August 19, 2013

Football Links Extra, 8/19

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 8:41 am

I wanted to try to stay on top of links. Last thing I wanted was to keep tabs open for weeks or months and then find myself trying to shoehorn ancient pieces into a present day post. Naturally this post was in the draft section for nearly 2 weeks before I returned to it and re-worked it to shove out today.

The first day of practice revealed that Pitt has named the outside practice facility fields “Beano Cook Fields.” Something that was lauded by sports media all over twitter that day, because everyone in the media loved Beano Cook. Also this little tidbit:

When Beano died last year, he left sizable donations to Kiski Prep School and to Pittsburgh, his alma maters. Earlier this year, Kiski named its athletic fields after Beano. This week, Pitt named its practice fields for him. He would be embarrassed and thrilled.

Any time there is a preview of the ACC, Pitt lands somewhere in the 5th or 6th spot of the Coastal Division. Football Study Hall is no exception.

Pitt is not far enough behind the usual suspects in the Coastal to be dismissed as a darkhorse, but it’s done nothing in recent memory to recommend it as a serious contender, either.

Seems about right. Everytime I think about this team and the outlook I see a 6-6 record +/- 2 on the wins and losses.

The’s draft writer sees good things ahead for the tight ends at Pitt.

This season, Chryst will be counting on sophomore J.P. Holtz (6-feet-4, 245) and junior Manasseh Garner (6-2, 230), a Pittsburgh native who sat out last season after transferring from — wait for it — Wisconsin. (Garner’s first name is pronounced “muh-NESS-uh.”)

Holtz, who started 10 games last season as true freshman, is on his way to becoming a solid all-around tight end; Garner, who played some wide receiver at Wisconsin, is a good receiver who has some work to do as a blocker. It wouldn’t be a surprise if those two, in some order, are the No. 2 and 3 receivers for Pitt this season, behind star senior wide receiver Devin Street.

True freshman Scott Orndoff (6-5, 255), a consensus national top-20 tight end recruit, also will see time. He enrolled early and went through spring practice, where he impressed coaches with his receiving and blocking. Chryst loves multiple tight end sets and could end up having Holtz, Garner and Orndoff playing together at times.

Athlon Sports has comments about every ACC head coach from other ACC coaches. They like Chryst:

“The quarterback, Tino Sunseri, who’s gone now, was hot and cold.” …

“I think Paul Chryst will do a good job getting guys to run his system. He’s perfect for Pitt. They will recruit fits. If they get in Eastern Pennsylvania, they’ll be fine. They always turn out good offensive linemen.” …

“It’s a transitional year for them. From what they were under Dave Wannstedt to Todd Graham to Paul, that roster was in flux for awhile.”

“That defense was better than given credit for, though. Physical, strong up front, good against most run teams.” …

“I think Paul will do a good job, but they’re probably a little bit behind where they want to be at quarterback.” …

“As the season progressed, they got better. They lost to Youngstown but beat Virginia Tech, so that explains it for you.” …

“Talent’s probably middle of the road. Paul will maximize what they have.” …

“The biggest thing in the ACC is overall team speed week-in and week-out. Getting that consistently for eight weeks will be a big deal, especially while breaking in a new quarterback.”

More Chryst in an ESPN online chat (starting around 12:30 pm), and doing a podcast with Ivan Maisel.

Colin Dunlap likes the methodical approach being taken by Chryst.

No one ever comes out and says, “it would be OK to be above-average this year,” even as it appears to be an outcome that would show strides in the right direction.

No one ever says that, so I will — the Pitt football program, all things considered, would do well to have an above-average season.

Seems to be what Chryst wants to do. Just make strides this year.

I think it is fair to say most Pitt fans feel that this team has underachieved for several years now. That it could have should have been better (and not all because of Tino Sunseri). In a numbers-heavy, in-depth preview the case is made that Pitt has really been “overachieving in unimpressive fashion.” Well worth the full read, so I’m skipping any excerpt.

A shorter Pitt preview from the ESPN ACC beat writer.

At the very least, Pitt is better off than it was a year ago simply because the Panthers are in their second season under Chryst and have finally started to get some stability. The players and coaches are much more familiar with each other, and they learned a hard lesson about consistency last fall.

I look forward to the day when a preview doesn’t have to harp on the whole coaching chaos of 2010-2012.

On that note, to the Associated Press Pitt preview.

The school’s fresh start in the Atlantic Coast Conference has pumped life into every corner of the athletic department. Nowhere is it more evident than in the sport that triggered the biggest conference shakeup in major college sports history.

Yet Pitt football coach Paul Chryst understands it will take more than splashing “ACC” over every poster, media guide and jersey for the Panthers to feel at home in their new home.

Winning will help, something the Panthers didn’t do quite enough of during 21 seasons in the Big East. Chryst’s first year on the job may have been a microcosm of the school’s Big East stay. The Panthers fell into an early hole, made a little noise but failed when they had a chance to get over the hump from competitive to compelling while finishing 6-7.

Kind of works.

The optimist in me says having the same coach/system for 2 years in a row will have a bigger impact than expected. It also says that the defnse will help carry the team early in the year if the offense doesn’t turn the ball over too much. The optimist in me says that after a few games, the OL will really gel and the running game will control the clock effectively.

The optimist in me has been wrong before.

Comment by wbb 08.19.13 @ 8:53 am

Yes, winning is the panacea for many ills.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.19.13 @ 8:53 am

I am hopeful as well, but am very concerned about Bennett. We are relying on Connor, true freshman. We got lucky with Lewis and Graham when they were frosh, so let’s hope it happens again.

Comment by gc 08.19.13 @ 10:18 am

Good for Beano to give to Kiski Prep. It is a great school and they’ll spend that money wisely.

Comment by Reed 08.19.13 @ 11:16 am

Pitt is not far enough behind the usual suspects in the Coastal to be dismissed as a darkhorse, but it’s done nothing in recent memory to recommend it as a serious contender, either.

Very recent memory of ‘you know who’ has apparently wiped out our before that recent memory record of 10-3 & 9-4. And being ranked #15 at the end of 2009.

He does have that effect on not only the alumni but also the national media it appears as Pitt had been putting some pretty good players in the NFL, before Tiny got entrenched.

Comment by EMel 08.19.13 @ 6:27 pm

If the national media’s consensus is about 6 wins they’re giving us the benefit of the doubt.

As Vegas has the O/U at 5.5 wins, I believe.

We got to be 3-1 coming out of Sept. to have a chance at 6 wins, imo

Comment by EMel 08.19.13 @ 7:01 pm

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