September 21, 2013

Quick Thoughts: Duke game

Filed under: General Stupidity,Hire/Fire — Justin @ 3:47 pm

This one was ugly; like Wannstedt’s mustache full of fish sammich ugly. I don’t know if I have the stomach to watch the defense and give you guys a review. If you really, really want it (post in comments what your opinion is) I’ll do it, but only because you guys are the best. I say that earnestly, not sarcastically. Here are a few quick thoughts.

1) Tyler Boyd, Devin Street, and James Conner are awesome. Kevin Weatherspoon had 2 huge catches today, a 3rd down conversion and the game winner. I think Boyd is hurt because there’s no other explanation as to why he wasn’t out there late in the 4th. Hopefully he’s OK, I bet he’ll do something even more special for homecoming next week.

2) To continue Captain Obvious statements, the defense and special teams were abysmal. While everyone is pointing fingers at Vinopal, there were a lot of goats. Shane Gordon missed an easy tackle on Connette near the goal line and Connette scored. Duke had a play where Connette pumped to the left, then came back right to a WR screen. That burned Pitt at least three times. There were a ton of missed tackles and guys who were way out of position. Aaron Donald was pretty quiet outside of a few plays, probably due to double teams, and the rest of the DL did not step up.

3) If you’re going to fire Matt House (highly, highly doubt it happens), you do it AFTER Virginia. If Chryst is considering it, he’s weighing his possible replacements now while the team prepares for Virginia. There’s a bye week after the Virginia game. This gives the new coach time to get things in place. Like I said, don’t get your hopes up. It won’t happen. As bad as the D played, a lot of it was on players screwing up.

4) Duke’s offense appeared to be crap before this game, but Virginia and Virginia Tech appear to be awful on offense as well. Virginia is ranked 111th in passing yards and 98th in rushing yards. They didn’t score against Virginia Military Institute until the 2nd quarter today and that was after 2 INTs by their QB. Logan Thomas, VT’s QB, is dreadfully awful as we saw last year and if anything, he has gotten worse.

5) The offense fired on all cylinders the first 3 quarters and stuttered a bit in the 4th. To be blunt, I think they got tired. What’s important to me is that Savage came up with a huge throw in a clutch situation with pressure in his face. I don’t think you can blame coaching in terms of a passive or aggressive choice. They tried aggressive, 3 and out. They tried passive, 3 and out. My big complain was when you’re running out the clock, don’t get cute with running plays. Don’t pull TEs or OGs when everyone knows you’re running. Everyone is firing up field to try and stuff the run and that unblocked guy made plays at least twice that I saw. Don’t get cute. Helmet on a helmet, no pulling.

6) Everyone was wowed with Savage’s deep throws to Street and Boyd but to be blunt, those throws didn’t impress me. Not saying anything bad about him, they were nice throws and he did exactly what he was supposed to do. The throws that impressed me were the game winner to Weatherspoon along the sidelines, a 3rd down completion early in the game, the dump off to Boyd, and a few throws he dropped between the CB and S in cover 2.

The throw in cover 2 is difficult because a CB is playing short with a safety over top of him and there’s a very narrow window for a QB to throw in. Savage nailed those throws. He did a much better job looking off defenders. In fact, the dump off to Boyd for his first touchdown involved him looking off a LB so Boyd had a little extra space, space he used to score. I’ll go over more on him later, but I was very, very impressed with the little things today.

7) Conner has obviously become the primary RB. The coaches are savvy and will continue to give the start to Bennett as he is the vet. It’s one of those subtle things coaches do to keep players happy when they’ve done nothing wrong. Bennett is fine; it’s not his fault Conner is playing better right now. I’m still concerned about Bennett. He just doesn’t look right out there.

8) I know we have depth issues, but there’s no reason for Ray Vinopal to start anymore. Cullen Christian, Ryan Lewis, or Jevonte Pitts can’t be worse.

Overall, it’s a win. Take some time, drink some beers, enjoy the win, and get ready for homecoming! Also, feel free to note the topic tags I used.


Comment by FRANKCAN 09.21.13 @ 3:49 pm

Oh God, I can see Miami hanging 70 on us with their second stringers.

Comment by Shawn 09.21.13 @ 4:02 pm

how bad was boyd hurt.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.21.13 @ 4:03 pm

Frankcan-no idea. I’m just speculating that he was hurt. Seems logical reason why he wasn’t on the field late in the 4th.

Comment by Justin 09.21.13 @ 4:11 pm

Or this according to Sam Werner:

@SWernerPG 1m
Tyler Boyd said he took a knee to the thigh at the end of the game, which was why he wasn’t out there on the final plays. #Pitt

Comment by Justin 09.21.13 @ 4:11 pm

We need a coach that can scheme on D since our talent is mediocre at best. Therefore House must go. Many of us knew this hire was bad from the start. Chryst needs to find an equal on D and Nordy must stop being a cheap Cornhole. I love the O. And fire the special teams coach as well. Love our first ever ACC win. It was a fricken basketball score. Maybe we found a rival with the Dookies.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 4:14 pm

I would argue that players being out of position IS ON THE COACH. House will cost us the Virginia game, mark my words.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 09.21.13 @ 4:20 pm

Help me out: Why is Nordy at fault for our poor D today?

Comment by MariettaMike 09.21.13 @ 4:26 pm

Win is a win.

Comment by MikePITT 09.21.13 @ 4:27 pm

Something to keep in mind.

A coach may suck and he may be the reason a unit sucks. However, when you fire him, you create a lot of additional issues taht could make things worse.

To use an example, the Philadelphia Eagles last season. They screwed up when they hired Juan Castillo to be d-coordinator. After he was fired during the season, the defense got worse, waaaay worse. They went from bad to pathetic.

When you fire a coach during the season, you need to have an adequate replacement. For Pitt, John Palermo would probably be the guy to replace House. Is he going to do any better? Probably not. Could be do worse? Most likely.

You don’t fire coaches midseason unless you’re confident the replacement won’t be worse. It’s quite possible this defense could get worse. If you fire House and the D gets worse, we’re in a hell of a lot of trouble.

Comment by Justin 09.21.13 @ 4:28 pm

Yeah, House needs to go.

Comment by Hurriquake 09.21.13 @ 4:32 pm

Because Nordy and Stevie are cheap and don’t value athletics and have no respect for the Pitt sports brand. Pitt being cheap resulted in the hiring of House. Our D will prevent us from becoming bowl eligible. House is in over his head and Chryst now knows it. I just hope Stevie is paying attention but I suspect he is sleeping at wheel or drunk stupid. Take your pick.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 4:33 pm

As bad as it sounds, i agree with Justin that it’s a bad idea to fire your D-coordinator mid-stream. Especially when he is young and learning. We knew he’d make mistakes. Hopefully he is improving by them.

That being said, I’m still going to call for his head if only out of sheer frustration.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 09.21.13 @ 4:34 pm

On a positive note, the wvcc is getting their coon-skins handed to them by Maryland.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 09.21.13 @ 4:35 pm

And yes I agree justin. You fire house then you better damn well have a good replacement. Start looking now and pay whatever it takes. Pay for experience and proven results.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 4:35 pm

I also think that not ponying up the cash for a legit D-coordinator is partially on Chryst. Say what you want about Todd Graham, he fought tooth and nail to get the money for a solid group of assistants. I just can’t see Chryst doing that. I don’t know what goes on between the administration and the coaching staff though so who knows.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 09.21.13 @ 4:36 pm

Completely agree about firing coaches mid season. That’s the kind of move a head coach who’s seat is getting warm makes in order to deflect blame onto someone else.

Comment by Jeff 09.21.13 @ 4:36 pm

I had coon for dinner last night. My mother in law is from West Virginia. I miss playing those inbreds. I hope Pitt develops some good rivals in the ACC.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 4:38 pm

I don’t think it is a good idea to fire your DC in-season. I do think some players on defense should be benched. I also have to believe the “house cleaning” is hurting our depth.

