October 28, 2013

So Many Problems

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 6:29 pm

[EDITOR NOTE: Thought I hit “publish” on this before leaving for work this morning. Whoops. Justin ended up hitting on some of the same points I made earlier today. But I’m still putting this out there.]

For some reason, my DVR failed to record the game, so there is no reviewing this one. I am pretending it rejected the recording as being too offensive to save.

As the game fell apart, I asked on twitter if the blame rested more with the offense or the defense for the loss. The overwhelming view was that it was the offense. The defense may have caved late, but the offensive failings throughout the game put them into that position.

So let’s start with that offense.

Quarterback Tom Savage had a statistically decent game. 20-27, 203 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and only sacked once. Yet, he was never comfortable in the pocket. The playcalling tried to use the short to medium passing and Savage continues to look uncomforatable with those passes. Best guess on why they are trying to do that, so Savage isn’t holding the ball as long and getting killed on sacks.

Whether going deep or short, he is throwing it at the same speed. The problem that was obvious back in training camp is still there. He doesn’t seem capable of taking too much off the throw when needed.

He also had one of the most baffling postgame quotes to try and explain the inconsistency and mistakes of the offense. Especially late.

When the Panthers needed to control the ball late in a 24-21 loss to Navy on Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the offense reached down and couldn’t help.

“I think we got a little complacent,” quarterback Tom Savage said.

What. The. Hell. Complacent??? What? What? What at any point in the game would make the offense think they were in control and could be satisfied with the situation?

Pitt led by 6 and then 7 points in the game. They were always one score away from being behind or tied. The O-line committed five pre-snap penalties in the game. Does the word mean what he thinks it means?

Is he talking complacency at the the end of drives like in the first half where Pitt drove well on Navy only to have to settle for field goals? Putting Pitt in a position where they could not take control of the game on the scoreboard the way they actually were on the field for the first half.

Is he talking about being complacent in the second half, expecting to have more success and then unable to handle things when it doesn’t happen?

The thing is the offense has been this way in the second half all season. Seven games into the season and Pitt has failed to outscore opponents in the second half. Yes, some of that is on the defense, but this offense essentially has fallen off a cliff. In the last four games the offense has scored 0, 6, 14 and 8 points in the second half. For the season the team has 200 points with 134 in the first half and only 66 in the second half (and that is generously including a pick-6 by the defense in the Duke game).

As much as the defense seems to wilt in games, perhaps more blame should be heaped on the offense. Pitt had three 3-and-outs on Saturday. All of them taking place in the second half. Which means a wilting defense is expected to do more and more. I’m sure we are all shocked that this approach doesn’t work.

About those five pre-snap penalties. I don’t know about this O-line any more. Cory King being out should not be this big a deal. The only thing I can figure is that they are so sick of being beaten by the defenses that they are moving early to try and be in a better blocking situation.

Coach Chryst can seethe on the sidelines as much as he wants. He can yank James Conner out of the game for his fumble. But it really seems that the coaching has to take a lot of questions. The inability to handle adjustments made by opposing teams in the second half is the most glaring.

“I thought early we did a good job of running the ball consistently,” Chryst said. “They made some adjustments and made some plays, so we couldn’t just run at will on that. That’s the game.”

“Couldn’t just run at will on that.” How about just being able to run the ball?

The defense, well, Justin hit on that. Bad luck in the first half. They too didn’t handle adjustments in the second. They faded late in the game.

The final question is on the fact that Pitt has been fading late in games. If it isn’t all adjustments by the other team, then it also raises questions about the physical conditioning and the job by the strength and conditioning coach.

Of course you do Spirit…

But you were right about Pitt losing to Navy. Props fo that.

Let me know when you dream of Jamie making it to the Final Four.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.29.13 @ 8:52 am


Comment by PittofDreams 10.29.13 @ 8:53 am

What’s no secret to the Pitt base.

Is we won 27 games in 3 years. Most since 1980 to 1982.

9 in 2008
10 in 2009
8 in 2010

I don’t care where DW is today. I’d rather have him here TODAY then this guy.

