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July 25, 2014

That Cautious Optimism

Filed under: Football,Prognostications — Chas @ 9:11 am

Tyler Boyd got left off the  pre-season 1st team All-ACC squad. For what it’s worth, Phil Steele did the same in his annual preview guide. I wonder how much of that is a “disrespecting” of Boyd or a belief that his numbers will drop with increased focus and Chad Voytik at QB. Either way, it isn’t a huge thing beyond additional motivation. As should be the fact that no Pitt players outside of Boyd were even in the second team.

You would think that a team that apparently has only one “sure” star player coming into the season wouldn’t have much in the way of expectations.

And yet, there seems to be a lot of positive views to Pitt. The two deepest previews of college teams have surprisingly upbeat takes. The ones that look at the make-up of the squad and the deeper numbers like where Pitt is heading.

Bill Connelly at SB Nation had one back in June that got a lot of notice by Pitt fans. The caution of this year, but loaded with a sense of excitement for next.

And as the Panthers head toward Year 3 under Chryst, it’s beginning to look like whatever ceiling this program has under Chryst, it will see it clearly in 2015.

That’s not to say Pitt can’t be pretty good in 2014. The Panthers have a couple of the most intriguing sophomore skill position players in the country (receiver Tyler Boyd, running back James Conner), an offensive line that gets plumped up by some blue-chippers, a defensive line that still features some exciting pieces (despite the loss of Aaron Donald), and a nice set of play-making linebackers.

The Panthers will have an outside chance of being the best team in the ACC’s Coastal division. But this team will still be a work in progress, and most of the reasons for optimism in 2014 will return in 2015.

Simply reaching Year 4 will be a happy sign of stability, progress, and potential for Paul Chryst at Pitt. But we should probably pay attention to the Panthers in Year 3, too, just in case.

The major takeaway was potential, but the big warning was depth. As in, there isn’t tremendous depth that makes anyone feel good behind key spots. QB, DB, LB,  DE. There are a lot of positions where an injury or two could completely change things.

Still. The potential.

Name Pitt’s top 10 players. You’re definitely including Tyler Boyd (sophomore). You’re probably including James Conner (sophomore), Shakir Soto (sophomore), and Lafayette Pitts (junior). There are some key seniors, sure — Todd Thomas and Anthony Gonzalez, Ray Vinopal, guard Matt Rotherham. But if some high-ceiling youngsters blossom, you could also add players like Chad Voytik (sophomore), Adam Bisnowaty (sophomore), Dorian Johnson (sophomore), Rachid Ibrahim (sophomore), Ejuan Price (junior), Matt Galambos (sophomore), or Titus Howard (sophomore) to this top 10 list.

You get what I’m after here. Most of Pitt’s best players are still super-young, which will likely makes for another rather volatile, up-and-down season. But wow, could the ceiling be high when Chryst enters Year 4 in 2015. He’s put together a high-caliber roster, and despite going young last year, he produced a 7-6 record with some late blossoming.

It’s funny. Plenty of us look back at that season with a little disappointment because of a game they blew (Navy), a game they could have stolen (GT) and a game they battled back but got burned on special teams (UNC). Sure the flip side was not blowing the Virginia game despite no offense, the wild-wooly Duke game they nearly blew and of course getting that win over ND. So, as easily as we think Pitt could have been 9-3 in the regular season, 3-9 was just as much a possibility.

Paul Myerberg’s USA Today preview also is heavy on the optimism for 2015 while trying to stay focused on 2014.

My feeling is that Pittsburgh is a year away. That’s a copout, of course, but it’s genuine: Pitt doesn’t seem ready to make any major win-column gains on last season, though it’s clear to me that there is a foundation in place that could yield a far stronger degree of competitiveness in 2015 and beyond. It’s all about the youth, the sophomores and underclassmen, and how well they develop at the forefront of this program during the next 12 months; if the Panthers stay the course, this program seems poised to battle for eight-plus wins with a heavy level of regularity. It’s all about getting there — and staying in the postseason during the interim.