Comment by HbgFrank 09.21.13 @ 4:47 pm

I, for one, am simply glad we won (on the road, for that matter) — even if it was an ugly win against a mediocre team. I heard many preseason predictions that Pitt would go 1-7 in conference. By that logic, we already got our one win.

Our defense and special teams have need to make significant improvements. But to call for the firing of the DC after a win in week 4 seems a little ridiculous to me.

This game made me shout and cringe and drink a lot. But for now, like I said, I’m just glad we came away with the W. (And as of now, the hoopies are getting shut out.)

Comment by Four One Two 09.21.13 @ 4:58 pm

Oh…no pun intended!

Comment by HbgFrank 09.21.13 @ 4:59 pm

Justin….we’re in a hell of a lot of trouble now. Just look at our schedule after Virginia. I agree with your sentiment…but, if I’m Chryst, I’m asking for a budget increase and looking for candidates. It may not happen til after the season…but I’m putting out feelers now.

Comment by Mike 09.21.13 @ 5:04 pm

A W is a W.
The D needs help…Nuff said.

I was worried as it seemed Conner was not running with the same authority in the second half as he did in the first half. He appeared tentative in latter stages of the game. Is he ok?

Hail to PITT!

Comment by Oregon_Panther 09.21.13 @ 5:04 pm

some one said dont fire house becuse the D might get worse bull it cant get any worse.
house must go.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.21.13 @ 5:05 pm

I think we all agree that firing House in season won’t help 2013, it’ll probably hurt it. The best course of action is to see where he is in December. We have a hell of a schedule in November. Notre Dame, Cuse, UNC, and Miami.

I’ve continually stated my goal is win out to GT, then go at least 2-3 in our last 5 games. That’s an 8-4 record. If we beat Virginia and VT, we’re probably going 6-1.

Comment by Justin 09.21.13 @ 5:09 pm

@TX Panther: Thanks. I know our defensive players are better than they have been playing this season. Most of these guys are back from last season.

Comment by MariettaMike 09.21.13 @ 5:17 pm

Does anyone know if House called a single blitz I don’t recall one

I listened to 937 the fan post game today and part of the problem is our media doesnt have the balls to ask the tough questions Neither House or Vinopal were even mentioned

Comment by Chick 09.21.13 @ 5:18 pm

No doubt that if the D is not straightened out we are are up S#$T creek… nooo paddle…

but come on guys… when have we seen an offense like this?

Big dude just plowing people over and outrunning them…. shell who?

NFL arm just snap’n balls all over the field… and Justin is right, the throws into cover 2 shows touch and accuracy not just strength.

electric receivers…. from WR to TEs…

Most importantly… they won… not choked.

Everyone in the program knows what the problem is now so let’s see if they can fix it. Supposedly they have the players so someone better get clue on how to prep. these players for game day… and position them on the field right…

I say they get it done.

Comment by Pittscript 09.21.13 @ 5:31 pm

when the admin. is only willing to pay in the low 200’s for a dc, this is what you can expect. the suits are getting what they paid for.

Comment by jk 09.21.13 @ 5:31 pm

The problems on D are also on Chryst as well as House. The offense has new this year, A QB far superior to the last one, an excellant freshman; running back, and tight end, a superstar, freshman wide receiver, a star redshirt freshman Tackle, an excellant transfer tightend, and a highly recruited defensive lineman moved to the O-line.

The defense has no freshmen or redshirt freshmen making an impact. No upgrades in talent this year. No new impact players.

House could do better, but there is no pass rush for a reason. Other than Thomas, linebackers are journeymen and obviously no one appears to be pushing Vinopal for his job.

Watch the D-line, other than Donald, no one breaks the line of scrimmage. Connette had all day to pass, same with Winston. The best coordinator is not going to change that. When we did get a little pressure he threw interceptions. The pressure came from Donald, not the ends.

Better ends and linebackers will make any coordinator look better, even House. Where would we be without Thomas?

Comment by gc 09.21.13 @ 5:36 pm

Hey nobody as far as I can tell is saying the offense didn’t make more than enough plays to win. And I will concede that this is a game Pitt typically loses. No way we win this game last year.

But c’mon you cant possibly feel GOOD about this game. Without the penalty on the kick return and the long TD, they DO lose, to one of the worst teams on the schedule. That defense is brutal, and special teams are not far behind.

I don’t suggest House be fired mid-season, but clearly another approach is needed, whether it be personnel changes, philosophy, shared responsibility, whatever. The D has been a disaster in both conference games. If it continues, 1-7 in conference is plausible.

Comment by Iron Duke 09.21.13 @ 5:36 pm

Scheme differently. Hide your weaknesses. Just not sure if the D has any strengths or playmakers. Again, love the O. And the other one in Oakland.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 5:41 pm

Chick, Pitt doesn’t blitz enough for a team that supposedly has good corners and gets zero pressure from rushing 4. But when they DO blitz, they blitz in effectively so I guess it matters not.

Comment by Iron Duke 09.21.13 @ 5:43 pm

Frankly I was stunned with how easily Duke scored on the Pitt defense. The defense played some really good games last year and with the returning veterans it was supposed to be the team’s strength.

On the offensive side, the quality of the receiving corps and Savage’s ability to throw deep with accuracy was impressive.

Comment by Justinian 09.21.13 @ 5:48 pm

A lot of people should be very pleased by Weatherspoon’s play. He made some huge catches today and if he’s going to be a reliable slot weapon, it opens up the offense so much more.

Something I like and don’t like simultaneously is the platoon at TE. We’re shuffling Holtz, Garner, Orndoff, and Parrish so often that none of them can really make consistent plays. On the other hand, they all get PT and the defense has to stay on their toes.

Comment by Justin 09.21.13 @ 5:57 pm

It’s like Pitt is playing with 9 guys on defense with them getting absolutely nothing from Durham/Price and No. 9.

Pitt has plenty of bodies to try at safety (Christian, Pitts, Webb, Lewis) – but we seem to be up the creek at DE, unless Cook can get on the field and make some plays.

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 09.21.13 @ 5:58 pm

TX Panther, how do you hide your weakness when it is no pass rush and #9 who they started picking on as soon as they figured it out. A scheme can help with some of our weaknesses but you are only as good as your weakest link.

Comment by gc 09.21.13 @ 6:05 pm

I agree gc. Pitt may have too many weaknesses to hide completely but I do think a different scheme might produce better results. And if certain players are a weak link, find some stronger steel from the bench. I do think Chryst may be the ONE. He seems to understand the Matrix. I just hope he doesn’t get as fat as Keanu is now.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 6:14 pm

If this game had another 3 minutes left we lose hands down. They had the momentum and Chryst played to to lose. Heck with 3 minutes we may have lost by 10. I don’t agree that the defense could get worse.. It’s atrocious. I’d fire House and not lose sleep. His performance is atrocious. It’s not a young thing. He sucks. Look at the age of Texas tech’s HC. House doesn’t have it and won’t at 40 or 50 years old.

Comment by Upittbaseball 09.21.13 @ 6:16 pm

The defense lost Jarred Holley, big time playmaker, Chas Alexcih 6.5 sacks and Brandon Lindsey 8.5 sacks, there are no stats for QB pressures but if you are sacking, you are also pressuring. None of these talents have been adequately replaced.

In recruiting all of the talent has gone to the offense. That’s obviously why they are better. Did you ever see Street make a touchdown catch like the one today, of course not, Tino couldn’t make that throw 1 out of 100 chances.

We have recruited the beef on the O-line, we need to do the same for the D.

Comment by gc 09.21.13 @ 6:18 pm

Maybe Dorian Johnson could play D end, I bet he did in High School. Just kidding.

