October 9, 2013

What The Hokies Are Doing

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 7:38 am

How does a defensive coordinator try to provide extra motivation to his front seven for an opponent? He lies outrageously.

Linebacker Jack Tyler was going on about how defensive coordinator Bud Foster said Pittsburgh’s offensive line was better than Alabama’s when Washington Post beat writer Mark Giannotto, having seen the Panthers surrender seven sacks to UVa a couple weeks ago, called shenanigans.

“Well, that’s a little motivation on his part to make us go a little harder,” Tyler said, changing his tune slightly. “But I mean, they have 330-pound guards. That’s unheard of even at the pro level. And they can move. So it might be the biggest defensive front and we’re really going to have to bring our big-boy pads and go to work.”

[Emphasis added.]

I guess the only tape he let them see was of the Duke and New Mexico games.

The Hokie defense has — as is typical — the strength of the team. Obligatory reference to Bud Foster and  lunchpail defense will be skipped. What is impressive is how the secondary has stayed on track even without cornerback Antone Exum — who has been recovering from offseason ACL surgery. Exum was cleared to return to action last week against UNC, but didn’t. He is still unknown for this Saturday.

“Basically, I just needed more time to fine-tune some things,” he said. “I wasn’t at the level I wanted to be at and go out and perform. I could have been solid, but I want to be able to perform at a very high level. I don’t want to go out there again until I can perform at that best-corner-in-the-country level.”

Freshman Brandon Facyson started in Exum’s place.

Exum, who was in a regular practice jersey Tuesday and didn’t appear to be wearing a knee brace, said he felt “really good.” He and the coaches will see how he looks on film later this week and they, along with his family and trainers, will decide what the best course of action is.

Exum didn’t elaborate on what exactly he needs to see from himself to feel comfortable returning to the field.

“That’s for me,” he said. “There are just some things that I need to sharpen up. I can do it, but it’s just doing it consistently. Doing it 85, 90 percent of the time when I’m out there.”

I’m doubtful that he plays. It makes more sense to wait one more game. VT has a bye after the Pitt game. It gives him two extra weeks to prepare.

The Hokies have no other major injuries. Just guys who have the usual dings and aches after playing six straight games.

Guys in blue Tuesday were center David Wang (shoulder) and fullback Sam Rogers (ankle). Receiver Willie Byrn was in a regular jersey, although he still has a little bit of a hitch in his step from the MCL sprain he suffered at Georgia Tech.

Shane was confident Rogers would be able to play this week. He said he looked out his window Monday morning at 7 a.m. and saw Rogers running sprints on an empty practice field.

– Wang’s injury, which offensive line coach Jeff Grimes doesn’t think will keep him out vs. Pitt, led the Hokies to shuffle around their lineup a little Tuesday.

Caleb Farris took first-team reps at center, while Mark Shuman got in at left guard. Shuman, a junior, made his season debut against North Caroline after missing the first five weeks following knee surgery. Redshirt freshman Alston Smith also got some snaps.

In addition to Wang, right guard Andrew Miller is still nicked up from the ankle injury he suffered weeks ago.

The one thing about VT’s offense is that they still don’t have much of a running game. And by that, it has been non-existent the last two weeks. Against Georgia Tech and UNC, VT totaled a whopping 103 yards on the ground. That’s less than what they had against Alabama (153). It’s hard to argue with success, but that is really strange.

“I think it’s a little of this and a little of that,” [Shane] Beamer said after watching Saturday’s film. ”Blocking wasn’t so good at times. Running wasn’t so good at times. You’ve got I think to give the other team credit. They’ve got good players. So it’s not like you can just go put your finger on one thing and say, ‘That’s it.’ I think it’s just a combination of things that we as a group have got to get better.”

The running back coach is Frank Beamer’s son, Shane. As a casual observer, I can’t help but go superficial and wonder if it’s a little Jay Paterno Syndrome.

If you want to see a breakdown of how the Virginia Tech offense is operating these days, take the time to go through this post from the best VT blog out there, The Key Play.

