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July 17, 2014

Pitt got a verbal from another big offensive lineman. Tony Pilato — no, not this guythis guy.

In the last few months alone, the big offensive lineman from Hempfield took a pair of spring visits, attended the Panthers’ prospect camp in June and returned for another visit a week later. So when Pilato finally made his commitment Thursday, the decision was a natural one.

“I just think it was a really good process with them,” Pilato told Panther-Lair.com. “All the coaches were really genuine and they’re all great guys; I really enjoyed spending time with them and the players. When it came down to it, it was the right fit for me.

“I think it really felt natural with Pitt. I just wanted to take my time and consider all my options. But they offered me first and that was a big thing, and t was just good with them. Toward the end of the process, it just felt right with them.”

As has been the trend with Pitt’s O-line recruits in the Chryst regime, Pilato is a big ‘un at 6-7 and 310 pounds or so.

He’s a consensus 3-star recruit at offensive tackle. He had offers from Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland and Syracuse. Along with drawing interest from Penn State and Michigan State.

Pilato’s dad was an offensive lineman back in the Jackie Sherrill days, but did not pressure him to make the correct decision that was reached.

Pilato’s father, Sam, was an offensive lineman at Pitt from 1980-82, though he didn’t pressure his son.

“I was really thankful for my dad throughout this process,” Pilato said. “He’s laid back. He told me it’s my decision, that it’s going to be a big one and do what I want to do. I’m grateful for him doing that.”

Since he made the right choice, no pressure was needed.

There is no question that Pitt has an identity coalescing around the offensive line. It still feels odd to think that in another year or maybe two, the O-line will be considered Pitt’s strongest, deepest unit. It’s been more than 20 years since that has happened.





What is the deal on Peter Knox, still not listed by Rivals and no formal announcement that I have seen.

Great news about Pilato. Still waiting for those D-Ends and Linebackers.

Comment by gc 07.17.14 @ 9:13 pm

At least we can now start Redshirting the freshmen lineman now instead of having to play some.

Very few of them, if any are ready as true freshmen to play.

Bill Fralic, can’t remember if he was redshirted, might have been the exception.

Comment by Emel 07.17.14 @ 9:46 pm

Peter Knox accepted a position with the BBC.

:-)

Comment by Emel 07.17.14 @ 9:50 pm

The thing that keeps striking me over, and over, and over again is how well everyone… kids, parents, HS coaches, are talking about the people who coach Pitt football.

And picking players that want to be at Pitt.

@gc, good point as usual. really do need to see the same level of recruiting on the D side of ball… particularly upfront.

Comment by Pittscript 07.17.14 @ 10:06 pm

We will have a good offensive line for years to come. Maybe some of these guys are fast enough to play defense. That would be great.

Anybody know anything about welding? My woodworking hobby has got me thinking about building metal legs (for furniture). I have built some serious stuff. I want to learn to weld to extend my knowledge.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 07.17.14 @ 10:35 pm

I want to learn mig welding with flux core wire; don’t need the cylinder of argon. Only will need to use the machine for table legs. What to buy?

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 07.17.14 @ 10:46 pm

Old Pitt Grad:

Check Craig’s List. Always lots of welders for sale.

Comment by xfmrman 07.18.14 @ 12:18 am

As I stated before, I think a good OL can make up for a lot of ills … a great time control offense can take a lot of pressure off the defense.

CJ Davis and Lucas Nix are 2 recent natural freshmen who started on the OL. I know that it was out of necessity for for Davis .. not sure about Nix.

Comment by wbb 07.18.14 @ 6:10 am

Coincidentally, here is a PG article about the OL posted today

link to post-gazette.com

Comment by wbb 07.18.14 @ 6:14 am

and not so coincidenatlly, the Trib also has astory about the OL

link to triblive.com

It’s become common these days for both papers to have stories abut the same topic on the same days. The information must come from a feed by the SID or something.

Comment by wbb 07.18.14 @ 6:24 am

Great get. The future of the O line is truly bright.

Comment by notrocketscience 07.18.14 @ 6:25 am

If your looking for a welder, my dad is a certified welder and lives in Butler if your interested in doing something let me know and I can see if he has a weekend free to help show you in whatever task your looking to do. He has all the tools so you would just have to bring what your looking to weld.

Comment by tedsptman 07.18.14 @ 6:43 am

Emel, Fralic started as a freshman, but he was a man amongst boys.

Comment by gc 07.18.14 @ 7:01 am

Bill Fralic

link to pittsburghpanthers.com

Penn Hills major contributions to Pitt:

Fralic
Donald
Flynn

Comment by gc 07.18.14 @ 7:10 am

If Fralic played somewhere other than Atlanta, he would probably be in the NFL HOF.

Interesting that a 6’7″ 290 lb lineman, who plays center on his basketball team is only a three star.
As usual, time will tell. Wait till they get him in the weight room.

I think our O-line will be first class this year and for years to come. When we start stockpiling D-linemen with the same pedigree, we will be able to compete in the ACC.

Comment by gc 07.18.14 @ 7:23 am

If the O-Line comes together the way it seems to be shaping up, watching Pitt football will become a whole different experience. Imposing our will on defenses, and not having butt clenching fear every time our QB drops back to pass will be a welcome change!

That said, like others, I would like to see the defensive side of the ball get the same attention. As the team down in Morgantown has so dramatically demonstrated, having a great offense is no good if you can’t keep the other team from scoring.

Comment by JCE 07.18.14 @ 7:25 am

These guys are smart too!

link to pittsburghpanthers.com

Comment by gc 07.18.14 @ 7:57 am

Maybe if some of these guys turn out to be quick on their feet…

They become the largest D-line in existence?

Comment by Benzene 07.18.14 @ 8:42 am

If these guys block as well as they talk we should be in good shape this fall. All very articulate. Geez, at first glance I thought Artie Rowell was a coach.

Comment by dinosaur 71 07.18.14 @ 8:53 am

Deeper, check. Bigger, check. Better????

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.18.14 @ 8:57 am

An offense that can consume time while they score helps out a defense. The passing game will also be helped out tremendously, since we give up so many sacks in the past.

Comment by gdodson 07.18.14 @ 9:37 am

Words from a recruit and his parents about how Pitt handled them are invaluable and set a tone for this program.

A huge difference from those snakes, Holgy and Franklin!

Comment by Dan 72 07.18.14 @ 9:43 am

Sam Werner tweets that all the incoming Pitt freshmen are down at the Mel Blount Youth Home today, working with the kids. As I recall, this is an annual thing.

Here is a story about former Pitt BB players living in Pgh

link to pittnews.com

Comment by wbb 07.18.14 @ 10:38 am

Dino – same here, Artie looks like he’s 40

Comment by Iron Duke 07.18.14 @ 11:22 am

Big is good but Pitt’s linemen have been pretty big lately and are results aren’t much to brag on. I know we wasted some talent surrounding Tino and Stull to a lesser extent, but I’d rather have quick, strong, and tough in a medium sized package than huge and mediocre. Of course, the Alabamas and FSUs of the world get both.

The Steeler lines of the 70s were never really large, just really athletic and strong…then again, we had that defense on the other side.

Comment by Matt N. 07.18.14 @ 11:22 am

Yes someone mentioned the Hawaiian kid is only 295 lbs. Like it was a negative.

Aaron Donald was only 275-280 soaking wet.

Bigger is not always better. Good linemen have quick feet, a good sense of balance or they’ll get knocked from side to side or backwards. And have to know how to use leverage.