Comment by gc 09.21.13 @ 6:21 pm

People need to lay off Vinopal. He’s doing his absolute best to get Nicholson to commit.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 09.21.13 @ 6:31 pm

Ridiculous that they did not pull Vinopal. Pitt has enough talent on D not to be as bad as they are.
Play Render, Soto, anyone but Durham. Play the freaking ball boy instead of Vinopal and Gonzalez.

Comment by notrocketscience 09.21.13 @ 6:35 pm

nice one marcus, hope it works

Comment by gc 09.21.13 @ 6:37 pm


Please post something on the defense. That’s my vote!

How is it that essentially the same defensive players who did the job last year are all of a sudden being called weak and journeymen?

Comment by DD 09.21.13 @ 7:07 pm

VERY Impressed with the Savage deep passes. Mialy because it’s been years since I’ve seen one in a game let that many.

I’m missing Tino,

said no Pitt fan anywhere

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 09.21.13 @ 7:12 pm

Did anyone else feel the shades of Cincinatti, with the punt return, the offense not able to pick up a first down, the defense giving up chunks of yardage?

When the punter, botched the snap, I thought it was curtains. I know there is a lot of angst, but these guys hung in there and won.

Comment by gc 09.21.13 @ 7:14 pm

Jerry Micco (PG Steeler writer)made the comment last week in the call for firing Haley, “perhaps a replacement would be better, but the players still have to play and make plays!

With all our collective anger toward House, and his high school defensive schemes, we all (I) need to keep Jerry’s comment in mind.

When all is said and done, our players simply did not make plays. Our tacking is at a Jr.High level and our escaping blocks up front is simply not happening. You can get all over House (and I did) but we are being outhit in every game. The talent is just not there. Let’s face it.

Comment by Dan 72 09.21.13 @ 7:17 pm

No one corrected me, but I was looking at the wrong year. Lindsey and Alexih were two years ago. Our pass rush stunk last year as well. Holley the only difference maker and a little pressure from Shayne Hale.

I guess you have to ask the question, how many plays does Holley make that Vinopal misses?

Comment by gc 09.21.13 @ 7:22 pm

I’ll answer that. All of them.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 7:29 pm

Justin..really? Conner doesn’t look right? Yeah the kids not a typical back but yeesh bro, lighten up. Couldnt ask for more from him.

Comment by nope 09.21.13 @ 7:31 pm


Comment by 63 Team 09.21.13 @ 7:34 pm

Poor Hoopies.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 7:36 pm

Dammit Rudolph I said the Shlitz house.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 7:37 pm

House is not the answer. Put 58 on the board and still struggle (against Duke?).

Love the offense. Savage is getting more comfortable. Boyd and Connor are ballers. Street is making a good argument for playing on Sunday.

House is struggling.

Did I say that House was bad?

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 09.21.13 @ 7:41 pm

@Nope, Justin’s comment was about Bennett (vice Conner).

Comment by HbgFrank 09.21.13 @ 7:42 pm

Just got home from Durham. Various thoughts…

For those of you who have not been down there for a game, I’d suggest you consider it for 2015. It’s a really nice place to see a game – even if the Duke fans don’t show. It a classic setup.

Tyler Boyd was on the bike during q4 and did not seem to be in much discomfort.

Chancellor Nordenberg was down in the stands with all of us – he actually was sitting down with the band and players’ families. Hardly the actions of a guy who doesn’t care about athletics.

I sure hope Dravon Henry was watching and imagining himself out there….could’ve used him today.

…and I just don’t get why the DBs aren’t either turning their heads or at least shielding the WRs.

You could feel that bad snap on the punt coming before the play… eerie

As much as it was a excrutiating sphincter flexing, I’m happy for the win.


Comment by Joe Lawrence 09.21.13 @ 7:47 pm

@Nope as hbgfrank pointed out, I’m referring to Bennett, specifically the health of his knee. He was more explosive in the spring.

Comment by Justin 09.21.13 @ 8:03 pm

Not sure how accurate this site usually is but they’ve got Street as the 5th rated receiver in the NCAA …. 1st round pick??

link to

Comment by MikePITT 09.21.13 @ 8:04 pm

dont say you cant fire your DC in the middle of the
season Texas did.
the D cant be any worse then it is the next man up could be better he cant be worse you cant get worse.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.21.13 @ 8:07 pm

Nordy may care but he doesn’t it.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 8:07 pm

As in get it. Our new chancellor must find it.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 8:08 pm

Stanford killing Arizona State. How I wish Pitt was Stanford.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 8:19 pm

Frankcan you are right as mostly always.

Comment by TX Panther 09.21.13 @ 8:21 pm

2-1 going into UVA game. I will take it. Tough D the last 3 games but thank God for the offense. House will go but it will not be until after the season. PC is too loyal to his guys. Loyal to a fault. Besides who do you replace him with? Might as well have PC sit in all all Defensive game planning for the rai see of the year.

Vinopol (sp?) is not a starter. Now I understand the FSU game better. A Donald needs to bring it every play if he is expecting to see Sundays.

Boyd is Larry Fitzgeraldish. Exciting to watch. Savage make the Last 4 years of Tino even more painful understanding how bad Tino really was during his years. Connor will be a 1000 yard runner and a future NFLer. Street is focused and clearly a leader on the field. That catch just inside the pilon for a TD was big time and will be a money catch that gets him a lot of NFL looks.

Bennett is no where near the player that Connor is but I agree that you start him. He paid his dues and deserves it (but get Connor in there quickly).

Love the TR options.

Overall I will take the win as we could easily be 1-2. UVA game is big.


Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 09.21.13 @ 8:30 pm

TX Panther thank you Texas was giveing up close to
50 points a game they fired there DC i think last
week and so far today they have held the outher team
with out a score at the half.
they were ahead 10 nothing with 90 seconds to go
till half time.
some times all it takes is to just change coachs
and like i said i dont think are D could get worse.
so what is there to lose.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.21.13 @ 8:36 pm

What do we know about how the Matt House thing really went down: Pitt wouldn’t pay? PC wasn’t comfortable bringing in an outsider? No one from the outside was really interested?

I hear all those reasons floated but never have read anything definitive.

Comment by BATR 09.21.13 @ 8:38 pm

We could replace House with my aunt Hilda next Tuesday and the D would play better against Virginia.

And don’t forget TX…Fraud Graham is the coach at ASU. We could be them right now…

Comment by Jackagain 09.21.13 @ 8:46 pm

Need to put House into foreclosure

Comment by John 09.21.13 @ 8:47 pm

the only way the D can get worse is if you allow House to keep coaching them.

Comment by druc 09.21.13 @ 8:54 pm

For the record, john palermo would ne the next guy up?

Comment by nope 09.21.13 @ 8:59 pm

John and duc you are both right house must go.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.21.13 @ 9:01 pm

john palermo cant be worse might be better we are
so bad on D we have nothing to lose.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.21.13 @ 9:03 pm

1. House is a god-awful DC and sadly, he’s cocky too for no reason whatsoever. He also takes zero blame.

2. Steve Pederson has zero marketing and branding ability. I was at the game and one thing I’ll give Duke – at least their merchandise was consistent. Very simple, basic colors – simple logo. The entire Duke store had merchandise with consistent branding. No 7th grade DinoCrap logos or 7 different colors. So much better than pathetic Pederson’s Pitt crap.

Comment by cmf2012 09.21.13 @ 9:11 pm

I get that the d and special teams sucked but after reading the open thread five minutes ago I’m confused. WE WON! Bask in it. Have joy.

Since I started following this program religiously in 2001 after knowing I would be attending Pitt, I became familiar with the pain of the common loss and the fluke loss. Swinging gate vs. Texas A&M, losses against South Florida, double overtime with Furman, losing to Youngstown State, implosions vs UConn and Rutgers.

