April 9, 2013

I suggested to my wife that for our anniversary, we take off work early, pull the kids from school and take a romantic drive to Bethel Park for the Pitt Spring Game. That went about as well as you would expect. It did, however, make her more amenable to me watching the livefeed on ESPN3 at 7 pm.

The big thing is that Spring Practices are nearly done, and it feels like not a lot has been learned. Yes, there was the drama of Rushel Shell deciding to transfer, but that was more distraction. Not on-the-field, except to give Isaac Bennett and Malcolm Crockett a lot more first team snaps.

Pitt ran its practices almost entirely under cover of the NCAA Tournament. For Paul Chryst that may not have been the plan, but it was definitely a perk.

From the QB competition to the shuffling positions of players to on-the-job training for a rookie defensive coordinator to figuring out where some of the freshmen will fit on the roster come the summer to determining what attrition needs to happen (and how) for the scholarship limit; there are a lot of things that should be getting plenty of attention.

Yet it seems like this spring practice has been been uneventful in terms of all those things. Or at least it doesn’t seem like there is a deep angst over them.

Part of it is simply there isn’t any information out there. We just don’t know about these things. There’s the rumors, speculation, reasoned projections. Logical conclusions made, but nothing certain.

I would also suggest that Pitt fans are a little weary. Not apathetic. Just tired of all the drama. From the transfers to the coaching carousel crap to the mind-blowing losses. The recruiting drama that always happens. It’s been an exhausting few years.

Then there is Coach Chryst. He can be bland and dry (read: boring) in what he says and how he acts. He sure as hell doesn’t give the media that much. But he also projects a calm assurance that things will work themselves out the right way. That he and the staff will get this team ready for the upcoming season. There are still plenty of questions about him as a gameday head coach and what kind of recruiter he can be in the long-term. But at least things feel stable with him as the head coach.

At least ’til the next disaster hits.

Here is my “stealth” tweet for the day… 🙂

Great article on future course of Sun Devils football. link to
#SunDevils #ASUFootball #highoctane

Thank God for the internet and ESPN 3… seriously getting to Bethel Park in rush hour will suck. Good move for the south hills folks only.

And no matter what Heinz field would have been emptyyyy on a Friday evening…

unless someone had a clue and made it a Saturday… afternoon… festivities in the parking lot… free parking/tailgating… come hang out and watch the game…. but that means intelligent, smart marketing people and SFpitt is oh so right…

Comment by Pittscript 04.10.13 @ 1:36 pm

dixon has joseph uchebo comeing in but maybe
he should look at a kid named john paul 6 foot 11
the reason i say that is wichita is trying to
recruit him out of thr jc school he is in
and i would say wichita knows what they are doeing
wouldent you.

Comment by FRANKCAN 04.10.13 @ 1:42 pm

Shai McKenzie’s take on Pitt recruiting since Shell left via the Observer Reporter

link to

Comment by WINEDOGS 04.10.13 @ 1:52 pm

Iron Duke, if you look at the schools in the big cities, USC – 15,000, Miami 10,000 and BC – 200 .. you can see quite frankly, there are better things to do other than to attend a scrimmage.

BTW, if USC has its scrimmage in the Coliseum, then 10,000 has to look awful sparse in the 90,000 seat stadium … but still better than BC, 200 in a 40,000 seat

Comment by wbb 04.10.13 @ 2:02 pm

Pittscript – The best of the WPIAL will go below .500 in the ACC. The talent outside 2-3 players every few years just isn’t there in my opinion. South Florida, GA, LA and Texas. We will never get the California kids but we should have coaches from Texas, South Florida, etc that own those areas.

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.10.13 @ 2:09 pm

wbb – I’d go to USC Game just to see the cheerleaders. As a side note, can we recruit prettier cheerleaders??? LOL Now the Oregon girls or the Gator Girls/ LSU are smoking hot.

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.10.13 @ 2:11 pm

I believe we have one chance of having a pretty decent year in FB.

With 9 starters back and depth (except for DE), we have a chance of being a pretty decent defense. On the other side of the ball, we need to control the ball and limit turnovers, and can hit the occasional homerun .. but mostly we need to win the time of possession and turnover battle …. yes, I am talking Wanny Ball! (or Jamie Ball if you will)

Comment by wbb 04.10.13 @ 2:27 pm

@FRANKCAN – I read that Manga was looking at Seton Hall. Any chance he might be looking at Pitt?