Virginia Tech’s leading wide receiver is a walk-on who finally earned a scholarship this year. So that’s a nice story.

Go figure, the Hokies are Pitt’s first “familiar foe” this year. Beyond the old Big East ties, they are the first team Pitt plays that they faced last year. Only Syracuse and Notre Dame are repeat foes from last year.

Both Pgh papers wrote stories about the lack of production by the TEs this year … who were completely shut out vs UVa. The only pass I remember thrown to any of them was a miss to a wide-open Garner in the 2nd Quarter.

I believe this to be an obvious point of focus this week … the short passing games, especially if Boyd and Street draw a lot of double coverage. Of course, as always, it would help to get some semblance of a ground game going.

On the other hand, despite VT’s struggles with running the ball, I would still hope the focus is to stop their run and take their chances with Thomas’s passing.

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 8:07 am

I would like to see them get Ibrahim involved with some draws and halfback screens. A little speed and deception could help slow down the rush.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.09.13 @ 8:32 am

Make no mistake about it, Pitt is going to be facing a very good Defense on Saturday.

The following from the Trib Review…

Senior wide receiver Devin Street said the Virginia Tech defense is improved — first in the nation in interceptions (13) and fifth overall ­— with the addition of two dynamic freshmen cornerbacks Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller.

Facyson leads the ACC with four interceptions and Fuller is one of four Hokies with two each.


Hokies also ranked 1st in sacks.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.09.13 @ 10:28 am


Your extra effort is appreciated in locating the VaTech Post highlighting tendencies of this year’s Hokie Offense. mentions how similar some aspects are to Florida where OC Scot Loeffler spent some time with Urban Meyer.

Hand in hand with that… here’s a Post about how Monte Kiffin, while at Tennessee… successfully schemed to slow down Tebow and the Gator Offense.

Florida ultimately pulled the game out with Meyer electing late in the game to put the ball into Tebow’s hands.

Doubt that would work as well with Thomas who obviously is not nearly the player Tebow was on the collegiate level.

Matt House should take note.

link to

Comment by PittofDreams 10.09.13 @ 10:49 am

As I recal, Tebow has something like 24 carries for 72 yards vs Tennessee (and Lane Kiffin.) What won that game was the same thing that won a lot of games in the Tebow era … their defense (led by DC Charlie Strong.)

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 10:56 am

2009 (Kiffin’s only year at UT): UF 23 UT 13

Total yds: UF 323 UT 210

T. Tebow 24carries 76yards 3.2 avg 1TD 15-Long / 115 yds passing

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 11:13 am

Wbb… here’s an excerpt from an AP story summarizing the game which Florida “eked out” 23-13.

It might help put the game in a little better perspective.

Seems Meyer and both of the Kiffins believed Tebow was the difference… as he was in many of the Meyer wins at Florida.

Meyer put it all on Tebow, who ran 24 times.

His best plays were short gains late. He started right on a third-and-3, looked to throw and then cut back left and headed toward the sideline. He eluded Wes Brown’s grasp, then tiptoed down the sideline for a 4-yard gain. Instead of possibly being forced to punt, the Gators scored a touchdown to make it 23-6.

“Unbelievable,” Meyer said. “Vintage Tebow. He had a hell of a day. … He kind of took that game over on that drive. That was one of the best plays. I can’t wait to see that on film. He was this far from out of bounds and got the first down.”

On the next possession, Tebow used a nasty spin move to escape All-American safety Berry and Gerald Williams, then hit Dennis Rogan so hard the defender’s helmet flew off.

“I don’t think he’s human,” Kiffin said. “I really don’t. There were times when I asked [the coaches in the booth] on the headset, ‘Is he ever going to wear down?’ But he never does. Our defense worked hard and you just prayed to get it to third-and-4, because if it was third-and-3, he was going to put his head down and run over people.”