We never win these close games and it felt good to get it for once. We may not win another except against Old Dominion if the D doesn’t step up though…but today, I am smiling like a butcher’s dog.

Comment by AJ 09.21.13 @ 9:27 pm

Jacksagain, How soon do you think we could get your Aunt Hilda signed and up to speed?

Comment by Justinian 09.21.13 @ 9:48 pm

I believe Duke gained more yards than us when you include special teams.

Also, we lose this game if not for turnovers.

Glad we win a game that is so typically lost by Pitt over the years.

Comment by DD 09.21.13 @ 9:52 pm

dokish said we need to change coachs on the D we have one of the worst D in the nation read it your self at the end of panther prey.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.21.13 @ 10:03 pm

house has to go

simple as that

if it means we get 70 points hung on us instead of 50 well so what if house stays guaranteed more of the same next year

GT is gonna hang 50 on us if house is still there

in the first half

Comment by deepelemblues 09.21.13 @ 10:59 pm

I’m shocked by the criticism I’m hearing. Yes, we gave up 55 points. Our defense was bad. Our special teams was awful. But Tom Savage was fucking Jesus compared to Tino, and if you told me we would never trail in our first road game in our “upgraded” conference I’d take it in a heartbeat. If you think we have it bad go read the Smoking Musket.

Comment by Four One Two 09.21.13 @ 11:28 pm

Is it still too early to hire Tom Bradley?

Comment by PittMW 09.22.13 @ 2:09 am

Ya’all, lets enjoy a historic Pitt win. This is the ACC and Pitt proved that it belongs in the ACC. Sure Pitt’s D could have played better but our offense could have scored a hundred points if it had to. I was at the GA Tech game listening to Pitt on satellite radio and could not believe all the scoring. Pitt will beat both NC and GA Tech. Most of us enjoy high scoring games so those watching the Pitt/Duke game should have been a real treat.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by MariettaMike 09.22.13 @ 6:48 am

Savage, throwing seven touchdown passes, priceless! :-)

Comment by MariettaMike 09.22.13 @ 7:00 am

Correction, Savage threw six TD passes. Still awesome.

Comment by MariettaMike 09.22.13 @ 7:06 am

Two starting defensive ends had a total of 1 tackle, I think thats a problem area.

Comment by alcofan 09.22.13 @ 7:40 am

It was almost 7! Tyler Boyd couldn’t quite pull in the one high throw in the end zone. It very possibly could have been a 4 TD game for him. Perfection in football is pretty hard to achieve. So I guess we can’t put an S on the front of his jersey. All in all impressive stuff from Boyd, Street, and Weatherspoon.

Comment by Justinian 09.22.13 @ 7:48 am

You can’t say is wasn’t an exciting game.

Comment by Justinian 09.22.13 @ 7:50 am

Thought yinz guys were a couple of whiney girlie girls bitching and moaning about House for all these months.
I stand corrected.
And yes, I would favor hiring Bradley. PSUcks kept Johnson and that other loser, and nobody seemed to mind.

Comment by Gas 09.22.13 @ 8:19 am

First, we won. Second, we scored 58 points and looked great at times. Third, it was the first road game for a team filled with young players. Our play reminded me a lot of the Steelers, who would get ahead and then let teams get back into a game—then at crunch time, come back and play well enough to win. Having said all of that, what is wrong with our special teams? That is the coach who may need to work the hardest to get his players ready for the remainder of the season. H2P
p.s. Is Maryland that good or is WVU that bad?

Comment by pmdH2P 09.22.13 @ 8:21 am

Congrats to the Panthers on an exciting victory against a storied Pitt rival! Coach Cutcliffe has Duke football headed in the right direction. Savage was poised and accurate. If Wanny was on the sidelines we certainly would have found a way to loose. PC needs time to collect more talent. When one of your LB’s tackles a receiver as his pass coverage, umm that’s not scheme. Progress comes in small steps. Next up the Wahoos. Love being in the ACC and will take any win, anyhow we can get it. Hail to PITT! UPone

Comment by UPone 09.22.13 @ 8:36 am

you all know what is sad with this offence we could win 9 games it is that good but with house as DC we will be lucky to win 2 more. that makes me very sad


Comment by FRANKCAN 09.22.13 @ 8:48 am

Tom Bradly is the answer..if not, then Aunt Hilda!

Comment by Dan 72 09.22.13 @ 9:09 am

I give house one more game and if there is not improvements of real value it’s time to move out

Comment by John 09.22.13 @ 9:13 am

MVP of this game might not be who you think. Conner ran 26 times for 173 yards, 6.65 per carry. Bennett, 12 times, 39 yards 3.25 per carry. Where would we be without Conner?

House shares the blame, but when the D-ends make 1 tackle, Vinopal makes tackles, but is too slow/lost in pass coverage, that puts pressure on everyone else. How can your ends only make one tackle against an option team? That is on those players not the coach. They just aren’t good enough to play at this level.

Comment by gc 09.22.13 @ 9:22 am

Something that just hit me.

People are pissed off over a win. This is progress, Pitt fans. It means our standards for this team are rising. 2 weeks ago, a lot of you would’ve said “we’re going to lose to Virginia.”

Now it’s “this defense better get a hell of a lot better or we’ll lose to VA.” No one is concerned about the offense. Savage looks poised, the OL is gelling and dominated yesterday, Conner is looking like a feature back. No one is concerned about WR anymore like they were in the spring.

Comment by Justin 09.22.13 @ 9:24 am

Chryst has been stockpiling O-linemen and tight ends, but few D-linemen and linebackers. Great for the O bad for the D. He better get on it or this problem will continue. Galambos and Shakir not enough, we need much more.

Next year we lose Donald.

Comment by gc 09.22.13 @ 9:30 am

i wish we could get wanny to coach the defense somehow

Comment by rhyno527 09.22.13 @ 9:39 am

and recruit linemen and linebackers

Comment by gc 09.22.13 @ 9:50 am

From the ACC Blog – Helmet Stickers:

Pittsburgh QB Tom Savage: Handing out just one helmet sticker to a member of the Pitt offense after Saturday’s 58-55 win is a tough task, but it’s impossible to argue with Savage’s final numbers. The senior QB completed 22-of-33 passes for 424 yards and six touchdowns, tying an ACC record. The six-TD performance hadn’t been done by an ACC quarterback since 1999. He had plenty of help though. Tailback James Conner ran for 173 yards, receiver Devin Street caught six passes for 166 and freshman sensation Tyler Boyd had eight catches for 154 yards and three touchdowns.

Comment by Pitt Dad 09.22.13 @ 10:09 am

We DIDN’T see the “same old Pitt” yesterday, ie., Pitt won a game!, on the road!!, and overcame the adversity of a shitty defense!!! & horrible special teams performance!!!! and a run of bad Pitt karma at the end!!!!! to still win the game!!!!!! Of course you realize that the “same old Pitt” loses this game.

But we can’t possibly appreciate coming out on top FOR ONCE without acknowledging how poorly we actually played, as commented by some posters, for example.

“You can’t possibly feel good about this game”. Really????? I feel much better about it than if Weatherspoon had not made that awesome catch for the critical first down that let us run out the clock. Instead we could have given up the ball to Duke. Who then would kick a last second FG as time expires to tie the game. Then Duke would have taken us into double overtime where Blewitt would have missed a chip shot FG (so we could make fun of his name) and then Duke would respond by making one of their own to win in double OT. Yeah, I think I’ll take the win and the feeling that I currently have with our win rather than my usual gut wrenching, tear the heart out of my chest feeling of defeat I get from a game lost that we should have easily won going away in regulation. “Same old Pitt” NOT!!!!!!!!!

So instead of appreciating this young team’s ability of “finding a way to win” in the face of such mounting adversity, we should instead be dispondent with our shitty defensive performance.

Seriously?? Have you NOT been following the fortunes of Pitt Football of recent history??????? Take a chill pill, take the win, and just enjoy the freakin win! Seriously!