That is the huge part of it. It is a very young team. We saw plenty of freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores in key roles last year. That is expected to continue this year. They are good players. Players that are developing and will get better, but they are not (except for Tyler Boyd) a bunch of studs who will be able to consistently hold their own from the outset. Mistakes will happen. There will be inconsistencies.

Along with that comes health. We saw it last year with the O-line as the season went on. Injuries piled up, and the guys behind them were either not ready or never that good.

There is the schedule — which I am not a big fan of as justifying a better year — especially since it will be a long time since I will forget the Youngstown State game. Is it more favorable than last year’s? On paper, sure. But not by too much. Iowa is a wash compared to ND from last year. Akron at home is easier than at Navy. The biggest difference in not facing FSU. Instead, going to Chestnut Hill to see BC. In a warped way, that is a really big game for both teams. It gives each a chance to see where they really are for 2014. BC may have been blown out by Arizona in their bowl game, but they went 4-4 in conference (7-6 overall) — beating VT and giving both Clemson and FSU strong games.

Yet, there is a reason to think this team can be pretty good even in 2014. They will simply have to do more than think they are.





the only way pitt is gonna get any respect from media writers . they have go prove the can win in the ACC. once they have a good showing and out of the basement and in the race in the top 3thru 5 in the COASTAL . THEY`LL earn that respect.

Comment by ricky ellison 07.25.14 @ 9:52 am

Pitt WILL be better… mostly due to the addition of experienced Position Coaches on both sides of the Ball.

Of course, the WILD CARD is the Quarterback position.

Comment by PittofDreams 07.25.14 @ 10:30 am

I have said all off season 9-3 or 8-4 anything worse would be a disappointment in my opinion.

Comment by John 07.25.14 @ 11:09 am

Anyone seen any previews on Delaware’s team this year ? Guess we really shouldn’t be looking past them, with our history of late, of losing to teams that would be unthinkable.

It’s only been 2 years since…….

Comment by Emel 07.25.14 @ 11:49 am

8-4 seems doable John, got to open up 4-0 imo to have a good chance of obtaining that. Then win the bowl game to get to 9-4.

Delaware, BC, FIU & Akron.

Doesn’t seem very daunting, but then again this isn’t 1980.

Comment by Emel 07.25.14 @ 12:06 pm

Better special teams play should yield another win or two…

Comment by Pittastic 07.25.14 @ 12:07 pm

As long as PC remembers not to kick it to that kid from UNC. ( I think he was only a freshman)

Having Boyd return punts would certainly make the special teams play….well…..special.

At least on the receiving end.

Comment by Emel 07.25.14 @ 12:24 pm

Optimistic would be 6-0 heading into the Thursday night tilt with VPI… Sgt. Slaughter will have his troops ready in Chestnut Hill. But they lost a lot of talent, maybe even more than Pitt. I like Pitt in that game.

Iowa is another story, solid if not spectacular, coming off an 8-5 season. Biggest win probably came on the road at Nebraska (9-4). This will be their first road game of the year.. but they will have faced better competition in Ball State (10-3, 7-1 MAC), Northern Illinois (12-2, 8-0 MAC), and their instate rival Iowa State… This will be a good game, but I will take Pitt at home.

Until Mike London actually does something at Virginia besides recruit well and lose a lot, I will expect more of the same.

That gets Pitt to 6-0, with 4 of the remaining 6 at home… I could see as good as 10-2.

Then I remember how few teams win 10 games, and how hard it is to win in college football, and how mediocre this team has been. I think they get to 8 wins, for sure, maybe 9 with the right breaks.

Hopefully they will be playing in a second tier ACC bowl game (Gator, Music City, Sun or Pinstripe)

Comment by BostonsCommon 07.25.14 @ 12:56 pm

BC …you have a horrible case of “dreaded Pitt Optimism”. Be careful it is highly contagagious!

Comment by Dan 72 07.25.14 @ 1:03 pm

@Comment by Dan 72 07.25.14 @ 1:03 pm

I’m still young and haven’t had my heart ripped out and replaced with disappointment nearly enough not to be optimistic.

Comment by BostonsCommon 07.25.14 @ 1:08 pm

Yeah, the idea that a Pitt team can get through six games in a row without losing to a less talented team is just a foreign one to me. That’s been this program’s trademark going back a long time now. I don’t see any reason they’ll be breaking with tradition this season.

