September 24, 2013

Depth Chart and Duties

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 7:39 am

New game notes are out with the depth chart (PDF, p. 3). The only change is flipping Kevin Weatherspoon to primary kick returner over K’Wuan Willians. Nothing else has changed. Ray Vinopal is still the starting free safety. Cullen Christian is the back-up.

Could someone tell me what happened to Ryan Lewis? In presesaon, he was listed as the first back-up at both safety positions. Now he’s no where to be found on the depth chart. Haven’t heard about an injury. Was he that bad when he did get a chance (did he get a chance)?Is Vinopal really the best available? The man leading for the  2013 Pitt Fan’s Scapegoat Award — awarded to the starter who isn’t good, but gets ascribed for everything that goes wrong — breaking the 3-year reign of Tino Sunseri.

Isaac Bennett is still listed as the starter at running back.

I suppose it shouldn’t be a shock that Pitt has no plans to change a very questionable approach to coaching special teams.

Pitt doesn’t have a full-time special teams coach, instead using a committee approach with linebackers coach Chris Haering running many of the drills in practice. Coach Paul Chryst said he won’t adjust after the poor showing against Duke. “I’m not saying that the way we have it set up is the best,” he said. “We have to be better. So, as coaches, you say, you know what, we have to do better coaching. But I don’t question that part of it right now. There are lot of people with vested interest there, but we have to go do it. We have to improve there.”

Chryst doesn’t “question that part of it right now.”???? He’s not questioning what the coaches are doing in preparing the players on special teams? He’s about the only one. Well, then again, maybe at some point he is at least going to question the approach he has taken to special teams coaching at some point. In special teams we’ve seen returns for TDs. Lots of gashing runs to give the opposing offense good field position. Less than decent spacing and blocking when Pitt is on a return. Not to mention letting a ball hit another Pitt player from behind because no one else was paying attention. Yes, absolutely, the players need to do better work. They need to have more focus. But, um, who exactly do they answer to for those mistakes?

Next question: Is there a coach with more on the line than Chris Haering on this staff right now? He already lost some of his position coaching duties to veteran coach John Palmero this offseason — and the linebackers still are a struggle. He’s the guy running the drills on special teams that have been laughable. His boss — Defensive Coordinator Matt House — is struggling in his first year on the job, and was not exactly warmly received by the fans when promoted to the position. Haering better be doing everything he can to nab Alex Bookser or he becomes the most likely coach sacrificed to cover for Matt House’s first year.

In a more positive vein. All the offense led to domination in ACC weekly offensive honors:

Three players garnered Atlantic Coast Conference honors Monday for their performances against the Blue Devils.

Quarterback Tom Savage, who completed 23 of 33 passes for 424 yards and tied an ACC record with six touchdowns, was named the league’s offensive back of the week. He also was the Walter Camp national offensive player of the week and the Davey O’Brien quarterback of the week.

“I thought he made good decisions,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. “I thought he had some poise. I like the way he played.”

Savage’s two favorite targets Saturday also were honored. Senior receiver Devin Street was named the ACC receiver of the week after catching six passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman receiver Tyler Boyd was the league’s rookie of the week. Boyd tallied eight catches for 154 yards and three touchdowns.


I move we name the “Pitt Fan’s Scapegoat Award” the Sunseri Award. We can have a ceremony in Birmingham at the end of each year

Comment by Pete in MD 09.24.13 @ 7:52 am

As long as are O keeps scoring points our defense can relax. :-). It’s been a long time since Pitt’s offense looked so good and its defense so bad. I like the reversal. Now about the Unspecial teams… 🙁

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by MariettaMike 09.24.13 @ 8:05 am

@MM – I was thinking the same thing this morning. Perhaps HCPC has dedicated this year to building an offensive juggernaut – the best defense is a great offense – figuring he can win by simply outscoring the opposition. FSU was a crap shoot anyway but it looks like Pitt ought to be able to win a scoring competition with any of the remaining opponents. Off-season, he will concentrate on recruiting for the defense.

Comment by Pitt Dad 09.24.13 @ 8:40 am

I can’t imagine we could have been more competitive with FSU, as duke scored more points. Obviously different situations, but it seems Savage has shaken of the rust and the offense is clicking more.

But Duke’s offense was doing the exact samething FSU was with the short throws, and even more with the QB keepers gashing the pitt d line.

Even giving up 27 points to new mexico is pretty bad.

Comment by Snala The Panther 09.24.13 @ 8:51 am

“The man leading for the 2013 Pitt Fan’s Scapegoat Award —”

The runaway favorite in this category has to be….