Comment by Dr. Tom 09.22.13 @ 10:19 am

Amen Father Tom

Comment by gc 09.22.13 @ 10:33 am

That pass to Weatherspoon showed me that PC plays to win, rather than “not lose”. He called the time out to make sure they were on the same page. Wanny would have called a dive play into the line to keep the clock running, then punt. This would have resulted in a blocked punt, a punt return all the way, or a long pass in the vicinity of Vinopal. That would have been “same old Pitt”.

Comment by 66Goat 09.22.13 @ 10:36 am

BTW, I’m not drinking any Pitt Koolaid here. I agree that Pitt’s D and special teams stunk the place out, FOR MOST OF THE GAME,BBBUUUTTTT,,,,

They also caused four, count them 1, 2, 3, 4, turnovers. The last of which, Gonzales’ pick six, proved to be the game winner!

The special teams also covered both of Duke’s onside kicks, the second of which was covered by #9, who’s that? Vinopal! WHAT???? He sucks!

And who comes up with stuffing the faked Duke punt once again for two weeks in a row? You’re right! I am soooo glad that Todd Thomas was allowed to come back on the team. You think that our defense is awful now, it would be even worse if Thomas wasn’t back in there at LB.

So it ain’t all bad. But I totally agree that we got to get special teams and this defense fixed or we are going to lose a lot of games going forward.

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.22.13 @ 10:42 am

Thank you good Doctor. Yes it’s frustrating to watch this kind of performance but you and 66Goat are entirely right. The Same Old Pitt would have found a way to lose this game. Instead we found a way to win. Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Atlanta Panther 09.22.13 @ 10:48 am

I think the poor special teams is a product of depth. We have no experienced depth on defense. While STs is a good spot for freshmen to get their feet wet, we don’t have many rs sophomores fighting to get on the field for defense/offense.

Comment by Justin 09.22.13 @ 11:00 am

Anyone remember 2009 Pitt v. Cincy? They outscore us 21-13 in the 4th quarter and win by 1?

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt called it “a tough, heartbreaking loss, to say the least.”

Contrast that with yesterday. Duke outscores us 20-7 in the fourth quarter. Pitt wins!!

Duke coach David Cutcliffe greeted reporters at his postgame news conference with quite an opening line.

“That was a bizarre game.”

Having been at the Cincy game I can tell you I am much happier being on the winning end of a bizarre game than suffering through another heartbreaking loss.


Comment by Pitt Dad 09.22.13 @ 11:06 am

Our DE are terrible/Price is too small.
Clemmens is an NFL size DE his size alone should stop the edge. He knows the position and we have more than a capable replacement for Him Johnson.
Adjustment have Willians shadow the one player they had every where he went and Thomas take QB.

Please no more raps on Savage. The same ignorance that was heaped on Adams.

The person who said personnel hit it on the head; too small. As he said need a coach to disuise our weaknesses. If any of the younger players are more physical suited for the positions play them now.
Get Gonzalez, Price, and Vol (safety) off the field).

Despite Taylor, connors, the new RB, and probabily McKenzie the next two years hopefully no more Pitt will take a step back unless they can instantly create a defense that can limit opponents to 14 points. Remember Savage like Adams was a gift from heaven (one thing this shows is that Chryst is a much better coach than Dixon he knew he had a stud and is using him. Dixon does not know how to use talent).
Next year we return to Tino ball. Eight in the box double team on Taylor.
Savage is one hell of a QB too bad we don’t have the defense of the year we went 10-2 2 all-american DE

Comment by misshome 09.22.13 @ 11:28 am

Who’s Taylor?

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.22.13 @ 11:36 am

Justin I am sure your one of the persons who said Adams is clumsy, had no hands,or offense. If this was close to reality he would have been drafted in second round.
Now you said you were not impressed with Savages long TD passes. Your crazy. When your receiver has his man beat by 15 yards you have 10 to play with so do not over through him make it an easy catch by putting air underneath. That was an NFL throw. You wanted him to zip it so the reciver did not have to break stride. That makes it a harder catch for the receiver and a lower percentage pass.
Please admit you do not like Savage despite the fact, as with most modern football teams he is the most important player on the team.
If Pitt gets to a bowl it will be because of Savage no other player.
Volychik could not make 70% of the throws Savage makes we saw that on his only pass against N.M.
Because I strenuously disagree, and like Adams I think the NFL will reinforce my assessment when he is drafted in the by the fourth round, you can now kick me off the blog.

Comment by misshome 09.22.13 @ 11:41 am

Welcome aboard misshome, all opinions welcome, except for trolls.

Was it a coincidence that both on side kicks were right at Vinopal, he botched the first one?

Comment by gc 09.22.13 @ 11:47 am

Who’s Volychik?

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.22.13 @ 11:48 am

I think that drps poster changed his name again, obviously still infatuated with the untalented Sleepy though.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 09.22.13 @ 11:52 am

They won a game they easily could have lost…like the one to Cincy a couple of years ago. Because Pitt now has a talented QB

Comment by DocJLK 09.22.13 @ 12:03 pm

A QB makes all the difference. Tino himself set Pitt football back at least five years. Right the ship on D and special teams and Pitt has a decent shot at 8 wins. And yes, Wanny would have found a way to lose this game. Finally, not the same ole Pitt.

Comment by TX Panther 09.22.13 @ 12:22 pm

Vinopal = the new Tino

Comment by PITT it IS 09.22.13 @ 12:36 pm


Feel frustrated like everyone regarding the D. However
would really be sad had we lost. Net glad we got the W and excited about our O. At last playmakers: Savage, Boyd, Street,
Conner,etc. What if Savage had enrolled at Pitt rather than
Rutgers? Well we can dream anyway. Jon Baldwin would have been prolific with Savage throwing the ball.

When House was hired my concern was his weak resume’ and lack of experience. Would really like to hear PC’s rationale for hiring a guy who lacks depth of experience. Pitt will not fire
this guy in mid season; although he may resign? My guess is
he is overwhelmed and knows it.

Comment by JR 09.22.13 @ 12:46 pm


Lastly do anyone notice Dorian Johnson got in the game?

Comment by JR 09.22.13 @ 12:51 pm

Good statements by dr. tom, gc and others about this is not the ‘same old pitt’. a lot of very good things to be pumped about.

now it is simple: how does PC respond and adjust to clearly big issues on the D side. Time will tell but here is hoping and supporting he will get it done.

tough challenge because half the players look out of place and the supposed strength of the team has players who dont seem as good … and no freshman troops to ride to the rescue.

throw in the recruiting class lack D talent and definitely a challenge.

but this O, as shown, can keep us in a lot of games and win game for us….

…to go 7-5 we only have to beat the teams like Duke that we should beat! And V. Tech looks weak now too.

…So D just needs to improve enough to let the O win it for us.

… and hey, let’s remember these are college kids. To get on the safety now as the next Tino, etc, etc…. cut the kids some slack. give the adults crap fine.

Comment by Pittscript 09.22.13 @ 12:58 pm

totally agree with the statement “not same old pitt”….yes..we would have lost this game if we were same old pitt……The offense shows ALOT of promise and is very explosive!!…The defense sorely needs to get better and maybe a change with the DC…something needs to happen, our offense can only do so much…..h2p!

