December 28, 2013

Recapping the Pizza Bowl

Filed under: Bowls,Football — Chas @ 6:41 am

I have to start with this, because I swear, I may have written or read something exactly like it after the UNC game.

The Falcons fell behind early thanks to breakdowns in all three phases of the game, then forged an impressive second-half comeback, only to see the University of Pittsburgh kick a field goal with 1:17 left and claim a 30-27 victory in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Hell, if Pitt had lost this game we could have pointed to key breakdowns of our own in all three phases of the game.

The thing that Bowling Green took away from that loss. Pitt was bigger and stronger.

BG had one last gasp, but the Panthers — who finished with seven sacks on the night — pushed BG back to its own 1-yard line, and a fourth-and-40 play was a prayer that went unanswered.

It all added up to a stinging loss to end one of the best seasons in program history.

“We just met a team that was stronger than us, more physical than us, and we just couldn’t get it done,” Gates said.

Pitt had an advantage and exploited that. Wearing down Bowling Green the entire game. Not letting them get space to make as many plays. It helped immensely that James Conner decided to have the best game of his young career last night.

But the biggest difference-maker was Pitt running back James Conner, who broke a school record that stood for more than 35 years and was held by some guy named Tony Dorsett. That’s all.

Conner, a freshman, is listed at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, but he looked and played taller, bigger, and stronger than an ox.

“The running back was a bear to tackle, as evidenced by how many he broke,” said BG interim coach Adam Scheier.

Conner wasn’t a secret — he’d netted about 50 yards per game, on average — although BG safety BooBoo Gates said film indicated the big back was used mostly in short-yardage situations.

Once Pitt’s coaches realized BG had no answer for him, Conner became an every-down back.

“I hit him once and he slipped out of it and I thought, ‘Oh, man.’ The whole game, he and their offensive line were really physical,” Gates said.

Conner did better than 50 yards on this night. Heck, he had 45 on one carry and several more in the 30-plus range. He finished with 229 and that was 27 yards more than Dorsett had in the 1977 Sugar Bowl against Georgia, the previous Pitt bowl record.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I saw Connor on defense first, I was thinking that Pitt was planning for a full-time switch for him based on the RBs coming in. That the Pitt coaches were starting to think that they need some playmakers on defense for next year. While there is a chance that he will still see action on defense occasionally next year, he probably cemented his place as a running back.

When the game started, the O-line looked as messed up as ever. Pass protection was spotty at best and Savage was taking another beating. That said, the O-line held it together with the run blocking.

The toughest job on the Pitt staff continues to belong to offensive line coach Jim Hueber. Hueber was forced to juggle more bodies prior to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Thursday when junior right guard Matt Rotheram, a two-year starter and perhaps the most consistent blocker on the unit, was excused for personal reasons. A Pitt spokesman said Rotheram remains a member of the team, but Rotheram was not at Ford Field for the game against Bowling Green. The result was another new look for the Pitt offensive line, which already was missing left tackle Adam Bisnowaty and left guard Cory King, both of whom have back injuries. King, a senior, hasn’t played since the Virginia Tech game Oct. 12. Freshman Dorian Johnson started in place of Rotheram, while seniors Juantez Hollins and Ryan Schlieper continued to fill in for Bisnowaty and King. Johnson played mainly tackle during the regular season. Center Artie Rowell and right tackle T.J. Clemmings were the only offensive linemen in the spots where they started the season.

Health and depth. What was lacking this year (and the previous two years). Those are my wishes for the O-line in 2014.

Obviously, the storyline is how the youth was served for Pitt. But on the defense it was still the seniors. Ty Ezell dominated the interior as Bowling Green devoted a lot of energy into containing Aaron Donald. But at the end of the game, Donald still made the impact play.

With less than a minute remaining in the game, he drilled Johnson for an 11-yard sack, forcing a third-and-31. The clinching sack sealed Donald’s selection as Defensive Lineman of the Game.

However, it was mostly a frustrating game for Donald. He occasionally had his opportunities to work one-on-one against the Bowling Green’s offensive line, but those were rare.

Donald was double-teamed most of the game. Senior offensive linemen Dominic Flewellyn and David Kekuewa handled the bulk of the responsibilities. Donald had two first-half tackles.

“He was disruptive,” Flewellyn said “He can get in the backfield, which causes the quarterback to shift right or left, and that leaves all the other blockers in one-on-ones and they can make plays as well.”

Grigsby, senior Tyrone Ezell and freshman defensive lineman Shakir Soto led the Panthers with two sacks apiece, and Pitt had seven total.

Bowling Green’s offense found itself overpowered most of the night. Their O-line which seemed so solid before this game just could not protect Johnson when he dropped back. Nor could it provide any running room for Travis Greene. Their star running back who had over 15oo yards coming into the game. He had 9 games of over 100 yards rushing, and he was held to his lowest output — 39 — on the year.

But, lets be honest. The storyline out of this game was that Pitt’s youth had a huge impact, and appears poised to take that into 2014. At least on the offense.

“What can you say?” Voytik said. “I’m excited. You can’t ask for much more. Young talent and years to play with them. We can only get better.”

Tyler Boyd, James Conner, Jaymar Parrish, Dorian Johnson, Chris Blewitt and Chad Voytik all played huge roles in leading Pitt to the victory.

“Enough can’t be said,” said coach Paul Chryst, whose team totaled 487 yards of offense. “I’m really proud of what they did and what they overcame. It didn’t go perfect. It never does. But certainly, I wasn’t surprised.”

Voytik came into the game with three career pass attempts. But he led a 98-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, punctuating it with a 5-yard run around right end, that gave Pitt a 27-20 lead with 9:31 to play. Overall, Voytik completed 5 of 9 passes for 108 yards, including a 62-yard bomb to freshman Tyler Boyd that set up the score.

Voytik said he thought he was going to underthrow Boyd.

“At first, I thought it slipped,” Voytik said. “I guess if I had gotten all of it, with my nerves, it would have sailed over his head. I’m glad it slipped a little bit. I don’t know if it was adrenaline or what, but it got there for me.”

Voytik is not a pure drop-back passer. Well, he’s not as effective in that way. He is much more comfortable and dangerous when allowed to roll the pocket a bit. Given the state of Pitt’s O-line and ability to pass protect it also gave him more time to look downfield.

Nice win and important because Voytik enters next season with confidence.

Comment by steve1 12.28.13 @ 7:15 am

I think what bodes well for the future was the confidence and attitude displayed by the underclassmen. After a play was over the team approach, regardless of success or failure, appeared to be “next down”. There was a sense of purpose to the team, not a sense of confusion or doom. There were no mental pauses to celebrate a success. I really haven’t seen that consistently from the team this year. I truly think it emanated from Conner and Boyd on offense.

I suspect the D may have been inspired by all the recognition of AD and finally realized they are playing with someone special. The only really big play against the D was the BG TD in the second. Todd Thomas barely missed deflecting the pass to the TE on the blitz. The TE then skated through what remained. Vinopal with a great game. Grigsby and Soto with very good games. The Clairton crew gaining experience in the secondary. Anthony Gonzalez improved this year to the point of being an every down LB.

A lot to be optimistic about on both sides of the ball.

Let’s hope for better special teams play next year. I hate to risk injury to a budding superstar, but I am thinking that Tyler Boyd should be returning punts next year. He is a natural. Every time he touches the ball it feels like something special is about to happen.

Comment by Barvo 12.28.13 @ 7:16 am

The off season improvements/attention to defense and special teams will decide if Pitt can win 8-10 games or stay at 5-7. Offense should be just fine. Hopefully a few recruits can be signed to help on defense so Conner can become Ironhead II.

Comment by John 12.28.13 @ 9:16 am

Boyd is the ultimate playmaker! I agree, that feeling is unreal! We are lucky at Pitt to have that feeling every couple of years or so. I also think he should punt return. The benefits will out weigh the costs. It is dangerous but lets be honest any play out there can get you injured. He is just so explosive! It’s amazing how some people are born with that winning attitude and I feel that Boyd, Voytek and Conner all have that “it” factor! I’ll be up for the Iowa game in Setember and I can’t wait! Now on to signing day!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.28.13 @ 9:18 am

Nice summary Chas, great job by you and Justin all year.

What we saw from Conner was what I had hoped for all year. Big backs need many carries. I know he had some injuries, but it seemed that Chryst or Rudolph favored Bennett most of the year. Other than one solid game and several other plays Bennett didn’t seem to be able to hit a whole, break a tackle, or put the team on his back.