Comment by PittofDreams 10.09.13 @ 11:16 am

anyone see some clowney- shell similarities maybe chryst 2-3 star recruiting and actually coaching up with the way athletes are going to protect themselves for the nfl,as big ten commish said let college students play college football others ,pay them, let play on farm clubs for nfl their choice ,or go pro imediately.

Comment by paul shannon 10.09.13 @ 11:36 am

PittofDreams, You and I could make a first down on 3rd and 3 when you run behind 4 guys who are NFL starters including the 2 Pouncey brothers .. 3 of the 4 were 1st rounders.

Tim Tebow remains EASILY the most overblown college FB player EVER …. confirmed by his winning the Heisman in 08 with a 4-loss UF team, and having less stats credentials than QBs McCoy, Bradford and White as well as RB Darren McFadden .. and many others.

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 11:45 am


Clowney has not played well to date with
some saying he is out shape. Too
much publicity and adulation? Interesting
to see if he plays next week and how well?

0-4 and now Todd Haley trashes his mansion in
Upper St Clair? How bad can things get
with the Steelers?

Comment by JR 10.09.13 @ 11:48 am

Paul S, Clowney kind of reminds me of Jon Baldwin in 2010 … all he cared about was his stats. You may note that the former 1st rounder (Baldwin) has only 2 receptions this year, and only has been activated for 2 games this year … a freakin’ 1st rounder … total prima donna.

Meanwhile, the 49ers are desperately looking for another WR (they asked about Browns’ Josh Gordon just yesterday according to Plain Dealer)

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 11:52 am

Wbb… sensed you may be a bit of a Tebow hater.

It must be that you’re confusing the NFL Tebow with the one back in college.

You also seem to be limiting your appreciation for a quarterback by focusing more on the way he passes the football than how much of a WINNER he is.

No, Tebow was not one of the greatest college QBs of all-time. Not close.

However, he was one of the best college football PLAYERS of all time.

Urban Meyer certainly would agree, especially after seeing his Gators going from 13-1 Tebow’s senior year to 8-5 the next.

Does not seem “You and I could “make a first down on 3rd and 3.”

Again, something to help put things in a better perspective.

At the conclusion of his (Tebow) college career, he held the Southeastern Conference’s all-time records in both career passing efficiency and total rushing touchdowns, appearing second and tenth (respectively) in the NCAA record book in these categories – Wikipedia.


Comment by PittofDreams 10.09.13 @ 12:17 pm

Now Mr. Clowney might be one of the biggest overblown college football players of all-time.

For sure, one of the biggest over-hyped Heisman favorites.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.09.13 @ 12:20 pm

I’m sorry guys, but Clowney is possibly the best defensive prospect football has seen in years. If you’re focusing on stats you’re focusing on the wrong stuff. Against UNC, their offense tailored their entire game plan to avoid him and he still reaked havoc. If you’re purely focused on sacks and tackles, you’re missing the type of impact he makes.

Unless he does something stupid off the field, he’s a top 10 lock next year. Heisman hype was overblown because it’s vritually impossible for a DL to win the Heisman beause the Heisman is purely a stats based award. A DE can be schemed around to avoid the gaudy stats and voters aren’t going to focus on impact plays that don’t create stats.

Comment by Justin 10.09.13 @ 12:27 pm

Back to Pitt football, I’m really perplexed about what wbb eluded to in the first post on this thread. Where have the TE’s gone and the short passing game in general for that matter?

Especially considering Chryst’s previous tendencies of using so many TE formations in pass plays, it is really mind boggling that there was ZERO production out of the TEs against Virginia.

With four solid performers available for TE action, I just can’t fathom what is the issue with such low production from this group.

The only explanation that makes any kind of logical sense to me on this is that Chryst and Rudolph are playing their cards close to their vest in regards to what ammunition they still have available in this offense. That would be extremely wiley of them to do so and of course if so, it definitely keeps the film availble for such plays to a minimum.