Comment by Keith 09.22.13 @ 1:12 pm

Talked to my aunt Hilda last night…..she’s willing to come on board at Pitt if they agree to pay double what she gets now on social security. I told her I’m not sure if Pederson is willing to up the budget on assistants though… 😉

Comment by Jackagain 09.22.13 @ 1:23 pm

Keith is right as good as the offense is if the D is not fixed a 9 win season will never happen and if we had just a average D not a great D we could win 9.
But not with this D not with house he must go or
a great season will be just a dream.

house should quit or be fired outher wise 5 wins
if we are lucky.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.22.13 @ 1:34 pm

jackagain she would be better any one would i know
it wont happen but had he chryst hired a proven
DC and the D was only 25 percent better we would have had a shot at 9 wins.
as dockish says the pitt D is awful and it needs a new coach.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.22.13 @ 1:43 pm

Easy “misshome” posting to this blog is an acquired taste and I join gc in welcoming you. I was considering the benefit of returning TJ Clemmings to the D-line especially since we pulled DJ’s redshirt. Good thought, shades of Bill Fralic eh. Look out for the paragraph police when posting and don’t get frustrated by the dip sh-ts who eviscerate our Panthers and their coaches, then claim to be fans. Hail to Pitt! This post is intentionally paragraphically incorrect! UPone

Comment by UPone 09.22.13 @ 1:56 pm

@ Jackagain, try to get your aunt an interview at least.

Hail to Hilda!

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.22.13 @ 2:03 pm

@ UPONE, just calmly step back from the paragraghical ledge. LOL!

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.22.13 @ 2:06 pm

when PC came the defense was in good shape and the offense was just totally awful

he focused on stacking up the O-line and the rest of the offense and looks to have done a pretty good job

but you have to sacrifice recruiting defense to recruit so heavily on the offensive side

HCPC needs to switch that recruiting focus to the defense next year not neglect the offense just get focused on the defense because the cupboard looks pretty bare there now while the offense’s pantry is stacked

Comment by deepelemblues 09.22.13 @ 2:06 pm

@misshome, I think you are reading Justin’s comments too literally. The point was not that the long throws are unimpressive, it is that being able to complete long throws is not what separates the very good QB’s from the good. Any good QB should hit a decent percentage of those long throws, particularly when the receivers have space between them and their defenders. What separates the very good QB’s is that they can hit a decent percentage of the timing throws (out patterns) and the difficult throws (over the LB in front of the safety, fade patterns). Hit a high percentage of these throws and you are a great QB (see Marino, Dan). I believe Justin was actually giving high praise to Savage’s play in this game….On a related note, I have been paying particular attention to both Pro and College QB’s over the last two weeks. It seems to me a lot of them “lock in” on their primary receive.

Comment by HbgFrank 09.22.13 @ 3:41 pm

Didn’t Duke hang 45 on Miami last year? The Duke coach knows offense give him some credit. Not sure I hang all this on House as much as personal issues. House is popular with the players and the last thing we need is to demote him and cause problems in locker room.

Comment by giveitiarest 09.22.13 @ 4:27 pm

We won. That’s all that counts.

Just visited A new script T-shirt is a featured sale item…good enough to make money off of but not good enough to wear on the field? …maybe their’s a throwback day in the future.

Comment by TonyinHouston 09.22.13 @ 4:43 pm


Comment by TonyinHouston 09.22.13 @ 4:44 pm

Wow, what a great game to attend and witness PITT’s 1rst ACC win. And 1rst ACC road win.

Some thoughts:

1) Nice little stadium Duke has, didn’t know it was us that inaugurated it way back in Jock Sutherland’s era. While it was nice, it had a very bush league feel to it. Nothing comparable to either old Pitt Stadium or not even close to Heinz Field. Not many Duke students either, I guess preppies don’t support losing programs.

2) They announced like almost 23K in attendance.
I think they were counting the Duke fans twice, lol. As across the field from us behind the Duke bench there were 4-5 sections that barely had any ppl in them at all and on our side, there were 4-5 sections on the far end that were almost completely empty. Since stubhub was saying that only 300-400 tickets remained, the Duke athletic dept must buy up the seats. So PITT’s attendance is not that bad considering.

3) PITT came out all guns blazing as it was 27-7 before you knew it. Think a little into the 2nd quarter. Thought it was going to be a complete rout as I had predicted, 41-10. Yet by almost halftime, Duke had caught up 30-28 and we scored a huge TD right before the half ended to make it 37-28 at the half. No way should you lose a 27-7 (3 TD lead) in one quarter.

4) Defense was mostly out of position or poorly positioned in the 2nd quarter. The Safety, was clueless in pass coverage. Pitt, as they did, when New Mexico brought in their option QB, had no idea how to stop the option, as just like last week in the 2nd half, the QB was getting pretty good chunks of yardage on almost every carry.

5) Pitt’s DE’s are terrible. After only getting 1 tackle last week against a running team, when you figure, an RB or the QB would run into your arms a couple times to make the tackle. This Durham kid is not only undersized, he’s not very athletic at all and only assisted on 1 tackle yesterday against another running team. Surely PITT has someone who is better. I did not hear Ryan Murphy’s name at all, so he either didn’t play or didn’t register at tackle. So from your starting DE’s, you got a GRAND TOTAL OF 1 assist.
Neither did any DE get a sack or even get close enough to apply pressure.

6) That’s 2 weeks in a row we’ve given up a huge play, (this week a 75 yd TD) on punt coverage.
Whoever is coaching that, better start working on it quick as special teams was terrible and almost cost us the game. The punt return TD energized their sideline, and the blocked FG and missed extra point didn’t help either.

7) Almost impossible to believe we scored 58 points (which has to be our highest point total in over 20-30 years) and almost lost.

8) Only breathed a sigh of relief AFTER the ref ruled that Weatherspoon’s sideline reception was inbounds late in the 4rth quarter. For had we given up possession, Duke most likely would have scored, as we couldn’t stop them in the 4rh quarter. This was after we had gone up 51-28 late in the 3rd quarter and again I thought the game was safely in hand, as did most of the other PITT ppl around us.

9) They scored on a 75 yard play right after that, where L. Pitts and again the Safety(Vinopal) were not on the same page on the coverage scheme.

10) In the 4rth quarter, they just went up and down the field, as PITT mostly just watched.
And PITT had a couple 3 & outs (looked like we were just trying to hang on). That part was very Wannstedtian.

Comment by EMel 09.22.13 @ 6:00 pm

As has been mentioned, I’m not saying Savage’s deep throws weren’t nice. Those are throws you expect a 5th year senior to make. I think Pitt fans are impressed by them thanks to many years of QBs who couldn’t hit the deep throw to save their life.

I phrased it poorly, but my point is that it’s the other throws that impressed me because they’re ones he used his arm and head to complete. Most QBs can hit a WR with 2 steps down the field. Most QBs struggle throwing into the narrow gap between the CB and the S in cover 2 and Savage nailed that throw.

Most QBs struggle with using their eyes to look off a defender. Savage did just that on Boyd’s first touchdown. As the rust shakes off, he’s doing a lot of little things a lot better. He could be one hell of a QB if this progression keeps up.

Comment by Justin 09.22.13 @ 6:14 pm


11) What was really ironic, the battered and beaten Defense made the play that ended up winning the game. haha
Gonzo had a pass tossed directly to him, caught it and basically waltzed 30 or 40 yds into the endzone. It was the gift that saved Pittsburgh, so to speak. (sort of like The Fish that saved Pittsburgh :-) )

12) Great game by Savage who tied an ACC record, as well as two great performances by Street and our unstoppable Tyler Boyd and equally unstoppable James Conner. And all of that greatness would have went for not without a guy who hardly played the first 2 games, but came up big in some huge moments yesterday, Kevin Weatherspoon. Nice to see a young man who is actually a D1 QB play for PITT. We should insist on this little thing from now on !

13) Our fears were pretty accurate about House.
He has taken a defense that was decent last year, even ranked in the Top 20 nationally, with 8 starters back and has them totally playing out of position, totally playing without aggression and totally confused. 1 sack against a lightweight team like Duke is not going to cut it. L. Pitt’s and K’wuan Williams are not playing in coverage like they did last year. They were good CB’s last year, this year they are not. I’m guessing it has to be Vinopal, as well as the coverage schemes, as when they took Vin out last year after the 1rst 2 games, the defense got much better after PITT gave up 31 to a D2 team and 38 to Cincy in a blowout loss.