The bowl game pointed out the difference in talent level. I guess we will never know how much was do to injury and line play, but it sure appears that Conner should have had more carries.

I also liked what I saw from Wuestner. It would be great to get one of the stars to come, but it looks like Wuestner, Ford and Weatherspoon, could hold down the fort.

I also think Voytik will be more adept at using the tight ends and backs. We have great tight ends.

What a difference 3 points makes, really looking forward to next year.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 9:45 am

I understand that players, particularly receivers need to catch a breather here and there when winded, but can someone explain to me why Boyd is out of the lineup for so many key plays. He is our greatest offensive threat? Wouldn’t it be wise to at least have him on the field whenever we are in the redzone? He was on the sideline for Voytik touchdown as an example. Does anyone here understand why they do that? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 9:49 am

voytik that was huge for next year he now knows he can play.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 10:20 am

Chryst gets his first winning season. Great to be off the snide.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 10:20 am

Impressive as Conner was I think his future is on the defensive side. He has Jerome Betis type quick feet but he is too slow to make the next level as a running back. Voytik looked so good that some had to be wondering if maybe he should have been playing all year. The way our line pass blocked this season it is probably just as well he didn’t. Blewitt had a nice freshman season and Boyd will be a star. I hope we can attract a decent strength coach and shore up the special teams a little too. We aren’t that far away from 8 or 9 win level. It is nice to have some hope.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 10:43 am

info for you voytik is pre med he came to pitt to be a DR. that is why i call him DR Voytik.
i hope the nick name sticks . it would be good for TV if the talking heads call him that.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 10:44 am

conner will be the top RB for the next 2 years stop with the switch to DE he might play there a little bit so pitt can get some free time in sports center but he will be the RB.
2 way players are good for tv talk but he will be a RB 98 perecent of the time.
you can bet on it.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 10:58 am


Impressive a potential Doc at QB! No
way Connor is moved to the defense next
year unless of course anLeSean McCoy
like RB is in the freshman class. Need
another tall talented receiver to prevent
TB from being double teamed.

Comment by JR 12.28.13 @ 11:03 am

The announcer should just call Voytik ‘the Doctor’
And the color guy came chim in with ‘doctor Who?’
Then the network can play the kick butt music…..and then he will be off on an adventure of time and space… my best Maxwell Smart voice, ‘would you believe an adventure to the National Championship’

Comment by DCPinPGH 12.28.13 @ 11:06 am

Have watched the highlights of the game
several times. Connor’s aggressive style
running, stiff arms, tackle breaking cuts,
etc remind me of Craig “Ironhead” Heyward
; one of Pitt’s all-time greats.

Comment by JR 12.28.13 @ 11:12 am

If James is as good as his highlight film, Conner could play Ironman next year.

Sorry to say Bennett just not good enough to get the job done unless the O-line opens wide holes.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 11:23 am

Something that hasn’t been discussed on the blog, I really liked how Vinopal’s apparent change in position impacted Pitt’s D against BG. It seemed he played a MLB type position in place of the season long disappointment of Shane Gordon. He was one of Pitt’s leading tacklers from this revamped position which Gordon was never able to do all season.
He was really smart at reading and positioning players from this position and appeared to be spying the QB very effectively. I appreciate he’s too small to be a prototypical MLB, but I wonder if this is something that could work against the spread option teams who have running QBs who are too quick to be spied by a LB, especially one as mediocre as Gordon.
Grigsby looked like great as a pass rusher and hopefully Price will return and stay healthy,but I think against some spread offenses, Vinopal could have a new role next year.

Comment by Taxing Matters 12.28.13 @ 11:54 am

Taxing Matters very intresting i wonder .

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 12:05 pm

Agreed, Conner reminds me a bit of Ironhead. Hope he can own Ped State like Heyward did taking those short dump off passes and turning them into spectacular gains. PSU never did stop him.

Comment by Dan 72 12.28.13 @ 12:06 pm

Interesting… I’m looking forward to young Dr. Voytik “operating” next year. He started to show he might be a “heart surgeon”, I hope no need for “ER” skills, and hope PC introduces him to “Brain surgery”!!

Comment by CompLit 12.28.13 @ 12:24 pm

Missed the game was with family…just saw it on DVR WOW!!!!!

I think that one of the key outcomes from the game is that Voytik will go into next year with confidence and that the team will have confidence in him as a leader!

Our top potential recruits have to be fully aware that they have a chance to actually be on the field instead of the bench….Coach PC is willing to play the best 22 men on the team…..a huge plus for a talented incoming recruit.

Comment by isnore 12.28.13 @ 12:32 pm

Positive mention of Pitt during Pinstripe Bowl.

Notre Dame win paying dividends.

Are you listening recruits?

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 12:55 pm

Frankcan, I thought Conner played a great game so please don’t think I am being critical. I think the 4star recruit from ND prep is going to be our running back and Conner is too good to sit. Other than being a large bruising back he has no resemblance to Heyward. He has great feet like the Bus but is too slow to be our feature back. Heyward was heavy and fast and way more athletic than Conner. Conner looks more like Wayne the Train De Bartolla than he looks like Heyward. I think it would also be a mistake to overlook Ibrahem as he showed some potential at times this year.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 1:03 pm

With all the positive press surrounding the impressive play of our freshmen players I still hope we might catch some fallout from recruits having second thoughts. With the offensive linemen we have and with those coming I would think big time running backs would be calling us. Voytik made the coaches look bad for not calling his number earlier in the year with his bowl game play. Catching passes across from Boyd sounds like a pretty attractive opportunity too.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 1:13 pm

spirit we all can think what we want and i understand what you say and some of it makes a kind of sence. But as dokish has said stop with DE talk.
the kid has way more yards then schell had with the same amount of carries.
he runs hard he knocks people out of his way will he give up some carries to the new back james yes but next year i think he gets at least 800 yd
cheyst likes to use at least 2 backs we know that ron dayne was not that fast and he was even biger then conner and he got over a 1000 yd in chryst system chryst likes big backs.
why do so many want to make a kid who broke TD record into a DE give it up.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 1:19 pm

JR, your McCoy like running back arrives next summer(Chris James). Kid was a huge get for Pitt there isn’t a RB on he roster like him.

Comment by pd 12.28.13 @ 1:21 pm

Spirit, Conner is not slow. His speed equals the Bus and Eddie George who both played in the NFL. Connor is faster than Rushel Shell. Also, let’s not get carried away with Voytik.. He had a good half, but he has a long wy to go to prove he is a decent D1 QB. His arm is only average strength at best in college. He will have to prove he can make good decisions, be accurate on short throws and make plays with his feet. Best case he plays near the level of Tyler Palko but his arm is not as strong as Palko’s but let’s hope he can. H2P

Comment by RayHpgh 12.28.13 @ 1:37 pm

RayHpgh i am with yo on what you say abought the RB
but you forgot DR Voytik was a 4 star QB when recruitrd and one of the top 11 QB that year his arm is fine most dont have a arm like savage and a good college QB does not need one.
the most important thing is he proved him self a leader and the 62 yard pass to boyd says he has a good enough arm to get bye and he can run that is a very good thing he will do just fine in college will he be a Pro qb some day mostlikey no
but he will do fine in college.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 1:47 pm

Chris James will soon allow you to discount
Conner’s offensive contributions. However, it will allow the coaching staff to transfer those talents to the defensive side of the ball. That’s all good because that is where we need some major assistance. Thanks James Conner. Now the other James to step in at O ( not to mention Ollison) and Hello we have a dynamic DE all of a sudden and another stud at RB!

We need both Karama and Jennings right now, period!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.28.13 @ 1:49 pm

The Chesapeake Bowl is at 7:30pm this evening. Pitt verbals Brian O’Neill and Patrick Amara will be playing in it, as well as WR target Jamil Kamara.

I believe it will be streamed at

Comment by Mailman 12.28.13 @ 1:50 pm

Thanks Mailman

Comment by pd 12.28.13 @ 1:55 pm

Pitt will see the Heisman come home sometime in the next two years with Conner or Boyd

Comment by PITT it IS 12.28.13 @ 1:56 pm

RayHpgh I like the Voytik Palko comparison. I also agree that there is no way that Conner is moved to defense. I don’t care who they bring in at running back next year.

Comment by Floyd 12.28.13 @ 2:05 pm

Conner is a running back…period.

