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October 1, 2013

The Late, Late Media Recap

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 7:05 am

Not really that much needs to be said on the Pitt side. I mean, it’s a win. The defense feels better about itself than it did after Duke. Pitt did just enough on offense to get the win. The cost being Tom Savage getting hit a lot. Eventually suffering “concussion-like symptoms” which has now been upgraded to a mild concussion.

It still amazed me that no targeting penalty was called on that hit. From the press box, there was a lot of amazement that no call was made. Coach Paul Chryst was asked about it after the game.

Chryst said Virginia linebacker Daquan Romero’s hit to the head of quarterback Tom Savage is what the NCAA is trying to eliminate with its new rule that calls for the offending player to be ejected.

“Yes, I think so,” he said.

Romero wasn’t ejected, however and no penalty was called. Chryst spoke to the official after the play, but he declined to reveal their conversation.

“I really believe there is not one official that isn’t for that (making the game safer),” he said.

Those comments came from a question during the post-game the press conference. Chryst also added after that, “And… I’m going to stop there.” He just decided that he wasn’t going to finish the obvious thought that the officials really, really missed that call.

For Pitt, the downside was that the offense didn’t match the performance of the defense. Still, it’s a win.

It beats the feelings on the Virginia side.

By the time David Watford’s late fourth-quarter pass to the end zone Saturday in Pittsburgh’s 14-3 win glanced off Jake McGee’s fingertips, Virginia already established this was not going to be the week for its breakout game on offense.

Now, after posting just 188 yards against a Pittsburgh defense that entered the day giving up 445 yards per game — worst in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 101st in the nation — it’s fair to wonder if the big payoff will come at all this season for U.Va.’s offense.

“What I told everyone is, ‘This has got to get fixed,'” U.Va. coach Mike London said. “It’s not about a popularity contest. It’s about finding those players that can be consistent and give us a chance to win. That’s the first thing we’ll work on Sunday — finding the who and the what and just move on and move forward from there.”

Road openers are not a good place for Virginia.

The Cavaliers have now lost 7 of their last 8 road openers. They also fell to 0-6 when facing a new ACC member for the first time in conference play. Virginia owns a 6-12 record since a 14-13 win at Florida State in 2011 – that contest capped a run where the team won 6 of 7 games.

Needless to say, the result at Pitt was a disappointing one. Virginia now stands at 2-2 and 0-1 in the ACC. The Panthers, on the other hand, were happy to grab the win and improve to 3-1 and 2-1 in the ACC.

“It felt great to go three in a row. That’s what we’ve been talking about all week,” Pittsburgh defensive lineman Tyrone Ezell said. “It’s something we haven’t done in a while here at Pitt, and it feels great right now.”

The frustrating thing for Virginia fans is that they saw this loss unfolding exactly the way it did.

A lot of signs in the match-ups point to a dead even game so I think it is a toss-up, but I don’t trust the offense to fix the turnover and scoring issues even though Pittsburgh’s defense is shaky.

And with Pitt now 2-1 in the ACC, they are at least establishing that they are not out of their depth in a new conference — at least to those that apparently wondered about it.

5. Pitt is at home in the ACC. The Panthers now have won back-to-back games in their new conference and have a chance to move into a tie for the top spot in the Coastal Division if they can win at Virginia Tech next week. Pitt’s lone loss was to Florida State in the season opener. If they can escape Blacksburg with a win, the Panthers could be 6-1 heading into Atlanta on Nov. 2 for another key divisional game against Georgia Tech. With the win over Virginia, Pitt put itself right in the mix in its first season in the ACC. We’ll see how long the Panthers can stay there.

Well, with a bye Pitt gets to stay there for at least one more week.





I think the bye comes at opportune time. VT would be a big win and, if so, they should still be handle ODU after the letdown.

Then back-to-back triple option teams … both winable but certainly no guarantees.

Trouble is … then the hard part of the achedule begins … with the only plus being that 3 of the 4 games are at home (although UNC may not be as good as previously thought.)

Comment by wbb 10.01.13 @ 7:20 am

I checked out the standings for the first time. I have hopes for this season still and now it’s October. Keep it rolling along, ugly or not I love wins. H2P.

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 10.01.13 @ 7:39 am

The hit on Savage was so obvious it makes you wonder what is going on. He was in a feet first slide, and should not be hit at all. He was in a defenseless position. There was obvious helmet to helmet contact. The defender lowered his head and made no move to avoid the hit.

Isn’t this what the NFL and College football are trying to eliminate? Are there no admonitions to the ref who was standing right there watching the whole thing or to the player. You can’t read a players mind for intent, but the whole thing is so wrong.

We may not get the close calls from the ACC refs but this is ridiculous.

Comment by gc 10.01.13 @ 8:05 am

This will be our first game as an underdog on the road. A little surprised that it is a 12:00 game.

We win this one and we will get a little more respect.

Comment by gc 10.01.13 @ 8:12 am

It’s been said that the ACC refs are not of the highest caliber. Nothing about their work in the game against UVA changed that opinion. Even if they missed the helmet to helmet contact in the hit on Savage’s slide, at the very least it should have been a personal foul for a late hit. It was obvious even way up in the stands.

