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November 29, 2013

Open Thread: Miami-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 11:12 am

If you aren’t a little dazed and groggy this morning — whether by binge eating/drinking or shopping — then you may have done our present iteration of Thanksgiving wrong. Needless to say, I’m keeping it simple this morning. Setting the open thread with media run-through.

It’s going to be cold but sunny. I don’t think the temperatures will make anything but the smallest difference for Miami. Sam Werner made the correct observation in his chat earlier this week.

I don’t think it’s a hard-and-fast rule that all Miami teams play poorly in the cold, since the 2003 ‘Canes came into Heinz Field and beat Pitt in the final game of that season. But I was also in El Paso in 2010 when the Hurricanes came out bundled up like they were venturing out onto the planet Hoth. They got smoked that day. If this Miami team is focused and strong-willed (like that 2003 team), then I don’t think the weather will play a factor. But if they’re mentally checked-out and just waiting for the season to end (like the 2010 team was), the cold is just another reason for them to want Friday’s game to be over.

I don’t think Miami head coach Al Golden is a great coach, but he is a very good one. I think Golden will have Miami ready for this one. At least in the first half. This article goes through most key cold weather games for Miami. Not surprisingly, the cold only seems to be a factor when they lose.

It’s senior day. Headliners are obviously Aaron Donald and Devin Street. But there are 16 others.

“I get caught up in the moment,” said [Jason] Hendricks, one of 18 Pitt seniors who will play their final home game. “You might see a few tears. Hopefully, I won’t (cry). I don’t want to look like a baby.”

Hendricks, who has had a “Pitt” tattoo on his right arm since his redshirt freshman season, has called four men head coach since arriving in 2009.

Change has been difficult, but he said, “It just made me stronger as a person.

“I learned how to deal with change. Things don’t go as planned, so you just make the best of your situation.”

He said he and his teammates built a close bond during the turmoil.

“Coaches may change, but the players don’t,” he said.

Unless they transfer.

Which brings up perhaps the ultimate symbolic senior Panther of this group, Tom Savage. The team that blew through 4 non-interim head coaches in 4 years, helmed and saying good by to the quarterback who played for 4 different head coaches on three teams. (Schiano, Erickson, Rodriguez, Chryst).

“I’m blessed to be able to play here, especially after transferring so many times,” he said. “Not too many people get to finish their career at a school like Pittsburgh. I’m blessed and I’m happy to be a part of this team.”

Savage has taken a beating this year behind the Pitt O-line. He’s toughed it out and only missed a small handful of snaps the entire season. With his arm strength, I have to believe he will have a shot in the NFL. I just hope he gets an O-line that can keep him upright.

Another senior with a late move up the depth chart because of injuries and (struggling) youth, Juantez Hollins. When he got suspended for all of last year it was mildly surprising he didn’t transfer to somewhere like IUP or Cal (Pa.). Instead he stayed and served his suspension. And stuck it out for his last year. Even after being passed on the depth chart by a redshirt freshman and then a true freshman.

“I never showed weakness on the field,” he said. “They never knew I wanted to quit, but it was in my head, yeah.”

Hollins, 23, took his concerns home to his mother, Tamika Genes, who reminded him why he was in college.

“When you are not playing as a senior, you know it’s your last year, you have a lot of bad thoughts,” he said. “But having my mom and my parents behind you (helped). (She said), ‘Don’t let it get to you. Just try to finish school. That’s the main thing.’

“At the end of it, you are going to need that degree. I just thought, you got suspended the year before and you didn’t leave. You stayed. You might as well stick it out. It would be stupid to quit in your senior year.”

Honestly, he’s never been very good, especially in pass protection which frustrates in the game. But it is still good to have him at this point.

For seniors, Aaron Donald is looking at plenty of honors and garnering lots of respect. There are other players who have a shot at more achievements — at least of being all-ACC.

Wide receivers Devin Street and Tyler Boyd figure to be contenders for spots. Street has 51 catches for 854 yards, sixth-best in the conference.

Boyd ranks third with 903 receiving yards. His 68 catches are also one shy of Larry Fitzgerald’s school record for a freshman.

On the ACC coaches conference call Wednesday, Chryst also pointed to redshirt junior right guard Matt Rotheram as a Panther who deserves All-ACC consideration. Rotheram has started all 11 games for Pitt this year and all 13 last year. He moved from right tackle to right guard in the offseason.

“Matt has been probably our most consistent offensive lineman, certainly worth consideration,” Chryst said.

Boyd isn’t generating the media attention as much as he did when he burst on the scene at the beginning of the season — in no small part because of what Aaron Donald has done on the defensive side — but it doesn’t diminish how amazing a first season he had.

Finally, back to the game and injuries.

Pitt coach Paul Chryst shifted from his usual reluctance on talking about injuries Monday when he announced that offensive left tackle Adam Bisnowaty (back), defensive end Ejuan Price (back) and tight end Scott Orndoff (leg) won’t play Friday against Miami.

And none of these are surprises — other than Chryst making it official rather than listing them as questionable until gameday. Senior linebacker Shane Gordon is on the questionable list. As is Devin Street. Heck even senior left guard, Cory King, is “questionable” despite not playing for six weeks.

For Miami, their injuries are in the secondary. If the Pitt O-line can give Savage some time, this could help.

Gametime is 3:30 pm on ABC.


Don’t forget Devin Street and Tom Savage as well. As much as old Tommy Boy can frustrate us all, I’m not confident at all about the QB position next year.