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 8:56 am

Trying to get your QB to throw all the passes that are required to be a complete player is called COACHING! Throwing the bomb is great and works against UNM,Duke, and ODU but it isn’t going to win many games against most of an ACC schedule. HCPC doesn’t have the players he needs to be better than mediocre. This offence line isn’t that bad you try to block for a guy who won’t get rid of the ball or running backs that only go where the play is called not into the open hole. The Navy lineman might be smaller but they are just as strong,smarter, and in way better shape than any other lineman in all of college football. That’s why they are better late. If Voytik is never going to see the field than there is no QB on this team that is going to win games. So until PC gets some players who can play key positions like QB and RB Pitt is going to struggle and he shouldn’t be judged until then or if he is not able to find those players but that point hasn’t been reached yet.

Comment by Steve h 10.29.13 @ 9:05 am

Thanks Steve h… someone who is a realist and actally knows something about football.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.29.13 @ 9:10 am

“REALLY GOOD Navy Quarterback who showed what a difference a WINNER can make playing that position.”

Wasn’t so much a REALLY GOOD Navy QB, lol

The Navy QB has a worse Passing Efficiency rating than that UVA QB (Watford), and he’s ranked #104 worst of 114 ranked.

FYI, POD. the general consensus on the boards is it was Pitt’s passive defense in the 2nd half moreso than the Navy kid being a really good qb.

You know the defense that had it’s DB’s playing 10-12 yards off the Navy WR’s. The defense that had it’s LB’s 6-8 yards off the LOS against a team that was going to run 85% of the time.
The defensive scheme that let a service academy with service academy type athletes drive 91 yards and 71 yards on them.

So that means it was your pal Chyrst’s pal, another unqualified coach…..House.

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 9:17 am

PittodDreams, whether you think DW shouyld have been fired or not, DW WAS NOT A ‘HORRIBLE’ HEAD COACH.

What part of ‘he had the best 3 year run in the past 30 year of Pitt FB’ do you and other here not understand???

Yes, he had faults but to say he was horrible makes you look downright silly!

Comment by wbb 10.29.13 @ 9:19 am

Btw, Savage, POD’s usual whipping boy.

Is ranked #35 in Passing Efficiency.

Of 114 QB’s ranked.

He’s not the big problem with this team contrary to the skewed views of POD.

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 9:20 am

POD…your posts suggest you now nothing about football.

Usually you contradict yourself in your own posts.


Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 9:21 am


Wannstedt was a HORRIBLE Game Day Coach. I like that kind of silly.


You are downright cracking me up. Cool down, brother.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.29.13 @ 9:26 am

POD, I disagree a realist would recognize that you can give this clown 10 years of recruits and the best we will ever be is a 6 or 7 win team going to some meaningless bowl like the string of clowns that preceeded him. Until we spend the money and buy the real thing the only reality will be that we suck. College football is big business and the teams that win do it by investing in top people. Somehow fans like you have been confused into thinking that Pitt will successfully develop a football coach who will lead them to greener pastures on the cheap. You are the one not seeing the reality here. Then you point at the reality and call it the delusion. 30 plus years of failure should be enough evidence of the reality I speak of.

Comment by spiritofsection22 10.29.13 @ 9:27 am


Show me a post where I contradicted myself.

There was one I remember you accusing me of… but I explained how it was not a contradiction at all.

Possibly not expressed as clearly as it should have been… but not a contradiction.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.29.13 @ 9:29 am

Yet he had the best 3 year run in 30 year!!!!


Would you rather have Bill Gates coaching coaching and us winning 3 games per year?

Comment by wbb 10.29.13 @ 9:30 am

@POD, I concur Wanny stunk. That doesn’t mean Chryst is any good though.

Comment by spiritofsection22 10.29.13 @ 9:31 am


Funny you say “10 years.”

That exactly how long we’ve been waiting for Dixon to take Pitt to a Four Four.

Now I know you are a HUGE Dixon fan. But, it’s interesting the way you distinguish between sports and coaces.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.29.13 @ 9:33 am

OK he stunk and was horrible …

Yet he had the best 3 year run in 30 years!!!!


Comment by wbb 10.29.13 @ 9:33 am

@ Steve h

“So until PC gets some players who can play key positions like QB and RB Pitt is going to struggle and he shouldn’t be judged until then or if he is not able to find those players but that point hasn’t been reached yet.”

