September 14, 2013

Time for the Lobos

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 7:27 am

This would be a much more exciting game if this was a meeting in November. And it was on the hardwood. Ah, well.

I was looking forward to getting to the Burgh until I realized that the game landed on Yom Kippur. So instead of meeting with my friends before the game. Sitting in the pressbox to watch. And all the other stuff. I’m not. Fasting. Heading to Synagogue shortly, then cutting out around noon to be home and watch the game without drink or snack. Yeesh.

This is the ACC Network Game of the Week. (Really? Wow? ESPN must have gobbled up everything else from the ACC if this is the best they are doing.) You can find ACC affiliates here.

So just the final media rundown.

Bob Davie was an assistant under Lou Holtz. He does now how to poor mouth his team versus the opponent.

“Pitt is much bigger, much more physical than we are,” Davie said. “That’s obvious. That just jumps at you.”

New Mexico’s tricky triple option offense — run from the pistol formation — could be the equalizer that keeps the score close. But Pitt’s size advantage on the offensive line can’t be ignored.

Pitt averages 315 pounds — no one is under 300 — but the linemen on the Lobos’ 3-4 defense check in at an average of 280.6, backed up by 6-foot-2, 204-pound outside linebacker Rashad Rainey.

“They are so much more physical-looking,” Davie said. “We’re a smaller team from a smaller conference (Mountain West) coming in with a unique scheme trying to play the big, powerful BCS conference team. All it is for us is a great opportunity to try to get better.”

Man, there’s downplaying expectations. Then there’s publicly stating that you don’t even believe in your team. Can’t believe Bob Davie wasn’t in more demand as a head coach after ND.

It isn’t that New Mexico’s “tricky triple option” isn’t a challenge, but when one player is responsible for 45.4% of your offensive yardage it shouldn’t take a genius to know that the defense should have a spy on Kasey Carrier for every play.

“It’s actually been very fun and pretty easy,” Carrier said. “The offense for the running back, it’s not very difficult to pick up. It’s a great offensive scheme and zone scheme to be a part of if you’re a running back. Really, you fall in love with it playing in it.”

Saturday, Pitt will be tasked with shutting down Carrier and the Lobos offense.

Panthers quarterback Trey Anderson was a sophomore at Pearland for Carrier’s senior season and said he isn’t surprised by his former teammate’s success. But he has given his current teammates some advice on bringing down the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Carrier.

“You’ve got to bring your body when you tackle him,” Anderson said. “He’s going to run through arm tackles and he’s shifty. You’ve got to make sure you bring your feet and hit him with everything you’ve got.”

Pitt coach Paul Chryst said Carrier is one piece of the New Mexico offense that stands out when he watches tape.

“This isn’t just a coach trying to play up a guy; he’s a good player,” Chryst said. “And I think certainly their scheme presents some challenges. He’s shifty, powerful enough to break tackles and he has the ability to turn it into a big play.”

To repeat, this is a team with quarterbacks that have a sub-50% completion rate and have thrown only 24 passes in two games. I’m not saying they are pushovers, kind of. I’m not saying teams can’t make mistakes against the option. I am saying that the defensive gameplan should be rather simple.

Davieson: What things does Pitt need to focus on in order to stop New Mexico’s Offense?

Sam Werner: The biggest thing will just be playing sound, disciplined football and sticking with their assignments (something Pitt did not do very well at all against Florida State). Against an option team, it can be really tempting to ditch your man and swarm to the ball on a run, but if you do that and you’re supposed to cover the pitch man, you’ll get burned on the pitch. The key to stopping an option is not being discouraged by giving up runs of 4-6 yards. That’s going to happen. What you can’t do is give up the 60-yard home runs because you got caught out of position. Eventually, you’ll get the offense in a third-and-long and force the offense into an uncomfortable position.

Sam Werner: An addendum to that answer is that it’s very important for Pitt to jump out to an early lead. If you fall behind an option team early, they can just grind the ball on the ground all day long. If you take a lead, it forces them to play catchup and get out of their comfort zone.

Offensively, there is no reason Pitt can’t run their stuff. There’s nobody on the defense beyond a decent linebacking corp that even looks to match up well with Pitt. Pitt will want to be balanced, and make sure both the passing and running game get their confidence. New Mexico is expecting abuse in the passing game.

While Chryst intends to get the Panthers’ running game going against the Lobos, UNM coach Bob Davie said he also expects Pitt to test UNM’s young secondary with some deep passes.

“I anticipate they’ll throw the ball down the field on us,” he said. “We haven’t really been tested that much (with deep passes) early in the season. … I’m kind of anxious to see if we can respond.”

Also worth noting that the Lobos O-line already has a key injury. Their senior center is out due to an MCL injury.

