tailback, Rushel Shell, has taken his ball and gone home.  Actually, he isn’t going home as that is in the local area but going about as far away from PITT, the city of Pittsburgh, home and his fiancée’ and twins as he can get.  He’ll end up in the Pac-10.

Shell was a prime recruit for PITT in that he was a local product and one who set the schoolboy record for yards gained in a high school career.  Not only that, he went to the same HS as PITT god Tony Dorsett and ran to glory on “Tony Dorsett Field”.  Here is a sampling of what he did in his high school career:

Shell rushed for a state-record 9,078 yards on 1,107 carries (8.2 avg.)…scored 110 career touchdowns, the most in WPIAL history…set a national record with 39 consecutive 100-yard games, eclipsing former Oklahoma Sooners great Billy Sims’ mark of 38 set in 1975…Shell rushed for 200 yards or more in 25 games…in 44 career contests, he averaged 206 yards per game…rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of his final three seasons” …etc, etc.

So not only did he set PA records but topped some national marks as well.  Seems like he’d be a perfect fit at his local university wouldn’t he? Especially since PITT is a school with a strong track record of putting running backs into the NFL.

Not so fast though as it seems young Mr. Shell had other ideas, rather self-centered ones and, in this writer’s opinion, misguided ones, but that is part of being an 18 year old who suddenly finds oneself out of the nest and drifting about on his own in college.  Of course, that wasn’t the case in Shell’s situation;  he was surrounded but people who not only wished him well but were dedicated to making his transition to college as smooth as possible, to say nothing of giving him a starting role on a BCS team but hey, there has to be an excuse in there somewhere, right?

Shell came to PITT with extraordinary hype and huge expectations on the part of the PITT fans. As a true freshman, had an exemplary game against an ACC opponent where he racked up 157 yards.  He ran hard and was tough to bring down, but other than one game that he had a rather average year with a lot of inconsistency.  Let’s not say this isn’t a loss of talent for us – it is.  It just isn’t a big enough loss to grind the teeth over.

So the coaching staff and remaining players turned the page yesterday and got right on with spring practice.  It was pretty telling that when Head Coach Paul Chryst walked onto the practice field at 2:00 pm yesterday he had a big grin on his face.  I’m not sure he was too disappointed with how things turned out.

So, with all that drama finished we have waiting in the wings two pretty talented running backs in JR Isaac Bennett and rsSO Malcolm Crockett.  Both were recruited in 2011 by ex-HC Todd Graham to be rushers in his “High Octane” ‘spreadable’ offense and  both subsequently stuck with the program after Todd Graham slithered away in the dead of night.  It’s good for them and good for PITT that they did stay as they will both get the chance to shine this coming season.

Isaac Bennett has gotten more playing time of the two. He been a fill in 3rd string back and has performed well in limited action.  Last season Bennett rushed for 29 times for 141 yards with four TDs on a 4.9 ypc average. That’s pretty productive for 29 carries.  Over his career he’s had a 4.3 ypc with five TDs.  He went into this spring the solid #2 back and so now has an edge as the starter.

Watching Bennett yesterday I had the feeling that he’s going to be pretty good for us this year.  He was hitting the holes quickly and breaking LOS tackle attempts.  At one point the 1st string O & D were running a “1st and 10″ drill series and Bennett picked up six+ yards on four straight plays.  Then on the next snap he broke through the LOS and cut outside left for a big gain.  He looked good yesterday and in my conversations with people who have watched every practice he has looked pretty consistent also.

It will help that the offensive line will be better this year than last and with that I think Bennett, when given the ball on a regular basis, will make us pleasantly surprised at the production he brings as the starter.  Keeping our fingers crossed of course.

Malcolm Crockett has played sparingly.  He redshirted his freshman year and had 12 carries for 50 yards for 4.2 ypc.  He’s been banged up this spring and hasn’t had the chance to get into real competition reps but his place in the two deep is somewhat assured.

Behind those two we have walk-on Desmond Brown who is small and quick and converted WR Demetrious Davis.  Brown may get snaps in mop up or in case of injury but that will be the extent for those two I believe.

Coming in as 2013 recruits we have two intriguing options to help fill in the Shell-less gap.  6’2” 232 lbs James Conner, who played both RB and DE in HS, is a big, bruising back who will get a chance to move over to offense and stay there.  He was recruited as a DE but was impressive carrying the ball also.  He runs straight up and down and will benefit by training camp and coaching but he may be called on sooner than later.

All that said, one reason why I think we can look forward with anticipation is that the transfer by Shell almost assures that our star 2013 recruit – Tyler Boyd – will have some plays designed for him carrying the ball.

Boyd was a prolific local running back and in three years of play carried 397 times for 5009 yards and 89(!) TDs.  That’s a 12.6 ypc average and scoring a TD every fifth time he touched the ball.  Oh Boy!!

Here’s the rub though.  Boyd is coming to PITT at around 6’2” and 180 LBs.  Not the ideal size to be thrown in at RB as a true FR.  He’s a speed burning game changer and while he’ll start out at WR we’ll see him help out at RB also.