Comment by Pitt Dad 04.10.13 @ 2:55 pm

I hear you Upittbaseball… was more referring to the reference above about needing to get most of this ‘stacked’ 2014 WPIAL class…

… I believe this staff believes it needs to recruit outside of WPA… I kind of wonder if they are going a different geographic route more into the midwest/midatlantic…. that is just an opinion.

While the areas you mentioned are critical it just seems the competition there is is intense and ‘stacked’.

I wonder what the geographic breakdown is of this class and does anyone know where they are active?

Good points wbb.

Comment by Pittscript 04.10.13 @ 2:57 pm

pitt dad that would depend on if pitt were looking
at him .

Comment by FRANKCAN 04.10.13 @ 3:02 pm

I would build a team with skills players from South Florida. The talent there is sick! Aka teddy Bridgewater, Geno Smith, etc.

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.10.13 @ 3:03 pm

pittdad the 5th year senior from tulane 6 foot 8 josh davis has on his list along with 4 outher
schools what we have working for us is he is from nc
and we play in the ACC he would get to play at home or near home if he comes to pitt but even thou
we are on his list we dont know if dixon wants him.

the sg achraf yacoubou from seton hall has us on
his list also but we dont know if dixon wants him
so even when we are on there list it means nothing
unless they are on dixons list.

Comment by FRANKCAN 04.10.13 @ 3:19 pm

serious question upittbaseball… with the florida programs, then Alabama, LSU… etc. etc. all in that market is it realistic we could get ‘good’ players… i.e. better than WPIAL best still? Honestly wondering…. as opposed to trying to get some of the top kids from midwest, midatlantic, northeast? … maybe that is not possible either?

Comment by Pittscript 04.10.13 @ 3:29 pm

@Emel. Danny’s or Beto’s??

Comment by Dan 04.10.13 @ 3:32 pm

@Pittscript, I agree regardless of where game is played, it should always be on a Saturday. Nobody wants to drive cross-town on a Friday evening.

wbb, Columbus is one exception to the big city rule, but it is certainly NOT a pro-sports town, all Buckeyes all the time.

In response to Shai McKenzie, I am the only one getting the impression from his comments that he is another big fish small pond kid and a bit full of himself?

Not that Pitt shouldn’t go after him, but I hope they are looking at other running backs as well. No depth and no position competition has killed Pitt for 30 years.

Besides, give me the 17th rated RB out of Florida any day, with a relentless work ethic b/c he had to outplay the competition to start his senior year, and a chip on his shoulder because he wasn’t recruited by Miami or FSU.

Comment by Iron Duke 04.10.13 @ 3:33 pm

p.s. Danny’s still there. The Beto’s was a 2nd place of the original Beto’s on Banksville.

I know way too much about pizza!!

Comment by Dan 04.10.13 @ 3:34 pm

MarkP – Regarding Shell’s reasons for leaving. It all boiled down to the fact that he was being treated like any other young player on the roster and was resentful at that.

It was a poorly kept secret that Shell did virtually none of the voluntary S&C sessions and team building exercises where the rest of the team would get together over the off season. There were some hinky whisperings about Shell as early as last year’s training camp before he had even taken a snap for PITT where he would be injured at regular intervals and apparently not studying or learning the playbook.

So, in turn, the other players – especially the starters – were resentful at Shell for copping that attitude. I was led to believe that it didn’t shock any in the program that Shell was taking off especially after he took himself out of a practice the first week of spring camp and then half-assed it through a scrimmage. Also, and believe this or not, it’s been hinted at that Chryst and Rudolph weren’t set on Shell starting at RB if he didn’t come around and put the needed effort in.

There are a few things to understand with this new staff. Until this 2013 season none of the players on the roster were really ‘their’ recruits and thus they didn’t have any commitments to them. Graham may well have promised the starting RB job as a condition of recruitment for Shell; Chryst didn’t do that and was making Shell earn playing time as it should be done in practices and by contributing as a team player. Prior to Shell’s taking himself off the team exactly two weeks ago today he wasn’t the only RB taking 1st string snaps in a one back set.

I believe Shell would have split time with Bennett anyway and not gotten as many carries as PITT fans assume he would.

Anyway – none of above is either surprising or new info… beat reporters and columnists have been writing about it since March 27th when the news of Shell wanting to leave broke. However, I talked with some guys last week who said this wasn’t unexpected at all.

Comment by Reed 04.10.13 @ 4:16 pm

Pitt script Bridgewater ended up at Louisville after he was supposed to make an official visit to LSU but they changed the date because they were visiting Mettenberger. Teddy was pissed and signed with L’Ville. He is from Miami and flew under the radar a bit despite winning a high school championship and beating out Jacobi Harris as a sophomore. They are there man. Look at Geno Smith. South Forida has so many studs their 2nd teamers are solid.