No knock against Chryst, but I’m just not so sure that he is that sharp, in his 1st heading coaching job, to stratigize in early on games, looking forward in preparation of unleashing secret weapons upon unsuspecting foes when the competition gets more stout, and, of course, when they would least expect it.

For those who follow Pitt closely however, it is pretty obvious that that component of this offense has both been sorely needed as of late is is currently lacking in Coache’s attempts to install such into Pitt’s game plan.

Who knows maybe THIS is the week. We’ll all see come Saturday.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.09.13 @ 1:14 pm

Maybe this week Dr Tom he’ll unleash the Holtz “Hammer”

Comment by alcofan 10.09.13 @ 1:59 pm

@Dr. Tom “with four solid performers available for TE action” Is it possible that we have over estimated what the level of talent is at the TE position? Do we really have 4 solid Tight ends? Do we have any? I think you are correct to assume the lack of passes to the tight ends isn’t a coaching ploy but I’m not so certain the solid performer label has been earned at this point either.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.09.13 @ 2:07 pm

All I can say is that we better something up our sleeve after this bye week or we could be looking at a 10 sack day for the hokes.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.09.13 @ 2:11 pm

pittof, Tebow was so overpublicized that people stil believe that he was the QB of two national championship teams … to the point that they forgot all about Chris Leak who started every game during the 2006 season … and Tebow was solely the short yardage QB who took less than 20% of the snaps.

In the championship game vs OSU, Leak was 25 for 36; Tebow was 1 for 1, whch was a TD but it only was for 1 yd.

Thus was the legend of Tim Tebow … mostly he was a FB at QB surrounded by talent including a host of NFL linemen, and benefitted by a Top 10 defense every year he played in, what was back then, a defense-oriented conference. Until Auburn won in 2011, the conference was won by the best defensive team for the previous 6 years … look it up.

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 2:14 pm

I think there are a number of reasons for the lack of production from the tight ends:

1. Savage strength is the mid range to long ball, he is damn good.
2. Savage is not as accurate at the short passes, reads are tougher and more congested. He has been intercepted more often with these.
3. Wide receivers have been exceptional and are game breakers.
4.There are four tight ends, no one has stepped forward as the go to guy.
5. The tight ends have been needed to block, backs have not been stellar blockers.
6. Long balls are safer, mostly one on one coverage, less chance for an INT for touchdown.
7. They have been used efficiently in the red zone.
8. They haven’t been needed in the passing game for the most part.
9. Every pass to a tight end is one less to Street or Boyd
10. Let’s hope they are there when we need them.

Comment by gc 10.09.13 @ 2:32 pm

Tim Tebow was a big strong white kid whose love for Jesus and his virginity got him the Heisman, not to mention the Pouncey brothers and an excellent defense.

How’s that for political incorrectness?

At least he didn’t have a “virtual” girlfriend.

Comment by gc 10.09.13 @ 2:43 pm

He was a tough FB player and a good leader — no doubt … but a Heisman candidate???

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 2:46 pm

@gc, Your post has the same tone as Dr Tom’s, and blames the lack of production on everything but the tight ends. Is it possible that our tight ends suck and that contributes to the fact that they are invisible?

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.09.13 @ 2:47 pm

@ SofS22, I think Holtz has already proven himself by his play last year as a Freshman.

Orndoff got a leg up on the TE position when he enrolled early and was involved in Spring ball. Thereafter he has had a great cominig out party already this season as a true Freshman with a couple TDs to his credit and has seen significant playing time without being exposed by our competition up to this point with poor play so common to starting Freshman.

Garner was impressive in Fall camp, by all reports, and has the most college experience of the group with two years of active duty with Wisconsin prior to his Pitt transfer. In fact he was slated as a starter at the beginning of the season because of his fall camp progress.

I will give you the issue of Jaymar Parrish being a player trying to find his position howevr. FB, TE who knows with this new guy? But the other three have both track records, although a short one for Orndoff to substantiate their abilities at the TE position, as well as hinting to their true future potential with addition playing time and experience.