To those who are up in arms about Shell (like that fat-ass Mark Madden…what a muumuu wearing asshat!): He’s just a kid. It’s just a game. Jesus. Calm down. Order some more fresh cut french fries and a small tub of cheeze whiz.

Comment by apostles03 04.03.13 @ 6:07 pm

Shell is an enormous loss to our program and will have a huge impact our first year in the ACC. We will recover but I bet it takes a few years. Imagine, Dorsett deciding to transfer from Pitt in 1976. There would probably be quite a few suicides.

EDIT: It is truly crazy to try to compare Shell with Dorsett.

Comment by DJS 04.03.13 @ 6:38 pm

DJS, losing Shell is not good, but I would not compare losing him going into his Soph year to losing Dorsett going into his Senior season. The truth is we will never know what we lost with Shell. We will know what we have without him. I don’t think the drop off is as far as many on here believe it to be.

Comment by HbgFrank 04.03.13 @ 7:18 pm

for my self it is not the loss of shell that bothers
me he can be replaced . it is how it looks to out siders to new recriits
shai mckenzie for one is worryed abought what is goin on at pitt and has said so he said why would shell leave he will need to be talked to to explain things if chryst can.

Comment by FRANKCAN 04.03.13 @ 7:19 pm

great write up but i find it hard to believe Boyd will see rb at all. chryst is too traditional(and a bumbling idiot)

Comment by Yup 04.03.13 @ 7:21 pm

Shell is not Tony Dorsett. Dorsett had great moves and just blew by people. When Tony Dorsett was running a sweep and defensive backs would adjust their angles, he would turn on the after-burners. It was as though he had an extra speed to kick on, whenever he needed it. Shell may have gained more yards in high school and he can run over people, but Dorsett was at an entirely different level.

Comment by Justinian 04.03.13 @ 8:09 pm

Just speculating but I think the Pitt O line should be better this year. That means more time to pass and holes stay open longer.

Maybe Chryst knows his existing QBs and RBs are better fits for what he wants especially because they practice and understand what he wants.

Comment by Frank MD 04.03.13 @ 8:19 pm

Its only a loss if others don’t step up and produce…and these are relatively small steps. It becomes an opportunity for those ready for the challenge. Now a loss would have been losing a Dorsett or Marino or Green or Fralic. I remember those guys. Nobody remembers a spare. So please spare me the woe is me, we are cursed, its bend over time all over again. Deal with it and move on. Have some faith in the coaches and other players until they are proven wrong. Enjoy life and it is only a game after all. Although the game helps Pitt’s brand, consequently, my alma mater does look more impressive when they win on the field as well as in the classroom. We’ll see a Final 4 and a meaningful BCS game or playoff game before our days end and I will make sure to party with my brothers and sisters of Panther Nation when that day arrives. I plan on living up to at least that day…God willing.

Comment by TX Panther 04.03.13 @ 8:45 pm

You have got to ask yourself about Chryst’s ability to handle players. He couldn’t hold on to a Pitt legacy 5 star recruit. He must be a real hit with the Western Pa. High School coaches and players.

We are in for another ten years of fruitless agongy. This is the sport we are suppose to be able to play

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 04.03.13 @ 8:47 pm

How is Shell a legacy recruit?

I believe Chryst has made a good impression with area coaches — probably not hard following Graham whom I understand was not liked at all

Comment by wbb 04.03.13 @ 9:06 pm

Wbb joseph uchebo is the center dixon should try for
i posted that at 459 pm on a outher post dockish has posted the same center.
now all we need is for dixon to go get him
ha ha

Comment by FRANKCAN 04.03.13 @ 9:13 pm

easier said than done … although I believe I read somewhere he’s coming for a visit. He would appear to be just what the doctor ordered

Comment by wbb 04.03.13 @ 9:16 pm

BOHICA! :-) :-) :-)

Seriously, I don’t think it’s 10 years of agony; at worst it’s 4-5 years of suck and then our douche-bag of an AD will find some utterly classless way of firing him. PC doesn’t have the alumni clout that DW did, so my guess is that his leash will be somewhat shorter.

To the topic at hand: I think more than a few of us were nervous about Shell from a work ethic/discipline perspective. To me this hardly comes as a shock. I don’t know what the Wisconsin football program looks like on the inside, but they’ve had considerably more success than we have. I’m willing to cut PC a little slack and see what he can build over the next couple of years. It will take at least that long to settle into the ACC and figure out where we stand. Yes, there’s a chance we end up standing at the bottom, but hell, we’ve been there before.

When you think about it, would any of us really know what to do if Pitt had a year or two of unadulterated success and no off-season face-palm incidents? Half of us would have an aneurism, and the rest of us would no longer have an excuse to drink. That’s an impact on the medical system and the local economy that I don’t think we’re ready to absorb…

:-)

Comment by thestumper 04.03.13 @ 9:25 pm

Chris Dokis has a piece on Panther’s Prey, “The End of Pitt Sports is not Near” The sky is not falling.

link to panthersprey.blogspot.com

Comment by Justinian 04.03.13 @ 9:42 pm

Frank and wbb, Uchebo is coming to visit Pitt in a few weeks and Jamie Dixon often looks at players at Chipole JC in Floriday where he’s currently playing.