Matt ‘Is there a Doctor in the’ House.

Without question Chas. lol

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 8:57 am

This too….I’m sorry to say explains much:

“Pitt doesn’t have a full-time special teams coach, instead using a committee approach with linebackers coach Chris Haering running many of the drills in practice. ”

Haering needs to concentrate solely on coaching(?)
(might be too strong of term there) the LB’s.

As Dokish noted on his blog, this defense has some of the worst D1 coaches in D1. And neither do ANY of them show much in terms of recruiting skills as well.

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 9:01 am

Thinking back on early August.

It must have been Haering’s brilliant idea to screw around with Todd Thomas.

Can you imagine the ineptitude of this LB corp without TT ?

No……I didn’t think so ! Oy Vey

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 9:05 am

pete in MD that was very good keep up the good work

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.24.13 @ 9:05 am

No wonder why Huxtable slept in his coach’s office.

While Mattie was home at 10 with the little wifie.

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 9:07 am

EMel you are so right haering was also a bad hire
as i have said in the past all the best LB SIGN
woith outher schools been that way for 2 years that
is most likey haering fult.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.24.13 @ 9:10 am

@ pete in MD

Rather than holding it in Birmingham, which might imply we qualified (again) for that lovely(NOT) bowl game in rusty old Legion Field.

The Sunseri Award could be presented in Saskatoon or where ever that putz is playing.


Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 9:12 am

Coaching anything by committee sounds like a bad idea. If we’ve got 2 or 3 different coaches telling players 2 or 3 different things to do on special teams, then it’s no wonder they aren’t all on the same page on the field. You don’t need to have a full-time special teams coach, but it seems to me that you really need to have one guy who’s clearly in charge for consistency. From PCs comments, it doesn’t sound like we have that. In fact, I’m a little shocked at his blase attitude about what’s going on there.

It’s starting to sound to me like PC is a lot like Walt Harris in that he concentrates all of his efforts on the offense, where his expertise lies, and sort of just leaves everything else to the assistants and doesn’t take much direct interest in what they are doing. While I liked Walt, that approach did not work out well for him most of the time. If that is what is happening now, then PC needs to realize that he’s the head coach, and has to either be more involved in the other phases of the game, or hire higher-level people (like former HCs) to run them.

Comment by SteveS 09.24.13 @ 9:12 am

@ Frankie

Have we landed a recruit from Mt. Lebo since their former HC became a asst. coach for Pitt ??


Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 9:15 am

More like a “Red Haering “.

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 9:17 am

I can’t believe Todd Orlando ( a Pgh guy from Central Catholic), who has a track record of having good defenses and is known as a pretty good recruiter, ended up at…….in all places..

(this is too funny)……..Logan, UTAH.

The freaking Utah State Aggies…

Who just this weekend held the USC Trojans to 17 points and almost upset them 14-17 @ USC.

There is no way the Utah State Aggies (this is not to be confused with the Utah Utes of the Pac 12) offered him more money than PITT !

We could have had a REAL DC instead of this bumbling idiot kid.

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 9:25 am

If the Defense is again a “FAIL” this weekend against UVA.

PITT’s next game isn’t for 2 weeks. Plenty of time to disengage with ‘The Doctor in the House’. And install someone else (anyone else) and retool the defense.

He can back to be the video boy for the Carolina Panthers.

This team has a chance to have a ‘special’ offense and our chances of having a pretty good season, shouldn’t be ruined by this kid who is clearly in over his head.

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 9:32 am

EMel you are so right you are the best i have been trying to say that for 2 days.
but you just said it better you are the best i have
to say you hit the nail on the head.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.24.13 @ 9:48 am

Pitt’s defense is ranked last in the ACC in total yards allowed (445 per game), passing yards allowed (251), scoring (41 points), and next-to-last against the run (194). Obviously their problem is too much emphasis on stopping the run.

Comment by 66Goat 09.24.13 @ 9:59 am

It it were a very good program that ran all over Pitt, I would be more receptive to talent differential. But Duke really, that is the question for me. If VA, just another mediocre offense puts up the national debt counter on this defense House has to go ASAP as DC. He can go back to secondary coach and recruit as he needs a job. If Pitt is being cheap with Defensive coaches and HCPC is so limited, then SP and Nordy should be held to account with 21 million coming in next July.

Comment by chethejet 09.24.13 @ 10:01 am

Where is the extra money from the ACC going? Is it phased in under the ACC rules? Is Pitt going cheap on coaching?

Good questions.