Comment by JCE 10.01.13 @ 8:32 am

Agreed gc, we win this one at VT and it is another HUGE step for this team and program towards our goals. Progress has come little by little in the upgrading of our talent and team chemistry. HCPC is bringing stability and respectibility back to Pitt Football but it is a process.

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 10.01.13 @ 8:37 am

Those projecting us to 6 and 1 need to calm down a bit. Let’s enjoy 3 and 1 and see where that goes. I have seen good Pitt teams struggle with Navy as an example. We don’t know what we have yet. The non-call on Savage seemed obvious but the non-call on the late sideline hit on Ibrahim was even more blatant. I got the feeling the refs were just inept as opposed to having an agenda.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.01.13 @ 9:04 am

Our Schedule really is set up well to allow Pitt to develop and grow during the early part of the season. Even the drubbing that we took at the hands of FSU was good from the stand point of generating a ton of excitement to kick off our inaugral season in the ACC, and when would you rather see FSU on our schedule instead anyhow?

Now a week off, just when we need it, so Tom’s brain has a chance to rearrange itself after getting scrambled. Hopefully it will be time well spent by the coaching staff as well to develop a comprehensive battle plan ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL to produce another win against the Hokies.

If and when this Pitt squad decides to put their “A” game out there on both offense and defense, then right there we should expect to see the dazed look in our opponent’s eyes as they ask the question amoungst themselves of “who are those guys”? The VT game would be a perfect venue to get that accomplished.

Now I’m usually a “one game at a time” fan, but in this case I want to look ahead to Old Dominion for a moment and raise a word of caution. “This will not be the cake walk that most think it will be”. I fully understand the premise, these guys have only been playing football AT ALL, for a half dozen years and are moving up to DIV I just now so we should crush them. Not so fast my friend, This OD team is GOOD!

Now it is time to focus on VT but more about OD to come. But Pitt will not just be able to mail this one in to get a win over OD.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.01.13 @ 9:29 am

@@@@@@
Predicting 5-2 going into the GT game.
Games We need to win NC and Syracuse.
Perhaps the refs will not side with ND and
give us a chance to win. Net looks like
7-5. Not taking care of business means
6-6. Seizing the opportunity means 8-4.

Comment by JR 10.01.13 @ 9:48 am

Sagarin’s computer still predicts only 2 more wins (ODU & UNC) for a 5-7 final record. In fact, it has us a 13 point underdog at VA Tech. Hope it proves to be way off.

Comment by pitt1972 10.01.13 @ 10:00 am

I agree Dr. Tom. It’s a well set-up schedule. Not sure if that was by design or by dumb luck, but I think we’ll all take it. I also agree that we need to focus in on VT, but OD is not going to be a pushover.

JR I think your breakdown is right on.

1972 – And that’s why they play the games …

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.01.13 @ 10:16 am

Same referee, Dennis Hennigan, who falied to make the penalty call on the head shot to Savage on Saturday was the same guy who called the phantom pass interefernce call on K’Wan last year at ND. Is it a coincidence or an axe to grind?

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 10.01.13 @ 10:18 am

@ JR, thinking that we’re better than we actually are nets us 4-8. One game at a time. You can only beat the team standing across the line of scrimmage from you on Saturday. Focus on the job at hand.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.01.13 @ 10:19 am

PFIHL – Looks like he’s an attorney in Syracuse. ‘Cuse fan perhaps?

link to rochester.edu

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.01.13 @ 10:27 am

I would have took 5 going in but have to admit I can see us winning 7 or 8. The only thing for sure is and of this I am certain, we definitely will win at least 3.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.01.13 @ 10:30 am

I still don’t think we know enough to predict much of anything. As Tom says, play them one at a time. I do think the next game will reveal a lot.

Comment by gc 10.01.13 @ 10:37 am

Is it true that Toad and Penney have relatives right in the heart of LA?

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 10.01.13 @ 10:40 am

he may have his sites on the UT job instead

Comment by wbb 10.01.13 @ 11:14 am

Good call wbb

If UT comes a knockin’, ain’t no way Fraud Graham stays in Arizona.

Now come on and pick a cliche:

All Pitt’s exes coach in Texas…

You can take the coach out of Texas…

“The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likable. In three days no one could stand him.” (Probably my favorite quote from Joseph Heller’s Catch-22)

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.01.13 @ 12:00 pm

One more…

“I felt a little guilty about jangling the poor bugger’s brains with that evil fantasy. But what the hell? Anybody who wanders around the world saying, “Hell yes, I’m from Texas,” deserves whatever happens to him.”

? Hunter S. Thompson, The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.01.13 @ 12:05 pm

Arizona State vs ND, don’t care, won’t watch it, EF them both.

Comment by gc 10.01.13 @ 12:23 pm

Other than Cook (and possibly Savage) are there any other injuries at this point in the season?

And, how has VT’s OL looked so far this season? Will we be able to pressure Logan Thomas a little bit?

I like our chances against VT if we can get the running game going against them.

Comment by Rockymtnhigh 10.01.13 @ 12:26 pm

Rockymountainhigh, Yes Rusell Shell was admitted to the West Virginia Institute for the terminally stupid, off of his bout with mental illness.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.01.13 @ 1:03 pm

I must really hate Notre Dame, I hope ASU beats the crap out of them.