14) Pitt didn’t have any turnovers yesterday while Duke threw 4 interceptions. Which again means it shouldn’t have had to come down to making a fade pass on the sidelines to Weatherspoon with 3 minutes to go to seal the win.

15) Neither UVA or VT is that good this year, I see VT squeaked by Marshall yesterday at home and we all know they have a terrible QB. However with this defense, certainly both of those teams are better than Duke & New Mexico.

And finally if you ever get to Durham, you must visit Whiskey on West Main, we went to the Irish bar across the street until Whiskey opened, and it was worth the wait. Great liquors, fine cigars and a great way to end the day of a game !

Hail to Pitt !
VeV !

Comment by EMel 09.22.13 @ 6:14 pm

Good stuff Emel.

How was the Pitt fan support?

Comment by Pitt Fan in Atlanta 09.22.13 @ 6:34 pm

Nicely done Emel! Loved Wannstedtian, is that a noun or adjective? The three and outs were frightening when we needed desperately to run the clock.

The lack of any pass rush, except for Donald on occasion is the biggest deficiency. The fact that the ends aren’t stopping the run either makes you wonder why not go to 3-4 and put another linebacker out there, oh yeah we’re not exactly deep there either.

We are just going to have to score one more point than our opponents. That just might work.

Comment by gc 09.22.13 @ 6:52 pm

Got back from Durham tonight. Glad I attended. It’s a game I will not soon forget.

A couple of comments. As to firing House, if my memory serves me, The Baltimore Ravens (yeah, I know) fired their o-coordinator late last season and it kind of worked out okay for them. I’m from the school that thinks Pitt’s defense really couldn’t get much worse.

And I just don’t get why Chryst got so conservative with his playcalling late. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a team playing not to lose…end up losing

Comment by Pitt Fanatic '76 09.22.13 @ 7:25 pm

This was the best throw Savage made and probably the best throw we’ve seen from a Pitt QB since at least Palko.

link to

Comment by Justin 09.22.13 @ 7:50 pm

@ gc

I guess in that usage, ‘the act of hanging on’ or ‘playing not to lose’, it would be a noun. lol

When using it as an adjective it would be lower case ‘w’.

As far as the D-Line, why not play another big guy on the line, like T. Jarret or L. Smith. Another big guy might limit all the double teaming of Donald. And you’re getting zilch from Durham & Murphy anyway. Then like you said add another LB, maybe just use Price as an exclusive rush LB which he seemed to excel at 2 years ago.

Yea I 2nd that, just outscore the opponent. As I said before the season started, the offenses in the ACC can score points (or the Defenses are really bad). But high scoring games are certainly trending upwards in all conferences.


I would estimate there were over a 1000 to maybe 1700 Pitt ppl there. It was ok I guess, would be better if we all had the same color on.
Pitt should have someone in the stands hand out Gold colored T-shirts to everyone in the Pitt section and that would look good on TV. As it is ppl wear a hodge podge of colors. The band was in the next section over, so it was good they took them along.

Comment by EMel 09.22.13 @ 7:55 pm

if vinopal starts next week you will know house is
is hopeless hell we know that any way.
but you will know he has not a clue for sure then.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.22.13 @ 8:38 pm


as opposed to the archaic wannystedtian.

I like the idea for the D-line, another big guy might be able to shed a block and actually make a tackle. Price from a fourth linebacker could spy the QB, and in the option play just hit him hard every time, or actually pressure a passing situation.

Yesterday he had a clean shot at least twice, fell off the QB and was too late to catch the RB. He should have just hit the QB hard.

Best hit of the day was Donald tackling the QB and RB simultaneously, I was laughing so hard my wife said from the other room, “when did football get that funny?”

We ought to have standard away jerseys for the fans. FSU with their garnet golf shirts were very impressive, and easily seen throughout the stadium. Blue hoodies with gold Pitt Script for cold games.

Comment by gc 09.22.13 @ 8:59 pm

I listened to some of the game on the radio. Pat Bostick does a great job of color commenting,ala Billy Osbourne. He criticized Vinopal constructively.

Comment by alcofan 09.22.13 @ 9:03 pm

The criticism of the defense has unfortunately overshadowed the spectacular play of our O-line, watching the Steelers tonight emphasizes the importance of the unit. It was Duke, but they gave Savage time and opened holes for Conners, made few mistakes and had few breakdowns. No doubt this is Chryst’s forte.

They should only get better, but it looks like they have gelled already. Bisnowaty is a redshirt freshman, and they only lose one starter next year.

This is really encouraging considering we were worried about how often Savage would get sacked last week.

Comment by gc 09.22.13 @ 9:32 pm

Early line: Pitt favored by a touchdown. I’ve been impressed with Vegas to this point…let’s hope they’re right here.

Comment by panther94 09.22.13 @ 9:42 pm

I wanted to marinate on this victory for a night before commenting to the group. I am not going to pile on House…..yet! Duke can score and they have done well in that department since their HC matriculated there. They have struggled because of qb injuries, but the scheme is solid. Did our defense give up too much? Yes, obviously. Pressure is key to college ball.

Vinopal – if you go back to comments on FSU game, it is obvious that Vinopal gets to the play a yard slow. Not his fault, just athletically challenged. I do think that the telephone calls from House to a couple targeted recruits in the defensive backfield are in order.

We need to take one at a time as we are not good enough to win without being focused. I expect the offense will not click at the pace of Saturday’s events.

On an off note, is Jon Baldwin injured? If not, I see his career coming to an end very soon unless he gets a work ethic. He is soft for the nfl and for Pitt when he was here. Not being a hater, just sayin that he should have stayed another year to get tougher and more complete as a player.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 09.22.13 @ 10:35 pm

I know I’m a newbie here and not the legend that Frankcan is,but been saying the same thing all along, House should never have got this job. Not only based on his resume, but a 2nd year coach who’s entire coaching career is on the offensive side of the ball, to give the D coordinator job to someone this green was insane. Not only that but besides Palermo, Haering and Brecterfield have virtually no experience makes it even crazier! I sadly think this move is gonna cost Pitt a chance at a real nice inaugural ACC season, this offense is legit, D in real trouble…

Comment by Pap76 09.23.13 @ 12:07 am

…Also, for the love of God, we are a DI BCS conference school without a special teams coach??? Come on! Paul Chryst is trying to find his way as a head coach and you have a completely unqualified D coordinator and no special teams coach? This screams Pitt being cheap, same old Pitt. Usually I’ll take a road conference win any day, ugly or not, but I see major problems as this schedule gets tougher…

Comment by Pap76 09.23.13 @ 12:21 am

The Pitt is cheap claim is old. I have never seen one person state that with facts to back it up.

Most D1 programs do not have a designated special teams coach. It is usually a shared duty or one coaches secondary responsibility. That does not make Pitt cheap.

Compare the salary budget for assistant coaches for all the ACC schools. Then and only then can we state Pitt is cheap. Otherwise it is just negative speculation.

Comment by notrocketscience 09.23.13 @ 7:22 am

I agree notrocket. Anyone who has run a business knows that you have to make tough decisions about where you spend money. Plus, Paul Chryst has been around the “business” long enough to know what is needed to attract and retain talented, hard-working assistants. Let’s permit him to do that.

However, we need someone to be responsible for special teams. We know that it is a glaring weakness. I am all for hiring “Aunt Hilda” if she is willing. H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 09.23.13 @ 7:45 am

@Justin–You said in #3: “As bad as the D played, a lot of it was on players screwing up.”

When you are three weeks into the season and the players are still “screwing up” and most of them are experienced veterans then they aren’t being coached properly. It is as simple as that, IMHO. Its not like we are starting a boatload of true freshmen on defense, after all.