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.10.13 @ 4:55 pm

Iron Duke said…

“But I am tired of my Ped St. friends busting my balls about it.

You need to make them an offer they most likely cannot refuse. Tell them you won’t start busting their cojones about Sanduskygate if the refrain from busting yours in respect to Pitt…

Comment by Kenny 04.10.13 @ 5:03 pm

thanks upittbaseball and iron duke for the insight on FL… I honestly have no idea just how deep it is there… wow, WPA seems to have been passed by some time ago then.

Reed, you are understanding the value of your contributions… man I feel I am finally getting some inside insights… and only getting them here. Never get this level of insight in the local press.

You really show that this was additional by subtraction and that this staff must have figured it our real quick last year that it was going to take some time to fresh up the locker room.

You know the way these guys handle things makes me think these players are going to go to war for this team and staff (they obviously were doing something right in Wisconsin all these years).

Good players with the right mentality are going to see that when they visit this school on recruiting trips…


Comment by Pittscript 04.10.13 @ 5:10 pm


Comment by Pitt Dad 04.10.13 @ 5:16 pm

Let’s follow up on Reeds insight.
Where was USC on Shells list?
You’re right. It ain’t there.
If Shell were committed to work he would be at USC or at least trying. Shake a USC dance team skirt and a hard working running back falls out.
But that means competition and that ain’t part of the plan for the boy is it?
Naw…you know, few people will understand this, but Pitt is doing Shell a favor by refusing to let him go where he doesn’t have to work. If he thinks PC is tough, wait until he gets his first child support order. Hey young man: full faith and credit clause of the US Constitution assures that PA order is enforced in Cali.
Maybe he can end up with Davie in New Mexico.

Comment by SFPitt 04.10.13 @ 5:29 pm

@Reed a great post on Shell telling it like it is. Just to add a few things I heard from a good source perhaps you can verify, Shell came into camp about 20 lbs overweight. He was slow. A long discussion with the coaches about conditioning ensued and ended with a mandatory conditioning program that Shell rejected. PC told him get in condition or sit. You know the rest. At least PC is holding people accountable and no one person is better than the team…I like that.

Comment by DJS 04.10.13 @ 5:40 pm

Spot on, Reed. I was told in not so many words that had Shell stayed, he would have been 2nd string, for the reasons you outlined. HTP

Comment by pittbluegold 04.10.13 @ 6:37 pm

… and all the high coaches know this and so will the players… they even said it in their own code words not to be negative to him in public… “everyone has their own situation”.

Hey, why did Savage come to Pitt? Playing time?

NO… he said he came to Pitt because he saw what Chryst did with his QB in 1 year. Real players want to be their best and get to the next level…

… they want coaches that have proven they get kids to the pros by making them great. That is only reason a Florida kid will come to Pitt.

Comment by Pittscript 04.10.13 @ 6:58 pm

this is why I have been saying that he should be allowed to go where he wants because wherever he goes, he becomes their problem

Comment by wbb 04.10.13 @ 6:59 pm

i did not say this before becuse i did not want to
be known as a prick but here goes.
shell will be out of college football in a year
or year and a half.

he will play ball in canada till they cut him
after 2 games he will come back to hopewell
and hang out.

and so will end what could have been greatness
becuse he wont work at being better and he will blame every one but him self becuse he wouldent pay the price.

you have seen it before very sad.

Comment by FRANKCAN 04.10.13 @ 7:54 pm

Reed, Your post confirms a lot things that we suspected. Sometimes we hear things and you just aren’t sure all of it is true. I firmly believe that everyone on a team has to put in the work. Catering to divas isn’t the way to build a team. If Shell resented sharing 1st team reps, then shame on him. You need more than one running back today in Division I football. If he thought he deserved the lion-share the playing time, you work hard in practice and show that you deserve it. I think Bennett and Crocket will do just fine.

Comment by Justinian 04.10.13 @ 7:56 pm

Frank, After Tony Dorsett, I thought Brian Davis had the most talent of anyone I had seen at Pitt. That’s saying a lot when consider, some the running backs to play here. Curtis Martin, Ironhead Heyward, Shady McCoy, just to mention a few. Unfortunately Brian Davis didn’t go to class or have the desire and drive to stay in school. Talent alone isn’t enough, drive and determination are important ingredients that you need to succeed.