Comment by Dan 10.01.13 @ 1:10 pm

Definitely routing FOR Notre Dame, yes, FOR Notre Dame, not even close.

Comment by 1618mt 10.01.13 @ 1:42 pm

Talk of Graham getting consideration at UT will subside dramatically this weekend.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.01.13 @ 1:48 pm

I would love to see a ND ball carrier headed up the sideline this weekend get pushed out of bounds and spear Todd Graham right in the kneecap with his helmet. After that, I couldn’t care less about the outcome of the game…

Comment by Big Bill 10.01.13 @ 1:51 pm

Reed… Interesting take on Savage’s persistent weaknesses.

Jives with the criticism Savage got in Piscataway.

Testimony to Chryst and Rudolph and what they’ve accomplished to this point.

But certainly reason for concern once Pitt starts playing the better teams on its schedule.

Still feel Voytik is going to get his chance before the season is over… Savage’s shortcomings in reading defenses and lack of escapability could present some serious challenges.

However, keeping fingers crossed for Savage’s continued success. One option for help is to incorporate more plays for the team’s No. 1 playmaker… that be Boyd.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.01.13 @ 2:09 pm

well, looks like Pitt will get another bye in a few weeks

Comment by wbb 10.01.13 @ 2:27 pm

@@@@@@
Dr Tom

Not getting ahead just bored by the
off week. By the way the VT game could
be ugly for us if we are unable to run the
ball.

Comment by JR 10.01.13 @ 2:32 pm

Savage is a very good bridge for HCPC. Really good arm and can execute the play book. WTF do you people want? Anyone who complains after watching Tino for three years needs help.

Comment by chethejet 10.01.13 @ 2:41 pm

No need for you to root for either ND or ASU. Graham will leave for USC by game time. Otherwise the game will be called after 7 overtimes or not be played because of the Federal money each school will not receive.

Comment by Frank MD 10.01.13 @ 2:45 pm

what are you referring to wbb

Comment by gc 10.01.13 @ 2:50 pm

JR, Anyone who watched VT pass rush ruin the GTech offensive game plan has to be concerned about playing the Hokies. We have a lot of work to do to get by this one.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.01.13 @ 3:05 pm

Wonder what Grahams’ email will read like this time.

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 10.01.13 @ 3:08 pm

gc, just read that Navy – Air Force may be canceled due to govt shutdown (I highly doubt it but you never know)

Comment by wbb 10.01.13 @ 3:18 pm

chetthejet, if a great arm was the only prerequisite for good quarterbacking, then Kyle Bollar and Jamarcus Russell would be all Pros instead of busts (NFL scouts claim they had the 2 best arms over the past 15 years — both #1 picks)

What Reed is referring to his inability to check off his primary receiver and look for secondary ones. The other issue MAY be the inability to throw a ball with touch (not sure.)

Comment by wbb 10.01.13 @ 3:23 pm

I don’t think the Fraudster is going anywhere soon…But, it would not surprise me if Chip Kelly wound up at USC.

Comment by HbgFrank 10.01.13 @ 3:43 pm

Chryst, Rudolph and Huebner better get their protection schemes in order and also get the running game back in order or TS is likely to get killed out there. Add in the revenge factor.

link to espn.go.com

Keeping it real !

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 3:47 pm

Does that mean our Commander and Chief won’t be at the Navy-AirForce game.

I’m sure they’re going to miss him. haha

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 3:52 pm

What do they pay for running this “country” these days?

I’m moving to Canada to watch Tino play.

It’s that f’ed up here.

Comment by steve1 10.01.13 @ 4:16 pm

steve1, H I L A R I O U S ! !

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.01.13 @ 4:27 pm

Navy, AF, Army and Coast Guard athletics canceled according to news reports.

Comment by Frank MD 10.01.13 @ 5:08 pm

The service academies are cancelling road athletic events. Home events at this point are good. I doubt this shutdown will go past Oct 16th when the debt ceiling needs to be increased.

Comment by why me 10.01.13 @ 6:08 pm

leave it shut down right now all i care abought is pitt football with BB on the back burner.
screw them.

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.01.13 @ 6:23 pm

Let’s Go B-U-C-S !!!

If the Pirates made the p-offs, then that proves there’s still hope for PITT football.

Anything is possible.

Let’s Go B-U-C-S !!!

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 6:25 pm

The academies can’t travel but congress still gets paid, WTF. Too political, sorry.

Comment by gc 10.01.13 @ 6:26 pm

A one game playoff, whose idea is this?

Comment by gc 10.01.13 @ 6:27 pm

I bet Nutting & Cornhole exhange Holiday cards.

2 blind squirrels who occasionally find an acorn !

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 6:28 pm

Obama doesn’t have to be on Obamacare. WTF !!!

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 6:29 pm

Can you say….we’re…..

S-C-R-E-W-E-D ! (bigtime)

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 6:31 pm

The one game playoff is all about money for the owners. It allows a bunch of teams to be in contention. Better attendance numbers and tv ratings. All about the money. Lets GO Bucs!!