Comment by pitt1972 09.23.13 @ 8:01 am

It’s definitely difficult to pinpoint exactly why the defense is screwing up. I screamed at the TV when they fell for the fake swing pass left, come back to WR screen right again. I am willing to give them the VA game and here’s why.

I mentioned Duke may struggle on defense after playing the GT triple option the week before. Maybe it was a little bit of the same case for Pitt. While Duke runs option plays, it’s a part of their offense, not the whole thing. Maybe the defense struggled to adjust from always playing the option to playing a more traditional offense with the option added to it.

Virginia’s offense as I’m researching it is similar to Duke’s, but they use less option. Granted, they may use it a lot more after what Duke did.

Comment by Justin 09.23.13 @ 8:21 am

Congrats to Savage on his Walter Camp weekly award! Man, he throws a nice ball!

Now on to the bad stuff. The defense is in deep DoDo. As Chryst said in his post game interview, obviously we need to clean up a lot of things. Well, get out the industrial strength cleansers and a fire hose or two because this defense smells of a cesspool right now. Option teams like Navy and Ga Tech are going to make this current defense look embarrassingly inept unless things are addressed in ernest quickly!

And regarding the argument about whether there is a warrented need for a special teams coach on this team or not, who cares?? Just get SOMEBODY to take control of the wheel concerning the play of special teams, even if it’s HCPC himself! the play of special teams right now is special alright, especially horrible! That is totally unacceptable. This one circumstance alone will lose many close games for us if it’s not addressed soon with somebody taking personal responsibility for improving their overall performance.

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.23.13 @ 8:29 am

I agree that House has to get more out of his defense or be shown the door, but the defense ABSOLUTELY could have been worse in that Duke game. If the D doesn’t come away with FOUR turnovers, Pitt probably doesn’t win that game. Then people would REALLY have something to bitch about. Criticism where it is due, but CREDIT as well.

Comment by JCE 09.23.13 @ 8:48 am

3 games and no injuries, whats up with that? Is there any way we can see the lineup for special teams?

Comment by alcofan 09.23.13 @ 8:56 am

I totally agree with Dr. Tom. If we cannot afford to have a special teams coach, we can still have someone be responsible for them. You cannot make it a “committee” job. I expect us to be way better on defense and special teams against UVA. H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 09.23.13 @ 8:57 am

I agree with the others above that the “Pitt is cheap” stuff is getting old, and no one has given any actual evidence that it’s the case. I don’t know, but I suspect Pitt’s salaries are in line with most other ACC programs.

IMO, House is not the DC because Pitt wouldn’t pay for someone else, House is DC because Chryst clearly likes to keep things in the family, so to speak. As many have noted here previosuly, he seems to only want to hire people he knows or has worked with before. I personally think there wasn’t anyone available at the time who fit into that comfort zone, so he chose to just preserve continuity by promoting House. I like PC, but if he’s going to be successful as a HC he needs to break out of that and broaden his horizons a bit with regards to the staff.

With regards to the current situation with the defense, something clearly has to be done. I agree that trying to bring in a new DC at this point is a bad idea, and isn’t going to happen. But at a minimum, PC needs to get House some help. Either promote someone like Palermo to co-coordinator, or bring in someone from the outside to consult and mentor him. Of course, a lot is on the players as well, and I also think we need to try to shake up the personnel a bit. Start some of the younger guys and see what happens. Honestly, I don’t think they can do much worse -some of the starters have been atrocious.

Comment by SteveS 09.23.13 @ 9:00 am

Please don’t take this as support for House because he has done nothing so far to earn a job for next year.

But…never say it can’t get worse. That’s what the Rooneys thought when they fired/retired Bruce Arians. Firing or demoting House now without a good replacement would open the door to chaos and a bad locker-room.

Whether we like it or not, he’s got the rest of this season to prove he belongs.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 09.23.13 @ 9:07 am

EMel -On TV Duke stadium reminded me of my beloved Pitt Stadium, red track and all.
Your thoughts??

Comment by Dan 72 09.23.13 @ 9:10 am

Concur Doc Tom,

This defense as it is schemed now with the current DE’s and Safety will be torched by Navy & especially GT for huge gabs of ground yardage as their option offenses are head & shoulders better than New Mexico’s & Duke’s.

The DE’s do not do their 2 basic roles; containment on the run and apply pressure on the QB. And this was against 2 of the weaker teams on the schedule.

Another big body is needed on the D-Line and I suggest it should be Tyrique Jarret, who would immediately become the BIGGEST BODY on the D-Line at 6-3, 340 lbs.

LaQuentin Smith at 6-2, 275 is another option as is Devin Cook who is somewhat smaller at only 255 lbs. Darryl Render at 6-2, 280 lbs. also saw action last year and seemed capable.

Any of these guys would provide us with more on the D-Line than what Durham & Murphy are providing, which is close to nothing.

If House insists on only 2 big guys on the D-line, the DE’s could be Shakir Soto & Ejuan Price who I would let play standing up.

We’ve seen the Vinopal inadequacies before, as in the first 2 games last season. He has gotten no better and again his poor play is against New Mexico and Duke, 2 of the weaker teams on the schedule. He was continually picked on by Duke once they found he was a liability.

Whoever is #2 on the 2 deep needs to be inserted, sooner rather than later.

And it would be nice to know who….exactly is coaching the ….’Not so Special Teams’.

Comment by EMel 09.23.13 @ 9:11 am

@ Dan 72

A little, but on a much smaller version (33K). It wasn’t a fully closed bowl on the one end. Yea I agree about the track thing. Lots of trees around the stadium gave it rural HS feel.

Somebody told me Duke has plans to renovate/expand it to 44K or so. And add a new Press Box and Luxury Boxes, etc. Oh and they’re going to eliminate the track and move the stands closer to the field. It should be pretty nice when completed.

Comment by EMel 09.23.13 @ 9:18 am

As far as Asst. Coaching salaries. And even HC salary.

We do know for a fact, that DW was giving PITT a deep discounted rate on his own salary and those of his asst’s.

Those low asst. coach rates were initially a stumbling block for Graham’s hiring until Pitt ‘ponied up’ for higher salaries for them.

And didn’t Huxtable leave for more money at NCSU ?

Comment by EMel 09.23.13 @ 9:27 am

Also the Heyward hiring, one consideration was for sure.

He came on the cheap. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t fully vetted.

Comment by EMel 09.23.13 @ 9:30 am

Savage 51 78 861 65.4 11.04

TD INT Rating
9 4 185.9

65% completion percentage looks familiar.
The 11.04 ypa does not ! haha

Comment by EMel 09.23.13 @ 10:05 am

One Question ??
Is this what “High Octane Offense” is supposed to
look like ??

Comment by Classof69 09.23.13 @ 12:26 pm

@ Classof69, ANSWER-YES. However Duke was running on midgrade (octane 89) and Pitt was running on premeium (octane 93), and thank God they were. Pitt needed that slight extra boost to get the win!

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.23.13 @ 2:04 pm

Pitt does not release assistant coaches salaries. Paul Chryst is paid roughly the same as Cutcliffe is at Duke. Randy Edsall makes slightly less at Maryland,.. followed by Shafer at Syracuse and Spaziani at BC being paid the least. I would assume Pitt’s assistants are also in the bottom half of ACC in pay. I don’t expect Pitt to pay a coach solely coach special teams, but to not have one of our assistants at least double as that is troubling, especially how bad that unit has looked

Comment by Pap76 09.23.13 @ 2:22 pm

The only person on the staff that has special teams listed as one of their responsibilities is special teams graduate assistant Taylor Mehlhaff. I hope one of the full time assistants takes a more active role with special teams. our defense and special teams HAVE to get better or this potent offense is gonna go to waste. I think this team can win 8 games if D and special teams can get cleaned up…

Comment by Pap76 09.23.13 @ 2:31 pm

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