Comment by Justinian 04.10.13 @ 8:03 pm

Part of me wants Shell to succeed simply because I don’t want my tax dollars to support his two daughters and anyone else he helps bring into this world.

Comment by Gas 04.10.13 @ 8:16 pm

@Kenny and Iron Duke, I’ve allready, in a light-hearted way, made it known to my PSU friends and family members, the days of “Shit on Pitt” are over!!! LOL

Seriously!! LOL I literally said that at a Christmas party when the subject came up about Pitt-PSU renewing the rivalry in a few years.

They all knew what I meant, except, one nephew, he still had a “not me, I’ll always rip on Pitt” attitude.

I just turned to him, and said ever so politely and calmly…….”heard PSU had a great recruiting class, really going after the tight ends this year”.

That has ended all Pitt barbs thrown at me from PSU’ers I know.

Crude, yes, effective though. LOL

Comment by Dan 04.10.13 @ 8:46 pm

@wbb… that is a really good point. totally flipped my view on the issue.

Comment by Pittscript 04.10.13 @ 8:46 pm

pittdad Wbb DAN and outhers dixon has that center visting
on the 12 but he is not the only big man out there.

i went thru a rivals list of 350 players and
pick out some for you they had to be 6 foot 8
or bigger with at least 5 offers and unsigned

so here they are i will list some of there offers but not all.

john paul 6 foot 11 offers 9 from wichita st
tulne and mississippi st.

lennard freeman 17 offers 6 foot 8 he is at oak hill

ibrahim djambo 6 foot 10 offers 12 from clemson kansas st detroit three rivers cc missouri

thomas hamilton 6 foot 8 img academy 5 offers
boston coll michigan st

deontae hawkins 6 foot 8 new promise acadrmy
8 offers cincinnati dayton alabama

sam edwaeds 7 foot memphis slect school
10 offers auburn wichita nebraaska

aram martin 13 offers dartmouth yale missouri penn south florida he is 6 foot 9

sidy djitte 6 foot 10 5 offers auburn clemson

so there are outher big men out there and
these were all 3 stars or no stars but look
at the nummber of offers they all have.

Comment by FRANKCAN 04.10.13 @ 9:25 pm

For all you saying Mr Chryst is boring just remember my Toddy the hell u gonna judge a dude after one season? Give him a chance and quit acting like Pitt is Alabama or USC!

Comment by Tsingtao44 04.10.13 @ 11:01 pm

No doubt, Kenny and Dan, lots of fodder for years to come re: Ped St. Last year when my Nit bud ripped Pitt for having the spring game at a HS stadium, I just said, “yeah I heard your game is in the shower at the Lasch football building, men vs. boys”. Sophomoric maybe but it shut him up. H2P

Comment by Iron Duke 04.11.13 @ 12:10 am

Personally, I like the HS stadium venue for the spring games as it is more intimate and you are a lot closer to the action to see how players are doing.

Comment by Reed 04.11.13 @ 5:23 am

But Dan, riddle me this? how does it figure that those kids that get recruited as PSU tight ends all seem to come out of the program as experienced wide receivers! LOLx2

Comment by Dr. Tom 04.11.13 @ 6:59 am

recruiting “tight ends”… LMAO… priceless…

HS venue is closer feeling… problem in Pgh is that as soon as you pick one area you just eliminated the other 3 points of the compass in terms of access.

particularly the south hills. but maybe some key recruits are down that way.

Comment by Pittscript 04.11.13 @ 9:13 am

@Kenny and Dr. Tom, LOL!!

I told all of them, “it’s up to you, just don’t start”!!

I could only imagine some PSU fans walking by some Pitt tailgaters in a few years, and mouthing off something belittling Pitt.

Could get ugly very quickly. Especially with people haveing some barley and hops in them amongst other things!!!

Comment by Dan 04.11.13 @ 10:00 am

Having the Spring games in HS stadiums for now is a good thing for the following reasons:

1) It solves the eyesore of seeing so few fans at Heinz Field.

2) It bonds HS coaches/players/schools/communities with the Pitt program, its coaches/players and ultimately the university itself.

3) Beyond winning on a consistent basis it will help facilitate the goal of attracting more people to spring games.

4) It is ideal for progression into larger capacity HS stadiums as the Spring fan base expands and will facilitate the ultimate goal of someday having the games regularly at either Heinz Field or the oft dreamed of mythical on campus football stadium…

Comment by Kenny 04.11.13 @ 10:22 am

# Dan,can hear it now “there are riots going on at the tailgates in the parking lots”!!!

Comment by Kenny 04.11.13 @ 10:25 am

@Kenny, I’ve found in life, that on occaision, the phrase “don’t lower yourself to their level”, is very over-rated!!!