Comment by why me 10.01.13 @ 6:31 pm

Live in DC if you actually want to experience the fallout of the government shutdown. Here, it is not just something you watch on TV but you live it. Still totally effed up.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.01.13 @ 6:33 pm

Just want to thank PC and the boys for the win over UVA. I have been battling testicular cancer for a month and a half, made it to Heinz Field, and got misty after the victory. We just don’t usually win those kinds of games and it gave me hope. Something so small as a football win from the old alma mater can help carry you through a tough time for a week or two, kind of amazing.

Question: I will be in downtown Cleveland during the UNC game on Nov 16th. Does the alumni association have any events? Couldn’t find a thing on their website. Are there any local bars that would show the game?

I’ve got a feeling we could win eight. I thought we only had a realistic shot at four at the start of the year. Keep it up guys.

Comment by AJ 10.01.13 @ 6:37 pm

Go to Billy Martin’s in Georgetown and forgetaboutit

One never knows who you’ll bump into and end up in the Tidal Basin with. lol

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 6:38 pm

Big Bill’s hope for a Todd Graham injury against ND almost made me urinate my skivvies.

Comment by AJ 10.01.13 @ 6:41 pm

Good deal AJ.

Try the warehouse district in downtown Cleveland, maybe stop by or phone the concierge at the Ritz Carlton. They can usually find out anything.

Glad to hear you’re doing better !

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 6:43 pm

If I were 50 years younger I’d stalk Scarlett Johansson

Comment by steve1 10.01.13 @ 6:52 pm

When the government BS starts screwing with the football season it’s time for patriots to take notice.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.01.13 @ 7:07 pm

AJ, God bless you and give that dam cancer hell! Please mention from time to time how you are doing! We’re pulling for you! UPone

Comment by UPone 10.01.13 @ 7:21 pm

Amen, UPone

Comment by steve1 10.01.13 @ 7:29 pm

Amen dont give in dont think on it

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.01.13 @ 7:56 pm

i’d appreciate fewer political commentaries.

let’s go bucs. raise the jolly roger.

h2p

Comment by pittkeith 10.01.13 @ 7:57 pm

AJ, FWIW, I’m a (bladder) cancer survivor and have been doing well. No doubt there has been many advances in cancer treatment and cures during my lifetime, just hang in there and stay positive.

I was a bit misty on Saturday. Left the Pitt game right before the end and we walked over to Bettis 36 Grille to watch the end of Pirates game. And the crowd there, almost all very young, were all fired up for the Buccos … a sight that I had wondered if I’d ever see again, and went crazy at the end of the game which ensured tonight’s home game.

Best wishes!

Comment by wbb 10.01.13 @ 8:13 pm

So no politics, but pro baseball is ok? Just making sure I conform to your guidelines. 😉

Comment by panther94 10.01.13 @ 8:16 pm

In the mid-South(N.Carolina), we went out to watch the Buccos, ran into a young kid who went to my same high school in da Burg (go figure)

Only thing he graduated from there, 30 years AFTER I did. haha He was an offensive lineman who played in the pre-season with the Detroit Lions and watched the Pirates game with us.

Nice kid, strange night as #55 hit not one HR, but 2 HR’s.

Life is indeed very strange.

Go Bucs !!!
Hail to Pitt !!!

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 11:31 pm

^^ wbb

Comment by EMel 10.01.13 @ 11:32 pm

Emel, thanks for the link. Numbers don’t lie.

The extra week of preparation could not have come at a better time.

Chryst and Rudolph will have a game plan in place. The question is “Run or Pass?”

Obviously, Virginia Tech can play the run. But the Hokies also boast having the BEST SECONDARY in college football.

Hate to say it, but Pitt’s chances are going to ride heavily on the ability of the defense to create turnovers and special teams.

Despite some improvement, Logan Thomas continues to be team’s Achilles. Special teams also seem to be a problem for VATech… as it is for Pitt.

Absolutely, Blewitt needs to quickly get over that damn learning curve for Pitt to pull out a win in Blacksburg.

And oh yes, get Tyler (now officiallyy on watch list for the Biletnikoff Award)Boyd the DAMN BALL… anyway you can.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.02.13 @ 6:05 am

Chethejet – I’m not reading anyone overly criticizing Savage at this point. What some of us are doing is pointing out some flaws in his game that may have a negative impact down the road.

Tino Sunseri isn’t going to win or lose any more football games for PITT so comparing Savage to him now when the actual games are being played is a moot point. What is important is how well Savage himself plays as the season marches on. I’m of the mind that while his stats are impressive at first glance once you really look at his overall play this year there isn’t a lot to get real excited about.

No one can argue that he didn’t have an excellent game against Duke and I can say that he pretty much won that game by himself on the strength of his passing. It was very well done. However, his production in the other three games leaves a lot to be desired:

In those matches Savage is 41/76 for 628 yds – a 54% completion rate and 209 YPG; he has 8.2 YPA with 4 TDs & 6 INTs. Pedestrian numbers at best and some of those INTs came at inopportune times. What is a real positive though is Savage’s YPC rate at a great 15.3 in those games. This production is right in line with what he had done earlier in his career and what some of us though he’d do as a starter, average overall with a big jump at the per completion yardage.