Comment by Frank MD 09.24.13 @ 10:07 am

PittofDreams said pitts out house D
that is so right pittofdreams should get 500 points
for that he has a quick mind. or in outher words are D IS IN THE SHITER

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.24.13 @ 10:11 am

I don’t ascribe Vinopal for everything that goes wrong.

He’s out of position many times.
He misses many a tackle.
He’s slow.

He’s not the only one certainly, but he certainly is becoming a standout!!! (not in a good way)

Comment by Dan 09.24.13 @ 10:17 am

I see LSU just recruited a 14 year old HS kid. NCAA MUST put an age limit on this. Next could be a 10 year old.

Comment by Frank MD 09.24.13 @ 10:26 am

I have relatives who are big LSU fans. Big as in behemoth RV decked out in LSU colors for tailgate parties. Nothing would surprise me about LSU. Next could be genetic testing for recruiting while still in the womb.

Comment by 66Goat 09.24.13 @ 10:53 am

Emel mentioned the break. Thought Johnson has lost his red shirt and I’ll assume based on his skills and size is ready.
Clemmens is hugh and should replace Price a small linebacker at DE, may happen next year anyway.

Now is Clemmens time like Shread to shine in his NFL position he is perfect size for NFL 4-3 defense. His size alone should help on the d-line and with Johnson he will not be missed on the O-line because Johnson will beat him out next year. Make the switch back now.

Comment by misshome 09.24.13 @ 11:07 am

Goldberg (?) and Hagy from recent classes – and Apke and Bookser *** from this class are possibly the lone Mt Lebo kids with potential to contribute at Pitt

Bookser gets *** because he did not play like a Div1 recruit when I watched him play

one kid Haering did bring in was Caprara (Woodland Hills); Caprara is the kid that was moved up to take 1st team reps when Thomas was demoted


Comment by anony 09.24.13 @ 11:18 am

Concur Frank MD

This is getting way out of hand. SEC will be signing them up, coming out ‘out of the womb’ next.
If the kid had supposed good ‘bloodlines’. haha

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 11:20 am

Hagy is a RB at Cornell

outstanding athlete with a head to match – he would have been an upgrade at safety


Comment by anony 09.24.13 @ 11:22 am

Holtz might have more potential at LB than any other kid on the roster

Comment by anony 09.24.13 @ 11:24 am

Apke signed with Pedo State I believe even though his old man played LB at PITT.

Says lots.

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 11:25 am

Sherrill first had his eyes on Fralic when Fralic was in middle school

Comment by anony 09.24.13 @ 11:26 am

@ misshome

While I agree something (anything) needs done to improve the DE situation on Defense. TJ Clemmings never showed the aggression needed to play DE.

Of course neither do Durham or Murphy. So you might be right after all. 🙂

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 11:30 am

Apke ran low 11 100m – in bad conditions (this past April)

( only WPIAL football player faster this season might be the small back from West Mifflin (Wheeler) )

there is your deep threat

Comment by anony 09.24.13 @ 11:33 am

I just hired “Tony” to coach the special teams after reading his very practical solution to Pitt’s special team’s woes, his post is reprinted reprinted here from the previous thread.

“Tony, get off your ass in Harrisburg and down to Pittsburgh’s practice facility ASAP. You’re hired”!

I nominate myself for Special Teams coach.
Here’s my game plan let’s see if you can agree.

Blewitt Kicks the ball through the end-zone every time.Other team gets the ball at the 25 yard line. I think we can live with this.

Yoklic Punts the ball “Out of Bounds” as far as he can.
No return No harm.

I know this seems “INSANE” to some but it’s much better than what we do now or have for years. Thoughts?

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.24.13 @ 11:35 am

Seems wholly logical to me Doc.

If you can’t cover punt returns, punt the dang thing OUT OF BOUNDS !

You don’t need much of a dossier in coaching to figure that out. Sheesh

So even The Doctor in the House should be able to figure that out. ‘Red’ Haering too ! lol

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 11:55 am

Apke ran low 11 100m – in bad conditions (this past April)

Comment by anony 09.24.13 @ 11:33 am

Is that you Joe D ? haha

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 12:04 pm

“Chryst doesn’t “question that part of it right now.”???? He’s not questioning what the coaches are doing in preparing the players on special teams? He’s about the only one. Well, then again, maybe at some point he is at least going to question the approach he has taken to special teams coaching at some point. In special teams we’ve seen returns for TDs. Lots of gashing runs to give the opposing offense good field position. Less than decent spacing and blocking when Pitt is on a return. Not to mention letting a ball hit another Pitt player from behind because no one else was paying attention. Yes, absolutely, the players need to do better work. They need to have more focus. But, um, who exactly do they answer to for those mistakes? ”

All good points & questions Chas.