I just hope that Rudolph has some more experience in store for them in his game plan for this weekend. I think we need them to get involved in the offense against VT.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.09.13 @ 2:55 pm

There’s a very good reason TEs aren’t producing yet: Boyd and Street are producing at a ridiculous level. If you’re a QB who are you going to target: dynamic WRs who can make huge plays or TEs who can get 5-10 yards?

I think Chryst tried to get them invovled against Virginia more, but Garner turned when he could’ve stopped running and Orndoff dropped a screen. Those were 2 huge misses that would make TE production look a whole lot different.

Comment by Justin 10.09.13 @ 2:57 pm

Justin, Garner was also open in what looked like a sure TD when the closest UV defender was about 5 yards behind him.

Isn’t there some merit to what you and Reed were saying at the beginning of the year .. that Savage locks in on primary targets and doesn’t check off to the short routes? It certainly looked like that to me last game on a handful of occasions.

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 3:04 pm

I certainly understand why he would look at Boyd orStreet first but when they are covered ….

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 3:05 pm

The lack of production by the TE’s is because Pitt is either moving the ball well running & hitting the deep passes, or they can’t block anyone & they need the extra protection.

Comment by Nick 10.09.13 @ 3:09 pm

Spirit, they may not be Heath Miller, but they most certainly do not suck. I think we thought they would have a bigger role before we knew how great Boyd, Conner and Savage would be.

You don’t need to throw a short pass to a tight end when Conner is chewing up yards on first down.

You don’t need 7-12 yards from the tight end when Boyd or Street can pick up twenty.

Last year we needed the tight ends because Tino couldn’t throw accurately past 15 yards. We also had an experienced tight end.

I think the tight ends will get more when they start covering Street and Boyd, maybe this week.

Their first priority is to slow down the pass rush.

Comment by gc 10.09.13 @ 3:12 pm

gc, that was my point. They double covered our two WRs most of last game, yet the TEs were only thrown to 2 or 3 times.

And when you can’t establish a run, you need to do somethig differently … because scoring drives of only 18 and 19 yards aren’t going to win you too many games

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 3:18 pm

From yesterday’s ACC Blog:

In Boyd (106.2) and Devin Street (111.2), Pitt is one of just three teams nationally with two receivers averaging better than 100 yards per game. Boyd (5.8) and Street (5.2) rank fifth and sixth in the ACC in receptions per game, the only duo among the league’s top 10 pass-catchers. They are doing this with a quarterback, Tom Savage, who is at his third school in four years and who had not taken a collegiate snap since his true sophomore year, three years ago at Rutgers.

Boyd ranks eighth nationally in all-purpose yards per game (175.25) as the former prep running back has added 98 rushing yards and a score on seven carries while averaging 22.2 yards on eight kick returns

With two receivers like that to throw too, and a need for pocket protection, it is not surprising that the TEs seem to be underwhelming.

BTW – read the entire post link to as well as one on Boyd link to and we can feel really good about the press Pitt is getting. Quite a change from the recent past.

Comment by Pitt Dad 10.09.13 @ 3:32 pm

wbb, agreed maybe this week.

Comment by gc 10.09.13 @ 3:40 pm

I find it interesting that most of those posting here seem convinced that the tight ends are doing a good job, when they have been invisible for the most part. I have read about a dozen excuses explaining away the lack of production at the position. None of those excuses blame the tight ends or the coaches and all seem to agree that everything will be better with a little more play. I only point this out because I find it odd that the same posters who have often found plenty to criticize with other coaching and player performances, seem to be extremely supportive in this instance.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.09.13 @ 4:16 pm

So many coaches.

So few players.

Comment by steve1 10.09.13 @ 4:24 pm

@SoS22 – I’m not saying the TEs have been doing a good job. I’m just saying there have been better options in the passing game – outstanding options judging by the press – and, given Mr. Savage’s skill at the long ball, the TEs just aren’t going to see much coming their way until other teams start blanketing the receivers.