Comment by Jeff 07.25.14 @ 1:09 pm

I’m drunk on the Kool-aid and its mighty tasty, 9-3 + a bowl win = a nice big 10 wins!

Comment by pd 07.25.14 @ 2:00 pm

Here’s some info on Delaware:

The University of Delaware football team has been picked No. 23 in the Athlon Sports Pre-season Top 25 poll and is ranked #6 in their conference. They have a very good Sr. tight end in 6’6″ Nick Boyle who had 42 catches for 474 yards, and seven touchdowns last year. He’s supposed to be a huge part of what they want to do this year. Their punter is a big weapon who put 20 inside the twenty last year. Another weapon they have is an all conference 6’2″ wide receiver/kick returner from Gainesville, FL. He led the Blue Hens in receiving with 60 catches for 1,035 yards and nine touchdowns, rushed for 159 yards and two scores, and returned 20 kickoffs for an average of 20.9 yards per return. He had six plays go for 60 yards or more during the season.

They’re already talking about stepping up and beating Pitt in an NFL venue! They’re touting a new strength coach who has done wonders and the camaraderie is now better than ever. It looks like they’re going to take ten days to prepare playing against Pitt and expect this game to provide a serve as a good measurement against the rest of their foes.

Comment by JD 07.25.14 @ 2:24 pm

I’ve got some Apple Cinnamon Moonshine and it’s quite tasty. That said, the more I drink the more I look at this season with worries. A Pitt player hasn’t been arrested in how many days? When is Chryst going to be offered the Stanford job to coach his nephew? Oh wait, David Shaw isn’t going anywhere. Phew, I guess I should keep drinking till I find something to complain about other than what if’s.

Comment by tedsptman 07.25.14 @ 2:34 pm

There is little doubt that Pitt should be better in ’15 … however, it’s the schedule this year, more than anything, that provides optimism now.

We better see improvement over the next 2 years or the program will again be again destined for mediocrity.

Comment by wbb 07.25.14 @ 3:04 pm

Thanks for that JD !

I think I read where the Blue Hens run the dreaded….wait for it…….Spread Offense.

Oy Vey !

Comment by Emel 07.25.14 @ 3:21 pm

Delaware plays in the same conference as Maine.

Remember them, Trey had to save us in that game, his big highlite since coming to PITT.

Comment by Emel 07.25.14 @ 3:23 pm

On the basketball front.

Former Panthers Center Aaron Gray signed with the Detroit Pistons.

If nothing else Aaron has seen much of North America while playing in the NBA.

link to detroitbadboys.com

Comment by Emel 07.25.14 @ 3:25 pm

Two keys to a successful campaign for Pitt in 2014, and that’s defined as no less than 8 wins in the regular season.

1- Keep Chad Voytik healthy, irrespective of how quickly he develops or how productive his efforts are. For this season, he is, like the Princess said in the 1st Star Wars movie “our only hope”!

2- This team’s attitude/mindset has to be mature enough early on to accept the responsibility of winning the games that they’re expected to. They accomplish that and the Panthers go into their nationally televised Thursday night match-up against VT at home sitting at no less than 4-1. If so that would make that contest the “next level” benchmark game for HCPC in 2014 and could create an upswell of momentum and confidence in this young team going into the much tougher second half of their season

I like the prospects of an 8-4 regular season record a lot if we’re sitting at 5-1 in the middle of October for sure.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.25.14 @ 3:38 pm

5-1 going into the VT game, I forgot about the UVA game a week before the VT contest.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.25.14 @ 3:50 pm

And I thought we had an optimistic bunch here on The Blather, this guy apparently is really sipping the Pitt Kool-aid, putting both Boyd and Voytik on his watch list for ACC Heisman hopefuls and commenting on Boyd also being a serious contender for the Biletnikoff Award as well!

link to athlonsports.com

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.25.14 @ 4:13 pm

Although I’m in full agreement that Boyd IS going to be a Biletnikoff finalist by season’s end, IMO.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.25.14 @ 4:15 pm

I met a Delaware WR at a party earlier this summer. They’re excited about playing at Heinz.