However, we do count every game and overall his production on the season looks pretty impressive and with him at the helm we are 3-1. I think that he’s been a pretty good QB for us so far but I also think it is valid to look at the rest of our schedule and feel some trepidation that Savage might not have strong success against the better defenses.

INTs scare me, especially with a young offensive unit that is still finding their way. Other fans don’t think INTs are that important and I could buy off on that if there were more TDs than INTs. For me a high completion rate and a good TD:INT ratio impacts an offense in real and positive ways.

This is what I love about college football. In the NFL a player’s talent and production level is pretty much known. In college player’s games can swing wildly and they can really progress or regress during the 13 game season. It will be fun watching Savage play out the year. If he gets more consistent and plays a bit better overall then we’ll be in for a good ride.

Comment by Reed 10.02.13 @ 6:40 am

Hey, my political comment included Tino. No demerits pour moi!

Comment by steve1 10.02.13 @ 7:15 am

@Reed, Under Rudolph and Chryst’s coaching, Savage’s potential as the season progresses is pretty high, IMO. Remember, this is a guy in fall camp that alot of us were wringing their hands over wondering if he would be a complete bust or not, since he hadn’t taken a snap in a real live action football game in like three years. Remember the arguments for Voytik to be the starter, him being the future of the program?

Now wer’re debating if Tom’s statistics warrant the appropriate praise or not for a 3-1 start to the season. There is PLENTY on this team that, as Coach Chryst likes to say, “needs to be cleaned up” including Savage’s shortcomings. One of those for sure is his knack for throwing the INT. IMO, he telegraphs many of his throws because he stares down his intended receiver before pulling the trigger. This is a technique issue, not a talent issue.

Going through his receiver progression is also not a strong suite for him, especially when the pocket is collapsing quickly, another technique issue. With time and the desire to get better, we could see Savage’s “technique” improve rapidly from game to game after watching his own films and working with the coaches on these weak points in his game.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I would much prefer these “coachable issues” to be our QB’s shortcomings rather than a basic talent issue like “no arm” to throw a deep accurate ball. With continued improvement in both Savage’s technique AND better OL play as we get deeper into our schedule, we might just see this offense really blossum.

Oh, BTW, anybody that discounts INTS as being a major problem, one which can result in turning a game around 180 degrees in a second, just doesn’t undersatnd football very well. Turnovers of all types have to to minimized if you want to produce a good football team, PERIOD.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.02.13 @ 7:23 am

We have been conditioned to spend a lot of time scrutinizing the QB play, he is the most important player on the field. No doubt we will find out more about Savage’s upside as the competition stiffens.

Obviously exceptional play on his part will make victory more obtainable. Mediocre play makes it more difficult and poor play impossible.

However, I am much more concerned and think our success depends on the play of the Defense. Although, the last game was encouraging, as many have said, VA contributed a great deal to this improved performance.

Hopefully we will see improvement on both sides of the ball, to be victorious, it is imperative.

Let’s not forget special teams, fewer big plays are a must have and fewer duck hooks from Blewitt would help.

In any case this team is much more entertaining to watch than the last few. Much credit goes to the Freshmen and Savage.

Comment by gc 10.02.13 @ 7:24 am

PITT beat the stuffing out of VT last year, I don’t believe VT is much better now. I say PITT beats them again with more complete game on both sides of the ball.

Comment by Pittastic 10.02.13 @ 8:54 am

And speaking of coaches having an influence on Savage’s development at QB, I left out the most obvious guy, Bollinger, who of course probably has the most hands on contact with Tom, him being the QBs Coach.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.02.13 @ 8:55 am

gc, what’s the old saying? I think it’s, “offense sells football tickets and defense wins football games” or something like that. So I agree with you.

Also, I’m the first to admit that I’m underwhelmed by Chris Blewitt’s performance up to this point in the season, especially since I was one of his biggest fans coming in as a recruit. I was perplexed initially by his enemic kickoff distances in the first couple games, but against Virginia he boomed a couple into the endzone for touchbacks so that issue may be evaporating.

What is disquieting however are the unforced errors on blocked/missed FGs up to this point in the season. I would love to see Blewitt get the ball up higher off his foot for the chip shot FG attempts and PATs since “distance” isn’t a problem from that range. However his typical kicking style really seems to drive the ball low, no matter what the distance of the attempt is. That style will give you the distance for long attempts but increases the potential for blocked kicks, which we’ve already seen. Of course, improved accuracy would be a welcomed improvement as well. Since he is “the guy”, here’s hoping he continues to refine his technique going forward. We need him to be great!

I would hate for him to have to endure the ridicule of a missed FG or PAT as a reason why Pitt loses a close game, that’s never a good confidence builder for a young kicker.

@ Pittastic, go ahead and drink the “Koolaid” this is a “Pitt Fans” site in the first place isn’t it? So why not be optimistic?

I just hope that the boys realize that VT will be wanting to rip our heads off and spit down our neck stumps since we have become a consistant thorn in their sides over the last couple decades, always exposing their weak spots, upsetting their season aspirations and winning games, that on paper, we have had no businees coming out on the winning end of. Don’t get me wrong I love the trend and I’m glad that we’ve owned them in the past, but they will want to spill some Panther blood on their own turf, make no mistake about it. The team better be prepared for a battle going down to Blacksburg or they could be in for a very rude awakening.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.02.13 @ 10:16 am

Dr. Tom… great articulation on Savage.