Comment by Kenny Powers 11.29.13 @ 6:44 pm

Frankcan, I don’t disagree with you, but we are playing with embarrassingly inferior talent. I don’t think a healthy Devin Street would start for Miami at WR. That is sad.

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 11.29.13 @ 6:48 pm

Another classic lose by Pitt! Only Pitt can lose games in the most bizarre way…two punter returns in one game, fake punts, fumbles, two many man on the field, and blocked punts. Finally, the inability of the O and D to make a stop when it is really needed! One more thing, lose a game we are not suppose to lose to…Youngstown State, Bowling Green, and most recently Navy.

Comment by PittSouthCarolina 11.29.13 @ 6:49 pm

I’m moving out of Pennsylvania shortly after I graduate in May. I’m telling myself now that I won’t follow Pitt football next year and that I’ll instead follow the dominant college football program in the area that I’m living. I say this knowing that I will, undoubtedly, watch each and every broadcast online next year and continue to wonder why I subject myself to taking part in an activity that truly brings me no satisfaction.

Comment by PatMac 11.29.13 @ 6:52 pm

Chryst is making 1.6M to much. He is terrible. Loved that nasty dogshit grey sweatshirt. No professionalism

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.29.13 @ 6:53 pm

As I said before, I can live with a Pitt loss to a better team. What I cannot live with is the appearance of utter coaching inompetence (next year I will remove the word “appearance”). Good WPA High School teams do not make the careless mistakes that this Pitt team does,over and over.

I thought we were done with this crap when Wanny left! Is there any accountability left in the Pitt Football Program? Anywhere?

Chryst coaches like there are no consequences to his decisions at all.

My oh my, I surely did not think we would be at this crossroads again.

Very disappointing football year, game, ooaching and play from a school/administration that majors in all of the above.

And now the lies about “this is the largest season ticket sale we’ve ever had at Pitt” from our fave SP….As phony as most government programs!

And yet we all just keep coming back…

Comment by Dan 72 11.29.13 @ 6:54 pm

Of course,you guys realize,the football team will be worse next year. All the good recruited talent will be gone. Maybe somebody will have some balls and get rid of Chryst sooner than I think. I really don’t want to go through another 4 years of misery.

On the positive side, basketball looks good. We will hold our own in the ACC

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 11.29.13 @ 6:57 pm

Pitt’s special teams are anything but,

Comment by MariettaMike 11.29.13 @ 6:58 pm

Miami has lived by points on turnovers. Today Pitt gave them points on special teams early. The Panthers beat themselves again. Only positive take away from today is, they did not quit.

Don’t lose all hope guys, we played a ton of freshman this year. This team will get better, not worse next year. It’s a learning process and it is so painful to watch but they will get better.

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.29.13 @ 7:01 pm

Another loss attributed to our special teams.

Comment by MariettaMike 11.29.13 @ 7:01 pm

By the way another great performance by the “panther pitt”. Not really any reason too worry about attendance today but there were more Miami fans there than Pitt students. I realize they were away for the holiday but Pitt used to be a commuter school, there have to be more than 2000 students living in w. pa. I guess the students are smarter than I was.

Comment by cas myzlinski 11.29.13 @ 7:03 pm

Just got home, left at half time. Cold night, weak crowd, poor play.

Hate to single a guy out but Pitts singlehandedly dug a hole so deep…

Fumbles the opening kick-off, are you kidding me?

Was nowhere near anybody in coverage, I don’t know what the count was, but it had to be high. Five to ten yard off every catch. Then gets called for interference on a ball thrown into the dirt.

Our lack of any pass rush has been the main issue all year. Any QB can complete passes to open receivers when they have all day.

Other than that, the O-line gave Savage the most time all year, too bad the receiving corps is so depleted. The line also opened holes and Bennett and Ibrahim had strong games.

Thank God it is over.

There were a few coaching issues but this was mostly on the lack of enough good players. They are not a great Miami team but they are sure bigger, faster and stronger than us.

The refs didn’t help much either, but they didn’t lose us the game.

Comment by gc 11.29.13 @ 7:03 pm

thank god for basketball way do i let football suck me in i should know bye now that we will suck but every year i come back for more of the same old shit i must be nuts.

Comment by Frankcan 11.29.13 @ 7:06 pm

why why.

Comment by Frankcan 11.29.13 @ 7:08 pm

HCPC will be given every opportunity to fail. This is about Pitt brass not wanting to do anything until Nordy is gone and the next head honcho has time to be a fan of the program. It doesn’t matter. Pitt will get 21 or so million to show up. Pitt will never put the kind of money needed to make a big impact if football. Period.

Comment by chethejet 11.29.13 @ 7:09 pm

When they were putting 2-4 guys on Donald and holding on most plays. Where was the rest of our line? The answer is not bad coaching, it is our players are not good enough.

We only had three decent receivers after Spoon went down. And two of them are tight ends. This is not a result of poor coaching.

We had a fumbled kick -off, a blocked punt and a missed field goal. Not bad coaching, just inferior play.

And our fans really do suck, starting with the students, where the hell were they? Really sad, quiet senior day.

As usual, I was sitting, surrounded by opponents fans. All year. That is the “Same old Pitt”

Comment by gc 11.29.13 @ 7:20 pm


Why ask why? It’s pitt football!!

The definition of insanity!!

Comment by Why ask why it's Pitt Football !! 11.29.13 @ 7:27 pm

Just like Syracuse last week when they easily scored on their first possession and we lucked out up there because Syracuse is not good. The coaches cannot get this team ready. Special teams a disaster.