Fralic was so great because he was also a very good wrestler. As was a former Steeler lineman from the past, Carlton Haselrig, who was a phenomenal wrestler who won 3 D1 NCAA wrestling titles at PITT-Johnstown. We should have had Carlton over at the main campus.

Everyone has huge linemen these days in FBS, let’s get some ones who have the above attributes.

Comment by Emel 07.18.14 @ 12:03 pm

I would think these really tall linemen would be easy to get underneath of and leverage around. Which is what Donald was so good at, as he was only 6’0″ tall.

Which also made him quicker than these behemoth linemen.

The ACC has much quicker, better athletes on the D-Line than Big Joke teams. So that factors into it as well.

Comment by Emel 07.18.14 @ 12:07 pm

I’ve noticed that when Wisconsin plays outside the Big Joke they tend to struggle.

Think Fraud’s ASU team beat them last year.

In their last 7 Bowl games, playing of course teams outside the B1G, they have lost 6.
Even lost to a non-BCS TCU, who haven’t done much since entering the Big 12.

Do their behemoth O-lines translate to success outside the B1G ?

Cause we are being built along their lines. And we’re not competing in the B1G.

Comment by Emel 07.18.14 @ 12:37 pm

Emel, Taleni apparently lost 20 lbs over the past year (as opposed to bulking up like the others). Attached is his commitment profile

link to rivals.yahoo.com

Comment by wbb 07.18.14 @ 1:01 pm

Thx wbb

Quicker is better on the D-Line so that’s good !

Comment by Emel 07.18.14 @ 1:07 pm

Yes, especially when you have a Casey Hampton.. er Tyrique Jarrett next to you.

Comment by wbb 07.18.14 @ 1:17 pm

EMel – Wasn’t the Wisky/ASU game last year the one where the refs really messed up and added a 5th down or skipped a down resulting in an ASU win? Not arguing with the bigger point but I’m not sure that game is the best reference except that ASU/Wisky was competitive.

Comment by CalvinHobbes 07.18.14 @ 1:36 pm

Wiscy stupidly ran an extra play before a game winning fg attempt. It was unclear if the Wiscy qb’s knee was down so an ASU lineman laid on the ball. The refs never blew it dead or made the guy get off the ball & the clock ran out. The refs blew it, but Wiscy never should have ran that play with so little time & no time outs.

Comment by Nick 07.18.14 @ 2:06 pm

Obviously big and athletic is best — I mean, look at the earthmovers on ‘Bama these past 6-7 years…frightening. But Pitt won’t be getting too many of those guys (5 star), so they need to find the 3-4 star guys with quick feet or 1-2 star guys with huge work ethic and good athleticism.

Wisconsin must have had a pretty respectable out of conference record these past 10-15 years as they’ve been cranking out 10-2 or 11-1 seasons pretty routinely now…that’s not just from beating up on IU, Illinois, and Northwestern.

Comment by Matt N. 07.18.14 @ 2:33 pm

…and along those lines, I’d much rather go 10-2 or 11-1, be ranked in the top 10, and maybe lose in a big-time bowl game than go 6-6 and win a squeaker in the AutoZone Bowl. Hard to knock what Wisconsin accomplished while Chryst was running the offense…maybe their D didn’t back him up enough?

Comment by Matt N. 07.18.14 @ 2:37 pm

As noted Pilato is also a star hooper, and Paulina is a good lacrosse player, so I’d say these guys are more than big, they can move a little.

Comment by Iron Duke 07.18.14 @ 3:17 pm

In PG article today again see very strong, positive, reference to the strength coach….
… looks like PC’s tweaks of the staff may have mad e it a good bit stronger.

Agree about being athletic and quick is as important as size.

We all better hope Wisky’s program keeps improving and doing well. I still fear in 2-3 years they come calling for PC once he has matured as a Head Coach and the other guy there finally tanks… that is when we will see just how much he is sync’d in to Pgh and Pitt.

Comment by Pittscript 07.18.14 @ 4:06 pm

@Pittscript. Assuming Chryst does with our program what most of us think he will do with our program, every Pitt fan becomes a Wisconsin fan by necessity. Need that guy to be successful for a long time!

Comment by Atlanta Panther 07.18.14 @ 6:00 pm

All this talk of Wisky… and I think I’ll go grab a bottle of Woodford Reserve and get started a few weeks before the start of the season this year

Comment by Benzene 07.18.14 @ 6:31 pm

Are there any NCAA regs on pre-season practices for tailgaters? The team will start practice in a few weeks. The band will be going to training camp. I’m sure the cheerleaders will be doing conditioning drills. Tailgaters need to be in shape too.

Comment by dinosaur 71 07.18.14 @ 8:44 pm

@Atlantapanther.

Definitely! At least through the period where PC signs a big, long term deal which I assume only happens after he has really accomplished something special for a few years.

Comment by Pittscript 07.18.14 @ 9:32 pm

Do you think Wisky fans have any idea how much the Badgers are referenced by Pitt fans? We are brothers from another mother.

Comment by Iron Duke 07.18.14 @ 10:57 pm

FWIW, there may be more to our association with Wiscy than you think.

The recent success of the UW program was ushered in by southwestern PA (Burgettstown) native, Barry Alvarez. Their program was at or near the bottom of the B10 through much of the late 60s, 70s and 80s until he was hired as HC in 1990 … and in 3 years he coached the Badgers to their first Rose Bowl since 1963. Since then, utilizing that hard-nosed Western PA mentality he instilled that is still prevalent today, they have been extremely competitive, .

Alvarez retired nearly 10 years but remains the AD, and considered a god by UW fans. He was easily the most successful coach in the history of the program and was inducted in College FB HOF a few years back.

Comment by wbb 07.19.14 @ 5:03 am

and you may recall, he also recommended PC to the Pitt admin, and when Bielema suddenly left the UW program after the 2012 season, agreed with PC that he stay the course

Comment by wbb 07.19.14 @ 5:09 am

Remember back in 2012 when the press asked HCPC about the expectations for his team’s 1st season and he basically said he had none?

Now, I’m hearing the players taking the lead expounding on coaching philosophy now entrenched in these guys heads expressing that the time is now. Talking about winning championships is expected preseason, but I’m hearing Boyd say talk is cheap. Conner insists that winning now is based on what happens behind the scenes working up to game day, putting in the grunt time to make the victory happen on the field being how’s it done.

The Senior OL interviewed all express that their time is now, last chance for them starts August 30th and they want to win now! Huge difference in what I’m hearing from this team now than a couple seasons ago.

Chryst wants team ownership from within, not from the top. Players accepting personal responsibility for what outcomes occur on the field. That concept seems to be getting braced by the players on this team now.

The mind leads and then the body follows. Right now I get the sense that this coaching staff has gotten these kids to buy into the program. This is the year that expectations from within the team get higher, apparently much higher, when you hear guys like Boyd and Conner say that they don’t want to talk about winning ACC Championships they just want to go out and prove it.

Hope they have the right stuff to do that this season. Pitt is the sleeper in the ACC this year. We sneak into BC and show them that we mean business and take home a win there and this team’s confidence starts building on itself quickly. Early season success could mean a special season when the attitude I’m getting from these guys is that positive.

H2P!

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.19.14 @ 6:16 am

Great essay, Doc.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by steve1 07.19.14 @ 7:05 am

Does this sound familiar…

Sophomore defensive lineman Adam Butler said he was glad Franklin left his program. Here’s the full quote, from CBS Sports:

“I don’t want to say I’m glad Coach Franklin is gone but then again I am,” Butler told CBSSports.com during SEC media days.