Comment by TX Panther 12.28.13 @ 2:19 pm


James may be a stud however PC has
always used 2 or sometimes 3 RBs.
Rachid Ibrahim is too small and light
at this point to be a featured RB; despite
his speed. Multiple options at key positions
indicates PC is developing depth. At last!

Comment by JR 12.28.13 @ 2:19 pm

I am very content to wait and see how it works out with Conner. While you can’t have too many running backs, only one can play at a time.

With Donald gone, we have absolutely no pass rush. If no one steps up we may need Conner.

The great news is he is an absolute beast, maybe he can go both ways, with x amount of snaps on either side.

Hopefully though, we will have enough guys that can play, so he can chose what is best for his future.

We can only hope that James is the next Shady or Lewis, and with Ollison, Bennett and Ibrahim, we will have a full stable of backs.

There are no clear cut stars coming back at D-end, hopefully, one of the redshirts is ready and Price is healthy. Murphy got a little better and Soto
might be good, but many question marks.

Crucial to have a better pass rush next year.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 2:22 pm

Hoops: Cincy creams Nebraska

Comment by steve1 12.28.13 @ 2:23 pm

Move Conner to DE? Would Johnny Majors have moved Dorsett to safety for his sophomore year?

Savage had the arm strength and size, but Voytik has the best intangible of all – he’s a WINNER. I think we would have won maybe 3 more games this year with him as QB. I think PC chose Savage for the worst reason. Savage came to Pitt as his last chance to make the pros, and PC didn’t want to deny him that chance. After all, Voytik has 3 more years.

Comment by 66Goat 12.28.13 @ 2:29 pm

Taxing Matters, you are spot on re: Vinopal. I commented during the game that he has LB instincts, but not size. But he could play the spy role vs. spread type offenses.

Comment by Iron Duke 12.28.13 @ 2:41 pm

I think the yardage record was nice but I know what I saw and Conner is slow with quick feet. Maybe you guys are right but I don’t see him as a feature back. Voytik on the other hand looked to have the intangibles. The play on 3rd down from the 7 to start the 98 yard drive he looked like a 5th year senior. This kid looks a lot better to me than you guys are giving him credit for. Time will tell, it’s nice to have some hope as I stated before.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 2:48 pm

james has not played a down we think he might be good but we dont know.
so you would move a good RB like conner to DE for a kid who has not carred the ball in college yet.
i am glad you all are not the coach.
even if james is good all he will do is splet time with bennet and conner.
let wisconsin be your gide chryst used 2 or 3 RB NEVER just one,

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 2:49 pm

If Conner had breakaway speed he would have had 2 more touch downs.

He is the thunder type back, we now need a complement lightning type back.

A nice win to build on let’s bring in some more impact type recruits this LOI day

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat 12.28.13 @ 3:06 pm

Ron Dayne played at wisconsin he won the heisman his waight 260 pounds he was a workman like back
there words not mine.
does that sound like conner only conner is only 240 pounds.
so does chryst like big backs i think so.
so dont say conner wont play RB get real let history be your gide.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 3:06 pm

Apologies to Coach House. What do I know?

Comment by steve1 12.28.13 @ 3:07 pm

Conner gained 229 but Dorsett would have had 450. He looked pretty good at defensive end to me. Our defense can sure use help. Did anyone happen to notice all the games that Conner didn’t get squat? He out rushed Bennett by 2 yards on the season so I wouldn’t retire his jersey at running back quite yet. Voytik showed lots of poise,touch,and was nimble afoot. He looked to have the makings of a first rate college QB. He looked way better than Savage looked in most games. I am wondering why we didn’t see this kid more. I also don’t understand why Boyd gets left standing on the sideline when we are in the redzone? Anyone have a feel for why Chryst does that?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 3:32 pm

I suspect Chryst didn’t want to risk Voytik’s health behind a sketchy O line in what was basically a transition year.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.28.13 @ 3:40 pm

@Pitt Dad , Does HCPC strike you as that smart? If your suspicion is correct I salute the move. I suspect the threat of injury had something to do with Boyd rarely returning punts. I really liked the Savage kid and admired his toughness but his delivery made him a target and he had a slow motion release to go with the ole’ line play. It was a bad match.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 3:55 pm

some of you are nuts you know that right you call some of us negitive downers and what do you do you take a kid who broke a rushing record that stood at pitt for 35 years a record that TD set and you want to move him to DE.
the kid had something like 789 yards this year as a freshmen that is i think 100 more then shell had last year,
but that is not good enough move him to the D line
after he played D for what 10 snaps
you all are the real downers not us .

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 4:00 pm

Comparing Conner to Eddie George is spot on! 66 goat I compleatly agree with you the O line was pour at pass pertection but Savage is slow of feet and mind. Savage completed passes to 2 receivers Voytik hit 5 different receivers. Pitt won’t be the most sacked team in FBS next year! The pass to Gardner coming out of the endzon was beautiful I don’t think Savage makes that play and I don’t think we win if Savage plays the second half!!!!

Comment by Steve h 12.28.13 @ 4:03 pm

Agree frankcan. Conner should stay at RB

Comment by Steve h 12.28.13 @ 4:06 pm

@Sos22 – I do think HCPC is smarter than people give him credit for. In this case, I think he saw what kind of team he had after the first few games, knew he had Savage for one year, knew he was building for the future and decided to protect his asset – Dr. Voytik.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.28.13 @ 4:14 pm

I think Connor was a pleasant surprise at RB. IMHO he is not a stand alone RB. He could be thunder but you need speed/lightning. The combo would be great. He isn’t going to play RB at the next level so he should look at becoming a beast DE or LB if he wants to make 1M in a few years. Just my 2 cents but a combo would be great. Remember the coaches now have a year of film and he isn’t a surprise like he is this year. Speed kills at RB and unfortunately he doesn’t have it for the next level.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.28.13 @ 4:18 pm

Frankcan The record was great and the Pizza Bowl win was great. The 800 yards wasn’t very impressive. I don’t think we ran the ball well all year. Even at the Pizza Bowl 3rd down 1 yard to go with a minute to play Conner gets stuffed. The guy will never be better than an average running back in my opinion. He has nice feet, size and attitude but he is too f-ing slow. If Chryst saw him as a lock at running back he wouldn’t have had him playing on D. I am not being negative in any way. I love Conner and what he brings, I just think his future is on the defensive line or even tight end ,because a good college running game needs somebody faster.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 4:22 pm

This is the 3rd time I am asking this and if anyone has any ideas I would enjoy hearing them. I have noticed that when we have the ball in the red zone Boyd is often on the bench. Voytik’s touchdown run as an example. Why would we have our greatest offensive threat on the bench? Running him through the end zone has to draw at least one of the oppositions top defenders. Why isn’t he in the game?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 4:31 pm

He said he is NOT part of the red zone package. Riddle me that one batman, I don’t get it either.

Comment by pd 12.28.13 @ 4:42 pm

Spirit, I think his breaks were just timed poorly, quite honestly. I, like you, can’t think of a reason, that Boyd would be on the bench for the biggest plays, otherwise.

Comment by panther94 12.28.13 @ 4:48 pm

I like our chances of a good year next year with Dr V at QB. throwing to Boyd. With any running game at all I smell a pretty sweet offense.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 4:50 pm

Also, since we’re talking about it: link to

Comment by panther94 12.28.13 @ 4:51 pm


Conner will carry the ball next year. He’s a 240 lb tailback… not with “quick feet”… but with EXCEPTIONALLY quick feet.

While I like Issac Bennett, mostly for his character… you got to ask why he couldn’t get out of the backfield while Conner was making it look like child’s play?

He might see periodic double duty. But Conner will be one of three or four backs who get carries next year.

Any PERMANENT MOVE to Defense for Conner will come at the next level. In the meantime, he will be giving Pitt fans plenty of reason to cheer the way he aggressively runs the football with rare determination and attitude, even if he’s not taking it 60 yards to the house.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.28.13 @ 4:52 pm

But what does the D smell like? And special teams?

Comment by TX Panther 12.28.13 @ 4:52 pm

Who said he was not in the red zone package? When he made the one handed grab just out of bounds was that not in the red zone. He’s probably not in the goal line package. Neither is Antonio Brown or Mike Wallace iirc. That’s just football. As for the bootleg play, wasn’t that after a 60+ bomb when he was taken out of the game? Then they basically walked into the end zone.