If in the bowl (if we go) the opponent scores first then = disaster.

Comment by Frank MD 11.29.13 @ 7:36 pm

I think Pitts is spending too much time watching the most over rated corner in the NFL, Ike.

Comment by Jimbo 11.29.13 @ 7:38 pm

Agree that this L was on the players, and/or the lack of enough quality players. Appreciate that we never quit but you can’t freaking bury yourself from the beginning. Zero confidence! Thug U goes on the field expecting to win. We can only hope that our OL and TE’s continue to mature and become a dominant unit so that next year we can run at will and control the game. H2P and bring on the City Game! UPone

Comment by UPone 11.29.13 @ 7:51 pm

GC, as a former student who returned to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia early in 2003 to see the PITT/MIAMI game, it is understandable that the students were not out in numbers today. A Friday afternoon game when everyone is home for Thanksgiving? Tough to ask large numbers to drive 3, 4, 5+ hours, while leaving their homes where they haven’t been since the beginning of the semester, at approximately 9:00AM to make it by kickoff.

Comment by Todd Gack 11.29.13 @ 7:51 pm

They said that the students wouldn’t be at the game because all of the out of towners are home for Thanksgiving. Only the local Pitt students are home….

They better start recruiting some players…

Comment by Jackagain 11.29.13 @ 8:05 pm

BTW….the Pens won 3-0…good game. 🙂

Comment by Jackagain 11.29.13 @ 8:05 pm

Todd, there have to be more Pitt students that live within a half hour away. It looked like less than 500 students.

Comment by gc 11.29.13 @ 9:28 pm

Paul Chryst and Pitt will be fine. We need to remember that this current recruiting class is all on him. He is playing those that he recruited so there is early playing time for the new class.

Henry and Montae would be instant starters next year. That is the beauty of the current Pitt team.

Pitt isn’t deep enough to handle any injuries either. That is a huge difference in these games. We will get faster and deeper. Oakland zoo needs to be primed and ready for a few great recruiting weekends. Bookser, Nicholson, Henry, Kamara, McKenzie,Davis and Fields in order of preference. I would be happy with two of those and would expect a program change if they get five. As we saw tonight, this game is all about playmaker’s and prioritizing the ball. Since I am in a post turkey mellow, it would be grand if Pitt landed 4 of the 4 stars and got the young Chryst to flip on Stanford. Heck, while we are at it, Schiano will be gone if TB gets blown out once or twice more and would free up an offensive line coach and a new Athletic Director. Don’t wake me from this turkey induced, koolaid laced dream.

Happy Holidays fellow blatherites!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 11.29.13 @ 9:34 pm

Well it’s tough to put this loss entirely on the special teams but 3 miscues in the first quarter pretty much sealed Pitt’s fate tonight. I beg Pitt to get a specials coach next year.

That said, the defense did not play well. The secondary was again exposed, and it wasn’t just one guy, it was a collective team suck starting with the coverage scheme. They were definitely confused, which is distressing in game 12. A lot of pitch and catch similar to the FSU game. I think the Canes could have run that roll out and hook at the first down marker every single play, Pitt never covered it.

Pitts was on the bench in the second half, results were the same. No pressure up front either. Morris had all day and room to step into his deep throws. Poor tackling was the icing on the cake.

Gotta give the offense credit, with all the injuries, and playing uphill all day, they moved the ball consistently; methodically, but consistently. Savage missed a couple throws but all in all another solid game. Not sure what the deal is with Conner, but it was good to see Ibrahim step up, and Bennett ran hard. Boyd looks exhausted to me. For a true freshman he has carried such a heavy load this year.

Pitt was emotionally flat as well. I feared that after becoming bowl eligible last week. The “crowd” was crap, but I wouldn’t expect any less from the fickle faithful.

So another 6-6 season. A few young guys got experience, but Pitt loses a number of key players. Any hope for improvement next year? Unfortunately this team will still lack depth of talent, and will likely be a younger team next year than this year. 2 years in and I’m not sold on Chryst. I like some aspects of him but have no confidence at this point that he is the guy to turn it around.

I swear this Program just wears me out…

Comment by Iron Duke 11.29.13 @ 9:46 pm

i will consider this season a success if they perform better (win) than their previous two bowl games (smu, ole’miss).

Comment by goalie44 11.29.13 @ 10:04 pm

Typical Pitt! We all knew that we would lose but it’s the way we lose! Fumble the opening kickoff, really? 12-13 us Chryst’s record, I hope it gets better! But I’m afraid it won’t! Ironically, after our AD “let go” of Wanny one of the names floating around that was interested was Bo Pelini! And Nebraska doesn’t want him now? I’ll take him! Another Nebraska connection with Smiley! This AD had no plan after Wanny at all! I mean did he think Saban was coming to Oakland. There was no plan! Or whatever plan he had didn’t come through. And his best plan was Mike Haygood! That’s a downgrade to Wanny! And everyone knows the rest! Just frustrated as everyone is but can’t seem to stop blaming the AD! He has ruined two historic programs, gotta be a record! I like Chryst but 12-13 isn’t going to cut it if he goes that way for two more years. I love Pitt football but am just so numb to it all anymore! Hail to Pitt………hoops!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 11.29.13 @ 10:22 pm

Sean Miller will win the NCAA’s by 2015. His kids are that good! He recruits studs.

I dont think Chryst is the answer but unless he is caught at a swingers party with farm animals we have him for atleast 3 more years. He has better job security than Saban thanks to Pedersons atrocities.