Butler said he thought Franklin was disingenuous in telling the Commodores at one point that he was committed, then leaving for Penn State.

“It was a little shady in a way,” he said. “Repeatedly he told us he wasn’t going anywhere. He really stressed it. He was in tears talking about he wasn’t going to leave. Then he just up and leaves.

“The bad always weed themselves out and the good always comes.

“You always have a choice whether to take the next job or not to take it. If he said, ‘They paid me this amount of money,’ I would respect him more instead of saying he’s not going and then up and leave.”

He goes on to say how Franklin cried a lot, loves the cameras and how he thought it was all a big act. I

Comment by notrocketscience 07.19.14 @ 7:47 am

PSU got the coach they deserve.

With Pilato, Chryst got 6 of the top ten Wpial players in a fairly week group. If he gets Whitehead the best of all and four star, that makes 7 out of ten.

If he can finish with a couple 4 star defensive players, we will have a pretty good class.

Nice article about the freshmen today. James and Jennings should play this year, who else remains to be seen.

Comment by gc 07.19.14 @ 8:01 am

Thanks Steve1, but that’s just “talk” I’m doing. And as I mentioned, talk is cheap. I’m hoping that Pitt this seasson can back it up with “the walk”.

Tyler Boyd sums it up nicely at time point 3:10 in his interview last week about getting it done, (link below).

link to youtube.com

Now, PROVE IT!

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.19.14 @ 8:14 am

It’s common for a coach who my be interviewing for another job to deny that he’s leaving …. Franklin certainly not the first, nor the last.

However, for him to be so emotional that he was in tears in denying it, when he knew that he may well be leaving, just shows what an actor he is … and how darn dangerous he is. It may do him well in the short run but guys like these can burn out quickly especially when he becomes exposed.

Comment by wbb 07.19.14 @ 8:54 am

Whatever, Doc.

But I’m guessing you aced English 80.

Comment by steve1 07.19.14 @ 8:58 am

Heinz not thought of highly by sportswriter:
11. Heinz Field, Pitt
Opened: 2001 Capacity: 65,050

From an amenities standpoint, few college stadiums can match the posh NFL home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Panthers’ swanky digs, of course, come with the stigma of being the “other” team that plays at Heinz Field. While the venue has a great view of the Ohio River and features state-of-the-art technology, it isn’t located on campus, features roughly 20,000 empty seats each game and the home locker room doesn’t have Pitt Panthers logos plastered all over it.

– See more at: link to athlonsports.com

Is it true the Pitt locker room is generic?

Comment by TonyinHouston 07.19.14 @ 9:06 am

And what has been USC’s campus home stadium for the last 80 years? They don’t have one. Didn’t seem to matter did it. Pitt wins and the atmosphere at Heinz will feel like a home stadium. When OSU was pounding the nits two years ago at crappy valley, 100K were awfully quiet.

Comment by chethejet 07.19.14 @ 9:34 am

In the what ‘could have been’ category.

Barry Alvarez was under consideration for the PITT job before he landed the Wisconsin gig.

That has to rank up there, with one of the all-time biggest administration gaffes.

Comment by Emel 07.19.14 @ 10:28 am

TonyinHouston, I’m no nig fan of Heinz, but I have been in the Pitt locker room on two different occasions and I can assure you that there is Pitt logos in there … includig a giant one on the floor. Please note that Pitt has its own locker room and it’s bigger than the Steelers’ (probably has to since Pitt, like all colleges, dresses up to 80 for its home games.)

Comment by wbb 07.19.14 @ 10:41 am

Funny thing I was in downtown Charlotte yesterday bumped into a Badger fan from Wisconsin and had couple beers with him. No kidding.

Though I didn’t get into this with him, yes Wisconsin has a very good record in non-con games exclusive of bowl games.

However upon closer scrutiny, their non-con schedule leaves a lot to be desired.

Some examples:
2013 – Umass, Tennessee Tech(D2), BYU, ASU(L)
2012 – Northern Iowa (D2),Oregon St.(L), Utah State, UTEP
2011 – UNLV, Oregon St., NIU, South Dakota (D2)
2010 – UNLV, San Jose St., ASU, Austin Peay (D2)
2009 – NIU, Fresno, Wofford (D2), Hawaii
2008 – Akron, Marshall, Fresno, Cal Poly (D2)
2007 – WASU, UNLV, Citadel (D2), NIU
2006 – BGSU, Western Illinois (D2), SDSU, Buffalo
2005 – BGSU, Temple, UNC, Hawaii

Pretty much a steady stream of cupcakes and an annual D2 team. 75% of which are played at home. naturally.

Comment by Emel 07.19.14 @ 10:43 am

So basically they’ve played 8 or 9 legit teams.

For comparison over the same time period PITT has played these teams in the non-con.

Michigan State (twice), Nebraska, Navy (4 times), VA Tech, Utah (twice), Miami, NC State, UVA (twice), Notre Dame ( 7 times), Iowa (twice).

That’s 22 legit teams. Didn’t count MAC schools as legit for either school, as PITT played quite a few too.

So you really can’t say we play a weak non-con, it was quite tough compared to one of the most successful teams in the country. And would probably stack up better than 90% of D1 schools out there.

Comment by Emel 07.19.14 @ 11:05 am

I would venture to say had we had Wisconsin’s non-con over the same time period our record would have been substantially better.

For we lost 15 of those 22 non-con games.

Comment by Emel 07.19.14 @ 11:16 am

Now that we’re in one of the power conferences we can assume that our in conference schedule will remain legit. The non con isn’t too shabby either, considering Iowa is here this season and playing OSU next year. Then we have the folks we love to hate out at creepy valley back on the schedule after that for a few years.

You can complain about multiple things but Pitt’s football schedule isn’t one of them.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.19.14 @ 11:23 am

One thing that is pretty impressive with Wisconsin is this:

Wisconsin isn’t exactly a hotbed for recruiting high school players, yet they have been the equal to or even better recently(sans 2013) than Ohio State which is one of the better states for recruiting.

And the Badgers have been SUBSTANTIALLY better than the Pedo’s from Creepy Valley who generally get the better players in mass, from the much better than Wisconsin recruiting states of PA & NJ.

Can you say underachievers.

Comment by Emel 07.19.14 @ 11:44 am

This is in response to my welding questions.

Thanks, Xfmrman. I’ve been looking at Craig’s list. I have no patience. Ordered (probably too cheap) American made small mig welder from Amazon.

Tedsptman, thanks for your reply. Butler is not far. However, I don’t want to bug your dad. I have been looking to take a quick course somewhere. No luck so far. I have purchased a couple of instruction books. I want to learn welding to further my furniture woodworking hobby.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 07.19.14 @ 1:05 pm

it almost seems like an edict from Commmish Delaney that Big 10 schools aren’t allowed to schedule BCS teams for non-con, but if so, the game is at home. Sure, there are a handful of exceptions it seems the Pac 12 followed by the ACC are the only 2 conferences that will play BCS teams outside of its own footprint.

Comment by wbb 07.19.14 @ 2:48 pm

@ wbb

One thing that seems pretty sure is: these Big 10 schools don’t get penalized in the rankings for playing lame non-con schedules. Like for instance Pitt does in basketball.

Which might be one of the reasons Delaney can get by with edicts like that.

And of course the Big Joke needs more than a couple teams with 10 victories or more to fill up all their upper tier bowl games.