Comment by Gordo 12.28.13 @ 4:52 pm

Gordo, I don’t care what package it is, if we are in the redzone I want him in the game. Voytik scored on a rollout bootleg that started out looking like a corner lob. Boyd had a great view from the bench.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 4:56 pm

Wake Forest just lost at home to UNC Greensboro.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 4:59 pm

Geez, TX Panther, I guess the only thing that would satisfy the talking heads on defense would be some 4 star recruits on defense.

Oh wait, like Murphy, Grigsby, Mosley-Smith, and Thomas

Comment by Gordo 12.28.13 @ 5:01 pm

TX Panther, Like Port Erie after a fish kill, but at least we will score.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.28.13 @ 5:02 pm

bill o brien looks like he’s working on a deal with the texans

Comment by rhyno527 12.28.13 @ 5:07 pm

The point is that your recollections are erroneous spiritofsection22. He is in the game in the red zone most of the time. Him or Street for sure…unless it is the goal line package. I don’t think Jerry Rice was in the goal line package. It’s a formation that’s been used successfully for generations.

Comment by Gordo 12.28.13 @ 5:10 pm

I agree with Conner on D. I think that’s where his future lies and where he can help the team more. We have a 4* RB coming in, give him every opportunity to win the position. He played great during the bowl game but it wasn’t like he ram that way the entire year. The D needs more talent.

Comment by Pittastic 12.28.13 @ 5:35 pm

Ok. I can tolerate that smell.

Comment by TX Panther 12.28.13 @ 5:38 pm

If O’Brown leaves Pero State, it may open the door to some of their commits.

Comment by Pittastic 12.28.13 @ 5:40 pm

upittbaseball conner at 240 pounds is to small for a DE in the nfl.
but 240 pounds would be a great RB at next level
and i am telling you all he will be one of 3 RB next year with bennet geting the least carries
conner and the new boy geting the most and conner would have had 1000 yd this year if he had not got banged up and missed some of the games.

did you not read what i wrote abought ron dayne chryst loves a big back.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 5:55 pm

Looks like O’Brien may be gone. Gianotti talking like it’s a done deal on The Fan.

My fear is those lucky scumbags will end up with a better coach. Really was hoping for some dark times for Pedo St. So far sanctions have not hurt them nearly as much as I thought they would.

Comment by Pap76 12.28.13 @ 5:56 pm

In 13 games this year, Pitt had 45 red zone attempts, scored 38 times (almost 85%) which included 29 TDs and 9 FGs. I’m not sure how many of those plays Boyd was in on but I don’t think his absence or presence would have made much difference. Street was the receiver who could run the fade route. Boyd, not so much. At least not yet.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.28.13 @ 5:58 pm

BOB to Texans on Tuesday. ESPN NFL reporting

Comment by pd 12.28.13 @ 6:05 pm

both teams that will be in big 10 next year lost there bowl games

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 6:06 pm

The West Virginia Kid from Carolina, just ran another punt back for a TD.

Really odd rooting for ACC teams but so far so good.

Big 10 picks up two new losers. They probably want it that way.

I don’t see moving Conner to defense until his Junior year and only if we have two running backs better than him.

He should start next season as the featured back.

As I said before big backs need lots of carries. Even the great Franco Harris was second fiddle to Lydell Mitchell at PSU. When he started carrying the ball 30 times a game he was unstoppable.

Conner is too good a player to only touch the ball 10 times a game.

What Conner did in the bowl game is pretty much unheard of. Certainly an act of desperation, but kudos to the coaches for using him at D-end.

Hard to believe that Conner may actually get stronger with a year in the weight room.

I have total confidence in our coaches to do what is best for Conner and what is best for the team.

Frankcan, your hero Dokish thinks they should have played Boyd at punt return all year. That is why he is a writer and not a coach. You don’t put one of your, by far and away, best receivers in harms way. Especially after you lose one of them. The bowl game is different, especially after you lose Spoon, you take the risk. If you had receivers waiting in line to play, then maybe.

The Steelers are taking a huge risk with Brown. Even the great Lynn Swann stopped returning punts when he became a starter.

Maybe Apke will come to Pitt now that O’Brien appears to be leaving. Anyone else interested?

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 6:06 pm

gc if penn states coach goes to NFL things might look up on recruiting i will go check there commits right now. to see who we might pick up.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 6:11 pm

Frank the ACC isn’t the Big 10. Not sure a Big Back works the same way as in the Big Slow 10.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.28.13 @ 6:18 pm

They have some 3 and 4 star DE and DT PITT should put feelers out to.

Comment by Pittastic 12.28.13 @ 6:19 pm

here are 2 kids we recruited hard in the first part of the year before they commited to penn state not saying we could get them but we were in it with them for a time
DB troy vincent a 3 star
WR thompkins a 4 star

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 6:20 pm

Frankcan, I don’t think our coaches would aggressively go after their guys, but if they approached us…

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 6:23 pm

Weren’t we in the hunt for Apke?

Anyone know how we let DeJuan Blair’s brother get away?

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 6:26 pm

Where is Reed? Is he out of the country on assignment for the CIA?

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 6:27 pm

Frank don’t forget Worley, Beh, Reeder

Comment by pd 12.28.13 @ 6:42 pm

Probably sniping in Afghanistan.

Comment by TX Panther 12.28.13 @ 6:43 pm

I’d like to get Holley from Brooklyn. link to

For some reason, we never recruited him.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.28.13 @ 6:54 pm

@ gc

I remember Lynn Swann returning punts for USC. If you have a gamebreaker like Swann or Boyd, you want them to get as many touches as possible.
In effect Boyd’s punt return won the game.

He has just as much a chance of getting injured, when leaping (body exposed) for a pass whether on target or not. Or in trying to throw a block on a running play or for another receiver.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 7:01 pm

Actually for guys like Swann and Boyd, you want to get them into ‘broken field’ running situations where opposing players are spread out.

Where they can work their magic.

At a minimum I would certainly use Boyd back there in the big games. Can make the difference between winning & losing.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 7:05 pm

Need more Boyd’s.

Comment by TX Panther 12.28.13 @ 7:07 pm

UNC ran roughshod over Cincy.

But what is it with these ugly ass uniforms.

Both teams looked like they D2 schools or schools like Grambling or Jackson St.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 7:08 pm

Does anyone know if any 2014 recruits are going to enroll in January to make Spring Drills? A few did last year and am just wondering…

Comment by barreman 12.28.13 @ 7:11 pm

I was reading somewhere, that Dravon Henry wanted a package deal like Boyd & the Clairton kids got last year.

We had apparently offered a DL from Aliquippa named Fields but then ‘pulled’ the offer.

So Henry wanted a package deal with him, Fields and another Quip kid. And they were quite upset, since Quip was a Pitt pipeline school.

So Henry went to Wvcc. Henry was supposed to be better than the kid from Gateway. And history says Quip kids pan out at a higher rate than Gateway kids at Pitt.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 7:14 pm

The other kid, Jaleel Fields also committed to

link to

Fields was a PG Fabulous 22.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 7:17 pm

Emel, I am sure that USC had a huge stable of receivers at the time. Look at the stats, when Street went down Boyd was all we had, too big of a risk.

I would love for him to run back punts. If we had three more high caliber receivers no problem.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 7:20 pm

Fields offer was pulled after we got two other linemen. He knew that was the deal up front.

We never had a chance with the kid from Gateway.

Still can’t root for Miami although the announcer sounds like the agent for Teddy Bridgewater.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 7:25 pm

the penn state coach told a player he is not going to the NFL that is to bad i has hoped he would go

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 7:36 pm

Yea well they had other receivers for sure, but none the caliber of Swann. Who was an All-American and future #1 draft pick of the Steelers.

Yes I agree not with Street injury. But before Street got hurt, we could have used Tyler back there, could have been the difference in say…..beating Navy.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 7:37 pm

Slightly off topic but the Providence UMass BBall game is just ugly.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.28.13 @ 7:38 pm

Emel, if I remember correctly, you wanted him to play running back as well LOL. The kid is an amazing talent, too bad we didn’t have enough of a supporting cast.

If I recall Boyd was dinged up a couple of times, glad he made it through the season as it was.

Very tough kid but not indestructible.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 7:44 pm

In 1972 Swann played with Sam Cunningham and Anthony Davis, they didn’t have to throw much.

Some called it the greatest team ever.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 7:52 pm

ACC is 3 and one in bowl games so far

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 8:05 pm

No, not a true RB, I suggested that in order to get Boyd more involved in the offense, since we were having so much trouble pass blocking, starting in the UVA game. That we lined Tyler up pre-snap in the backfield, so you could have more options with him, as to confuse the defense. You could motion him to either side of the field, from the backfield.