Comment by Justinian 04.03.13 @ 9:49 pm

Reading more about shell may have failed 3 drug tests for pot. May have been suspended for awhile anyway. Could all be rumors

Comment by why me 04.03.13 @ 9:50 pm

Shell is just a kid?

NO. He’s a father- at least he’s supposed to be. And he’s running away to the west coast so he can mess around, get laid and not get yelled at for doggin’ it at practice anymore. Good riddance.

Comment by Dan35 04.03.13 @ 9:50 pm

All indications for high school player interviews to coaching interviews is that Chryst is being very well received as is his coaching staff.

Shell is not a reflection on Chryst at all… rather on himself. In fact I bet the players like/respect Chryst more because he does not pamper babies and wants to win as a team.

Chas quote telling: “when Head Coach Paul Chryst walked onto the practice field at 2:00 pm yesterday he had a big grin on his face. I’m not sure he was too disappointed with how things turned out.”

This kid’s head was not right and was draining the team… coaches are relieved they did not have to be perceived as torpedoing the local kid, “next Dorsett” RB with twin kids to boot… he did it to himself.

That said hope the change of scenery works out for Shell.

Comment by Pittscript 04.03.13 @ 9:50 pm

Anyone seen EMel lately…anyone care to start checking bridge overpasses? Just wondering….

Comment by Jackagain 04.03.13 @ 10:09 pm

Pittscript i tend to agree with you, particularly if the grin on his face was true. It so it was self-inflicted wound…

Comment by Kenny 04.03.13 @ 11:53 pm

GEt a grip ppl. lol Jackagain

Tony Dorsett was one of the greatest RB’s in football history. And is in both the College Football Hall of Fame AND the NFL HOF.

And is the ONLY player in HISTORY to have won the Heisman Trophy, the College Football Championship and a Super Bowl and to be in both HOF’s.

He ran immediately for 1589 yards his Freshmen year, averaging 144 ypg.

This kid Shell couldn’t make a patch on TD’s little toe.

Tony Dorsett is a Legend. Shell is just a pnk kid who happened to play on a Football Field that happened to be named after a Legend.

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 1:22 am

Oh and Pitt didn’t play two D-2 schools in 1973 like we did last year or some of the other scrubs that littered the schedule last year.

I believe we opened 1973 playing at Georgia.
And ended the season playing Ped State, when they were really good.

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 1:26 am

Oh we lost to a really good Arizona State team under the great Frank Kush in the 1973 Fiesta Bowl.

Not the bumfuck bowl in Palookaville, Alabami.

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 1:29 am

A couple of points.

I spent a lot of time on Tuesday’s practice talking with a group of five HS football coaches. Chryst invites a bunch to attend every practice. I’ll say this – he is very well received by those coaches I talked with. Also, the consensus among them was that it came as no surprise that Shell only lasted a year. I don’t think Shell failed any drug tests. PITT drops the hammer right away if that happens and if it was a NCAA mandated test the suspension starts immediately.

There is no comparison at all between the talent level of Shell and Dorsett, mainly because they are polar opposites as far as running style goes. One thing those fans who are pulling their hair out about Shell leaving are forgetting is that Shell was never going to be a home run threat on the college level. That is something that both Bennett and Crockett bring to the table, especially Bennett.

Riz – that would be RACHID IBRAHIM – he’s a three star RB out of Maryland who was also recruited by Boston College and Iowa to play RB. Our staff looked at him as a DB but Ibrahim may get switched over to offense to fill in depth. He’s 6’1″ 180 lbs and had 1737 yards (8.5 ypc) on 205 carries for 20 TDs his SR year.

Here is a site with info & highlights about him. I don’t think he’ll see much playing time this year but you never know.

Comment by Reed 04.04.13 @ 4:39 am

Before you believe the rumors Shell was going to be suspended for failing drug tests or anything else, please consider:

– Dan Marino was on drugs in his senior year at Pitt
– there was to be a press conference in late February a few years ago to introduce Pitt as the 12th member of the B10
– Kordell Stewart was gay

How did all of these rumors work out?

Comment by wbb 04.04.13 @ 6:32 am

Thanks Reed and Emel, good stuff.

Comment by Pittscript 04.04.13 @ 6:35 am

Emel, do you remember who quarterbacked that 1973 ASU team?

One of our losses that year was a 16-7 loss to powerhouse USC led by Pat Haden, Anthony Davis and Lynn Swann? The game actually wasn’t decided until the 4th quarter … I was at the game.

Comment by wbb 04.04.13 @ 6:38 am

I’m still not sold on Kordell.

Comment by TX Panther 04.04.13 @ 6:42 am

I don’t hear any talk about Des Brown son of “Touchdown” Eddie Brown. He did have 140 yds in last weeks scrimmage.