Silly stat time. This will only be New Mexico’s 10th trip East of the Mississippi.

Their record in those games is a not-so-mighty 1-8. In the eight defeats, UNM has been outscored 281-82.

So, um, yeah. That might contribute to the 21.5 point spread in this game.

many good points listed here, more or less reflected my thoughts

link to

one point that I was unaware of .. Dorian Johnson played today, thus, no redshirt .. which BTW I’m in favor of since I would doubt that he would stay for 5 years anyway

Comment by wbb 09.14.13 @ 7:06 pm

Was on the road throughtout the game today but kept glancing (stupidly) at the updates on my phone. Nice game and confidence booster. Still enough mistakes for the coaches to harp on this week.

What a freshman class performance! I’ll take these kids and the play over others’ stars any day.

But it was only NM. Need to start to build consistency with Duke next week. That has been one of Chryst’s and Pitt’s biggest hurdles: Play well consistently.

And I can’t believe I’m saying this: We have what appears to be developing into a good offensive line AND we have 4 starters returning AND we have 3 good players in Roberts, Grimm and Johnson who will be COMPETING for playing time next year. If we can develop that for our Lbs as well, the sky is the limit.

Also, well said, Stoosh!

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 09.14.13 @ 7:13 pm

Glad we got a good win. Kudos to the team and players. Wish I was able to watch it on TV but not on in the DFW area. AM covered but damn was I wrong on O/U. LOL. I like Az St. tonight. FYI and Cincy on Monday! Enjoy the win guys. I’m happy with the win and more than happy the young guys are the ones making waves. I’d play all freshman and sophomores if they have more heart and fire. Will pay off in 2 years big time.

Comment by Upittbaseball 09.14.13 @ 7:16 pm

Guys, I know it was only NM but do we really think that Duke (in Football) is supposed to be that good. Yes, they made a bowl and played tough but it’s still freaking Duke. We should beat ’em by 15 in Durhman! It’s Duke and unless it’s basketball or Lacrosse we should smoke them.

Comment by Upittbaseball 09.14.13 @ 7:18 pm


If I recall correctly from camp reports, Conner also showed some ability to catch the ball out of the backfield during camp practices. That was a dimension that Shell didn’t really bring at all last year (9 catches all year). Conner has yet to do it in games, but it should be something that gets worked in over time.

As I said, I’m not trying to put Shell and Conner in the same boat in terms of their natural abilities; Shell is the more talented player. Whatever advantages Shell has between the two in natural talent seem to be negated by Conner’s superior desire to be a contributor to the program and work hard to get better.

Conner seems keenly aware of the opportunity afforded to him here. The irony there is terrific, given that it was Shell’s complete inability to appreciate that very same role that had been practically gift-wrapped for him heading into this year which opened up that opportunity for Conner.

Again, I’m not making Conner out to be the next Shell, let alone the next Shady McCoy or Tony Dorsett. But I like what I see from him so far and given that he’s just a true freshman, I really like his prospects for the future.

Comment by Stoosh 09.14.13 @ 7:21 pm

since Voytik was only 1 for 1 … here is some info on his competition next year

link to

Comment by wbb 09.14.13 @ 7:27 pm

Just got home, stopped for a few toddies after the game. Great to see so much activity downtown on a beautiful fall day with Pitt and the Bucs back to back. Honestly, the City has never looked better. Game impressions:

– NM is NOT a good team. If college football is a bell curve, we’ve played 2 teams in the tails, one high, one low. There is still much to learn about this Pitt team. The next two weeks will provide some clarity.

– That said, the offense was dominant today, especially the line. They did what they needed to do against a lesser opponent.

– we have 2 very good freshmen in James Conner and Tyler Boyd. Boyd in particular is a rare talent that Pitt is fortunate to have. He made 3 catches today that you would be hard pressed to see from many NFL receivers, and he displayed a higher speed gear on his TD run. Screw the parameters of the offense. The more Chryst can get the ball in Boyd’s hands, the better.

– Isaac Bennett ran very hard today. He may not be the shiftiest back, but you have to credit his power. He and Conner are a nice combo.

– good to see Todd Thomas back in the fold. He made an impact today.

– Savage looked good today…that is, after the first INT which was just an awful decision. The 2nd one was not his fault. He really can throw and seemed to settle in after the long completion to Boyd. Sorry, even with 4 INTs, I’m not missing Tino.

– still not sold on the defense. The Lobos are just not good enough to judge. I’m sure Pitt let up in the second half, but I think they were lucky that NM didn’t play their option QB more in the first half, Pitt definitely struggled with their assignments, which doesn’t bode we’ll for Navy or GT. To me, this still doesn’t look like a unit returning 8 or 9 starters.

– 4 turnovers and awful awful special teams should give the coaches plenty to harp on this week. Kickoff coverage was so bad Pitt actually reverted to squib kicking.