Or throw some screen passes to him and occasionally have him run the ball on some sort of motion play with him coming back to get the ball on a reverse.

When you have a talent like Boyd who can cause such havoc for the opposing defense, there are so many ways you could use him. Rather than just as some Wideout.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:10 pm

Any kid with the last name Conner should be nicknamed “the terminator”. Watcha think? Seems to fit for a big back who plows defenders over. Imagine if we actually get a goot strenght and conditioning coach.

Comment by dishman 12.28.13 @ 8:11 pm

Is that beyond imagination ? lol

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:12 pm

in 1973 Swann led USC in receiving by a large margin, with 42 catches for 714 yards, the next best was the coach’s son (JK McKay) with 28 recepts, big droppoff, goes without saying. And then the TE had only 17 recepts.

Pat Haden was the QB and the offense was about 55/45 split between rushing/receiving.

Swann also rushed the ball 14 times for 99 yards.
And did all punt returns.

Don’t think they could have afforded to lose Swann, lol.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:21 pm

Man, the Ville putting the beat down on the U

Comment by pd 12.28.13 @ 8:23 pm

When did we start babying players ?

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:23 pm

Miami was getting hammered by everyone after they lost to Fla. State. Except for us and UVA. (ikr)

VT 42 ThugU 24
Duke 48 ThugU 30
FSU 41 ThugU 14

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:30 pm

dishmen good one

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 8:31 pm

Emel, when I was a freshman, freshmen were not eligible, because they were afraid they would get hurt and could not make the transition to college.

That was babying.

Swann was a senior in 1973.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 8:31 pm

Looks like the Pedo’s will be in the market for another HC. Another opportunity for Chryst and staff to make some headway. Will they ?

link to

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:35 pm

Tony Dorsett was a freshman in 1972….and….lol

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:36 pm

Marino was a freshman in 1979. Neither one didn’t do too bad. Yes/NO

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:37 pm

They changed the rule in 1969

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 8:38 pm

Coaches always tell recruits that! Even if they don’t mean it! Remember the Cinci coach story! Went to dinner with a recruit while at Texas Tech and gave him the talk and literally walked out of the dinner and headed to Cinci! Bob is gone and off to Texas! When Mort reports it, it’s usually a done deal! Can’t say I am sad! Welcome to college football PSU! Those good old days are gone, coaches come and go now a days! Word is the Vandy guy is interested! I hope we pound the crap out of them! Can’t wait for that game in two years! P e n n s t sucks!!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.28.13 @ 8:42 pm

Yes I knew it had to be pre-Dorsett.

Cuse hammered Villimanilli in hoops today.

Good for us and the ACC. Cuse needs to stay in Top 2 until we beat them. Might be one of the few chances we get, to become ranked.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:44 pm

@ Sweet Carolina.

Will be interesting to see if ‘lily’ white State College would hire Franklin.

Can’t even remember if JoePedo EVER had an black asst’s.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 8:46 pm

Boyd 85 catches for 1174 yds

11 runs for 114 yds

19 kick returns for 425 yds

He was really babied.

He didn’t have Pat Haden throwing or Anthony Davis running and he certainly didn’t have anywhere near the quality of offensive line blocking.

Take that Lynn Swann.

I don’t remember did Tony Dorsett return punts? I am sure he would have been pretty good at it.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 8:48 pm

Tony Dorsett freshman year 1973
318 carries, 1686 yds, 5.3 per carry

James Conner
146 carries, 826 yds. 5.5 per carry

They babied him too, LOL

Our freshman are pretty good, not really fair to compare them to Hall of Famers yet.

Comment by gc 12.28.13 @ 9:00 pm

Emel, isn’t Larry Johnson (I think that is his name) a PSU assistant? He’s black, isn’t he?

Comment by Annie 12.28.13 @ 9:03 pm

Idk is he a PSU asst. ? Was he there when JoePedo was there.

If he was, or his father, ok that would be 1 that PSU had in 40 years.

Nice to see you again Annie !

One of Emel’s Elves has arrived, I bid you …good nite.

Comment by Emel 12.28.13 @ 9:11 pm

@ FRANKCAN, make a note, by the conclusion of next season, potentially both Ollison & especially Chris James are going to allow you to forget about Conner’s records set in this bowl game.

None of us have any concept of how large the impact Chris James is going to have on this program.

Mark my words, James is going to eclipse anything accomplished by guys like Conner, Graham, Lewis or McCoy .

Chris James is going to run like crazy behind the OL that Chryst is presently assembling. Trust me, we are in for a treat that will go down in the Pitt record books in the future. All this, before Chris James even steps on campus. If I’m mistaken about CJ, Ollison will be waiting in the wings to pick up his slack!

You will see. Remember this prediction, James is going to be $$$$$$!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.28.13 @ 9:33 pm

Watch his HUDL vid., he was the best RB they recruited. He will make a Boyd like impact.

Comment by pd 12.28.13 @ 9:55 pm

DR Tom so you dont like conner you think he ran wild over a bad team is that it i thought you said it was ok to play a MAC TEAM IN bowl. now what he did means nothing to you is that it.
so you throw him aside like a rag for a kid who has not done any thing in college yet you sure are loyal

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 9:57 pm

just the way i think but if a team has more then 1 or 2 jc players in a recruiting class it is most likely in trouble and looking for a quick fix

Well WVU has 6 or 7 JC players in there class this year so i think they are screwed.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 10:13 pm

Conner making an impact on the Defense is HARDLY throwing him aside, Frankcan! No doubt, Conner owned Bowling Green and yes he eclipsed Tony Dorsett’s rushing record in a bowl. But let’s qualify a couple things. First, this game was a very important one for Pitt to win. But it WAS STILL a MAC team , even if they were the MAC Champs. Not quite the same competition that Tony faced against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Second, I was a supporter of Conner’s talents from the start but his forte was as a defensive talent not a RB. Third, this year, with the defection of Shell, we dearly needed a guy with the talents Conner possessed to fill that RB gap.

Fast forward to next season. If you think that Conner had game at RB, you ain’t seen nothing yet! The inside story on James is that he is faster, quicker and shiftier than Conner AND has a burst of speed in the open field than Conner just doesn’t have.

Sooo, my point is PLAY BOTH! Why have Conner wait for his turn in a stable full of able RBs when he can play a significant role at DE or LB all day?

What a pleasant problem for Coach Chryst to have, where do I have a spot for all of my talented players?

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.28.13 @ 10:55 pm

DR Tom here is the thing you say it was still a mac team we beat.
and when we were saying things abought playing a mac team in a bowl what did you tell us.
as i said james may play but conner will to as much as james does if not more you all forget how chryst likes a big back.
did you not read what i wrote abought ron dayne
let history be your guide .
and i will take a wait and see on james becuse you never know if they can do it till they do.

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 11:09 pm

We will find out at camp! Chryst will play the best and I predict it will be the Hammer! Love that nickname he got vs ND! Hope you all are right about James, how do you know this much about James Dr? I can’t believe our Pitt football team is gaining and surpassing PSU and WVU. I know they are not ACC but I seem to always compare us to them!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.28.13 @ 11:26 pm

Mark my words, James will “do”.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.28.13 @ 11:27 pm

DR Tom i just asked chris dokish what he thought of people who said conner would not be the RB at pitt next year.
what he said was they are not very smart
i did not say that he did.
just saying

Comment by Frankcan 12.28.13 @ 11:47 pm

I never professed to be intelligent, just feel confident that the running back position will be in very good shape, with or without James Conner still at the RB spot next year.

Now I’m not so sure that the DE corps will be in such a warm fuzzy place next season, do you have any suggestions FRANKCAN on how we could reinforce the troops there?

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.29.13 @ 12:09 am

Just got home from the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl with my Wolverine wife and in-laws and wow, I don’t think two 7-6 teams could be looked at more differently by their fans going into the off season. Not many happy campers in Ann Arborville.

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 12.29.13 @ 2:12 am

Can’t figure how people say Conner isn’t fast — he repeatedly got the corner on guys when jump cutting out of the backfield…no, he’s not a 4.3 guy but give me a break, he’s 230-240 with a devastating straight-arm and major quick feet. What do you want, Bo Jackson?