Comment by alcofan 04.04.13 @ 7:12 am

It is more appropriate to say that “Dorsett was no Shell” Shell came into Pitt as PA all time HS rusher. Dorsett was great coming out of HS but not the all time leading rusher in the state. Rushel had the size at 200+ lbs and thighs the size of small tree trunks to run at the college level right out of the starting gate. TD was a skinny kid with “chicken legs” as the ND coach at the time described them that was a feather weight by comparision.

The biggest difference between the two players however was what lie between the ears. Anthony Dorsett had the will to be the greatest and was willing to work for it, and thus became one by hard work and good fortune.

The mind leads the body! Unless Shell has a paradigm shift in his mental outlook and decides to dedicate himself to his craft in the near future, then this wide margin of difference between these two Hopewell HS running backs will remain, forever!

Comment by Dr. Tom 04.04.13 @ 7:45 am

Wbb – had Shell failed any drug test, let alone three, he would have been suspended immediately for a year. That is PITT’s policy and also an NCAA requirement if it was a NCAA mandated test. The abrupt stoppage of Shell’s practicing and Chryst’s “we are concerned about his personal well being” statement, which almost always points to booze or drugs, makes me wonder if that might not have been the case here.

It could be what is behind the transfer as Shell could have been thinking that he’d have to sit out a year either way so why not transfer to someplace that would treat him differently. I’ll bet a dollar either Graham or RR wouldn’t have sat Shell down for a year in their programs.

PITT is different than some schools regarding the optional punishment for failing a school administered test. Some schools (SEC most notably) suspend the player for a game or two; PITT has consistently levied a year without playing. Anthony Gonzalez was a different case as he never failed a drug test but was cited for possession.

Saddler stating on the radio yesterday that Chryst didn’t treat Shell “like a star” might be an allusion to something along the lines above. After all, Saddler was suspended for the last two games of his career and supposedly for a failed drug test.

Comment by Reed 04.04.13 @ 7:52 am

Reed – great stuff. Did you talk to (or hear anything from) the staff regarding Boyd getting some carries this year. I remember Boyd referencing the Wildcat during his recruitment but I think Chryst downplayed it.

Comment by JAM05PITT 04.04.13 @ 7:56 am

Shell leaving will not set the program back in the least. If he wasn’t from western PA nobody would give a crap.
Can we move on from the whining?
Reed, good post.

Comment by notrocketscience 04.04.13 @ 8:16 am

One of the amusing tidbits that I remember about Tony Dorsett was that Eliot Walker’s listed time in 40 was faster that Dorsett’s. But, whenever they ran against each other, Dorsett always beat him. I don’t know how to explain it, but Tony Dorsett seemsd to have an extra gear when he needed it.

Comment by Justinian 04.04.13 @ 8:21 am

In baseball when someone would make an error,we did’t let anyone dwell on it. We would tell the kids, “On the the next play.” You can’t let things that are behind you, effect what you have to do. So guys, Shell is behind us, let’s move on……………….on to the next play!

Comment by Justinian 04.04.13 @ 8:30 am

By the way I fee the same way about Steve Adams going Pro. I think it’s unfortunate and that he is making a big mistake. I think he needed two more years in college, to develop his game enough to give him a legitmate chance to play in the NBA. It will take them two to three years to develop him and he may be playing, in the NBA developmental league. However that’s behind us now and Jamie Dixon has to do whatever he can to bring a couple of JUCO big men, for Pitt to be competitive.

Comment by Justinian 04.04.13 @ 8:41 am

Emel, do you remember who quarterbacked that 1973 ASU team?

One of our losses that year was a 16-7 loss to powerhouse USC led by Pat Haden, Anthony Davis and Lynn Swann? The game actually wasn’t decided until the 4th quarter … I was at the game.

Comment by wbb 04.04.13 @ 6:38 am

Me thinks it might have been Danny White. Who went on to be the Dallas Cowboys starting QB after Roger the Dodger retired and Craig Morton got traded to Denver and promptly led them to the 1977 Super Bowl.

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 8:54 am

Shell had a slow first step and Dorsett was lightning fast hitting the hole and then shedding tacklers and putting on the after burners to elude defenders in the secondary. Shell was slow hitting the hole and thus would carry linebackers with him for 6 or 8 yards per clip but had no breakaway speed once he was in the secondary. There is a big difference between playing AA ball and D1.

I wish Shell the best but feel like this team is better off witout his drama and he may have been a drain on them emotionally. I for one and really excited about this team in the coming years under Paul Chryst. Hail to Pitt!!

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 04.04.13 @ 9:02 am

Dorsett once thru the line, had eyes in the back of his head and he could fly.

Still vividly remember him running roughshod over the Golden Domers in 1975 for 303 yards, I was at the game.

The next year at South Bend, they grew the grass long in an effort to ‘slow down’ TD, to no avail.
Pitt won and went on to go 12-0 and win the National Championship.