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.29.13 @ 11:39 pm

Pitt will play Ball State in the be careful you dont get mugged or freeze to death bowl in detroit. Im sorry but there is Ero to get excited about with that matchup, location or really anything else.

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.29.13 @ 11:55 pm

From AD:
“It’s hard to beat a good team with a lot of mistakes early,” defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. “You can’t win games like this.”

This is, once again, a result of terribly inept coaching. I cannot make excuses for HCPC any more. You can blame the players all you want and say we need better athletes, but this is yet another game where PITT was unprepared and uninspired out of the tunnel and out coached from the opening kickoff. In fact, my hat is off to the kids for having to overcome their lack of preparation and game plan each week. We cannot continue to make excuses for these idiots….

Comment by htp123 11.30.13 @ 12:58 am

I allowed myself optimism,a risky move when Pitt football is involved.

Really embarrassed yesterday having Pitt-Miami on national TV. Outside of some diehards in the ‘burgh, Pitt football is a joke. Sorry to say it.
Pretty sure the SEC matchup on CBS won the ratings war for those hours.

The “record setting season ticket sales” can easily be explained: Florida State & Notre Dame.
Lots of empty yellow seats (should be dedicated as “Steve Pederson” seats as he assured us moving from campus to the Northshore would fill the stadium…didn’t work). In short, overall support for Pitt football has malingered around 30-40,000 fans who actually attend.

Miami can’t fill its rent-a-stadium either, let alone bring legions of fans to ours.

Next year with no marquee (Iowas maybe?) opponents and the HCPC product to sell, ticket sales will languish.

Looking around the viewing dial this weekend most stadiums were full. Blame Pitt fans if you want for the crowd, but the crowd will show when they believe. In the third quarter with Pitt driving you could hear the “Let’s Go Pitt” chant from the crowd.

Then House’s defense took the field. It was like putting a pin in a ballon.

Comment by TonyinHouston 11.30.13 @ 5:26 am

I salute the seniors. Pitt finally had some good leaders but unfortunately overall lack of talent and bad coaching doomed them. Pitt must get better on D and special teams like we all know but it starts with coaching and then recruiting.

Will Pitt get an experienced and proven D coordinator? Will Pitt start recruiting the south and have a real recruiting budget?

Like Wanny said, we need to get faster.

We may also need new coaches if things don’t change. If we want to compete for ACC championships, mediocrity and excuses won’t do. Maybe a new Chancellor and AD will change the mindset.

Comment by TX Panther 11.30.13 @ 5:48 am

Ball St is the worst possible matchup, no win situation. But that’s what 6-6 teams get.

Comment by Iron Duke 11.30.13 @ 7:39 am

Is it too difficult to make sure there are only 11 players on the field? This penalty summed up Pitt’s season — no attention to detail and lack of fundamentals. Forget about size and speed. If Pitt can’t learn the fundamentals of football no caliber of player will turn Pitt’s football program around.

Chryst needs to totally evaluate his coaching staff.

Comment by MariettaMike 11.30.13 @ 8:04 am

It’s hard being a Pitt football fan, like being on a treadmill, working and working but not getting anywhere!

Comment by Moe Greene 11.30.13 @ 8:15 am

Personally loved it at the end of the game when the announcers said that Pitt should regret letting Wanny go. Clearly everyone in America outside of SP and a few on here realize how DUMB that was.

Comment by John 11.30.13 @ 8:22 am

I’m thinking we get sent to the Beef Bowl in St Pete to play Toledo or Buffalo. Although there is more talk of Detroit-Yay!!

Comment by John 11.30.13 @ 8:29 am

good thing, ball state would put up 80 points on us.

Comment by goalie44 11.30.13 @ 8:35 am


The way we lose is painful. The fans and students can’t be blamed for not going to the game. The coach and team have to earn the loyalty of the fans. Be competitive and exciting and the stadium will be filled. Those of us who have followed
This program have been disappointed too many times. PC
better get hustling on the recruiting trail. No end in sight
of the mediocrity and low level bowl games. Sad state of affairs. Will never understand why DW was fired.

Comment by JR 11.30.13 @ 8:40 am

Pitt will improve. It takes time to build a program. Will not be done in 2-3 years. Takes 4 at minimum.

PC is learning on the job. When you hire a first time HC you have to expect the growth period. Thank goodness he won 6

In the end college football is about recruiting and coaching getting out of the way. Good coaches can’t win over bad players. Good players can carry bad coaches. Pitt is suffering from young experienced coaches (bad) and average team talent (bad) which equals a 6-6 season and no bowl invite.

It is likely that at 6-6 they don’t get an invite. This will teach everyone including the coaches to shoot for a winning regular season record.

The biggest difference yesterday was special teams (fumble, blocked punt, missed FG). When PC realizes the importance of this area if the game we will be better prepare to narrow the gap. PCs inexperience really shows in his lack of commitment to this area.

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 11.30.13 @ 8:42 am

@ atlanta,

if pc doesnt realize those things now, it’s too late. even first time head coaches should understand the importance of special teams.

Comment by goalie44 11.30.13 @ 8:47 am

in fact, the majority of the blather have been screaming for a special teams “specialist”. we (or most) of us are not even coaches.

Comment by goalie44 11.30.13 @ 8:49 am

We are conveniently ignored.

Comment by TX Panther 11.30.13 @ 8:54 am

@Atlanta: I’d like to make 500K+ for OJT. As for fundamental football, my high school football coach assigned a person on offense and defense to make sure 11 players were on the field — and to call a time-out if more or less players were on the field. Is that too much to ask from a high paid college football coach?