If he hadn’t shared time with Bennett or nursed his shoulder injury for 3-4 games, he might have wound up with 1500 yards…he blasted away vs. ND and a few other big front seven teams, not just smaller MAC ones like BG. We’ll see what the incoming recruits do in camp, but until then, straight crazy to put him anywhere but at the top of the RB depth chart.

Comment by Matt N. 12.29.13 @ 3:33 am

Good assessment on Vinopal — I always thought he was a good tackler and classic run-support safety…they need to match him up with a ball-hawking, fast, center field type safety and let him move up closer to the line of scrimmage and disrupt things there and in the backfield.

Comment by Matt N. 12.29.13 @ 3:38 am

Voytik stepped up and played well — good for him, but don’t count out Anderson in the QB competition next year. Chryst probably wants to redshirt the freshman QBs, so it’ll be a battle between Voytik and Anderson — and Anderson showed me excellent quickness and mobility as well — and a pretty strong arm, so my guess is it ain’t a done deal yet, but I like the way both look.

Comment by Matt N. 12.29.13 @ 3:43 am

By the way, what happened to Murphy? Did we lose him too?

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.29.13 @ 4:56 am

I have a better chance at the starting QB job next year than Anderson.

Comment by JW 12.29.13 @ 7:59 am

@ Matt N, I am in agreement with you. As Chryst says, “prove it”. I’ve seen some training videos of James and he strikes me as a talent that knows he’s good, naturally, but has the desire to be great! And as a HSSenior has a plan of action in place already to reach his potential.

I’m feeling that we were lucky enough to get him because he was promised playing time early if he was ready and could contribute as a Freshman.

As I initially wrote, when this RB discussion started, “by the conclusion of next season”, James first has to prove he is ready then he has to produce also. So Conner stays right where he is for now, IMO too, until James proves that Conner’s talents can be utilized elsewhere without jeopardizing Pitt’s future running game.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.29.13 @ 8:47 am

Give House credit for playing Vinopal in the manner in which he did. He played more DBS.
Look at the roster. Pitt does not need Connor on D next year.

Comment by Notrocketscience 12.29.13 @ 9:24 am

Great win for the program and, hopefully, for the future of Pitt football. Returning talent and an easier schedule in ’14 should bode well for an even better season.

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.29.13 @ 9:36 am

As crazy as it sounds it is conceivable that Conner plays Ironman football. If he plays a limited number of plays on both sides it would be equivalent to playing a normal amount of plays.

It could vary from game to game depending on game plan and where he is needed most.

Again, this depends on whether Chris James is the real deal and ready to go. Also depends on whether Bennett ups his game from what we have seen so far.

Hopefully the O-line starts to open holes that you could walk through.

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 9:37 am

Looking at the roster, depth should not be a problem next year. The question still remains, how many impact players will we have on the defense? The biggest question mark remains, where will the pass rush come from?

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 9:52 am

gc from shakir soto

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 10:02 am

Yeah, I can see Sir Isaac Bennett being a contributor on special teams and little else if this running back situation pans out the way I anticipate. That was a good one notrocketscience ha ha, our front four on defense is not set in stone at any position. I think James Conner just might be able to make an impact at a DE spot from time to time!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.29.13 @ 10:02 am

I think Conner will play on both sides of the ball think the LB/RB at UCLA. If James is what Dr. Tom says he is, then Conner will see more time on D which I believe the team needs. We need impact players on D.

Comment by Pittastic 12.29.13 @ 10:06 am


Ok Chris James may be a stud we will see however Connor will stay
on as RB. Bennett is the odd man out. Could Bennett
become a linebacker?? Remember Rick Tracano?? He moved
to DB when Marino arrived. Net it is going to be crowded at
RB if the freshman earn playing time.

PS Reed is in the witness protection program?

Comment by JR 12.29.13 @ 10:09 am

Frankcan, Soto had one sack this year. Murphy had four.

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 10:11 am

i know but he will see more time next year that is my guess.

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 10:25 am

When you look at the overall team statistics for the year. The comparison between us and our opponents is what you would expect for a 7-6 record. All comparisons are pretty close with one exception.

Sacks Pitt 25-169 Opponents 43-361

This says a lot about our line play on both sides of the ball and we had AD and his 11 sacks.

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 10:30 am

Joe D really pissed people off i did not think he was that bad. But he even got to Asst AD Botghetti go to Borghettis twitter and read what he says to Joe D i thought it funny .

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 10:31 am

I think Voytik will make a big difference in sacks against, since he will roll out a lot, and throw a lot more short passes.

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 10:36 am

JR, Bennett can’t break a tackle, maybe he can make a tackle LOL

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 10:39 am

gc yes i know that is what i have said i am not worried abought the offence i can see light at the end of the tunnel for it.
But the D really is sub par it has me upset i dont know if the freshmen comeing in this class will give them enough help on the D or not.
the LB recruits have been few and the D line men while big are freshmen.
yes the D Worried me and still does.

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 10:42 am

Great linemen are usually Juniors and Seniors. It takes that long to mature physically and learn technique.

It’s hard but that is why we need to be patient.

I also question if we are stockpiling enough quality linemen.

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 11:03 am

defensive linemen

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 11:03 am

gc good point we have 2 DE in this class and 2 DT
the DE are light one listed at just 210 pounds.

The DT are big one at 6 foot 4 320 pounds the outher 6 foot 3 289 pounds but as you say they will need at least 2 years
and the LB are 2 star and like 6 foot tall or so
and light 210 pounds
the DB there are many what 6 or so but as you say freshmen
yes i worry abought the D

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 11:17 am

Turned on the Fan last night in my car and first call in I heard was from Mt. Lebanon. It sounded like a Blatherite. Why did Christ hire such a liteweight as House? Why didn’t we hire Orlando , an experienced Dcoord. and Burgher who put in an outstanding D at Utah State this year etc. etc. Our O will be OK next year but the the D coaching lack of D line and linebacker recruits along with special teams still has me scared about next year.

Comment by Pitt 60 12.29.13 @ 12:09 pm

Roy and Dintino ,are two very good pick-ups. Pitt has 53 offers out in 2015, 20 to LB & DL

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 12:10 pm

Pd that is good to know thanks for the info

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 12:29 pm

I’m sure EJ knows many of the Blatherites names. Pitt like most organizations manages their image or perception by listening and reading what people say about them in the various social media forums. Funny how Joe D has gone underground and is posting as an anonymous Pitt critic. I like his constructive criticism but he’s been known to take things too far and too personal and comes off as a negative Yinzer from Jersey. I do like the fact that for the most part Pitt has passionate fans who aren’t Kool Aid drinkers. I prefer a good beer as my libation of choice.

Comment by TX Panther 12.29.13 @ 12:38 pm

Frank no problem, this staff knows where they need help.

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 12:39 pm

pd if that is so why is house still there.

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 2:17 pm

Unless a coach leaves for a better situation, my guess is that the only change in the coaching staff (aside from S&C) will be a reassignment with someone being named as primary Special teams coach. For example: Chris Haering – Specials Teams coordinator / LB Coach

Kind of hope I’m wrong in that PC will let go of a coach that he thought was ineffective. The perfect scenario would be to bring Orlando in as DC, reassign House to Special Team Coordinator and let Palermo go … but I’m dreaming

Comment by wbb 12.29.13 @ 2:46 pm

Wbb yes you are but it is a good dream.

but here is a thought there are 2 men coaching the D line right now one the DE and one the DT why not one to coach the whole D line. The outher to coach special teams.
to me that takes care of things.

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 3:28 pm

Don’t think anybody will get let go, right or wrong. Maybe one of the d-line coaches leave. House wont get canned.

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 3:50 pm

I like playing Conner two ways except for the different body types needed…imagine if he switches to DE, the coaches would like him to add 10-20 pounds, which would slow him down at RB, so don’t think its as easy as just saying play him both ways…plus, that’s a lot of position meetings and film he’ll have to keep up on, in addition to his school work — not sure if modern players at major schools can pull that off anymore, except for gimmick plays.

Comment by Matt N. 12.29.13 @ 4:51 pm

I suppose if he was just a pure pass-rushing end without any thought for scheme or check downs, he might be okay for a few series a game, but I’d hate for him to have to bulk up and lose some of his quickness at RB.

Comment by Matt N. 12.29.13 @ 4:54 pm

I don’t think he will get moved. Time to see what Maclean can do.

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 5:22 pm

Maclean is another ringer!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.29.13 @ 5:49 pm

Did Bam Bradley get hurt? If memory serves, he played a bit at LB earlier this year and mad some plays, but haven’t heard his name in the later games

Comment by wbb 12.29.13 @ 6:06 pm

I think they should have left him at safety instead of have him gain weight and become a LB.