He mentioned Boyd.

But didn’t know the name Conner.

Comment by steve1 07.25.14 @ 4:46 pm

Doc, that guy ain’t sipping, I think he’s got his head in the punch bowl.

Comment by pd 07.25.14 @ 5:11 pm

Shareef Miller on his way to the burgh right now. Need DE’S big time.

Comment by pd 07.25.14 @ 5:18 pm

Losing to Delaware would be the very worst thing-memories of BGSU opener after off season of hope and optimism. Loss to the Blue Hens would be way way worse than YSU in my opinion

Comment by John 07.25.14 @ 6:44 pm

After losing to YSU and BG this program cannot take any
opponent for granted. Would like to be optimistic
however too many painful losses over the years. Team must prove itself by winning games. Realistically outcome of the
season is dependent upon many unproven players.
.

Comment by JR 07.26.14 @ 7:03 am

(Fingers crossed) “No QB injury” “No QB injury”
“No QB Injury”

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 07.26.14 @ 7:26 am

This year is big for the program. It may be the indication of where the program really is headed. Assuming Voytik stays upright, the team needs to mature and show the confidence and persona of a winning program. The term solid is what I hope to see this year. Solid OL, defense, special teams will do wonders for the growth of the program.

Comment by chethejet 07.26.14 @ 7:27 am

How can our Athletic Department turn Heinz into a home field advantage? It seems most of the teams we play at home are pumped up for playing in “Steelerland”. Move the student section? Honest Pitt noise? Something else?

Comment by Complit 07.26.14 @ 8:24 am

Visiting teams hate The Pete, how can we do that for Heinz? – maybe glass enclose the visitors locker room?

Comment by Complit 07.26.14 @ 8:27 am

Complit, Pitt and the Steelers can start by doing some common sense things: (1) The Steelers need to install state of the art artificial turf (if ND can do it, so can the Steelers!). This would allow Pitt to have full Pitt signage and colors on the field. It would also allow us to move the ACC logo from off the field to on the field; and (2) Pitt should change it’s colors so that the predominant color of Heinz Field (and we all know what that is) is a part of the color scheme of our uniforms. Just image Heinz field with the color scheme we had from the early 80’s or so. A giant royal blue circle at the 50 with large bright yellow “PITT” (or script if that is your taste). One end zone with a royal blue background and “PITTSBURGH” in bright yellow letters, the other with a bright yellow background and “PANTHERS” in royal blue letters. The same yellow and blue highlighting on the yard lines and yard numbers. For the record, I don’t hate our current uniforms color(except that ND helmet with a logo), but they don’t connect with the stadium that we play in at all. College football is a color game. Frankly, when we play at Heinz the field has the looks generic, so why would any opposing team associate it with any team but the Steelers. C’mon Steeler and Pitt brass, lets make Heinz filed “Pitt Stadium” on Saturdays!

Comment by HbgFrank 07.26.14 @ 9:49 am

Pitt fans need to make some noise. We are the quietest fans I have ever witnessed. Logos on the field are just fluff. You get a home field advantage from loud and crazy fans. Even the Pete is going down hill because only the Zoo makes noise.

Comment by gc 07.26.14 @ 10:20 am

Better Pitt teams would help more than anything. LOL

Comment by gc 07.26.14 @ 10:28 am

Another thing that would help to increase game excitement would be for the Heinz Field management to inform their staff to discontinue the policy of telling fans to remain seated during the game.

Chastising the grumpy old fan that demands the fans in front of him sit down so that he can see the field while he remains lounging on his fat a$$, should be the consensus fan attitude, come game time, not the other way around.

I’ve run into this issue myself, at many games, being yelled at to “sit down” at exactly the critical time in the game that the 100,000 fans at those other “elite” football school stadiums would be jumping up & down, screaming loud enough to wake the dead, but not at a Pitt game, that kind of behavior gets you thrown out of the stadium at Heinz. That’s “F”ed up IMO.

We have met the enemy, and they are us.