Comment by Emel 07.19.14 @ 3:53 pm

if you follows the polls, you realize that the Midwestern block of voters are very provincial. Look at how many B10 schools are represented in the preseason Top 10 this year even though the conference as a whole has been extremely weak in recent years.

Comment by wbb 07.19.14 @ 4:42 pm

as long as the B10 gets its large TV ratings and its loyal alums follow the teams to the bowl games, it will be prized by the bowl committees

Comment by wbb 07.19.14 @ 4:47 pm

Although I had said I wanted to see the last few scholarships in this class to be on the defensive side of the ball, I’m definitely ok with another quality OL recruit. Pilato is another legit 3 or 4 star OL that are going to be essential in running the offense the way coach Chryst envisions it.

That said, I still want to see some quality recruits added on D. I think Jordan Whitehead would make this a very nice class. The majority of our commitments are legit 3 star prospects. With 3 straight 6-6 campaigns and a not so great WPIAL class, I don’t think we could have expected much more.

Still waiting for a big time QB commit. Two of the last 3 QB’s Chryst has coached will be on NFL rosters next year, one of them a reigning Super Bowl champion team’s starting QB. Have to think that helps recruiting that position.

Six weeks from today, is the opener at Heinz against the Blue Hens of Delaware. Hard to believe. I love this time of year, college football coming back and baseball’s stretch run. Buc’s need another starter to make a run at division…

Hail to Pitt!!!!

Comment by Pap76 07.19.14 @ 4:47 pm

there’s a positive article about this year’s offense

link to pitt.247sports.com

Comment by wbb 07.19.14 @ 5:04 pm

@TonyinHouston 07.19.14 @ 9:06 am

Clearly the Athlon writer wasn’t actually in our locker, but notice also that Miami (also in a pro stadium is right ahead of us. It’s hard to share facilities with an NFL team.

link to grfx.cstv.com

Comment by PittHW 07.19.14 @ 5:19 pm

Thanks for link @wbb. Good stuff.

Excited for this season. Only year 3 for this staff. There are signs of this program stabilizing and there is some legitimate exciting young talent.

There are some questions on both sides of the ball. If guys continue to improve, Voytik plays well and the O line meshes this can be a very good offense.

Special teams need to improve, hopefully Chris Haering spending more time with the unit helps. Chris Blewitt should get better and here for 3 more years. Have to break in a new punter and punt and kick coverage has to improve.

I am still concerned about the D. Still not sold on House as a coordinator or recruiter. The secondary has potential to be pretty good, especially if Lafayette Pitts bounces back. I also think the linebackers can be a very solid unit and I would love to see Todd Thomas go out with a big senior campaign. The D line is a big concern. Replacing Donald’s production is impossible. Have to generate pressure on opposing QB’s. Losing Price hurts, hoping Shakir Soto becomes an all conference type talent. Would be big if KK Mosely-Smith rewards the staff for sticking with him and has a big year.

I forgot about Ronald Jones mentioned in wbb’s link. He can add another dimension to the offense. This is still a process, but a big year. Have to win more than 6 to really believe coach Chryst is the man to lead this program and is worth a contract extension. I am cautiously optimistic, as a die hard Pitt fan to be anything more is setting yourself up for heartbreak.

Hail to Pitt!!!!

Comment by Pap76 07.19.14 @ 5:31 pm

They certainly need an RPI, BPI way of rating the football teams as they do in basketball. While they had the BCS, a large part of that was driven again by the polls.

While basketball is certainly political, it pales in comparison to the politics of college football.

One of the things I truly do not like about it.

Comment by Emel 07.19.14 @ 5:37 pm

To chet…

USC actually controls the Los Angeles Coliseum. It is their stadium. Very different situation from Pitt’s:
link to espn.go.com

Comment by TonyinHouston 07.19.14 @ 11:18 pm

The Pitt deal with the Steelers is a nicer, more personal version of what USF has with Tampa Bay and Miami has with Sun Life. I think people forget that Steve Pederson is a liar. He sold Heinz as Pitt’s stadium. Did anyone hear Pitt participating in talks to expand Heinz, or be financially responsible for the expansion? Heinz is the Steeler’s. If someone has evidence (and not what Cornhole has said) I’m interested.

Comment by TonyinHouston 07.19.14 @ 11:23 pm

if you click on this link and then scroll towards the bottom, you can see that large Panther logo in the middle of the Locker Room floor that referred to above

link to pittsburghpanthers.com

Comment by wbb 07.20.14 @ 7:11 am

Yes and USC controls a public stadium to schedles. But it is not on campus and they shared the facility with the Rams for many years. Not sure about the ownership of both stadiums when the debt is paid back to the state. It seems the Pirates will have full control of things as to outright ownership when the debt is paid back to the state which may end the stadium authority as an entity. I also never thought for once Pitt was a equity investor in Heinz Field. Pitt is always a tenant/renter as a use of the facility.

Comment by chethejet 07.20.14 @ 7:35 am

Pitt has a sweetheart deal with the Steelers and Heinz Field.

link to old.post-gazette.com

While there are advantages to on campus stadiums, there are many associated with Heinz as well.

Financially this is a win-win, no maintenance overhead.

Comment by gc 07.20.14 @ 7:53 am

More amenities:

link to examiner.com

Comment by gc 07.20.14 @ 8:04 am

from the beginning, it was known that the Steelers practice at Pitt’s facilities and Pitt plays at a facility managed by the Steelers … this was no secret.

And face it .. Heinz was built for the Steelers, not Pitt. It is the Steeler’s decisions to allow high football championships and rent out the facility for concerts, etc … and it is their decision to add the new bleachers below the scoreboard.

No doubt it is a financial win-win. Of course, we all would love to see Pitt have his own bowl stadium, etc. … but, unlike many of you, I can see the practicality of the current arrangement as opposed to the emotional-based desire of an Oakland based stadium. Further, if Pitt does build in its own stadium in the future, I think it would be prudent to build it in a location that many would have handy access to it, as opposed to cramping it in Oakland which continually makes little sense to me. (just one man’s opinion)

Comment by wbb 07.20.14 @ 8:07 am

Seems PSU still grabbing players like crazy, local and regional.

Comment by Frank MD 07.20.14 @ 9:45 am

yea, already got 2 for 2016, who, like many, verballed during their visit. The large campus with all of the modern and large athletic facilities and fields, and open spaces seem to appeal to many.

Comment by wbb 07.20.14 @ 10:20 am

@ wbb, that 247sports.com article about Pitt’s potential on offense had some glaring omissions at key positions. A very reliable upperclassman WR back up who made some clutch catches last season wasn’t even mentioned, that’s Kevin Weatherspoon of who I speak. He will provide SOLID depth if not a starter opposite Boyd this season.

And what about the highly touted Freshmen RBs coming in? Both Ollison and James are adequate physically to be contributors in the backfield immediately if they can handle the playbook and assume their blocking responsibilites by the end of fall camp. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Coach Chryst press one of these Freshmen into service this year especially if injuries at the DE position results in requiring James Conner’s services at that spot on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage.

But I concur with the conclusion of this article, that Pitt’s offense could show up big this season IF Voytik stays healthy and plays this season like he showed the potential of doing in his bowl game’s 2nd half performance.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.20.14 @ 12:31 pm

While the Ketchup Kastle is adequate, it doesn’t give us much of a home field advantage.

We are 56-30 since moving to Heinz.

36-30 against legit competition.