Honestly, the guy has out-performed my expectations to this point. This is despite his shortcomings which were evident back to when he played at Rutgers. Again testimony to Chryst, Rudolph… and yes Bollinger as noted above.

It was no secret that Savage had a great arm. Did not know he could be as accurate as he is on the majority of his passes, especially the deep ball. Ridiculously accurate.

His strength seems to be throwing to fast-moving receivers, especially outside the hashes. The trouble comes when he tries to taper his throws inside to a slower moving or stationary receiver.

Savage does have a problem with staring down receivers, namely the primary receiver on a given play. It’s not so bad when you do this when you have Boyd or Street outrunning the coverage on a deep pattern. But can be a major problem when you have a safety or extra defensive back in position to read the quarterback and come up to make a play on the ball.

This tendency to stare down receivers also leaves Savage vulnerable to the rush which explains his other problem which is taking sacks, especially when you factor in his lack of mobility.

VaTech undoubtedly knows this which is going to present the first big test as to how far Savage and the rest of the offense have come since Florida State.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.02.13 @ 10:46 am

We need to put an eye patch and a black “P” on that Duck and park him in the Allegheny right next to the Clemente Bridge for the St Louis game on Monday night. Now that would be real Pittsburgh style art.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.02.13 @ 1:47 pm

IMHO I highly doubt PITT is 3-1 w/last years QB. Savage has made plays. The throw to Spoons does NOT happen last year & my guess PITT is 1-3 @ this point w/prior QB. PC & JR need to tailor play calling to help Savage make quicker reads & release the ball quicker. Slant routes & more TE involvement. Draw play to keep defense honest. HTP!

Comment by DC33 10.02.13 @ 1:50 pm

Let me throw this out there.

Perhaps they aren’t throwing the shorter routes much(as in over the middle to the TE’s), as they would be much more devastating turnovers if they’re picked. Also higher probability for a pick 6.

Perhaps they’re willing to let TS throw the long bombs, to get the big plays and long TD’s (game changers both) and live with the occasional interception on the long passes. As a 40-45 yard pass that’s intercepted is just as good as a 40-45 yard punt. Without the risk of the punt being blocked or it being returned for a TD or a long return. Believe we’ve given up at least 2 long punt returns so far, one for a TD I believe against Duke and a long return against New Mex.

Until at least TS gets better in camouflaging his shorter passes better.

Comment by EMel 10.02.13 @ 2:53 pm

Agree DC33

Our passing game is a complete 180 from last year.
We don’t nickle & dime our way down the field due to said QB’s lack of arm strength. We go for the juggler. Cause we actually have a QB now with a D1 arm.

Comment by EMel 10.02.13 @ 3:01 pm

Had this posted on the basketball thread in error.

OK, am I the only one in the Pitt Faithful Clan that is excited about the news that I just heard, that Tyler Boyd has been named to the Bilenitkoff(sp?) Award Candidate watch list?

I just Googled if there are any other Freshman on the watch list and out of 75 candidates, only Corey Davis of Western Michigan is the other true Freshman on the list. Why in the world Chas/Reed/Justin hasn’t begun a thread about this news, I have no idea, because this is big time good news for Pitt football!

You guys have heard all the comments before, “Pitt football has been irrelevant for decades”, “Pitt Football continues to be a joke”, “many college football fans outside of Western PA don’t even know Pitt has a football team”, “what quality recruit in their right mind would want to play for the Panthers”, etc.

Well, all of a sudden, Pitt has a tandem of WRs that are BOTH on the Bilenitkoff Award watch list! And we wonder why Savage has a tendency to lock onto his deep receivers??? Kind of hard not to go to that well too often when the water seems to taste so sweet, often times!

Also, this kind of recognition for a true Freshman can do nothing but good things for Pitt’s recruiting fortunes. There are still four or five highly coveted quality recruits out there in Pitt’s backyard that are still seriously considering their Pitt offers. With Pitt playing so many RS and true Freshman already, and now Tyler getting some major love from the national media in this form has to be impressive to these guys. Lets hope that is helps land some of thos Bookser, Henry types that Pitt could so dearly use next year.

In light of guys like Robert Foster who, by comparision, is buried on the Alabama depth chart, while Boyd is basking in the national limelight, and at the same time is helping his team WIN, no downside there!

Great news! Hail to Pitt

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.02.13 @ 3:19 pm

@ Emel, but a QB that has the skills to throw the homerun as well as the technique to pick the defense apart when they give him the underneath patterns is a guy who is the entire package. You have no problems with developing that kind of QB for Pitt, do you?

I think that there is even a name for that kind of player. Oh yea, Payton Manning.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.02.13 @ 3:24 pm

EMel – you are correct I believe. The staff is holding off on those shorter quick hitters because those are the throws that Savage is least accurate on and, as you said, most susceptible to INTs – strange in a way isn’t it? Almost 180 degrees from most college QBs strengths.