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 6:17 pm

It seemed as Grigsby got better we saw less of Bam. Never heard about an injury, but they sure don’t broadcast injury reports.

It would be nice to hear how Price and Jones are rehabbing. Be interested in how Bisno is doing and Cory King even though his eligibility is gone.

Is there some confidentiality issue or is it like the NHL that gives no specifics.

Even interested in why Rotherham and Murphy were excused from the game, why so hush-hush?

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 6:24 pm

What happened with Grigsby, he looked like a new man in the bowl game? Why did it take all year to find out he can blitz?

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 6:26 pm

gc, did you know that Grigsby is Bam’s older brother? Seriously, not making it up.

Comment by wbb 12.29.13 @ 6:46 pm

Maybe House is figuring out defensive play calling. frank in 3..2..1….

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 6:46 pm

Voyteks arm is not Chryst prototype it will be hybrid offense to suit his skills they are hopeful

Comment by Paul Shannon 12.29.13 @ 6:48 pm

No more bombs-away Savage. Short and medium pass attack and the TE’s more involved.

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 6:55 pm

more roll-outs and moving pockets

Comment by wbb 12.29.13 @ 6:58 pm

house could not find his ass with hands in his back pocket
DR Votek will be great i dont know why i say that
just a hunch i think he is a leader

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 7:08 pm

Come on Succup ansd Chiefs! Finish! Go Steelers!

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.29.13 @ 7:12 pm

Unreal. Misses a 40 yarder

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.29.13 @ 7:13 pm

Wbb, I thought they were cousins.

Effin Chiefs

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 7:15 pm

Gc. – Pick 6 coming!

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.29.13 @ 7:19 pm

link to

what’s worse than a 6-6 college team in a meaningless bowl game?

an 8-8 NFL team in a meaningful playoff game.

Comment by wbb 12.29.13 @ 7:20 pm

Still feeling good. Dam. Succop from South Carolina may have cost Steelers a play off game.

Talked to my brother in East Texas. He and two or three of his coworkers were impressed with PITT and especially Conner.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 12.29.13 @ 7:20 pm

Seriously, Conner goes off again, breaks Dorsett’s record against a reputed good defense, and some want him to move to DE?? Any coach in the ACC who watched the game is praying the staff would be dumb enough to make that move. If you were preparing for Pitt, would you rather have him line up at RB or DE? Just ask Clowney who is happy to wind up his senior year – once they know you are at DE, it is easy to check away or minimize you in a game plan. So he rushed in a few 3rd and long situations, but I didn’t see him as a difference maker like he is on offense.

Comment by PittMan 12.29.13 @ 7:28 pm


Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 7:42 pm

At least the Stiller players will have plenty of time for “Matlock” and “Murder She Wrote” re-runs…

Comment by thestumper 12.29.13 @ 7:44 pm

Steelers fault. Should not have to depend to get help to make the playoffs. Fire Tomlin.

Comment by MariettaMike 12.29.13 @ 7:45 pm

True the season sucked but the wont fire Tomlin

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 7:49 pm

Tomlin is one of the most over-rated coaches in the NFL but I think he gets at least one, if not two more years. The Rooney’s are nothing if not stubborn, and their coaching philosophy has generally paid dividends over the years. If Tommy-boy flushes another draft class/season down the toilet, then the heat is on. The Rooney family might be stubborn, but they like their merchandising revenue as much as the next guy. Irrelevance has a price in the NFL :-)

Comment by thestumper 12.29.13 @ 7:55 pm

i think it has been 2 years of bad draft picks that have killed them tomlin might be a good coach but i would keep him out of the draft room.
as bill cower players have got old tomlin has done worse.
and most of the players he tomlin picked have sucked

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 8:05 pm

Fire Tomlin and hire who?

Comment by pittisit 12.29.13 @ 8:06 pm

Tomlin has made the Super Bowl twice since being the head coach of the Steelers! And don’t give me that “it was Cowhers team” thing cause the fact is he coached then up and got them there! We are so spoiled as Steeler fans! I live near DC and they would kill for Mike Tomlin! Is he as good as Cowher? Who knows! I loved Cowher but I remember some bad teams even with Bill and lets not forget how many home afc championships he lost! Tomlin is our coach for a while! And if you factor in all the injuries and the bad start, it’s a miracle they were even in it!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.29.13 @ 8:06 pm

Yep in the Rooney’s eyes the way he held the team together to get to 8-8 and not have a total collapse, they will not even think of firing Tomlin.

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 8:22 pm

No, the FACT was is that he inherited Cowhers team. You can tuck your head in the sand all you like but that is FACT. Yes, Cowher had a dubious record in AFC Championship games, but at the end of his tenure he put together a pro-bowl caliber team that Tomlin in FACT inherited. Coach them up? Seriously? I know this is a college football board, but these are PRO players we are talking about. He also landed with one of the best assistant coaching staffs in all of football in the most coach-friendly franchise in all of football. Again, FACT, whether one chooses to acknowledge it or not. FWIW I was never a huge Cowher fan, but he did manage to assemble – with some help – an outstanding team. Tomlin does NOT have that notch on his belt yet. In case anyone has forgotten, Barry Switzer also has a Super Bowl under his belt (one that Steelr fans should probably remember…).- Would any SANE person argue that he somehow did not “inherit” Jimmy Johnson’s team????

And as far as the whole “hire who” argument, let’s not take one of the greatest franchises in al of sports history and punt them down the road of a program like… oh, I don’t know… Pitt? The Steelers have earned the right to demand/expect the best. Save the “best we can do” argument for the teams that haven’t done anything to prove themselves in the last 30+ years.

Last point: injuries/bad start could easily correlate to age/lack of conditioning/lack of depth. The Patriots weren’t’t crazy healthy this year and they seemed to find a way…

Comment by thestumper 12.29.13 @ 8:25 pm

never said fire tomlin just said mybe he cant draft as well bill. and dont forget we lost some of thoes games becuse new england cheated. with out the cheating we would have won

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 8:26 pm

you must never foget new england cheated and cost us at least 2 more super bowls

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 8:30 pm

As long as Tomlin is the Steelers head coach they will never get back to the Super Bowl.

Comment by MariettaMike 12.29.13 @ 8:40 pm

You are also comparing a first ballot hof in New England coach to Tomlin? Come on man! You make good points but there is no way you even think about firing him! I’m just saying, look at our situation, yeah it sucks missing the playoffs but lets not act like Tomlin isn’t a good coach! Every expert at espn would argue you on that one! I feel like another poster put it that it comes down to missing out on some players in the draft and getting older. Listen I’m not saying he is Chuck freaking Noll, I’m just saying at this point not overrated! Will he be in a year or two? Possibly! Lets get back to Pitt talk! H2p!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.29.13 @ 8:42 pm

We might have seen next years defensive scheme thruout much of the bowl game.

Due to personnel and playing so many teams that run a spread offense, House might be switching to a 3-4 look on defense. The 2 returning DE’s aren’t very good anyway, so you just eliminate their positions and go with a NT and 2 other lineman, whether you want to call then DT or DE’s is up to you.

So for those 3 spots we have a boatload of possible starters/contributors. Darryl Render, Tyrique Jarret (obvious candidate to play NT at 6’3″ 340), Devon Cook, KK Mosely-Smith, Jeremiah Taleni, Justin Moody, Luke McClean, LaQuentin Smith and Shakir Soto.

I think out of those 9 players they should be able to find 3 who can play. Maybe a few quality backup contributors as well.

Going to the 3 man line, allows usage of a 4rth LB, who can moved around, from side to side, to provide more pass rush as Grigsby did in the bowl game. Another candidate for that position would have to be EJuan Price. Then you have Gonzo returning and hopefully Todd Thomas. Galambos probably in the middle with Caprara as backup. And Bam Bradley and Devon Porchia in the mix.

Think other than AD, the biggest position to fill, will obviously be Free Safety with Jason Hendricks graduating. As PITT safety’s have led the team in tackles the last several years.

Comment by Emel 12.29.13 @ 9:03 pm

Pitt started three true freshmen on defense against Bowling Green. Defensive end Shakir Soto and Safety Terrish Webb each earned their first career start, while cornerback Titus Howard made his second career start (his first was against Old Dominion). The Panthers have now had eight true freshmen make at least one start this year on offense or defense.