You want to watch the entire game spread out in your Lazy Boy, then stay at home and catch the game on TV.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.26.14 @ 11:12 am

It’s impossible to get Heinz loud with that stupid open endzone. Whoever designed it that way is dumb as rocks. Football fans like watching football, not looking at downtown. The only way noise is a factor is when the opponent is backed up to the closed endzone. We can get it pretty loud down there, but the advantage is gone as soon as they’re outside the 20.

Comment by Nick 07.26.14 @ 12:30 pm

Just win and all these gripes will take care of themselves.

Comment by dinosaur 71 07.26.14 @ 1:09 pm

I’ve already addressed the main problem at Heinz.

The student section makes the atmosphere at the The Pete, where that area is almost always mentioned in any article talking about the best college basketball venues. It turns the Pete into the Oakland Zoo. And that is because the student section rings the entire court, and the kids go crazy, trying to intimidate the visiting team. They line up for hours pre-game to get the best seats. Great atmosphere even though the rest of the stiffs don’t do much cheering.

Problem at Heinz is the stiffs dominate the seating and have the better seats while the student section is at the far end of the field in the Endzone. And as Nick mentioned above, that Endzone is the only part of the stadium that gets noisy, but it’s limited to one Endzone.

Don’t see how who ever makes these decisions at PITT can get it so right at The Pete, and so wrong at Heinz.

The easiest fix here and I’m talking next year, as the tickets are already sold this year, is moving the STudent Section to a more Central location at Heinz. Either that or doing what they did at the Pete, ring Heinz’s one side behind the Pitt bench from Goal line to Goal line, as well as the Endzone with students. And put the Pitt band smack dab in the middle of them.

This will also create competition among the students for being their early to get the better seats, much like it has at the Pete.

Once the seating arrangements have been changed, then you get rid of the stupid loud audio fake noise. As their will be plenty of noise & craziness generated from the re-located new student section.

And the main purpose of creating a college atmosphere at Heinz will be accomplished.

Comment by Emel 07.26.14 @ 1:23 pm

*typo line 2*

,where that arena is almost always mentioned…

Comment by Emel 07.26.14 @ 1:26 pm

Perhaps we’d win more at home, if Heinz was more intimidating like the Pete, dino.

The opposing team needs to know this is our house.

Comment by Emel 07.26.14 @ 1:30 pm

Some chicken vs egg going on for sure. But it’s hard to generate energy when every other seat is empty. Win consistently and the seats will fill up and the atmosphere will change.

The atmosphere at the Pete is great. But Pitt was already winning when the Pete opened and it opened to sell-out crowds from day one. I can say from first hand experience that when Cuse or another top team is in town, the zoo is packed and rockin’ but when a chump team comes in (even conference teams) the zoo is not full and the atmosphere is not the same.

Comment by dinosaur 71 07.26.14 @ 2:24 pm

Certainly chicken vs egg.

The atmosphere at the Pete is slippin a little the last couple years maybe. As have the losses at home.

We really need to make a deep run in the NCAA shortly to re-infuse some more energy back into the Pete.

One thing that would certainly help, recruit some better players so we don’t have to play grind it out ug snail ball.

Pitt’s winning coincided with the opening of the Pete in 2001. Before that you’d have to go back to the Paul Evans early 90’s days for a PITT team that made it to the NCAA’s.

Comment by Emel 07.26.14 @ 3:12 pm

Even at old Fitzgerald Field House the students had excellent seats, the whole bank of seats from end line to end line on the entire one side of the court.

And we had had great seats at PITT stadium.

Why they decided to make the student section in one Endzone at Heinz almost belies belief.

Cornhole anyone !

Comment by Emel 07.26.14 @ 3:24 pm

Overall most don’t sound as positive on this thread as earlier about the footbal team/season.

I wonder why no one mentioned a dome to replace Pitt stadium? Look what the Carrier dome did for Syracuse Basketball.

Emel, Evans was a major cause of the decline of Pitt basketball. Roy Chipman and the TV exposure of the Big East had us going in the right direction. Charlie Smith hated Evans’ guts. I’m not sure any player liked him. Recriuting went to pot. Word must have gone out. What ever happened to Evans?

I hate wasting years like that. Same thing with the Haywood/Graham fiasco.

I pledge to be positive until I can’t any longer!