Dr. Tom – Since I had the benefit of actually watching both Voytik and Savage in action during the spring and fall there was no doubt in my mind that Savage was going to be the starter and to be honest, as I said in my novella above, he is performing – with the exception of the Duke game – exactly as I though he would. I predicted a 52% completion percentage with as many INTs as TDs and less yards per game passing. His real positive is that he’s able to quickly score points which we didn’t have out of that position last year.

The reason for that ‘average’ prediction were those technical issues we have been talking about with his passing game. So, I’ll disagree a bit w/ you in that coaching will make that problem get better game to game. I could well be wrong but I think we’ll see more of the playbook adapting to existing limitations rather than skills getting better. I’d even go so far as sometimes platooning the QBs to even out the offense but don’t think that will happen.

Which, if the short game problems remaining is true, it’s a damn shame as I have felt going into this season that the TEs would be a major asset in the passing game. Both are highly skilled in both catching the ball and getting YAC. Part of their disappearance has been the slower growth in the passing protection of the OL than expected as we are #113 nationally with 13 allowed (every year!). They are having to stay in protection more than envisioned. Maybe if the OL improves dramatically it will give Savage some breathing room and allow him to correct those mistakes.

As you might have been able to tell in past conversations I’m not super high on Chad Voytik as the stater for 2014 but what I think we will have is a more well rounded QB thus a more open playbook. We won’t see the ‘big hitter’ passes we are now; Voytik’s arm isn’t that strong or accurate on deep balls, but he’ll be much more of a ‘ball distributor’ to our skilled positions. That, along with the growth of the OL which I think will happen in 2014 along with Boyd’s fledgling superstardom, makes me feel a bit better about next season.

When a QB has an outlet like Tyler Boyd to use everywhere and anywhere on the field that can be a real game changing thing if the QB can get him the ball consistently. Also, we may see some called running plays for Voytik to keep the DEs in containment more and allow Voytik a bit more time dropping back.

Comment by Reed 10.02.13 @ 3:33 pm

It’s nice to see that somebody is giving Voytik at least a little bit of credit. I was getting the feeling that he was all but written off as the starter next year. Granted he’s only thrown a pass or two so far, but I think he’s going to be solid for us.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.02.13 @ 3:55 pm

Maybe with all the pub, Tyler is getting from the National Media (even moreso than from the Pedostate centric local Pgh. media), Foster will decide to transfer to Pitt.

Imagine that tandem if it could happen.

As far as Savage’s short throw problems, I think with more game experience that will get better. You probably won’t see many of those throws against Va. Tech, as they have one of the top Defenses in FBS. TS should get the opportunity to work on that in the ODU and Navy games.

It will be interesting (and I hope I remember) to look for that in those 2 games.

Perhaps they could have Garner & Ordoff run longer routes to take advantage of their speed and size against opponents who are doubling Boyd and/or Street.

Comment by EMel 10.02.13 @ 4:09 pm

Btw I’d much rather have the QB who can connect on the deep passes.

1) You can score TD’s quickly. Long nickle & dime drives, are much more susceptible to mistakes, including penalties, fumbles, etc., which either kill the drive or it results in a FG attempt.
I’ve seen enough of drives between the 30’s the last 3 years for a lifetime.

2) By being able to throw and complete long passes, stretches the opponents defense, vertically. Thereby opening up the running game in most cases. (didn’t work against UVA, but I think we gave up on the running game too quickly)

3) Nothing more demoralizing to an opponent’s defense and team, than them having to run 10-12 plays to get a score, while their opponent can score in 1 or 2 plays. The Quick Strike !

That very thing happened to Steelers in the 2nd quarter in London on Sunday. Steeler had a 9 minute drive(3/4’s of the quarter), to only get a FG. On the next Viking possession, they moved down the field QUICKLY and scored a TD right before the half ended. Must have been quite disheartening to the Steelers as they came out pretty flat after halftime.

Don’t know if using Voytik in certain situations(to throw short passes) would work. Well it might work in one game. But after that, you’d think the opponent would be wise to that when Voytik entered the game.

Comment by EMel 10.02.13 @ 4:30 pm

I was hoping we’d go to the read-option with Voytik.

(obviously just kidding fellas)

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.02.13 @ 4:46 pm

re: Dr. Tom’s (excellent) Tyler Boyd Manifesto.

I would refer you to Exhibit B in support of this fine piece of work:

link to cbssports.com

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.02.13 @ 5:11 pm

Voytik and Ibrahim both got thrown into the deep end of the pool in the 4th Q of the Virginia game and they came through for us. So we got that going for us.(Even though Voytik gagged alittle bit with a near fumble on one snap)

Has to be a confidence builder for both of them. I feel Voytik will be just fine.

Hell, we lived through 3 solid years of “you know who” and survived, so how bad can Voytik possibly be in light of that 3 year sentence?

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.02.13 @ 5:11 pm

Right on Dr. Tom. I mean the kid was a McDonald’s All-American. He has to have at least a modicum of talent.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.02.13 @ 6:10 pm

One note on Foster at AL, he is not on any statistics for the 11 receivers at AL. I think he is on the scout team. Pitt needs someone to replace Street, maybe Weatherspoon, who looks good.