While I like very much what PC is doing on the offensive side of the ball, his answers to the Special teams problems (yes problems with a ‘s’, as in multiple problems) are very muddled and confused.

Much like how the special teams and defense play.

Muddled & Confused…….

Comment by EMel 09.24.13 @ 12:09 pm

if you base on speed alone, your deep threat for next year is Weah (RS Fr) … and Boyd of course

Comment by wbb 09.24.13 @ 12:12 pm

I saw almost every game Holtz played in his jr & sr years at Shaler. He is in not fast enough to play LB. If he would have played D it would have been at DE.

Comment by Nick 09.24.13 @ 12:46 pm

Off topic but I’m a little angry. Just checked out US News and World Reports National University Rankings. We slipped from 55 to 62 and PSU went from 45 to 37. I believe our academic ranking has slipped three years in a row just as our football team has slipped since the departure of good ol Walt.

Comment by AJ 09.24.13 @ 12:49 pm

How do other schools handle special teams? Here is the Coastal Division:

GT – first time ever having a special teams coach
BC – LB/Nickel Package/Special Teams coach
Miami – no special teams coach
Pitt – no special teams coach
VT – no special teams coach
Virginia – RBs/Special Teams coach
UNC – no special teams coach
Duke – 2 coaches, Special Teams/DB; Special Teams/TE/Recruiting

So 50%, including Pitt, don’t even bother naming a special teams coach. Surprisingly, Beamer ball has no named coach.
As you can see, GT is the only team that has a coach designated for special teams only. He has had that position for two years.
Face it. Kick off and punt coverage is not difficult coaching if the team sets aside time and puts effort into it. You need players staying in their freaking lanes, kids that can tackle and most of all kids that want to put a hit on someone.

Comment by notrocketscience 09.24.13 @ 12:52 pm

EMel off subject for a short time as you know i keep tabs on are old conference if there champs dont get into the play off that start in 2014 there best team wii go to the bbva compas bowl in birmingham how sad is that.
the reason for that is the military bowl which is there best bowl has signed to take there 3 thru 5 team.
then they lost there shot at a big bowl so all that is left is.
armed forces bowl
hawaii part time
and maybe there own bowl in miami if aproved.
thank god for the ACC.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.24.13 @ 12:58 pm

agree Holtz does not have speed

but he was RB (for 1.5 seasons)

also ran floor well – for a top hoops team

and now plays TE at Pitt

if he can play TE at Pitt – he has enough quickness / speed to play LB at Pitt (probably more suited for ILB)

when we faced Holtz in HS – we ran at him more than away – because he pursued well and we had trouble getting a body on him

Comment by anony 09.24.13 @ 2:43 pm

Holtz played RB because their top 2 RB’s went down in the first game. He was clearly their best player & they needed to get the ball in his hands more often. He does have good lateral quickness, but there’s a big difference between chasing down kids in the WPIAL & chasing down guys in the ACC. He was a pretty decent MLB in high school & would probably be ok at it in college, but he would be much better suited at DE at the college level if he played D. I think Pitt got it right putting him at TE because he seems to fit that position better than any other.

Comment by Nick 09.24.13 @ 3:16 pm

Move one of the 4 tight ends to de.

Comment by alcofan 09.24.13 @ 3:21 pm

Part of our problem on special teams is that nearly 100% of these units is comprised of backups. I believe Walt and Wanny used to mix in some starters to help sure up these units. Coaching probably and issue too…

As far as the defense we have a few good names going…
OutHouse D
ShitHouse D
Is there a Doctor in the House D
We just got Housed D
Time to get your House in Order D
House you going to stop the other team D

Outhouse D probably still my favorite family friendly description…

Comment by Atlanta Panther 09.24.13 @ 5:57 pm

who on current Pitt roster would be better than Holtz in the middle ?

Comment by anony 09.24.13 @ 6:11 pm

Parrish might be close to Holtz … possibly …

#76 Gonzales (walk-on) might be an option – if he can play in space

he grew up in Deer Lakes with Holtz; played youth ball with him

Comment by anony 09.24.13 @ 6:16 pm

The D will come back and bite PITT is the ass. The O is scoring but it’s not like it’s Oregon. PC better help House out!

Comment by Pittastic 09.25.13 @ 8:14 am

Powered by WordPress ©

Site Meter