When he turned Pro, the play I can still see is TD’s 99 yard TD run on Monday nite football.
Still the longest TD run in NFL history.

link to youtube.com

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 9:03 am

Talking about Shell at this point just makes everyone seem like the guy bitter at his girlfriend for dumping him. Shell’s an elite talent which sucks to lose. But Pitt isn’t going to struggle running the ball with Chryst. Showing up for all 12 games, now the team may struggle with that.

Justinian, you gotta stop thinking that college basketball is the best way for players to develop. It isn’t. Plus, the smart teams in the NBA like Oklahoma City are starting to use the NBA D-League as an actual minor league like in baseball.

Comment by Wardapalooza 04.04.13 @ 9:05 am

EMel I was also at that Pitt-Notre Dame in Pitt Stadium. I was in the endzone and you could see all holes open up. Tony Dorsett kept putting together big runs. His per carry average must have 12 yards or better. I think Pitt ran 3 or 4 plays, for there first long drive. Conversely Notre Dame would get 3 yards and their drives crept down the field. Then Dorestt would run for 30 yards on a few plays and Pitt would score quickly. Because of Dorsett’s speed to the outside, people often forget how good of an inside runner he was.

Comment by Justinian 04.04.13 @ 9:15 am

reed and most of you..

before i graduated in 09, i knew several high profile players on O and D and they got blunted up all the time and consistently failed tests..and played the next day.

These kids fail all the time and never get in trouble..well, under Wanny atleast.

Comment by HLandPitt 04.04.13 @ 9:20 am

Wardapalooza, I am an unabashed and unrepentant Pitt fan. I do think playing front of full houses at the Pete and the ACC arenas would have been better for him. I sincerely believe that being in college is a positive all the way around. Both for your personal development and well as for your athletic development. Can he get there in NBA developmental league? Yes, but I think it will take a few years, because he’s got a long way to go with his offensive game. Also, on a personal note, I would have loved to see him develop in, at the very least, one more season. I know Jameie Dixon and the Panthers have to move on, but I was sad when Dejuan Blair left as well. Can’t help it, I would rather see Adams develop here than elsewhere.

Comment by Justinian 04.04.13 @ 9:34 am

well, if they failed and palyed and never got in trouble, then I woud have to believe that everyone was doing it

Comment by wbb 04.04.13 @ 9:36 am

@Justinian

We were in the Endzone as well. The endzone closet to the main gate and cardiac hill.

lol Maybe we were sitting in the same row !!

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 9:38 am

I was in the student section, TD kept running to us and holding the ball up high. People were hugging and kissing. Still the most memorable event I ever attended.

Comment by gc 04.04.13 @ 9:50 am

EMel Maybe, It goes back to the “Great Minds” conversation.

Comment by Justinian 04.04.13 @ 9:58 am

@ HL

it was like that back in the late 70’s and early 80’s as well, Kids in college are going to party.

I think it’s totally ridic, to ask players not to party like any other student. They like all the parties just like everone else.

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 10:02 am

Justinian, I get what your saying. I’m 100% with you. I’d rather seem him here and develop into a force. I just always figured it was never going to happen so I never got my hopes up. Even when Adams started off slow he was still being projected as at least a first rounder.

Man I would have killed to have been a student when Pitt was really good at football. At least Larry Fitz was being Larry Fitz when was in school, which kinda makes up for the other nonsense I saw like how I went on a road trip to see Pitt lose at Toledo.

Comment by Wardapalooza 04.04.13 @ 10:04 am

Reed,

Agree that Boyd is going to get his chance at running back and have posted as much. Pitt much more loaded at WR than RB.

Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s been given notice that he might want to start hitting the weights.

While everyone pegs Boyd as a receiver because of his build, he actually runs like a back when he has the ball. His 5,700 rushing yards in HS were not by accident.

However, look for James Conner to make an impact in the fall. Has the mental toughness to become a true power running tailback which actually gives him more upside than what Shell would have had running out of Chryst’s offense.

And for those still enamored with Rushel Shell… while obviously a great HS running back, he was never going to be the next Tony Dorsett as so many had been disillusioned to believe.

Shell simply was never that kind of elite.

Comment by PittofDreams 04.04.13 @ 10:22 am

WBB it was Danny White, All American…

Comment by Kenny 04.04.13 @ 10:27 am

Wardapalooza, Larry Fitz, was best Pitt reciever ever and he left early. Some of the skilled players you got to see, like Derril Revis, Larry Fitz, Shady McCoy, Dion Lewis, Ray Graham were every bit as good as the players of the 70s and early 80s. The difference was on the offensive and defensive lines. That’s where the Panthers dominated. Bill Fralic, Jimbo Covert, Mark May, Russ Grim and Jim Sweeney were great offensive linemen. Not to mention Hugh Green, Ricky Jackson, Chris Doleman, and a host of others on defensive side. That’s what I like best about the focus I see from Paul Chryst. When you dominate up front, your skilled players are given the opportunites to do well and accomplish mush more.

Comment by Justinian 04.04.13 @ 10:28 am

Tex I was never sold on Kordell either…

Comment by Kenny 04.04.13 @ 10:29 am

Emel did not see your post on White. Do you know the years Denny Booker of Kiski Area played there…

Comment by Kenny 04.04.13 @ 10:31 am

@ Wardapalooza, hopefully you’ll still be alive when Pitt decides to get “really good again” so that you can enjoy that Pitt glory at some point in your life.