Comment by Frank MD 10.02.13 @ 7:43 pm

Really looking forward to game on the 12th. Luckily got some playoff baseball to keep me entertained waiting for what is a REALLY big game in Blacksburg. Love that we have a bye before this game. Think if the O line and running game show up Pitt has a real shot. Think the defense has a good chance to build on the UVA game, not a good V Tech offense. Almost seems like Logan Thomas is their Tino. Minus the annual BBVA trip Paul Chryst is 7-3 in last 10. I am drinkin the Kool-aide again!

Comment by Pap76 10.03.13 @ 12:28 am

Atlanta Panther – your post is funny because I’m also the guy who has been publicly lukewarm about Voytik as a starter next season…

I guess for me it is the reality between recruit rankings, practices and scrimmages versus the actual games that matters. Voytik was highly praised by PITT fans when he was recruited and, by some fans, thought to be starting material right off the bat. Part of that was the fact that Sunseri was still around and hated but a lot of it was the over-hyping we tend to put on players who won awards in and recruiting stars in HS.

Fans forget that those awards were for playing HS football and not a projection into college ball. That said, some of the better college players also garnered HS awards for their good play. I suppose the more the better in the long run.

There are a couple of things that happened to for the 2013 QB situation in fan’s eyes. One was that Voytik had redshirted and had that year to acclimate to college life and football at this level. For some people that alone should be enough for a 4* QB to jump into a starter’s role. That obviously didn’t turn out to be the case.

The other is that Tom Savage didn’t just fall into PITT’s lap prior to the 2012 season, Chryst and Rudolph reached out to him once he was available specifically to have him as a starting QB for 2013. That is why there was no real competition at the position in the spring practices or summer camp of this season, he was already targeted to play. I don’t agree with not having a true competition but that is basically how it shook out. Part of that was because Voytik just wasn’t ready to be a starting QB at this level for this season and because Savage almost perfectly fits the mold Chryst wants in his QBs.

That isn’t a knock on Voytik at all as I think he has the skills to play D1 ball, I’m just a bit skeptical as to how well he will do it just as I am with any other player at any other position who hasn’t actually played yet. If anything it is a knock on the PITT fans who naturally assumed that Voytik would be ready to start in 2013 after only one redshirt year based on something that, truth be told, I can’t understand. It isn’t as if Voytik was some superstar QB in HS and, this is important to me, Voytik was specifically recruited by Todd Graham to fill that ‘read-option’ QB role. This staff didn’t recruit him and IMO most probably wouldn’t have based on his measurables and his type of play.

I’m not saying they don’t want Voytik; not at all, but it is different when the staff themselves recruit a QB they envision as a starter for them.

This week will be very interesting to watch if Savage can’t go; maybe VT gets a wake up call from an unknown QB! But next season will be the one for Voytik to really get playing time. I listed in that comment above what I though would be Voytik’s role and strengths as our QB next season. He showed some of that in his productive Spring Game. That said, it also wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Chryst went the JUCO QB route for 2014 to bridge straight to one of our pro-style 2014 recruits after their redshirt FR years (both of whom might also end up as 4* recruits once the dust settles).

Comment by Reed 10.03.13 @ 5:14 am

It would surprise me if a JUCO QB is recruited by Chryst for 2014. And if that happens Voytik has every right to be pissed. Chryst says that he “plays to his players strengths”, then come Spring ball he starts grooming the offense into the needed read option style of play that goes to Voytik’s abilities and plays the guy who has put in the effort and time (2 years) waiting for his chance. Now come 2015 that all is up in the air with at least 2 RS Freshmen in the mix to compete against, and maybe a JUCO QB coming in AT THAT JUNCTURE, if Voytik has proven that he can’t handle the job from his previous year’s performance. Just my opinion.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.03.13 @ 7:46 am

Dr. T – all this is speculation of course.

But I don’t get your point about getting a JUCO prior to the 2015 season… at that point he’d have both Freebeck and Bertke on board along with Voytik. Now, Voytik might just as easily get PT this season and prove he’s capable to start to make all this meaningless.

As far as “playing to strengths”, I think that is coach speak in the main. One thing to consider, and again this is speculation on my part, is that if Chryst is set in having a big pro style QB – as evidenced by his getting Savage as a starter this season and then landing those two big (6’3″ & 6’5″) ’14 QBs – then shifting the offense around for one year to accommodate Voytik, then back again under either of the two new kids, may not be what he wants to do.

There is no promise or guarantee to Voytik for playing time like a HC may have done with his own QB recruit as some do. Fans might also point to the smaller Tra’von Chapman as a rebuttal to my thought process but remember that we were also looking at other QB recruits right down to LOI Day for 2013.

All this makes for good conversation and I’m just throwing out some “what ifs”. The word around the practice facilities is that Chryst loves PITT and wants to be here for a long while. With that I’m wondering if he’s not looking at either Freebeck or Bertke as the long term solution at QB. No?

“Who knows what QBs lurk in the hearts of Head Coaches? The Doctor knows …..

link to youtube.com

Comment by Reed 10.03.13 @ 8:38 am

Frank MD, If Foster sees action this year, it will be because of a rash of injuries. If memory serves, I read about a month or so ago that Bama returned 4 of its top 5 WRs from last year, and its their deepest position this year.

However, he may well be in the mix next year as 2 or 3 of them are graduating.

Comment by wbb 10.03.13 @ 9:57 am

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