Whether the TEs have really been helping with pass protection seems to be self-evident. No one is helping much in that department.

Comment by Pitt Dad 10.09.13 @ 4:31 pm

@Dad, You got that right!

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.09.13 @ 4:35 pm

A week off, no film on Pitt short (TE) game, lots of Frosh starting – maybe the playbook expands as competition heats up. PC is a smart offensive guy, maybe its by deception!

Comment by CompLit 10.09.13 @ 4:46 pm

Both Pgh papers wrote stories about the lack of production by the TEs this year … who were completely shut out vs UVa. The only pass I remember thrown to any of them was a miss to a wide-open Garner in the 2nd Quarter.

I believe this to be an obvious point of focus this week … the short passing games, especially if Boyd and Street draw a lot of double coverage. Of course, as always, it would help to get some semblance of a ground game going.
Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 8:07 am

Reed and I touched on this the other day. PC & JR might be a little gun shy of throwing these shorter passes the TE’s. As I would like to see it to, before it came to me that, if you get one of these passes intercepted over the middle, it’s a much more devastating turnover that a pass that is intercepted 40-45 yards down the field.

Also a short little 5-10 yard pass intercepted can be a fatal turnover if run back for a TD.

I believe we had a short throw pick or two against New Mexico, which is a terrible D1 team.

If you get a long 40-45 yard intended for Boyd or Street picked, as long as the DB is tackled immediately it basically acts like a pretty good punt. Without the risk of said punt being blocked or returned for long yardage. Which has already happened twice this year against weak competition (New Mex & Duke).

So while I suggested several weeks ago (pre-UVA) they get the TE’s more involved, I now possibly see why they (PC & JR) might be a little hesitant as Savage telegraphs his throws.

Again not so bad or devastating, an interception 40-45 yards down the field. But one over the middle can be a ‘game changer’. Either in field position or a pick 6.

Until Savage learns how not to telegraph his passes, you might not be seeing to many throws to the TE’s.

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 5:35 pm

IE. The reward (long completions & TD’s to Boyd & Street) is worth the risk of throwing 5-7 bombs a game and the possible interception that make accompany them.

Is a short 5-15 yard gain to a TE, worth that same risk ?

Until Savage learns how to look off receivers and/or not telegraph his throws, I think not.

Now where they could maybe use the TE’s better would be; have one of them (if we have 2 in a set) run a longer route or a go route. Orndoff has had 2 medium receptions for TD’s, so he has some speed. And we know Garner can run too.
If you can get the right matchup with one of them in a long pass route, that would be worth the risk, imo.

All of this is of course predicated on being able to protect the QB long enough for these routes to develop, whether it be the TE’s or the WR’s.

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 5:45 pm

But Emel, against UVa who is certainly no powerhouse and gave up 48 pts to Ball St, Pitt had scoring drives of 18 and 19 yards … and that’s it!

If occasionally, we can score on one of these bombs, then OK … but that wasn’t the case last week. There was not one sustained drive.

As I wrote above, I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see more shorter passes this week especially if we can’t establish the run.

Comment by wbb 10.09.13 @ 5:50 pm

Did anyone feel like Boyd needs to do better at helping to prevent interceptions. I have a hard time criticizing a freshman who does so many things well but I thought he could have broken up two interceptions against Virginia on balls he gave up on. It was like he quit trying when he couldn’t catch it but with a little more effort he could have kept the defender from catching it. Am I being too critical or did he look very freshman like on both picks?

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.09.13 @ 5:53 pm

A DE can be schemed around to avoid the gaudy stats and voters aren’t going to focus on impact plays that don’t create stats.
Comment by Justin 10.09.13 @ 12:27 pm

Disagree Justin, you’re too young to remember Hugh Green, but he was schemed against EVERY week and he put up the numbers(stats) EVERY week.
Clowney was off the field for almost half the plays against UNC, for whatever reason, conditioning whatever. He can’t hold a candle to our own Hugh Green

Who got jobbed in the Heisman voting that year just like Larry Fitz did in losing to the worst player EVER to win the Heisman. No not Tim Tebow, but Justin White of Oklahoma. Who wasn’t even drafted by a single NFL team, nor played a real down in any NFL game.