The thing that made the entire 70’s experience that much sweeter was that immediately preceeding “the Major change in Pitt Football” we just sucked sooooo bad, that it was unimaginable that we could do anything positive, right away. Then, the first game of the season, Pitt goes down to the SEC powerhouse, Georgia, and we play them to a tie “between the hedges”. It was like WTF???? Who are these guys? Then, off we went from theere, for a very interesting four year ride with Jonney Majors and Co. Sure was fun!

BTW, for all of us that lament the loss of Rushel Shell, Yes, Pitt lost Shell, but what nobody is saying is that apparently, we lost him while he was still a member of the team, from a mental standpoint. Shell needed to be a presence on this team going forward. It seems that not only did he fail in the regard of keeping his own priorities in order but he failed to take on the leadership resposibilities that such a high profile player has the opportunity to assume, if he so desires.

Losing Shell was a lose-lose-lose situation. Pitt’s loss, Shell’s lose and it looks like the family’s lose too, at least, from the sounds of it, considering some tweets going out from his twin daughter’s Mommy.

In any case, that kind of negative energy does no good for anyone. Even if Shell had stayed with the team, would it have been subversive for team spirit in the long run? Will never know, but what we do know now is going forward the team won’t be burdened by whatever baggage was cramping Mr. Shell’s style.

It will be very interesting to follow how Shell does in the future, I hope that he can figure it out in the long run, if for no other reason than for the best interests of those in his family that are depending on him into the future.

Comment by Dr. Tom 04.04.13 @ 10:43 am

@ Kenny

No I don’t remember Denny Booker. I do remember watching the 1973 Fiesta Bowl on a Black & White TV at my home in Stanton Heights then.

And I think it was on during a weeknite.
And who would know Danny White would go on to be the Cowgirls starting QB. I think Pitt’s QB was Billy Daniels from Montour HS.

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 10:54 am

Jogging my memory I think the MIzlou TV network broadcast the game, because of course there was NO ESPN and there was only CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS & Channel 53m, a UHF channel.

I think Channel 4, WTAE carried the feed from the Mizlou Network as they’ve always had a tie in with Pitt since they carried the Johnny Majors TV show. lol

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 10:57 am

I’m still not sold on Kordell.

Comment by TX Panther 04.04.13 @ 6:42 am

TX P, you do know that Kordell is married to one of the Hollywood Housewives (or something like that), don’t you?

Actually, I didn’t know until I just read that he filed for divorce.

Comment by wbb 04.04.13 @ 11:11 am

The bigger question for Chryst is the same one for Dixon: Will their teams be ready to play every game and will they play the entire game? Both football and basketball dug holes sometimes too deep to climb out of in the second half. Consistent play and team unity go a long way toward overcoming the loss of potential stars.

Comment by TonyinHouston 04.04.13 @ 11:15 am

Tony Dorsettt FRESHMAN – 1777 yards and 13 TDs.
Rushel Shell is not Tony Dorsett or even close.

Comment by Orlando Truit 04.04.13 @ 11:30 am

EMel i watched the game too while stationed at Fort Dix, NJ. Frank Kush was one hard butted football coach. His practices were legendary…

Comment by Kenny 04.04.13 @ 11:30 am

I knew Frank Kush’s niece … she had a big crush on a good friend of mine. She lived near Sharon, PA

Comment by wbb 04.04.13 @ 11:58 am

I saw on Rivals that Chipola JC in Florida’s center, Joseph Uchebo, is schedued to visit Pitt next weekend. The site lists him as having medium intrest in 10 teams. Among the better programs listed are Pitt, Louisville, West Virginia, and Xavier.

Comment by Justinian 04.04.13 @ 12:13 pm

I remember Curtis Martin. We sat behind the PSU bench at a game. Curtis ran right at us and was pushed back but there was no whistle. The PSU defenders held him up for at least 15 seconds before they ripped the ball from him for a fumble. The officials were terrible. Curtis declared for the NFL later that year.

Needless to say Curtis is in the NFL Hall of Fame where he belongs.

Comment by Frank MD 04.04.13 @ 12:17 pm

I knew Kush was from Western PA but check this out from his Wiki Page:

That success led to him accepting the head coaching job at the University of Pittsburgh on January 4, 1969. However, just five days later, Kush had a change of heart and returned to Arizona State.

Kush’s return would begin a memorable era in Sun Devil football history with five consecutive Western Athletic Conference championships as the team won 50 of 56 games from 1969 to 1973. During this time, Arizona State won the 1970 Peach Bowl and the first three editions of the Fiesta Bowl. In 1974, the team dropped to 7–4, but bounced back with authority the following year when they went 12–0, capping the year with a thrilling 17–14 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Fiesta Bowl, a game in which Kush’s son, Danny, kicked three field goals, including the game winner.