20 of the 56 wins are against non-BCS schools and 9 of the 20 are against D2 schools. So basically those are rent-a-wins.

36-30 is a .545 winning %. Not very good and one of the main reasons we’ve been a middling average program for most of the seasons since moving to Heinz.

Comment by Emel 07.20.14 @ 1:14 pm

Our best year at home at Heinz was not coincidentally our best season since 1983.

That being 2009, going 6-1 at home that year and 10-3 overall, #15 AP end of season. Even appeared in the Top 10 that year, and the BCS Top 10.

Comment by Emel 07.20.14 @ 1:25 pm

Emel, bangin’ out da numbers!

Comment by Matt N. 07.20.14 @ 2:49 pm

Good research — I always thought Pitt tried to schedule a decent strength of schedule but they certainly aren’t immune to lining up a few cupcakes — yet as we all have painfully observed since Wanny and even now with PC, some of those cupcakes have jumped up and stuck in our face…thinking of Maine and some other ghastly games of recent vintage…still can’t get over that their QB was twice as good as Tino — that really hurt.

Comment by Matt N. 07.20.14 @ 2:52 pm

Emel, let’s not confuse home field advantage with having crappy teams. Pitt loses home games because the coaching, recruiting and play calls not the stadium. When Pitt’s a good football team we’ll be good at home, when we’re not, no stadium will protect us.

Michigan lost to App State – it wasn’t the Big House’s fault. When Pitt lost to Youngstown, it wasn’t the fault of Heinz Field.

Comment by PittHW 07.20.14 @ 2:53 pm

Even if ‘sconsin played some cupcakes, at least they beat them all, unlike us, and beat them very badly. If you’re play Maine, beat them by 40, don’t sweat out a tight one with them. Even SC and ‘bama have their annual bloodlettings vs. folks like New Mexico or Florida Atlantic…but they destroy them.

Comment by Matt N. 07.20.14 @ 2:57 pm

Might not be popular… but if it Grass at Heinz vs Turf at a new on campus stadium. I’d stick with Heinz.

Comment by Benzene 07.20.14 @ 3:18 pm

I’d prefer turf at Heinz so we could have a real lgo on the field instead of that godawful white “pitt” circle.

Comment by PittHW 07.20.14 @ 3:53 pm

Enjoyed the PG article on Pitt Olympian Herb Douglas! An accomplished man both athletically as well as professionally! Another reason to be Panther proud! Keep dancing Herb, we are proud of you! Hail to Pitt! UPone
PS- Raise the Jolly Roger for those gutty Bucs who were down to the Rockies in every game of this series @ PNC only to come back and sweep em out!

Comment by UPone 07.20.14 @ 4:00 pm

UPone, concur, glad that article came out while he is still alive … too many times, we find out about (or become updated of) these great older men when they pass on.

Comment by wbb 07.20.14 @ 5:14 pm

Heinz Field is not a college facility. Pederson did the deal because it requires him to meet with the Rooneys. Stevie P is a sell out. Rooney’s don’t like, they use him and he is not smart enough to figure it out. It is not a win-win. Steelers win on both.

Which college team is it again that successfully shares a field with a nfl franchise and is successful? Or has a memorable tradition as part of the game day experience. Branding is critical for today’s college sports teams. We have no brand. Thanks Steve.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 07.20.14 @ 10:38 pm

Amazingly I could not find Pitt’s all time record at home at games played at Pitt Stadium. But Pitt’s record thru 1925-99 when Pitt stadium existed was 408-336-25 which includes home, away, and bowl games. If you take away our remarkable runs from 1929-38 and 1975-83 our record would be 265-306-16 thru the Pitt stadium era. So minus not quite a couple good decade runs spread almost 40 years apart we are no matter where we play extemely mediocre>>>

Comment by Pap76 07.21.14 @ 1:17 am

If anyone can let me know our all time home record at Pitt stadium as opposed to Heinz I bet the winning percentage is not much different…Pitt football is pretty much the epitome of mediocre…

Comment by Pap76 07.21.14 @ 1:21 am

Think about it since 1983 when i was 7 years old, I will be 38 in Sept… Pitt has finished the season ranked in the Top 25 five times:

’83: #18( Serafino “Foge” Fazio)RIP

’89 #17 Mike Gottfried( Fired and did’t coach Sun Bowl) Great move Pitt administration! Lol

’02 #19 Walt Harris

’04 #25 Walt Harris

’09 #15 Wanny

Comment by Pap76 07.21.14 @ 1:39 am

I fell in love with Pitt football right around 84-85…

I have got to enjoy 5 mildly successful stinkin years!!!!

My ass will still be there Aug 30th!

Hail to Pitt!!!!

Comment by Pap76 07.21.14 @ 1:46 am

Get ready to add 2014 & Paul Chryst’s name to that list this year. Tyler Boyd has put this team on his shoulders for this season. From the sounds of his ACC MediaDays interview this team is expecting to compete for the ACC Coastal Div title and is aiming for a 10 win season. If successful, that should land us somewhere in the top 20.

Let’s get this party started! H2P!

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.21.14 @ 6:48 am

TonyinHouston
My read on that article is that the visiting team locker room usually has the home team’s logo all over it, or is painted pink etc. and that Heinz’z visiting team locker room is generic for Steelers and Pitt. I think “home” was a typo that got missed in editing.

Comment by Caw Miller 07.21.14 @ 7:48 am

I was never in the visiting team locker room but doubt very much if Pitt (or Steeler logo) is in it (or them.) Maybe this is common for colleges .. (I know that visiting team locker room at Univ of Iowa is painted all pink) … but don’t understand what significance it would have (not sure the Pitt logo in their locker room would have scared off FSU last year.)

Pitt’s win-loss record is MUCH MUCH more reliant on the priority the FB program is given by the Admin, not its venue. I think that point is quite clear

Comment by wbb 07.21.14 @ 8:11 am

Yessir!

Comment by Caw Miller 07.21.14 @ 8:51 am

@ Matt N

Thanks, I like doing research on anything PITT.

Wisky though has had some real close calls with several of those cupcakes I posted.

NiU 26-21
Utah State 16-14
NIU 28-20
Fresno 34-31
Cal Poly 36-35
UNLV 20-13
Citadel 45-31
UNLV 5-23 (L)

They’ve managed to avoid several more, embarrassing losses by just squeezing by. Unlike us. Maybe the Camp Randall faithful pulled them thru since they all home games.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 10:11 am

Emel, let’s not confuse home field advantage with having crappy teams. Pitt loses home games because the coaching, recruiting and play calls not the stadium. When Pitt’s a good football team we’ll be good at home, when we’re not, no stadium will protect us.
Michigan lost to App State – it wasn’t the Big House’s fault. When Pitt lost to Youngstown, it wasn’t the fault of Heinz Field.

Comment by PittHW 07.20.14 @ 2:53 pm

Well I know what you’re saying PittHW, I would suggest that we’ve never really had any totally crappy teams since we moved to Heinz. The worst team record wise would have been the 5-7 2007 team that beat the Hillbillies on that glorious day in
December.

First year at Heinz, 2nd game, we lost to a program at that time that had only been playing D1 football for a few years, that being South Florida. Just one of many inexplicable losses that occurred at Heinz.

Perhaps if the atmosphere was better, more a college atmosphere, we don’t lose a lot of these games.

A lot of the losses at home were to inferior teams or just plain choke jobs.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 10:21 am

Emel, you want to see the “atmosphere” at Heinz Field change for the better and feel more “college like”, very simple solution, same one that cures many, many ills, JUST WIN BABY, WIN!