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 07.26.14 @ 4:53 pm

Students definitely had great seats at the fieldhouse, but until Howland started to win attendance was spotty. I bought season tickets in Howland’s first year and I was given my choice of seats just about anywhere in the house (with an appropriate Panther Club contribution of course).

Nothing creates atmosphere like winning.

Comment by dinosaur 71 07.26.14 @ 5:28 pm

For those of you that go to Pit and Steeler games….it is obvious to me the volume of the speakers is louder on Sundays than for Saturday Pitt games.

If the volume was turned up for Pitt games….that one small move would add much excitement.

Comment by Tallahassee Panther 07.26.14 @ 5:31 pm

@Old Pitt Grad:

Just like Mike Gottfried Pitt was his last coaching stint

Comment by Pap76 07.27.14 @ 12:53 am

Googling Paul Evans and finding him on Facebook (with that smile, it’s got to be him)

link to facebook.com

These days, he appears to like dogs more than hoops.

I give them equal weight.

Comment by steve1 07.27.14 @ 6:15 am

Evan had a pretty good record at PITT.

1986-87 25-8 Final Rank #12
1987-88 24-7 Final Rank #8
1988-89 17-13 NCAA team
1989-90 12-17
1990-91 21-12 NCAA team Ranked all Year
1991-92 18-16
1992-93 17-11 NCAA team
1993-94 7-11

So in 8 years he took the team to the NCAA’s 5 years.

“Emel, Evans was a major cause of the decline of Pitt basketball.”

Really.

“Roy Chipman and the TV exposure of the Big East had us going in the right direction.”

Chipman while I liked him, in his last two season he was:

1984-85 17-12
1985-86 15-14

His best two years like Evans were with the previous coaches(Tim Grgurich) players.

1980-81 19-12 NCAA team
1981-82 20-10 NCAA team

You must be thinking of Ralph Willard, Old Pitt Grad, when you talk of a coach who “was a major cause of the decline in PITT basketball”.

And as far as Evan’s and even Chipman’s win totals, neither ones were inflated with 10 to 11 rent-a-wins very year. They both played far more ambitious non-con schedules.

Comment by Emel 07.27.14 @ 1:10 pm

@ dino

When I attended PITT, the Field House rocked and mostly always packed. I was there for the flying fish game against the Hoopies.

It was a great atmosphere, the student section was rowdy, and then there was Tiger Paul.

So there are many great memories and traditions at PITT than just those at the Pete.

Comment by Emel 07.27.14 @ 1:27 pm

That place shook so much with noise sometimes I thought the Field House was going to slide down off the Hill in was on.

Comment by Emel 07.27.14 @ 1:29 pm

Pitt commit Damon Wilson will be playing on espnu at 4 pm in the final of an Adidas camp.

Comment by Nick 07.27.14 @ 2:09 pm

Pitt fball has to win atleast 8 games this year..and it’s possible to even win 10

as for the atmosphere at Heinz..it’s simple…win fball games!!..however I too hate the fact the students are not ALL in one place…and either get rid of sweet caroline…or have them play it in the middle of the fourth quarter..cuz everyone leaves after its done….h2p!!

Comment by Keith 07.27.14 @ 2:33 pm

Emel, I was there for the flying fish!
Not saying that there was no spirit at Fitzgerald. I loved the old place. Just saying that winning cures a lot of ills.

Will never forget Tiger Paul. He could really get the place rockin’.

Comment by dinosaur 71 07.27.14 @ 3:57 pm

I would make a couple minor changes regarding seating:

1) Give the tudents the entire end zone, lower level.
DONT make the sit up in 528-530. My daughter got put up there for the FSU game last yr ( freshman mistake of stopping at my tailgate instead of going straight to the stadium) and said she felt like she wasn’t part of the experience. Keep ‘me all together.

2) Give the kids something to make it worth staying to the end of a game. Ask the kids what that would be; they will come up with something good.

3) Leave the band where it is. It’s facing both the visitors and most of the students…..all of them under item 1. And further, I sit directly across from the in 114 and like it that way!

4) Cover up the top half of the upper deck on the home team side. Do the same for upper deck end zone. Do it in a way that extra rows can be exposed if ticket sales warrant. Most TV shots won’t show it and the effect will be to fill up the upper deck visitors side.