Comment by MariettaMike 11.30.13 @ 9:11 am

Special Teams… Ask the Steelers about special teams. It must be the drinking water on the South Side… 🙂

Comment by MariettaMike 11.30.13 @ 9:13 am

ATL – why did Klingsberry turn Texas Tech into a winner in 10 months and various other programs do well. Chryst is winning cause of Donald a wanny recruit. He has recruited zero talent on defense and mext year we have a wb with zero game day exp. mediocrity is a step up from us and some 9th rate shit bowl in that sorry BK detroit. The free handout bowl.

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.30.13 @ 9:17 am

I’ve been sending money to Pitt football for over forty years. I think it’s time to switch my contributions to the Pitt Band. At least they never let me down and bring a smile to my face.


Comment by MariettaMike 11.30.13 @ 9:23 am

The ” record breaking ticket sales” must have been bolstered by corporations and investors. At least in my section 110, visitors side around the 45 yard line, there were 30-50% opposing fans. Notre Dame being the 50%, but FSU was close and NC and Miami did well too.

I guess this is the good news about the ACC, the teams travel well. Should be good for hotels and restaurants.

I just don’t enjoy sitting with the enemy, especially when we are getting our ass kicked.

Comment by gc 11.30.13 @ 9:31 am

Wanny!! LMAO!!

Comment by Dan 11.30.13 @ 9:44 am

Yesterday couldn’t have done much for recruiting the top dogs, other than telling them they will play right away. This is my biggest concern about House, will anyone want to come and play for him?

We obviously need bigger, stronger, faster players on defense if we are going to get better. To win football games you need turnovers, hard hitters and great d-backs are needed. You don’t get interceptions when you are 10 yards away from the reception.

You also need pass rushers, with Donald leaving, we have zero.

Chyrst seems to be recruiting offensive players pretty well, although we need more better receivers, where would we have been without Boyd?

A veteran D-Coordinator would have helped bring in better players on the other side of the ball.

But even if Henry and Nicholson come, how effective will they be with no pass rush?

Comment by gc 11.30.13 @ 9:49 am

Attended UNC and Miami games. Agree that with some big wins Pitt can fill this stadium. I think the absence of many students yesterday was palpable. The crowd that attended both games was very enthusiastic. In fact when Pitt tied UNC it felt a lot like the Pitt-Cincy game in 2009.

Lafayette Pitts looked terrible yesterday. Even if one overlooks the bogus PI call. He fumbled on the only good play he had. I projected him as a defensive star after last year’s season. I can’t figure out what has happened to him. I hate to blame any single player for yesterday’s outcome, but if I was forced to do so…

Tyler Boyd outright dropped two passes and should have caught a third. Very uncharacteristic of him. The catch while on his back was very Fitz.

The defense gave up three touchdowns of more than thirty yards. They game up a 66 yard pass that led to Miami’s third touchdown. Miami really only had sustained drives for their final TD (killshot) and the field goals. That final TD drive was excruciating to watch because Pitt had a chance if they force three and out.

Special teams play once again deserves a special place in this thread. I found the illegal sub particularly annoying and is squarely on the coaches. Yoklic seemingly took forever to unload the tipped punt. How a senior doesn’t know that he doesn’t have all day is beyond me.

There were a lot of reasons that Pitt lost yesterday. It’s easy to solely blame special teams. Incidentally I heard post-game on The FAN that less than 17% of all FBS teams have a dedicated special teams coach. It would be interesting to know the composition of that 17%.

I thought Anthony Gonzalez looked like the best defensive player yesterday. Todd Thomas made some and missed some. Looked like AD was doubled a lot. Not sure where the rest of the line was in that case. House better find some DL studs and solid DBs or change scheme next year.

Comment by Barvo 11.30.13 @ 9:50 am

The ACC gave us a nice schedule the first year. Next year is a disaster where the stands will be truly empty. No national TV games home or away. Good thing I have ESPN3 on my computer. If we are 6-6 next year then Chryst may be almost out the door. I will try to find at least one game of interest next year for my annual trip back to Pittsburgh.

Comment by Frank MD 11.30.13 @ 9:53 am

And you can’t “blame” the Pitt fans. Many of us on here have put up with this for years and keep coming back for more. Seemingly no matter what. I would argue that the loyal Pitt football fan has to be among the best in the country. Who else would put up with this torture year after year?

If we win and challenge for the ACC title most years and crack the top 20 or 25 from time to time, then the average fans will show up and fill the place – and who knows, you may hatch a few new hard core fans along the way. That’s how it works.

Many of the good people that sit around me threw their hands up yesterday and said they are not renewing next year. They “want” to be fans and have supported football for many years, but they said they can’t waste their Saturdays (or their money) any more only to be angry and disappointed time and again. In their view, this is supposed to be entertaining and fun and it is anything but.

I am hoping these guys buckle and sign up again next year, but I’m afraid many season ticket holders feel just like they do.

Thanks Steve!

Comment by htp123 11.30.13 @ 9:54 am


“unless he’s caught at a swingers party with farm animals, we have him for 3 more years”!!!


Comment by Dan 11.30.13 @ 9:59 am

The prognosticators that said Miami was weak against the run were right on. Too bad we got in a hole so fast, it could have been a different game. Too many self inflicted wounds all year.

One has to wonder what difference a healthy Street would have made all year long. He would have picked up a lot more third downs, and made Boyd even more effective. Disappointing senior year for a very good player.

Comment by gc 11.30.13 @ 10:00 am

I agree Barvo, I wasn’t a Gonzo fan, but he got better all year.