There was nothing stopping PC from bringing in a couple JUCO QB’s for this year to compete with Savage/Voytik. Or even JUCO RB’s. He knew Shell has been gone since April. Did he do any of this…..NO.

He has a great player in Boyd. And he doesn’t even know how to optimize him. 3 touches against a service academy. And not many against scrub ODU. Give be a break Steve.

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 9:35 am

Spirit… now that’s a valid point.

I however believe Chryst will succeed with the right QB.

He also needs the right Defensive Coordinator… someone who takes care of the side of the ball with having to worry or question.

In my opinion… Huxtable was a huge loss… for his proven coaching record… and his STRONG personality which was the perfect balance to offset Chryst.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.29.13 @ 9:38 am


I don’t really have the time to go looking for your posts from days ago. Nor do I want to.

It was something about your other favorite subject, Voytik.

Here’s some questions you can answer to straighten this out.

1)Now let me get this straight, you’re a big big fan of PC and all his abilities? Yes/NO

2)So that would led one to believe you have trust in his judgement as to who should be the starting QB right? Yes/NO

3) PC has determined Voytik isn’t better or ready at this point in his career/development to start instead of Savage. Are you saying PC is wrong?

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 9:41 am


Let me ask you a question.

You really don’t know why Boyd and Street were shutout with the long ball against Navy?

Comment by PittofDreams 10.29.13 @ 9:49 am

Got to go.

It’s been fun Pitt brothers.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.29.13 @ 9:50 am

@POD, Dixon has had Pitt in the top 20 at some point every year for a decade. He inherited a program with very little notable success over it’s entire history. He took a program that had been in the NCAA tourney about once a decade and made them into an annual participant. How can you be so critical of the best hoop coach in the schools history, and yet defend a stooge who will never even have a winning record. Jamie Dixon looks like a top coach, has the record of a top coach, and has produced teams and players proving he is a top coach. Chryst has never done anything , looks like an idiot on the sidelines, and has never accomplished anything significant with the team he has coached. You claim that “if” he gets this or that he will succeed. I say “can’t even beat a bad Navy team.”

Comment by spiritofsection22 10.29.13 @ 9:58 am

You didn’t answer any of my questions.

You first, I was raised a gentleman.

(plus I asked first, lol)

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 10:12 am

You guys are arguing about the leftovers in a box of chocolates.

You’re arguing over which is worse, the raspberry cream or lemon cream!!!

We haven’t had a caramel or a covered cashew cluster since Majors and Sherrill left!!!!

Comment by Dan 10.29.13 @ 10:27 am

exactly sos22

He has more than an abundance of talent to beat a middling service academy team that got crushed 7-35 by Duke, got beat by a MAC team and even got beat by a Sunbelt team. Sheesh

And same thing with the crappy performance against a scrub FCS team. More than enough talent.

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 10:45 am


Booing has NO place in college football. If you want to boo
stay home.

I thought DW would coach Pitt for ten years. Was shocked
when he was fired. Would like to ask the AD why DW was fired? Also why he found Fraud attractive? Then PC? Does
the AD really believe he made the right decision on firing DW?

Being a Pitt fan is just plain painful. Why I put myself through
this every season is an unknown. As mentioned yesterday
losing to superior talent is understandable. Losing to Navy
is not understandable. Also the team is not progressing.
more painful weeks ahead.

Comment by JR 10.29.13 @ 10:45 am

Hey Dan-o

nice chocolate/candy analogy. lol

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 10:46 am

agree JR.

DW should have been left to follow the same path of what happened to Alvarez at Wisconsin.

Coach as long as he wanted, hire his successor, from his staff most likely and then he (DW) becomes AD.

That is stability, not the nightmare Cornhole served up to us. With Dopey the latest installment.

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 10:50 am


I’m with you on DW he shouldn’t have been fired he had some good recruits coming and had Pitt on a positive upward swing. He was also frustrating on game day to watch at times. His first two years weren’t exactly fun to watch either, 10-14 maybe with no bowl game. We all know what has happened since that December day, and it has fallen into the lap of Chryst. I think Chryst thought he had Savage and was probably thinking Chapman would move up quickly. I can’t blame him for Chapman can you? Bringing in a top notch juco in April to play in September is asking a little much don’t you think? I don’t know what you see in guys like Savage and Bennett that makes you think Chryst should be doing more I think Chryst is getting the most out of average ability at best. I think that there is a lot to improve in Chryst and Houses coaching but they are going to be here awhile and before I bash them I would like to see how they get themselves out of the shit storm that they inherited.