We must lead the NCAA in getting ‘jobbed’ for the Heisman Trophy.

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 5:54 pm

@ wbb

ikr. As my last line mentioned in my 2nd post,

All of this is of course predicated on being able to protect the QB long enough for these routes to develop, whether it be the TE’s or the WR’s.

And I didn’t mention stretching the field vertically should help with the running game.

I love our vertical game, we have two dynamic receivers and we can score in a heartbeat.
Something we haven’t had at PITT in a long time, in the passing game.

Need to get Boyd the ball as much as possible, he needs to get at least 10 touches a game. We haven’t seen him lined up in the backfield as of yet. If you need to minimize the interception on short passes, put Boyd in the backfield and just throw him a short swing pass and watch him create.

I’d like to see some more imaginative ways to get Boyd the ball then we’ve seen so far.

As we all know, we couldn’t protect Savage long enough

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 6:00 pm

Good point sos22

I hope they looked at that tape and told Boyd & Street that they need to act like DB’s if for some reason they can’t catch an underthrown or wayward pass. AND if the ball is picked they need to tackle the interceptor immediately.

This should be a given. But the key to coaching success is constant reinforcement, imo.

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 6:05 pm

@wbb UVa might not be a defensive powerhouse,but I thought they played very well against us. They stuffed our running game and their pass rush was great. I got the feeling that they would have the same success against most opponents. I don’t know what happened against Ball St. but I wouldn’t be to quick to criticize Va.’s D because they can play.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.09.13 @ 6:05 pm

Maybe we should hire the Ball State offensive coordinator. lol

They’re 5-1.

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 6:16 pm

Buccos in Game 5 tonite.

Gotta win this one ! Need some more magic from Gerrit Cole.

Let’s Go BUCS !

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 6:18 pm

Speaking of the MAC.

Whatever happened to Baby MacDaddy ?

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 6:22 pm

@Emel, I don’t often ask the Lord for specific intervention concerning sporting events but I had to ask His blessing on the Bucs in this one. If something goofy is going to happen (ala Bucky Dent) I want it to fall our way. This one looks like a coin flip to me.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.09.13 @ 6:28 pm

@Emel, We win this one and we are probably on our way to 6-1.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 10.09.13 @ 6:31 pm

Check out the Virginia Tech blog “The Key Play”. A funny write up of how the blogger looks at PITT & Pittsburgh. Not mean spirited unless you are a U. of Virginia fan. Link to site in in the “ACC BLOGROLL”, Chas has on right hand side.

Clowney will be a top ten pick. As Justin has commented teams are adjusting to play around him. The difference between Clowney & Hugh Green is that South Carolina doesn’t have a Ricky Jackson on the other side.

Spurrier did say today in a presser that Clowney does (& did) have a rib injury. Spurrier also said that if Clowney doesn’t play a down again, South Carolina fans should be grateful to have seen him play as a Gamecock.

Oh crap, a two run homer. Beat ’em BUCS.

Comment by PITT-cocks Fan 10.09.13 @ 7:44 pm

More good stuff from tkp: link to

Comment by panther94 10.09.13 @ 9:34 pm

Btw, read the comments, too. We are definitely approaching rivalry status.

Comment by panther94 10.09.13 @ 9:36 pm

Met some guy down here in the Carolinas from Pittsburgh who went to Upper St. Clair HS.

Watched the Pirates game with him and his GF and he just coincidentally went to Va Tech.

Oh and some other guy worked there had went to my HS is PGH.

Ever see The Truman Show ! lol

Go figure !

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 11:18 pm

They just go round and round.

Comment by panther94 10.09.13 @ 11:23 pm

Just got done reading thekeyplay va tech blog.

I’ve got one thing to say.

Thank God we don’t have an attempt of a what think is a witty blog.