Comment by gc 11.30.13 @ 10:04 am

Anybody watch the Oregon vs Oregon St. “Civil War” game last night. A mediocre Oregon St. team scores late in the fourth quarter to take a 5 point lead with less than two minutes to play, ultimately ends up losing the game by one point to their superior arch rival Oregon.

I’ve even coined a term for that kind of heartbreaking loss suffered by other teams, I call it “pulling a Pitt”! Tough being a Pitt fan, for sure!

But take heart guys, who really looked at this ACC schedule in August and said with confidence, “yeah, we’re a definite for 7 wins and a bowl game this season”? And let’s throw a win over ND in there too, just for good measure, only the Pitt Koolaid addicts, that’s who.

So here we sit at season’s end at 6-6, licking our self inflicted wounds after a bad loss to Miami. Wake up call for everybody who is disheartened by yet another loss by a Pitt team that can’t seem to get out of it’s own way to play a competitive game of football against a worthy opponent. Right now, what we witnessed yesterday is, EXACTLY WHO WE ARE! I don’t like it either but that is the way it is. No excuses, we just aren’t a very good football team at this point. And we look even more inept when we pull stupid $hit like fumbling on the 1st play of the game and giving Miami a short field immediately after our second possession, a 3 and out, by allowing a blocked punt to occur!

That kind of BS just makes me want to puke! But that is who we are. Looks bad, smells bad, is bad.

Now for the good stuff. We beat the team this season, that most likely is going to win the coastal division of the ACC. We didn’t know how good a win that game was at the time but it WAS a good win, especially because that Duke game was a prime example of just the type of game that Pitt loses, usually, but not this time. We also brought home a victory over Notre Dame in a primetime nationally televised game. Yes, then we follow that up by soiling our underwear yesterday on national TV, typical Pitt, but even in that defeat, I liked what I saw in the character of this team because, we did not quit! We didn’t have what it took to climb out of that hole that we dug for ourselves in the first few minutes of the game but we played hard for the entire game. Another big positive is we saw one of those guys who played hard for 60 minutes break the Freshman receiving record of one of the best Pitt players who ever graced the turf at Heinz Field by his presence. Tyler Boyd, along with a long list of other young guys, is the future of Pitt football. And that future is sure a lot brighter RIGHT NOW than it was back when we lost Wannstedt’s recruiting class after his firing, then followed that one up with Graham’s thrown together 2012 recruiting class of 16 (5 of which aren’t on the roster anymore).

Look at this list of RS and true Freshmaen who saw significant playing time this season:
Chris Blewitt
Bam Bradley
Titus Howard
Terrish Webb
Tyler Boyd
Trenton Coles
Rachid Ibrahim
Mike Caprara
Jaymar Parrish
James Conner
Matt Galambos
Shakir Soto
Dorian Johnson
Adam Bisnowaty
Scott Orndoff
Jamil Pardner

How will Pitt be performing in 2015 when these guys, with years of experience, are the leaders of our team, I wonder? I can only hope that it will be a lot better than we are right now. These guys are Pitt’s future and I’m willing to wait and see how this Chryst Experiment pans out by 2016. If we’re 6-6 in 2016 then yep time to throw in the towel and give up hope for Chryst and Co. Until then, “patience is a virtue”.

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.30.13 @ 10:14 am

Barvo – totally stunned by Pitts, both yesterday and all season. Based on the hype coming to Pitt and his freshman year, I really thought he would be one of the bright spots. Have to wonder what’s going on there.

Generally speaking about the CB’s – if the speed at safety can improve next year – perhaps we will see a bit more press and man coverage.

Mr. Henry, I hope you are reading and can see the opportunity to come in and help!

Comment by Joe Lawrence 11.30.13 @ 10:14 am

If Duke can turn it around so can Pitt. This upcoming year recruiting class will tell us a lot about PC and his coaches. Right now he is a 6-6 middle of the road coach with a losing record as a head coach (12-13). Every coach deserve 4 years so long as he shows improvement. The 3rd year is key and I am sure that PC knows this. Must prove to 7-5 or 8-4 minimum or he only gets 4 years (meaning the 4th would have to be a tremendous year).

What confuses me is the blind loyalty that these HCs have to bad assistant coaches. Fraud Graham is an example of a HC that benefits from a good creatitive OC. Without his OC fraud would be toast as the defense for which he coaches is terrible.

As the Parcells said “you are who your record said that you are”

Now on to better news. Pitt basketball is exciting! Jamie Dixon should tell PC about his strategy

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 11.30.13 @ 10:18 am

“well, you know, we’re playing with a first time starting quarterback, so there’s gonna be a learning curve and some bumps in the road along the way”

Comment by Dan 11.30.13 @ 10:37 am

Dr. Tom, while that is a nice long list, I don’t think we turn any corner without impact players in the defensive front seven. Soto is the only lineman, and he is quite slight, hopefully a year on the training table and weight room will help. Of the three linebackers, will any be impact players, remains to be seen.

You can’t be a Pitt fan without extreme patience, but I see little hope without any four or five star players waiting in the wings.

I would suggest finding couple JUCO pass rushers.

Comment by gc 11.30.13 @ 10:41 am

@Marietta Mike – “no attention to detail and lack of fundamentals”.

This perfectly sums up Pitt’s problem. Opposing coaches (no matter how small the school) can find a weakness in a player or scheme and exploit it. Do our assistant coaches teach fundamentals – taking the proper angles, tackling, watching the ball into the hands? I really wonder.