Comment by Steve h 10.29.13 @ 11:28 am

@ steve h

You know I’ve watched a lot of football games in 50 years, as I’m sure a lot of ppl on this blog have as well and perhaps you too.

No coach is gonna make the perfect call all the time, that is a given. However when they have a track record and that track record says they’re a good to very good coach, you assume that was the right call.

I, of course realized during the DW era he didn’t always make the right call during the games, etc. However his pluses far outweighed his negatives. And he provided PITT something it needed drastically, a pretty good coach, who was a pretty good recruiter, had a relatively pretty good staff, had loads of real coaching contacts he could pull from and was true blue to PITT.
But his biggest plus was, he wasn’t going anywhere.

For him PITT was his ‘destination’ job. So he provided stability for PITT. Had he still be in place when the Pedo State and WVCC circus’s began, we would have been in position to clean up in recruiting moreso than at any time since the Sherrill era. That more than anything bugs me.
That opportunity will more than likely, NEVER PRESENT ITSELF AGAIN.

As for the current HC, he has many of the same problems or maybe more that DW had on game day coaching. But he lacks all the other attributes that DW gave us. So net result was a lose/lose.

Savage is a more than a serviceable QB being ranked #35 among 114 FBS QB’s in Passing Efficiency. Bennett, I’m not too impressed with either his running skills against real FBS defenses or his pass blocking, which is terrible.

But here’s the key to this whole mess Steve, we still have more than adequate talent on hand to rout the likes a scrub FCS team like ODU and a middling service academy team. And the other key is, this team’s play seems to be regressing from week to week ever since the end of the Duke game.

I would like to see him succeed as well.
I would also like World peace and to win the Lotto


Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 12:51 pm

Before last week’s GT v. UVA game Bad Lee (GT QB) said he said GT would go 10-3 the rest of the season. Can you even imagine a Pitt player saying that? Seriously, can you? That gentlemen is the missing ingredient. Swagger. Pitt has zero. These players dont expect to win and it shows on the field and off.

Comment by PittHW 10.29.13 @ 3:58 pm


You contradicted yourself when you posted stats about Savage that you, relentless Tino Sunseri basher that you are, never would have accepted about Sunseri.

I do however agree with you about Dave Wannstedt. Pitt’s best year since Walt Harris left was the year AFTER LeSean McCoy left for the NFL.

BTW, Dan Marino was booed at home while at PITT. Certainly during the 48-14 agonizing beat down at home by PSU. He threw four interceptions. This is Pittsburgh for crying out loud, Bradshaw and Roethlisberger have been booed for less.

Comment by Barvo 10.29.13 @ 8:25 pm

You might be right Barvo.

However Savage has only played 7 games for Pitt, I wasn’t anti-Tino at the 7 game mark. It was after a larger sample of games.

I never felt in the 3 years TS was QB, if we got behind we had much, if any of a chance. With Savage I feel we still have an inkling of a chance if they just give him 3-4 seconds to get off a deep pass.

Appreciate the comments, we don’t always have to agree, which is what this blog and America great.

VeV !

Comment by EMel 10.29.13 @ 11:05 pm

EMel, you have it backwards. The decision to fire DW came from the top under no uncertain terms. Fans want to believe it was some power play by SP over DW but that wasn’t the case.

Comment by Reed 10.30.13 @ 7:09 am

DW as a AD would be a poor choice for PITT, he just isn’t intelligent or savvy enough to handle the intricacies of the job.

Football is what he knows and that’s about it.

Comment by Reed 10.30.13 @ 7:15 am

The decision to fire DW came from a stadium that emptied before halftime of the Backyard Brawl.

Comment by 2$Chuck 10.30.13 @ 8:32 am

My idea with DW as AD, would be in the line of him being more of just AD in name only. You have a good asst. AD doing all the nuts & blots stuff.

I’m sure some of these other AD’s who were ex-football coaches at their college, it’s run similarly.

And he was savvy enough to be a NFL head coach not once, but twice.

And the current AD isn’t exactly Einstein.

Comment by EMel 10.30.13 @ 10:41 am

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