It also helps to play an exciting brand of football that has the entertainment factor covered as well. We got a glimpse of that potential last season with the Freshman antics that Tyler Boyd showed on the field right out of the gate. And who didn’t enjoy watching Aaron Donald doing his best impersonation of Superman in the opposition’s backfield all of last season?

Bringing in Chad Voytik, finally a QB that won’t be mistaken as a statue in the backfield when the pass protection breaks down can’t do anything but add excitement to the Pitt equation this year too.

I’m looking forward to a successful campaign this season, hope that I’m right. Really trying to look at everything objectively and ration the Kool-aid as much as possible. But seriously, the future looks bright for the Panthers and that future is NOW.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.21.14 @ 10:45 am

@ Pap76

Wow you were too little to remember our latest (and maybe last) great period of PITT football.

I feel for ya bro, don’t know if I could have made it thru the last 30 years without the memory of 1972-1983. And of being at PITT and living in Pittsburgh for that time period.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 10:50 am

ACC Network article from the heart of the ACC.

link to charlotteobserver.com

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 10:57 am

Actually the way you make Heinz more college like, is move the student section out of the Endzone.

Put them in the middle of the field with the band in dead center in front of them.

Where all the noise the students and the band create will transcend the whole crowd.

Instead of the piped in overly loud noise they play at any break in the action.

That doesn’t require Pitt to win, just someone who knows what they’re doing to create a better, louder atmosphere that is college themed.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 11:08 am

Student section and the band sat behind the Pitt bench at PITT stadium.

Not in the frickin endzone.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 11:09 am

Just like they do at the Pete, the students create the atmosphere. As they ring the court and make the noise and bounce up and down.

The other stiffs in attendance do not.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 11:14 am

Agree with Emel. Also I do not know how much Pitt charges the students for FB. It should be very very low if not free because they put up with the bus system. I remember staggering out of games at Pitt stadium and walking back to my apartment or down to the cheap bars in Oakland.

Comment by Frank MD 07.21.14 @ 11:18 am

I’m all for moving the students towards the middle of the field as long as they stay for 4 quarters.

Comment by gdodson 07.21.14 @ 11:24 am

The PA announcer in the 3rd Q announces, no buses will be leaving Heinz until after game is over.

You won’t to leave for some reason, get on a PAT bus.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 11:30 am

^^want^^

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 11:31 am

Student season tickets are $25

Comment by Joe Lawrence 07.21.14 @ 11:55 am

…and they give you a t-shirt. Its a good deal.

Comment by Joe Lawrence 07.21.14 @ 11:56 am

As long as it’s not oversized, with a hoodie. :-)

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 11:58 am

Hard to believe no one at PITT can correlate how they created the great atmosphere at the Pete….

….with how they created the piss poor one they created at Heinz.

This isn’t hard to figure out !

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 12:01 pm

@Emel

I had forgotten about PAT buses. Long time since I was in the city.

My college girlfriend commuted to school. So, I would often go out to her house on Friday and Saturday nights. Did my best to get laid and then had to run to the PAT bus stop to get back to Oakland on the last bus of the night.

They were full with workers from the plants in East Pittsburgh and I was always amazed how these guys would be dead asleep and somehow magically awake right before their stops.

It also reminded me why I should study at least some of the time so that my opportunities would be better than theirs had been.

H2PAT

Comment by pmdH2P 07.21.14 @ 12:02 pm

ACC Media Vote: Pitt picked to finish 6th of 7 teams in Coastal. I’m actually alright with this.

As Sam Werner just tweeted …. remember, Aaron Donald was was not picked on the pre-season All-ACC first team last year.

Comment by wbb 07.21.14 @ 12:13 pm

Hey,as a season ticket holder (Sec 4) in the 70’s and 80’s lets be realistic about the old Pitt stadium. Yeah, there were certainly positives (like the tradition and history, but lets remember the down side too. You’d have to get to Oakland real early to park in a lot that should have 20 cars in it but had 40 crammed in. The walk up Cardiac Hill almost killed you, and the metal bleachers were tough on the butt. Then, when the game was over you couldn’t get out of the lot because everyone was blocked in. Did the positives out weigh the negatives? I’d say yes, but it wasn’t a bowl of cherries to take in a game there. The reason it WAS great was because the teams were great! Hugh Green, Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, Ricky Jackson, Chris Doleman,Elliott Walker, etc. etc. etc.

Comment by pittman4ever 07.21.14 @ 12:23 pm

Who is picked #7? U VA?

Comment by pitt1972 07.21.14 @ 12:24 pm

Miami, Duke, Va Tech, UNC, GA Tech, Pitt, U VA

The other division is top heavy … FSU, Clemson and Lville … Cuse is 4th followed by NC St, BC and Wake. (we may have been picked as highly as 4th here)

Comment by wbb 07.21.14 @ 12:32 pm

lol pmdH2P

What we wouldn’t do to get laid back in the day.

After I wrote that, I remembered I think, they even have a Light Rail/Subway stop at Heinz now.

So you take that over to downtown and then jump on a bus out to Oakland. Probably a 20 minute trip tops.

For the students who want to leave early, there is your route home. PITT student buses don’t leave until AFTER the game is over.

Can’t believe they ever signed on to that. Absurd.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 12:33 pm

Don’t remember the walks up Cardiac Hill much, we were usually on Cloud 9 ! :-)

All I’m saying pittman is: they made a great atmosphere at the Pete, by having the students play a large part in the atmosphere, as they ring the court. Without the student section ringing the court, the Pete would have the same atmosphere that it does.

At Heinz they are shoved into one Endzone. They need to use the same application they used at the Pete, at Heinz for the student section.

The rest of the crowd would then feed off the student section and the band.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 12:42 pm

**the Pete WOULDN’T have the same atmosphere that it does. **

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 12:43 pm

The student section and band should be behind the Pitt Bench on the 50 yard line. The buses should not arrive until 15 minutes after the game is over.

They should turn down the speakers and limit the use of audio and let the fans and band create the college atmosphere. The Let’s Go Pitt chant should be spontaneous. There is no need to cheer when the decibel level from the sound system is loud enough to damage your hearing, let alone comment to your neighbor.

The film at the beginning is awesome, coming out of the locker room etc. will give you goosebumps, but the kick-off music is redundant and boring. As is most of the hype.

Hope they don’t start the perogis running around the stadium.

Comment by gc 07.21.14 @ 1:00 pm

The kids pay enough in tuition that they deserve to sit on the 50. Plus it is supposed to be a college game, why wouldn’t the college students get the premium seating, instead of the corporations that give tickets away to the visiting team, or worse yet sell them on stubhub.

Comment by gc 07.21.14 @ 1:04 pm

Yep gc, the obnoxious audio and it’s volume drowns out any attempt for spontaneous cheering.

It’s so GD loud, nobody even thinks of actually cheering.

That along with no students sitting on the sidelines, is what I mean about no ‘college atmosphere’ at Heinz.

PITT stadium wasn’t the end all and had some warts.

But it did provide a real college atmosphere.

I find it hard to believe the indians in charge have let this crummy atmosphere at Heinz go on now for over a decade.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 1:28 pm

Students at FB should be on sidelines. No loud music unless it is part of students participation. Special items for each game such as pom poms, shirts, sponsor stuff, etc. How about cow bells for VT.