This is basically a QA problem. Watch Saban on 60 Minutes – incredible attention to detail. He doesn’t tolerate the slightest deviation from the standard. Will PC get there? When things go wrong it’s “need to overcome adversity”. How about not getting so much adversity to overcome?

New head coaches are unpredictable – how is WVU doing?

We have a new Chancellor coming in. New CEOs typically want to make a statement. Will he/she emphasize or de-emphasize football? Actions don’t speak louder than words – they speak WAY louder than words.

Comment by 66Goat 11.30.13 @ 10:42 am

Good stuff Dr Tom

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 11.30.13 @ 10:43 am

Even though only 17% of teams have a special teams coach Pitt is certainly a team that needs one as it costs us dearly in losses and made wins tougher.

Comment by Frank MD 11.30.13 @ 10:54 am

Couldn’t agree more, Pitt fan in Atlanta. Recruiting is the life blood of any program and good recruiting classes are absolutely essential when attempting to “rebuild ” a program like Pitt’s.

It will be a priority to bring in at least 2 or three of the four stars out there that still have Pitt high on their list. The trifecta I’m hoping for are Montae Nicholson, Dravon Henry and Anthony Davis. That would be exceptionally sweet, adding that kind of speed/talent to this class, as well as them all being local talent.

I’d like to see both Shai McKenzie and Alex Bookser on the roster too by LOI signing day, but since Chris James committed it isn’t as essential for McKenzie to commit and Bookser is a OL recruit that, IMO, is going to be just another guy competing for a spot in a recently crowded positon due to the great number of good OL recruits obtained in last year’s class, not to mention the guys like Mike Grimm who are committed in this class. Who would of thunk our OL depth is all of a sudden a strength and not a glaring weakness as it has been over recent past years???

Early playing time has to be expressed by this staff to every one of these guys as one of the biggest benefits of playing for Pitt.

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.30.13 @ 11:02 am

Does anyone think Alabama would hire a President that wants to de-emphasize football. Pitt on the other hand will hire a Chancellor who will never emphasize football.

Comment by chethejet 11.30.13 @ 11:07 am

An Alabama President who de-emphasized football would have a shorter career than a Syrian life insurance policy.

Comment by 66Goat 11.30.13 @ 11:51 am

I don’t blame anyone for being disappointed, but I just cannot convince myself that keeping Wannstedt was a better option. I was a huge fan of the guy, but the revisionist history that goes on with his tenure is getting to be too thick. Even taking the off-field crap out of the equation, Wannstedt’s final season (2010) was marred by everything that drove us nuts about Wannstedt as a coach.

The wealth of overall talent on that 2010 Pitt team made it feel Wanny-proof and they were playing in an extremely winnable conference. Kelly had moved on from Cincy. Leavitt was out at USF and WVU was expected to be down.

Even with a new QB in Sunseri and an (underachieving) veteran backup in Bostick, there was an experienced & talented O-line led by Pinkston, Jacobson and Lucas Nix. They had Dion Lewis, Graham and Hynoski at RB along with a first-round caliber wideout in Baldwin. They had a deep defensive line led by NFL DE prospects in Sheard and Romeus. They had experienced DBs in Ricky Gary, Buddy Jackson and Dom Decicco.

Yet that team – a VETERAN team at many key positions – still managed to look horribly ill-prepared and flat in big games (Miami at home, then at ND). Wanny Staples numbers one and two checked off the list.

There was the Wanny Staple Number Three – the soul-crushing, season-altering loss against a team they should’ve blown off the turf. In 2010, it was Wanny’s kryptonite, the loss to UConn. That one was made worse by the fact that winning that game would’ve put them on the inside track to the conference title and BCS berth.

Then, because the chips fell the right way, they STILL found themselves with that same chance in the Backyard Brawl game at home. With a chance to put the demons of the 2009 Cincy game to rest at home against their biggest rivals, they came out completely flat, quit in the second half and got jeered out of their own stadium.

How on earth did that group lose to UConn? How did that group look so ill-prepared to play against Miami? How did that group – with so much at stake against the hated rivals – come out so flat in such a big game?

So would the last three years have been better had they not let Wanny go? It’s impossible to say because consistency in the coaching ranks almost certainly disrupted the development of the remaining “Wanny guys” over the last couple of years.

Donald, Street, K’Waun, Gonzo, Hendricks and Thomas were Wanny guys and they certainly contributed the last couple of years. But so were Shane Gordon, Bryan Murphy, Ezell, Schlieper, King, Hollins, Rotheram, Shane Johnson, and Clemmings – all players who have been relative disappointments to this point of their respective careers.

Of that entire group, I think only Thomas, Gonzalez, Murphy, Clemmings, Rotheram and Shane Johnson can return.

Would recruiting have been better? Again, it’s impossible to say. But consider that we’d have been spending much of 2011 and 2012 clamoring for Gary Nova instead of Mark Myers/Chad Voytik and you have your answer at QB. The only other 2011 guys to bail on that recruiting class that really did much of anything were Kyshoen Jarrett and Marquise Wright, but Wright’s contributions came after a position switch to offensive line. And Rutgers is a mess right now.

None of this is being said as an attempt to absolve Paul Chryst or the mistakes this team has made on gameday under his watch. It’s just as I said from the start – Wannstedt was a great Pitt guy, but it’s very debatable as to whether this program would’ve been better off retaining him.