Comment by Joe Lawrence 07.27.14 @ 4:20 pm

Emel and the rest of you guys, I know a lot of the comments I make are old hat ane a repeat of other s past statements. It’s been a long time since I’ve been active in Pittsburgh. One of these days, I will hit you guys with something you were not aware of.

There was not much of a basketball program before Chipman. He started recruiting the star players like Charlie Smith, and won the A10 conference. He probabaly helped get us get in the Big East. Later, the TV exposure of the Big East on ESPN sure helped his recruiting. I used to stay up with my 14 year old son to take in a 11pm Pitt game.

Sorry, Tim Gruglich didn’t do a thing. I know and liked Tim. He is about my age and played at Pitt when I was there. Spent some time with him during a Miami tourament in the eary 60’s.

Willard, of course, didn’t set us in the right direction, but I will stick with my comments about Evans taking down the Pitt program. If Chipman had lived and coached Pitt would have won a national title.

I was present when Smith ripped Evans in every direction he could. This was years after Smith retired from the NBA.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 07.27.14 @ 4:33 pm

Well we did have some pretty good teams at PITT before Dr. Roy.

Like the best PITT team ever in the 1973-74 season that was 25-4, won 22 straight games and reached the Elite 8 before losing to eventual national champion NC State. Pitt played with handicap that game, since the game was played in Raleigh, NC, the home of NC State.

And was led by PITT’s best player ever, Braddock’s Billy Knight.

And Grg’s did contribute to Pitt’s basketball program.

“As a player at Pitt he led the team to two consecutive post season tournaments in 1963 and 1964. He then served 12 years (1964–1975) as an assistant coach and head of recruiting under Timmons and Ridl. He helped to develop Pitt’s famous amoeba defense that along with the superlative play of All-American forward Billy Knight launched a 22 game win streak for Pitt in the 1973-1974 season under Head Coach ‘Buzz’ Ridl. That carried Pitt to the Elite 8 that year, it’s furthest advance in the NCAA tournament since making the Final Four in 1941. The ’74 season ended in losing to eventual NCAA Champion, North Carolina State with David Thompson and Tom Burleson in a game played on NC State’s home court in Raleigh. “

Comment by Emel 07.27.14 @ 5:51 pm

Emel, I still remember watching the NC State game during the NCAA tournament. Pitt didn’t belong on the same court with State. It was David Thompson game all the way.

Never said Tim didn’t contribute to Pitt. He was a fair player, not great. I remember him in a Miami game against Rick Barry. He was a good guy.

Sorry, I don’t even remember a coach named Buzz Ridl.

I remember going to the field house in the early 60’s. No charge back then for students. The place was 2/3’s empty and it was a game against Syracuse!
We got killed.

For me Pitt basketball started with Chipman, got side stepped for a while, and came back with Howland/Dixon.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 07.27.14 @ 8:56 pm

Wilson looked pretty good this evening.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 07.27.14 @ 9:00 pm

If Ridil doesn’t retire Pitt wins a national championship. He was a terrific coach and had recruiting going. If he stays and then Pitt gets into Big East we never have Evans or Willard. How different things would have been.

Comment by Pitt Flunky 07.27.14 @ 9:08 pm

FFSAKE Chas:
I’ m here at your site, it’s 10:30 PM EST & you’ve got a ticking-ad sponsoring an online degree from ASU.
We’ve all got to make a living, but.. WTF
–Neil

Comment by Neil 07.27.14 @ 9:36 pm

OPG, well perhaps if that game was played on a Neutral Court rather than NC State’s home court we would have put up a better fight. Who knows maybe would have won.

Think the refs also got us into foul trouble, thereby limiting the effectiveness of the amoeba.

Home cooking in Raleigh, who would have thunk it.

Sounds like you were there when Bob Timmons was coach. Buzz came after him, I believe Buzz came from Westminster and brought Fran Webster with him.

Comment by Emel 07.28.14 @ 1:14 pm

@Emel

You would be correct.

Comment by Pitt Flunky 07.28.14 @ 7:21 pm

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