Comment by Frank MD 07.21.14 @ 1:50 pm

Nate Byham signed by Patriots

Wanny to be a studio analyst on Fox college FB this fall

Comment by wbb 07.21.14 @ 1:56 pm

Sorry if I missed this in another post, but any idea what happened to Frankcan? He has been awol for quite some time.

Comment by Outlaw 07.21.14 @ 2:22 pm

good insight in the PG article today at the ACC presser.

Love it that Boyd is saying he is “tired already” of being average… lol… after 1 year! Love it.

The ‘feel’ of this team is getting better and better… we know if it is for real or not soon enough.

Yet more affirmation of the new Strength coach… just shows the PC makes the moves he thinks are right… and for his plan.

And he doesn’t give a S$#% about the peanut gallery opinion and critique, or doing things will look impressive on the outside.

It’s going to be a good year for football in Pittsburgh.

Comment by Pittscript 07.21.14 @ 2:26 pm

He just disappeared Outlaw.

Haven’t seen SOS22 post for awhile either.

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 2:49 pm

PITT – Washington 2007 BB game from 2007 is on one of the Fox regional sports channels (FSCA – Arizona?) Scheduled for 4-6pm edst.

Tried to listen to PC on the ACC network but never could get a feed.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 07.21.14 @ 3:34 pm

@Emel:

Thanks buddy, it has been a tough 30 years as Pitt fan. What I would give to have seen some of those great teams from the 70’s and early 80’s. I get goosebumps just watching old footage of those teams.

Even though the teams haven’t always been too good, going to games and a yearly road trip with my Dad and brother is something I cherish.

@Dr. Tom:

I hope we can add the 2014 edition to the short list of teams that have finished ranked over the last 30 years. A top 25 ranking in year 3 of the Chryst era would be huge for the program and recruiting. Especially with the WPIAL class of 2016 much better than this year’s crop.

I think game 2 Friday night against BC in Chestnut Hill is huge. Assuming we take care of business against Delaware, a win at BC to start 2-0 would be huge for confidence and perhaps be the catalyst for a big season.

Obviously the buzz for this year’s opener won’t be even close to last year, I hope Pitt can get a crowd close to 50,000. This team needs our support. Need the students to get behind this team and pump some energy into Heinz Field. Tyler Boyd alone is worth the price of admission…

Hail to Pitt!!!!

Comment by Pap76 07.21.14 @ 3:40 pm

Guys, I totally agree with you that the students and band need to be in the action (behind the bench) and not in the end zone. It is an easy way to give Heinz more of a college feel. How can we make this happen?

Comment by pittman4ever 07.21.14 @ 4:34 pm

Phone or fax Cornhole.

Phone – (412) 648-8230
Fax – (412) 648-8306

or email at cornhole@pitt.edu

Comment by Emel 07.21.14 @ 5:08 pm

PC at ACC Presser: Playing Conner at DE is no gimmick. We believe he can help on both sides of the ball ,,,, but we have to be smart about it

Comment by wbb 07.21.14 @ 6:50 pm

@ Pap76, totally agree, the BC game is a launching point for this young team to get to the next level in 2014. This game is as big as the “meaningless” bowl game in Detroit was on 12/26/13.

We beat BC and we are going to get to 8-4, minimum.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.21.14 @ 7:04 pm

Seems like it must be almost footbal season!

Everybody is starting to get excited. Like every new school year, this new football season is full of hope. No logic, but full of hope.

Dr. Tom and pap76, I too think the BC game is a major key to Pitt’s season. We lose that game and I don’t think it will be a good year.

How does BC look lately? Recruiting?

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 07.21.14 @ 9:02 pm

@ Old Pitt Grad:

BC like us is predicted to finish 6th in their division. Pitt’s recruiting class was ranked higher than BC’s.

BC is coached by Steve Addazio, they went 7-6 last year, but were 5-1 at home. They lost RB Andre Williams who was one of the best backs in the country. They have an experienced OL returning and like Pitt wants to run the ball.

Our last trip there was in “03 where Pitt won 24-13. This year the game is on Friday night where historically Pitt on weeknight ESPN games has not been good.

You guys remember in ’01 we got smacked 45-7 to fall to 1-5? Walt Harris scrapped his experiment with the spread offense and gave the team a couple days off to think about if they were all in and any kid who wasn’t don’t bother coming back to practice. They won their last 6 including a bowl game. After that BC game in ’01 Harris’s record was 31-13 at Pitt.

Comment by Pap76 07.21.14 @ 10:53 pm

BC also lost their starting quarterback to graduation as well. The new quarterback is a transfer from U of Florida. If Pitt has a productive offense against them, we should be able to control the game.

BC will be hard pressed to put up big offensive numbers this season, just not many weapons on the O for them this year.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.22.14 @ 6:50 am

Will any of the Bahamas games be televised? Really a good year to get the extra practice, early competition and team bonding.

Comment by gc 07.22.14 @ 6:52 am

It would be nice to have the students closer to the 50 yard line — as the team on the field is more THEIR team than even us alumni. We will never see that though since those are some of the most expensive tickets in the stadium. Pitt won’t give that up to sell more end zone seats, and I can’t say I blame them really. (Also, unless it was different before my time, when I was student and going to games at Pitt Stadium, the student section was in the corner of the stadium similar to what it is at Heinz.) I would say shift the student section over to where the band sits, and move the band into the end zone — except that even when noone else is cheering during a lousy game, the BAND still is.

This is such a chicken or the egg topic. Do you need good football teams to create great atmosphere? Or do you need great atmosphere to get the good football players to come?

Comment by JCE 07.22.14 @ 7:00 am

Speaking of offensive weapons, and in light of the fact that Chryst has already confirmed that Conner will see some snaps on the other side of the line at DE, I’m excited to see the competition between Ollison and James for the spot open at RB for one of these freshmen.

I think we are going to experience another second coming of “The Hammer” again this year. I’m betting on Chris James, personally. His workout routine and the way that he has been preparing for this opportunity to come in and be able to immediately contribute in the Pitt backfield is second to none. This kid is going to take full advantage of this opportunity. I hope that he has the goods.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.22.14 @ 7:03 am

Also, it was a bit frustrating when I saw Pitt picked 6th in the Coastal, but after some thought I am good with it. For all the potential we see in this team , they haven’t shown anyone anything yet. And from a motivational standpoint, 6th is much better than being picked in one of the top 2 or 3 spots. Chryst already has these kids thinking they have something to prove, this only plays right into that mentality.

Comment by JCE 07.22.14 @ 7:09 am

Dr Tom, I am hoping Chris James is the second coming of Dion Lewis. Also hoping that Ollison is a positive surprise as well. Hopefully Ibrahim has put on some muscle. Never been impressed with Bennett, although he deserves some carries as well.

Comment by gc 07.22.14 @ 7:19 am

I don’t know about afterwards but from around ’77 to the early 80’s the students sat on the Pitt bench side of the field, around the 30 yard line and the band use to sit in front of the student section.

I was at a some games after that but sat on the opposite side of the stadium and I think it was still the same.

Obviously this season the tickets have been sold and nothing can be changed and it should have initially been done we when moved to Heinz.

But if they want an easy fix to making Heinz’s atmosphere, more like the Pete’s, this is it.

From my recollection a lot of the first couple rows of seats are sometimes empty anyway, as they’re almost to low.

As far as the BC game, yes I posted that last week or 2 ago. That is going to be an early key indicator on how this season is going to pan out.

They have been worse than a middling team in the ACC the last several seasons. Need to win that game up in beantown.