Comment by Emel 12.29.13 @ 9:07 pm

Steeler talk on the Blather. lol

Ok besides inheriting a Super Bowl ready team. I can’t remember too many new coaches who got to coach the caliber of players that was on the roster when MT took over.

Here’s one OTHER thing he inherited.

Quite possibly the best Defensive Coordinator EVER ! Dick LeBeau.

Steelers are in the beginning of a ‘down cycle’.
Can’t stay on top ALL the time.

Actually this cycle started a year or so ago, losing to many teams that were among the worst in the NFL at the time. Raiders and Browns come to mind. Raiders, Titans and Vikings this year.

Good coached teams don’t lose to the dregs of the NFL. Motivation problem clearly.

Comment by Emel 12.29.13 @ 9:30 pm

I certainly don’t think Tomlin is a terrible coach but he has made some bad decisions including last week in win vs GB. His 2 worse decisions was letting Ben play after his concussion and after his appendectomy resulting in 2 losses that the Stillers would have won with their backup.

And as Emel alluded to, his teams have lost to some terrible teams … this year alone, they lost to Titans and Vikings. The year after they won the SB in 08, they missed the playoff by losing to the 3 worst teams in the AFC … look it up.

Not sure he should be fired though .. just yet

Comment by wbb 12.29.13 @ 9:42 pm

This just in, now BOB to the CLOWNS- Penn live

Comment by pd 12.29.13 @ 9:59 pm

Raiders were 4-12 this year, one of the 4,,,against…guess who.

Da Stillers.

Who could forget Pryor going for 93 yards on the opening snap of the game. Probably going to be the highlite of his entire career.

Actually da Stillers (not that I think about this a tad) have been in a downward cycle since, letting another great college QB/non-NFL QB have his career game.

Another who can forget.

Tim Tebow looking like John Elway (albeit TT was a lefty) and leading them to victory in the last Steelers playoff game. He also had his career highlite against the Steelers.

It’s been downhill EVER since that nightmare in New Mile High.

Comment by Emel 12.29.13 @ 10:04 pm

In case you missed it: link to

Comment by panther94 12.29.13 @ 10:14 pm

Btw, if we were a FORMER rival, then why would they care?

Comment by panther94 12.29.13 @ 10:15 pm

I’m glad the Rooney’s own the Steelers and don’t fire coaches willy nilly like many of you are suggesting. Sure Tomlin won with Cowher’s players, but how many championship games did Cowher lose with his players?

If the Steelers don’t lose Pouncey and Foote in the first game and Bell starts the year healthy, they go to the playoffs.

The reason Cinci is going to the playoffs is because they didn’t fire Marvin Lewis.

The Steelers will be back in the playoffs next year.

I don’t hear you guys blaming Kevin Colbert for the draft misses, where has he been lately?

Comment by gc 12.29.13 @ 10:51 pm

gc have you forgot or were you out of the country 2 of thoes big games cower lost were becuse new england cheated

Comment by Frankcan 12.29.13 @ 11:13 pm

@ gc

There’s not guarantee that would have happened if Pouncey & Foote and Bell were available. lol

Those kind of stmts. are kool aid driven.

The Steelers were totally unprepared for the beginning of the season, as they were horrible in the pre-season as well. 0-4 in August became 0-4 in Sept.

Actually Heath Miller’s absence was more felt.

Colbert needs sent packing too, before we become the Detroit Lions. Oh almost already are.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 12:36 am

Don’t worry though, the Stillers don’t have the balls to fire Tomlin.

If the empty seats at the games are any indication, Burgers are voting with their no shows and early exits at the games.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 12:38 am

Yes I know the games are all sold out. btw

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 12:47 am

Btw, if we were a FORMER rival, then why would they care?

Comment by panther94 12.29.13 @ 10:15 pm

They do care, they very much care. Despite the BS that comes from some of them. Collier (Ped State alum), Cook (Big 10’er) and others Ped Centric in the media, all very much care.

They care that PITT remains mediocre or worse.

That should be apparent to all with any semblance of intelligence.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 12:50 am

Emel, despite their rep as rabid fans, Stiller fans, like all Pgh sports fans are front runners. Not knocking, just saying, there always seems to be at least one winning team in town to follow. Steelers down? Jump on the Buccos bandwagon. Buccos down? The Pens are perennially in the Cup chase.

I have to say I was both surprised and pleased at the level of buzz Pitt’s win generated this week in the local media. Winning the way they did, with explosive performances by Boys and Conner, helps a lot.

I do think that if Pitt ever gets to the point where they are consistently contending for ACC titles, this city would jump on board. We’re a long way from that, but if it happens it’ll be magical.

Comment by Iron Duke 12.30.13 @ 12:56 am

btw Thx for the link panther94 !

Don’t really understand all this supposed interest in Head Ped O’Brien.

After all the Creepy Valleysters did lose to lowly Indiana for the first time ever (and they got rolled by 20). And lost at home to Central Florida. Yes UCF had a good season, but it’s still Central Florida. Additionally they got beat by 2 TD’s by Minnesota, another traditionally after ran in the Big Joke. And they got their worst beating EVER (49 points) by Ohio Fake.

So for this he’s getting all this NFL interest, apparently.


Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 1:03 am

@ Iron Duke agree. The new PGH Stiller fans are certainly frontrunners. They played their best game of the year against the first place Bengals, yet by the middle of the 3rd quarter, large swaths of seats were empty. And by the 4rth q. half the stadium was empty.

That never use to happen at 3 Rivers, even back in the ’80’s when the Steelers were mostly absent from the playoffs.

Different kind of fan going to games these days for sure.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 1:08 am

Question: What teams will have had 4 head coaches within 4 years?
Answer: Pitt Panther and Cleveland Browns

FYI- Steelers has had 3 head coaches in last 44 years

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 7:38 am

Hey Wbb:
The answer to your question about what team will have 4 head coaches within 4 years could also be the following:
TOM BRADLEY(after Paterno was fired)
and who ever replaces O’Brien

Comment by Bruce F 12.30.13 @ 9:15 am

The Steelers finished 6-2 after starting 0-4. That’s damn good coaching, many coaches would have lost their team. Yes it helped immensely to get Heath Miller back. Don’t discount the loss of Pouncey and Foote, they are the play callers on both sides of the ball.

The Steelers have missed on some of their picks Adams and Gilbert may be busts. Woirolds seems to be coming around, Ziggy is so so, but Ironheads kid will be a star. Bell is the real deal and so is Jones. It will be hard to replace Polamalu and Taylor, but they will get it done.

Everyone got old at the same time and there is more to go.

Tomlin may not be Lombardi or Belichak, few guys are, but he won a superbowl and if Mendenhall does not fumble he wins two.

Frankcan, last time I checked they didn’t vacate the Patriots wins, they weren’t punished severely because they weren’t the only ones.

No Emel, the Rooney’s have the balls to keep Tomlin.

Comment by gc 12.30.13 @ 9:27 am

Bruce F, using your method, Pitt had six head coaches.

Comment by gc 12.30.13 @ 9:30 am

I know my method of counting Penn St coaches is flawed but I am enjoying having the Penn St snobs have to worry about thier coaching future-nice to see others have to go through the agonizing wait and see, check EPSN every few minutes for updates, check other blog bullshit that we have had to do in the past. Couldn’t happen to a nicer fan group that is still hoping for Joe(I can do wrong) Paterno! Sorry to be so nasty but still am tired of the Penn St fan base that I have to put up with that still thinks their shit doesn’t stink!

Comment by Bruce F 12.30.13 @ 9:40 am

Emel, so true. Steeler games have become a see-and-be-seen event for the young and upwardly mobile. The fact that there is a game on the field is secondary. I know a lot of die hards who refuse to go anymore. Pens games are trending that way as well.

And, whoever chose those yellow seats for Heinz gave no consideration to how visible they are on TV when empty. They scream EMPTY!

Comment by Iron Duke 12.30.13 @ 10:31 am

Iron Duke, that’s cause ticket prices are the equivalent of a car payment and in some cases a mortgage payment. The average Joe Fan can only afford one or two games a year.

Comment by gc 12.30.13 @ 11:47 am

gc but they should have they did not becuse of the PR night mare it would have been .
think abought it the bookies and vegas and THE NFL
CLEAN IMAGE it took a big hit think how bad it would have been if they had done what they should have.

Comment by Frankcan 12.31.13 @ 9:50 pm

penn state lose there coach good the hell with them

Comment by Frankcan 12.31.13 @ 11:54 pm

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