After about 25% thru, it was a total not funny or witty at all blog.

They must feel they have to keep with the a-holes from Charlottesville.

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 11:36 pm

Yep panther94

round & round…

makes you feel loved !

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 11:38 pm

There was always a huge Masonic Hall across the street on Fifth from the Cathedral, so maybe the Va Tech blog is/was on to something. haha

Comment by EMel 10.09.13 @ 11:45 pm

Yes, Emel, loved in a creepy sort of way.

I remember that hall. Always wondered about it. Maybe now I know. Ha!

Comment by panther94 10.09.13 @ 11:52 pm

a couple odd notes:

– next time you become justifiably frustrated with a college coach extending an offer an 8th grader, remember that REAL Madrid soccer club just signed a 9 year old 4th grader from Japan

– Va Tech will play Tennessee at Bristol (TN) Motor Speedway in 2016 — attendance may be as much as 160k. Could this start a trend?

Comment by wbb 10.10.13 @ 6:50 am

Re: the key play. I thought 3/4 of it was a pretty good read. It did drag at the end. I don’t think anyone can disagree with a wannstache on the cathedral of learning.

Re: Tyler boyd pass d: kid always wants to improve and I think engram is one of the best coaches on our staff. I bet this improves

Re: rivalry. If we win this Saturday – or at least make a game of it, we are a step closer. I like

Comment by Atlanta Panther 10.10.13 @ 7:05 am

Regarding the TEs:

Rudolph touched on one aspect of the lack of TE participation in that he’s keeping them in on some plays for pass protection. That is true and is the politically correct answer for an OC to make, given that he can’t be critical of his QB in public.

A lot of the points made above are valid but the main issue is that to Tom Savage the TEs are a complete after thought unless the play call specifically move the TE up to the primary receiver. Which the OC is hesitant to do because of Savage’s penchant for tossing INTs. For instance when we were in close to the opponent’s endzone Rudolph dialed up passes to TE Orndoff as the primary or secondary receiver.

This isn’t a new issue with Savage. When he started for RU back in 2009 his TEs had only 19 receptions out of 165 total completions – at an 11% clip. PITT has historically used their TEs more than that going back to Walt Harris.

If you recall the staff stuck a head-cam on Savage for a full practice back in spring camp and the results were that he had a hard time checking down off his primary target according to the playcall… unless he chose to go deep as a secondary option. But this is how he plays football as a QB – his strength is the deep ball and he wants to use it as much as he can. That inability to get past the primary receiver has hurt our offense and especially has cut out the TEs. If you re-watch some of the game films you can see where the TEs have been pretty wide open on numerous plays and Savage is instead locked on downfield.

Because of the good success Savage has had with his deeper passes you can’t really fault him for thinking that way – he gets the ball downfield and it is catchable. The staff has to like that aspect of his game as it was completely missing in 2012.

I really don’t believe that our HC/OC is ‘saving’ using the TEs as a surprise tactic to spring on a future opponent. However, we may see the TEs being called on more specifically against VT to keep passes away from that excellent ball hawking secondary VT has – who also leads the BCS in INTs. Getting the ball quickly to the TEs and RBs out of the backfield may be a bit more emphasized this Saturday.

As to the quality of our TEs? IMO it is possible that we may have one of the most talented squad of TEs in the country between Holtz, Gardner and Orndoff. We’ll see them really producing next season when we have a QB who is able to recognize the open receivers better than Savage does now.

Chryst, as an OC at Wisconsin, loved his TEs as receivers – see this article on The Blather regarding his history in using them:

link to

In those five years between 2007 – 2011 Chryst’s TE were 3rd; 1st, 2nd, 1st & 4th and 1st most productive receivers in terms of balls caught. So, I’m sure he would like to do the same at PITT if he could. Voytik is the type of cerebral QB who will be able to maximize his receiving corps including our good TEs more so than Savage is now.

Comment by Reed 10.10.13 @ 7:24 am

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