Comment by Emel 07.22.14 @ 9:27 am

The Holes got OUR trip to Notre Dame this year.

Something to be noted.

Comment by Emel 07.22.14 @ 9:52 am

Emel, some of those teams were cupcakes but I don’t know if I’d put NIU or Fresno in that category…I recall their having some pretty tough teams lately for being mid-majors. Also, PC was scoring video game points in his years as OC, so he was doing that vs. somebody in order to average 35-40 points a game for the season…or whatever exactly it was, it was more than Pitt by a good measure I’m sure…and did most of that without QB talent like Russell Wilson for the most part.

Not saying they were ‘bama or LSU, but give credit where its due. Plus, he was fighting recruiting wars vs. OSU, Michigan, and MSU (and probably ND), so didn’t really have the pick of the litter in the Midwest. Again, not saying they were perfect, but they got results.

Comment by Matt N. 07.22.14 @ 5:51 pm

Oh yes I posted they did very well considering that the state of Wisconsin is not exactly a recruiting hotbed. And they were better than or the equal of Ohio State in many of those years, even though the state of Ohio is a recruiting hotbed. And Wisky was far better than Pedo State who got the better recruits by far out of 2 better recruiting states than Wisc, PA & New Jersey.

As far as when they played NIU, those NIU teams were not like their recent ones, I can tell you that. And Fresno was good some years, not so much others. But I get your drift.

Overall though you gotta admit their non-con wasn’t very challenging at all. More like put together to get to double digit wins.

Comment by Emel 07.22.14 @ 8:28 pm

True, and that’s why they never were considered in the same league as Bama, LSU, or Florida in their heydays. But playing OSU, Michigan, MSU, and Iowa every year is something — I agree the Big N isn’t what we saw back in the 70s thru 90s, but its top teams are still legit most every year.

What I need to see from Chryst now that he’s a head coach is the ability to adapt from year to year, player to player. He changed his offense for Russell Wilson and that worked out nicely, but let’s see him do it now for either Voytik or Anderson…or one of the freshmen?

OC is one thing, but being the main man isn’t for everyone, and I hope Chryst takes to it and isn’t afraid to take chances and leave his imprint on Pitt. This is a big year for him and I don’t want to see anymore Navy, GTECH, or UNC brainfarts anymore…years 1 or 2, okay, but get those out of your system and let’s get rollin’! HTP

Comment by Matt N. 07.23.14 @ 11:01 am

Concur, if we want to be anywhere close to a player in the ACC, we can’t lose to Navy or GT or in this coming year, BC or UVA.

And I would truly love to see us really hammer Miami someday again in my lifetime.

We’ll see how much creativity PC has with has he uses Tyler Boyd this year. You just can’t let a player like that only get 7-10 touches a game.

Comment by Emel 07.23.14 @ 11:35 am

Concur, if we want to be anywhere close to a player in the ACC, we can’t lose to Navy or GT or in this coming year, BC or UVA.

And I would truly love to see us really hammer Miami someday again in my lifetime.

We’ll see how much creativity PC has with how he uses Tyler Boyd this year. You just can’t let a player like that, only get 7-10 touches a game.

Comment by Emel 07.23.14 @ 11:36 am

Btw the way, Michigan State and Iowa are not consistently good. They both have had up and down years. Michigan is getting that way too.

That is what’s funny about the Big Joke, while some of these teams have really good years like Mich. State last year, unless you follow the conference each and every year, you have no idea other than Ohio State and Wisky, and maybe Nebraska, who is going to be good that particular year.

Comment by Emel 07.23.14 @ 4:04 pm

Yes, still can’t believe Michigan forcibly retired Lloyd Carr in favor of DickRod — that was and still is astonishing. Carr had an unbelievable record vs ranked teams and was a great guy to boot.

You seem to have strong anger toward the Big Ten but I guess my main point was in any given year, at least 2-3 Big Ten teams will be strong, even if they rotate from year to year. And other than ‘Bama who clearly is a juggernaut these days, look at the other top teams in the SEC over the past decade…the Gators were great but have come back down to earth, LSU very strong but not unbeatable by any stretch, Arkansas had some very good years but came crashing down…same for Georgia and Auburn in large measure. Really only ‘Bama has had sustained excellence these past 4-5 years…maybe put LSU in there. Bowl results are usually about matchups so I don’t put great stock in the results all the time.

They are the strongest conference but not by as much as some seem to think…and guess who played them the toughest lately…the Big East! The Pac 12 has been good lately and I believe the ACC is on the rise — and Pitt could be a player in it. I like Boyd but he seems a bit thin to me, so would hate to give him too many touches and get him broken by midseason. I’m sure he’s tough but nice to have a weapon like that around toward the end of the game when you need a quick score or two. I say ride Conner 25-30 carries a game and let him batter the D, then hit ‘em deep with Boyd and whoever else…ala Steelers and Raiders of the 70s.

Comment by Matt N. 07.23.14 @ 10:21 pm

How Michigan ended up with both Hoopie coaches(dickrod & beilein) was quite odd. I’m sure if they could do a do over they would have kept Carr, much like PITT should have kept DW.

My anger at the Big Joke is the annual hype that surrounds the conf. Hardly ever justified. Unless you count number of TV sets. Big Joke has to have 3-4 teams with double digit wins, since they have the Rose Bowl, usually another BCS bowl, and 2 new years bowl game (outback & citrus) to fill. Although I think Wisky went to the Rose Bowl the other year with only 8 or 9 wins in an odd occurrence. The teams sort of rotate in the latter 2 bowls more frequently and now they have the Gator as well. So they need these teams with 9 and above victories to fill all these bowl slots. (5 of them now)

SEC has started rotating teams in & out of the top or near top as well. Such as Auburn & arkansas.
Ala, LSU, Fla, & GEorgia have been consistently pretty good. As well as South Carolina since Spurrier has been there.

Much suggestion with Boyd is not to run him out of the backfield, but to motion him out of the backfield from side to side, so it’s harder to double cover him. You could also hit him on shorter throws coming out of the backfield. Long passes are not easy to complete, the %’s are far lower, Savage was very good at it, most QB’s are not. A gamebreaker like Boyd needs more touches than 7-10 a game.

Comment by Emel 07.24.14 @ 10:56 am

This is not to say Boyd would also lineup as a traditional WR in a lot of the sets.

The idea is to confuse the defense. Rarely do you have a player like Boyd to do this with.

You move him around the field, like a chess piece (the Queen), controlling the board and making the defense react to him. Thereby somewhat controlling the opposing defense, rather than the other way round.

Comment by Emel 07.24.14 @ 11:01 am

Moving him around is a good idea but definitely not giving him very many ‘carries’ even though he would be good at it. I cringe even on the jet sweeps as he is giving himself up for some hard shots, including from D-linemen.

I guess I’m more traditional but I like guys with that speed, talent, and body type out on the sidelines or deep down the middle and far far away from D-ends or heavy hitting backers. To me, that’s tight end country and Pitt needs to get back to using their TEs more…like under Walt.

Comment by Matt N. 07.24.14 @ 3:31 pm

Agree I thought our TE’s would be a prominent part of the passing game if only because the throws are easier to complete and you can get some size mismatches.

And we have what most people think, are some pretty good TE’s. Holtz particularly looked like a monster as a freshman 2 seasons ago.

But then again with Boyd you want him with the ball as much as possible and Jennings could be another star in a short period of time as he looks pretty mature for his age, body wise.

Comment by Emel 07.24.14 @ 4:35 pm

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