And then there was this — (kind of hits home with Mike Rice situation:)

Dismissal from Arizona State: In September 1979 former Sun Devil punter Kevin Rutledge filed a $1.1 million lawsuit against the school, accusing Kush and his staff of mental and physical harassment that forced him to transfer. The most dramatic charge was that Kush had punched Rutledge in the mouth after a bad punt in the October 28, 1978, game against the Washington Huskies. During the next few weeks, overzealous fans turned things ugly when the insurance office of Rutledge’s father suffered a fire and the family’s attorney received two death threats.[2]

Comment by wbb 04.04.13 @ 12:18 pm

Some answers on Steven Adams… link to stuff.co.nz

Comment by Carmen 04.04.13 @ 12:41 pm

And it continues — just heard that JJ Moore is transferring.

Comment by Hank the Tank 04.04.13 @ 1:06 pm

Mike Young and St. Bennys is playing ESPNU and the game just went into the second quarter…

Comment by Kenny 04.04.13 @ 1:31 pm

I believe Young is #21…

Comment by Kenny 04.04.13 @ 1:32 pm

It makes sense for J.J. Moore to transfer. He will graduate and won’t have to sit out a year. He wouldn’t get a lot of minutes at 3 next year cause of Patterson and he would be a back up at the 4 to Young. He can probably start at a different school at the 3. Pitt is better off giving his minutes to Chris Jones.

Comment by Wardapalooza 04.04.13 @ 1:33 pm

My bad he is #2 and he is no stiff…

Comment by Kenny 04.04.13 @ 1:34 pm

I agree with you Ward and hope the rumors of him being a good shooter and working hard on his handle are correct. If he get his handle improved put him at SG, it sure would give the position good length at 6’7″…

Comment by Kenny 04.04.13 @ 1:42 pm

Where did you hear that JJ Moore is transferring? I can’t find anything that even hints at that beside this post

Comment by FTM 04.04.13 @ 1:45 pm

lets face it that Shell is a punk kid that has not had to work hard for anything his whole life; and at the signs of adversity he fled. I for one wholeheartedly think we are fortunate to have Coach Chryst and his leadership to help groom this boys into men that will succeed on this and the next level of their lives. For every door that is opened there is an opportunity and it is up to someone this year and the future years to seize it be it someone on the team already or coming in the future (Shai!)
Hail to Pitt Gentlemen!

Comment by pittisit37 04.04.13 @ 2:36 pm

Shell… who? Name sounds vaguely familiar… rings a bell… but can’t quite put my finger on him? Hopefully someone who will do well in life…

Adams, nice article above… I get both side of this but it is just obvious in his case 1 more year of development and producing to his potential would reduce the risk of dropping too far in the draft… risk of getting hurt (insurance for that).

The risk he takes on now is that teams will not take him with a top pick and slides into mediocre $.

Kind of similar to McCoy and Lewis… both similar in that they were not ‘locks’ to go high in the draft. Money wise it has worked out for McCoy. For Lewis staying in college may have positioned him better in the $ structure of the NFL coming out.

Good luck to Kid… he is carrying a lot of family burden and at least we know for sure he is trying to do the right thing for his family as he sees it…. just hope he does not slide…

… who was the other Pitt BB player… Taft? For every Blair there’s a Taft…

Comment by Pittscript 04.04.13 @ 2:54 pm

Chas intimated what in my opinion is the primary reason Schell is running for his life.
He is running from the burden of the responsibility of taking care of a family. Many men and women regardless of age cannot handle the sacrifice reguired on that team.
PAC-12 reinforces this premise.

Comment by pittisit 04.04.13 @ 3:12 pm

@Reed

Good stuff on the HS coach at practice.

What is the inside on Shai? Seems like a real good talent. If he has anything like Brian Davis ability he would be unbelievable (so long as the end result isn’t the same)

Comment by Pitt Fan in Atlanta 04.04.13 @ 3:13 pm

Looks like this area is fast becoming the Bermuda Triangle of college sports. Pitt’s luck is well…need I say more….WVU sports is in the toilet, and we all know about PSU…..and now this too:

Top Penn State recruit won’t join team in fall

link to post-gazette.com

Misery loves company….

Comment by Jackagain 04.04.13 @ 3:33 pm

FTM — can’t say…internal source that was correct on the Shell, Adams, and trey Z news. Nothing released yet, but the word is a transfer to Manhattan. Sorry for the vagueness…not making it up, but we’ll have to wait for official release to see if its correct or not.

Comment by Hank the Tank 04.04.13 @ 3:34 pm

? Do we have 5 guys left who can play BB ?

Comment by CompLit 04.04.13 @ 3:56 pm

@CompLit, they have that 7 on 7 football in Nebraska.

Maybe a 5 on 5 league somewhere out there for us??