– guessing 30-35k in attendance today.

– at least we didn’t have to sweat out a win today. I am liking the offense, but thinking we could be in some shootouts this year. H2P

Comment by Iron Duke 09.14.13 @ 7:28 pm

gc, Janeis Winto was 15-18 for 21 yards and 2 TDs. FSU ran 41 times for 377 yds

Comment by wbb 09.14.13 @ 7:39 pm

Winton … 214

Comment by wbb 09.14.13 @ 7:45 pm

Some powerful offense for FSU.

Iron Duke, I agree, the D has a lot of room for improvement. Thomas helps a lot, but the QB was killing them in the second half. If they had any kind of passing game, the game would have been a lot closer. We still don’t have much of a pass rush.

There were holes out there today, but NM was not fast enough to get through them.

The good news is that if the O-line keeps getting stronger, our backs look good enough to play ball control and keep the D on the bench.

We actually were scoring too quickly today. We were 3 for 5 on third downs, only 5 third downs, incredible. Gotta love them big plays!

Comment by gc 09.14.13 @ 8:05 pm

penn state lost that is nice

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.14.13 @ 8:13 pm

gc, that was definitely the case today, Pitt scored quickly. Hopefully they can control the clock in future games.

Not sure what our issues are on D. Although today was a completely different scenario from FSU, I again felt like they were responding rather than dictating, at least in the 2nd half.

The LBs looked confused at times by NMs misdirection and option. Way too much hesitation. And agree there is not enough penetration along the line. My hope is that they improve as they did last year after game 2.

Comment by Iron Duke 09.14.13 @ 8:25 pm

Savage is a very impressive QB. I guess he will throw a bad pick now and then, but man does he ever make some impressive throws. Shame it did not work out for him to be a two or three year starter.

I never saw Foster play, but he must be off the charts if he is better than Boyd.

Conner has already made me forget old what’s his name at WVU.

Comment by HbgFrank 09.14.13 @ 9:45 pm

GReat Day in Pittsburgh Sports !!!

The Panthers rout New Mexico. With 2 RB’s getting over 100 yards each. Connor was just bruising out there and avg’d about 10 ypc.

And Tyler Boyd is going to be so good it’s going to be sick. We definitely got the best player in Pennsylvania.

PITT scores over 60 without the 4 turnovers. Need to eliminate that stuff. And we went easily OVER the Total for this game which was 47-50.
They scored a few times in the 2nd half on shortened fields. Duke got routed today, 38-14 so they’re having their problems.

And me Buccos won over the Cubbies and move back into a 1rst place tie with Cards.

And to top off a wonderful day in Pittsburgh sports, the Pedo’s got beat in Creepy Valley by a American Athletic Conference team, lmao.

That is too funny ! 🙂

Comment by EMel 09.14.13 @ 10:01 pm

Hbgfrank last year many sports people said boyd was better then foster

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.14.13 @ 10:05 pm

Question – for next year moving clemons back to DE were he has NFL size and athleticism and having Johson replace him at tackle.
If he can acquire tempermant with his size and speed and insights from playing tackle (giving him an incredible advantage over who has to block him) he could punch his ticket to the next level.

Comment by pittisit 09.15.13 @ 10:18 am

Savage will make better reads as he gets more playing time. I cannot believe the negative comments about him they remind me about the same misguded critizms about Adams. All Adams needed was what he did not get at Pitt and why he went pro.
Savage is the best QB since Flacco. Forget about the 60 yard pass to Boyd or the incredible 35 year pass off his back foot to Tyler (everyone is harping on Tylers catches as the should be but those were NFL passes).
More importantly is his arm strength to get the ball on the curl out with velocity ( a play we could not even use with Tino or next year with Volyck. Also the over the middle Rothensburger zip to Boyd coming across the middle. Each of those are NFL caliber throws.
He did misread one pass the first int. The second was a remarkable play on his part in the grasp found reciver coming across the middle released and it would have been a perfect strike (as pointed out by the announcers) if a Pitt receiver underneath and out of the play had not reached back with his trailing hand and tipped the ball into the air.
Great throw not a pic on him.
This crap about him through int. when he was a true 18 year old freshman having anything to do with his accuracy uis pure crap. He is a mature 23 year old with a cannon for an arm plying with 2 great receivers but a questionable young O-line when up against top talent.
No one blames Ben when he throw 3 int. because the blocking breaks down.
Like Adams wait until next year without him when the next QB is Tino revisted. What if he gets hurt Anderson.
Chryst better hope for some transfer to fall into his lap or it could be a waste of Boyd like Baldwin after this year unless one of the 2 new recruits is ready after their red-shirt year

Comment by pittisit 09.15.13 @ 10:43 am

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