Those games could be some of those times!!! LOL

Comment by Dan 04.11.13 @ 10:31 am

Frankcan, if your prediction comes to fruition, it is so very very sad. But as you say, we have seen it it happen too many times. Very few of us are blessed with some special talent or ability that has the potential to make us rich or famous. To see that squandered away is always a tragedy.

Let’s hope that Rushel figures it out before it is too late. Maybe he is one to overcome all odds, but I like you, envision the more negative outcome.

Rushel because of his gift has been able to effortlessly run roughshod over his high school and in one college game his opponents.

It will take a lot more effort to become a pro, or even a great college back. I can’t think of any pro offense that wouldn’t require him to block a blitzing maniac on occasion. Pros don’t get days off from practice until they are aged superstars.

Again, I hope he figures it out before it is too late.

Hail to Coach Chryst for the tough love.

Comment by gc 04.11.13 @ 11:07 am

A LITTLE help here please pitt 247 says pitt is looking ata PF from a jc school in utah.

but it is behind a pay wall if any one can give me the name i would like to look the player up

i can tell you this much there is no pf from utah
in the jc top 100.


Comment by FRANKCAN 04.11.13 @ 3:19 pm

Just to reiterate. It is Danny’s Pizza and Hoagies on Rt.88 before the Southpark entrance. Beto’s is better but its on Banksville Road before you get to Dormont, nowhere near Bethel Park.

Comment by pittman4ever 04.11.13 @ 4:00 pm

Oh contrere’ mon frere’!!

Beto’s was right next to Danny’s, in Bethel Park on Rt.88!!!

Most would go for a hoagie at Danny’s, then 20 feet away to Beto’s for a couple slices.

There is a Beto’s on Banksville, I would imagine they were related somehow, but I could not be sure of that.

Perhaps you are talking about now, and you would be correct. However, Emel chasing women in the South Hills would have probably been in the 70’s and 80’s, when both places stood next to each other.

Beto’s closed on Rt.88, late 80’s, early 90’s??? Who knows, time moves on.

Some days it feels like yesterday, somedays it feels like a hundred years ago!!

Comment by Dan 04.11.13 @ 4:38 pm

@ Dan & pittman4ever

Can’t remember the name, I remember that the Pizza places parking damn near sat on Rt. 88. And it had windows in the front that were horizontally long.

And the sign had a guy with a chef hat on, (I think).

Hell it’s been over 25 years. lol 🙂

Comment by EMel 04.11.13 @ 5:20 pm

*typo (2nd line)

I remember that the Pizza place’s parking lot damn near sat on Rt. 88.

Yep Dan your right it was the mid to late 80’s.

Comment by EMel 04.11.13 @ 5:23 pm

Whichever one it was, it wasn’t near as good as Mineo’s or Aiello’s in Squirrel Hill.

But it was in the GF’s hood.

Grew up on Minutello’s & Vento’s Pizza in Shadyside/East Liberty.

Comment by EMel 04.11.13 @ 5:28 pm

@Emel, Mineo’s is still excellent.

Funny, I think you found pizza places by the girls you ran after.

I’m from the South Hills, but used to run with a girl from Forest Hills, so I was always at Vincents out on 30.

Think it shut down a couple years ago, the parents passed, and the kids didn’t take it over, I think, all conjecture on some hearsay.

Everyone has their favorites, but you know what I always said,

“the best slice of pizza I ever had, was the one on the plate in front of me!!!”. LOL

Comment by Dan 04.11.13 @ 10:16 pm

Looks like Shell is visiting UCLA soon.

Comment by Reed 04.12.13 @ 6:50 am

Shell who?

Comment by Dr. Tom 04.12.13 @ 7:23 am

@ Dan


We use to go to Vincents on Rt. 30 as well when I was dating a girl who lived off the Parkway East.

Vincent was a trip, always a cig dangling from his mouth, flipping pies. That was the heaviest pizza I’ve ever eaten. Good but heavy.
Swear he’d put a pound of Canadian Bacon on it, if not more. You got more condiments the drunker he got in the evening. 🙂

And that back room, with the netting and the leaves. lol

Sorry to hear it’s gone. Everything must change, so the song goes.

Comment by EMel 04.12.13 @ 11:51 am

Mineos was the best.

Comment by Upittbaseball 04.12.13 @ 4:44 pm

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