Comment by Dan 04.04.13 @ 3:59 pm

JUCO Center Joseph Ochebo (6’11”) will be on an official visit next weekend at Pitt. He was the 83rd ranked player in the 2011 class for ESPN.

link to youtube.com

Comment by Jackagain 04.04.13 @ 4:01 pm

JUCO Center Joseph Ochebo (6’11”) will be on an official visit next weekend at Pitt. He was the 83rd ranked player in the 2011 class for ESPN.

link to youtube.com

Comment by Jackagain 04.04.13 @ 4:01 pm

I also was at Pitt Stadium in 1975 when TD ripped off 303 rushing yards. Had season tickets, if memory serves me right, in section 104 (about 4 rows from the top), which was on the lower part of cardiac hill, between the 5 and the goal line. Probably greatest game I have ever been at. Hail to Pitt!!!

Comment by pittman4ever 04.04.13 @ 4:07 pm

And now a big welcome to the new American Athletic Conference…

link to espn.go.com

We have the ACC and they have the AAC…..not sure I that part of this…

Comment by Jackagain 04.04.13 @ 4:12 pm

@ Jackagain – It is all about your order in the phone book!

Comment by CompLit 04.04.13 @ 4:35 pm

Never thought of that CompLit…LOL….now I really don’t like it!

Comment by Jackagain 04.04.13 @ 4:41 pm

Never thought of that CompLit…LOL….now I really don’t like it!

Comment by Jackagain 04.04.13 @ 4:41 pm

AAA and AAU were taken as were ABA, ABL, ABC, etc.

Comment by Pitt Dad 04.04.13 @ 5:09 pm

Phone book? What’s a phone book?

Comment by Pitt Dad 04.04.13 @ 5:17 pm

Thanks for the answer. Spoke to someone late this afternoon that’s pretty involved and he said that he hadn’t heard anything, so we will have to wait and see. I hope that it’s not true.

Comment by FTM 04.04.13 @ 5:32 pm

if I were JJ, I would transfer .. he is in no way, shape or form a 4. Heck, I see him as a 2 more than a 4 .. although of course, he is a 3.

Comment by wbb 04.04.13 @ 6:34 pm

Funny thing with Moore, he had 21 points against DePaul. Then only got like 12 minutes against Cuse.

Zeigler scored 18 points against DePaul.

If you remember Pitt scored it’s most points of the season or close to it against Depaul as they were both uptempo games.

Which further solidifies my season long argument that Pitt’s roster was filled with players who were better suited for an uptempo offense.

We know that Moore & Zeigler were, and while our bigs didn’t have many low post moves, they could run. And we had 10 deep remember. JD kept harping on 10 deep all year, yet he didn’t use an offense that would best take advantage of having a 10 deep roster.

Never will be able to figure that one out.

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 10:58 pm

Is it any wonder some have transferred and according to Hank the Tank, more are considering transferring.

If you can’t figure out an uptempo offense, bring an asst. coach who can !!

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 11:05 pm

@wbb

Another square peg/round hole thing.

Comment by EMel 04.04.13 @ 11:07 pm

I just don’t get all the coach bashing, Dixon has the best winning pct in big east history and is 5th in win pct in the nation over his tenure and that include Gonzaga who is ahead of them and they play in a DII conf. JR will be a 4 year starter at the point D Johnson will be better than people think the incoming recruits are very good the only knock is that JD has had some resent bad luck with big men. So now he can’t coach? That’s BS!! Look at the other big men who have come thru Pitt and to say asst coaches are the reason for that success is crap too, what are their records as head coaches in big time programs? Cryst was put into the worst situation possible and has one year under his belt, he has had so much to deal with how can anyone evaluate what kind of coach he is until he has put his stamp on the program, that will take at least 4 years. Shouldn’t we as Pitt fans give him a chance to do so before we bash the shit out of him and just be glad that he didn’t go back to whisky!!

Comment by Steve h 04.05.13 @ 1:08 pm

I agree completely EMel…and Steve, it’s not coach bashing…it’s just that coaches have to change with the times or else. Even Chas Noll had to learn that the hard way in the 80’s.

Remember Bradshaw saying that the game had passed him by? As for Dixon’s wins….40% of them are rent-a-wins against garbage teams as EMel has pointed out clearly here for months, not to mention the NCAA selection committee for years….

Comment by Jackagain 04.05.13 @ 3:34 pm

I think Chryst went up in stature in the eyes of local HS coaches. They are up to their ears in ego’s and meddling parents and now they have support from a son of a high school coach.
I suspect they all knew, as did players that Shell got what he wanted and didn’t do any work. Think Shell was quiet about getting out of work? I don’t . Thrown off his HS basketball team. Think it was because he worked so hard it made the coaches look bad? Me either.
Old Pitt grad, I think you are 180 degrees off on this one. HS coaches here adored Paterno because he rewarded hard work, not because he kissed the ass of their star players.
The HS coaches need support on the hard work message. They just got it.

Comment by SFPitt 04.05.13 @ 4:27 pm

Every team plays garbage non cons. Best winning pct in Big east history including 12-6 this year and finishing 4 when projected to finish 6. Isn’t that coaching up? Losses in big east and NCAA tourney this year were to 2 final four teams tough draw. There is no one coming to Pitt better than JD.

Comment by Steve h 04.07.13 @ 1:43 am

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