Comment by Stoosh 11.30.13 @ 11:52 am

@gc, agreed. I’d love to see an Aaron Donald type in this year’s recruiting class but there is none to be found. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the huge hole that Aaron’s absence will create in 2014 cannot be adequately filled by the mere mortals that we currently have in the pipeline.

First off, lets not forget about KK Mosley-Smith, that guy screwed himself by getting suspended for the season, but if he was smart, (questionable), he put the time to good use in the gym. He’ll be back this fall. Three other guys all project to add depth to the interior of the defensive line in 2014 also. Tyrique Jarrett, was available this season and added depth to the DL, Justin Moody and Jeremiah Talini (our Hawaii connection) who both redshirted this year, also be in the mix on the DL. I so want Talini to be successful just so we can all gush about the performance of our only Hawaii player, like forever, over and over again.

There could be a couple unexpected surprises in this 2014 class defensively too. I find both Mike Herndon and Connor Dintino as interesting recruits that just might make an immediate impact on the depth chart if they work hard in fall camp. At over 300 lbs Mike Herndon spent time at a middle linebacker position in HS for crying out loud. That would suggest that he has some speed and a nose for the ball if they have him there rather than on the line. Maybe he works out at a defensive end position if he can move quickly? Also I like this guy Connor Dintino, might be a project but he has good size to start with.

Talking linebackers, I really liked the way Matt Galambos has matured with playing time at the LB position. I see him only getting better and better next year. Another guy in his class that never saw the field but who I’ve heard has worked hard all year as a redshirt, is Luke Maclean. He is a smart guy who plays fast and I’m pretty sure that we’re going to hear his name a lot next season regarding LB tackles.

So even though the DL & LB recruits look sparse in this 2014 class, I think that we’ll be alright for next year if these guys coming up perform to their full potentials. But needless to say, we are going to dearly miss our All American, AD next season, no doubt! And we’ll need to make the front seven defensively a priority in the 2015 recruiting class for sure.

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.30.13 @ 12:00 pm

Stoosh – Keeping Wanny was not an option. How we fired him was. There was no plan in place and it resulted in utter chaos.

I realize that the world of academia (which SP falls into) is different than the world of reality/business but where is any accountablity.
Our AD SP lies to us about season tickets being sold out and sells thousands to ticket brokers.
A coach is hired and hired etc. and none held accountable in any way.

Personally, I hope they do not go to a bowl. This is a team that needs to let the seniors go and spend a lot of time in deep thought about their on field actions this year. The coaches need to be out recruiting ….period.

Can anyone on this site look at the last 3 games of the year and say that there was no “appearance”
of bad coaching and attention to detail?

Last but not least, Coach Chryst…I want the sweat shirts that I threw out 10 years ago back!

Comment by Dan 72 11.30.13 @ 12:32 pm

Are we going in the right direction? With a new Chancellor and new AD, hopefully yes. It starts at the top. But Chryst does need better coaches and far better recruiters.

Comment by TX Panther 11.30.13 @ 12:37 pm

Dr Tom, I am not as concerned about the interior linemen. Even with the loss of Donald they should be able to stop the run. It is the D ends. No pass rush and we always seem to get burnt on the sweeps. Look at the long run yesterday. Look what GT and Navy did to us.

Our linebackers are not nearly good enough to get us past the middle of the pack. I hope you and Reed are right and that they will be better next year.

Comment by gc 11.30.13 @ 12:53 pm

Pitt still comes out flat. Doesn’t matter if it’s Wannstedt or Chryst. How to explain that?

I don’t remember Graham’s team being particularly flat at the start of games. I don’t think Graham put up with as much as Wanny did. When Chryst has kicked players off the team, the orders always seemed to come from SP.

Does this team have a drug problem? Pitts looked like he was recovering from a weed high yesterday.

Comment by TonyinHouston 11.30.13 @ 2:20 pm


Good points.

I sometimes wonder about the makeup of this team and whether it’s a reflection on the players themselves or the coaches.

Coming out unprepared seems to be more a function of poor preparation by coaches.

Coming out flat may be a little more on the players, especially in games that carry the significance of opponent (as yesterday’s did), emotion (as yesterday’s did, with it being Senior Day) or stakes (as yesterday’s did, to a point, in terms of securing a better possible bowl destination).

Players should be up for any home game, particularly one against Miami. With it being Senior Day and the last home games for Donald, Street and others, but who knows what those guys or their example really means to everyone on this roster.

It makes me wonder a bit about the players. I remember after the 2012 season ended, a few local media types commented that the very idea of some of the departing seniors no longer being around was going to be a step forward for the program. It kind of took me by surprised because the comments were unsolicited. They didn’t come to light until these media types obviously knew they’d never have to deal with these players again, and therefore didn’t risk access to them. But if people who were around the team all year saw it, it led me to believe that the room was fractured and there were clearly a number of players – many of them older players – who weren’t buying in any more.

Maybe that still exists to a point, and if so, I can understand that to a point. As Dan 72 mentioned, it’s tough to compare a locker room to the real world. But in this case, coaching changes aren’t much different than a company undergoing a large-scale management turnover. It’s the same sort of dynamic at work.

Chryst is now two years into this, but he still has a roster that’s half-full of players for whom this program is now markedly different than the one to which they initially may have committed. Almost all of Wannstedt’s guys are gone after this year save a few, but there are still a number of Graham’s recruits (Pitts, for example). Not saying they’re all malcontents or headcases and it may not even be exclusive to those players. But I do get the sense that there still may be a few too many players that could use a Devin Street-like shift in the way they approach their Pitt careers.

Comment by Stoosh 11.30.13 @ 3:02 pm

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