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July 30, 2014

Football Notes, 7/30

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 6:38 am

Just need to clear some tabs.

Tyler Boyd stories worth reading. This one from a couple weeks back on being raised by his mother and coming out of Clairton. This one yesterday in the ESPN.com ACC blog talking about the aftermath of an electrical fire that gutted the house in which he had lived.

The family was homeless, and not long after, the house’s owner decided to tear it down instead of rebuilding. But the town’s youth football president quickly sought out Payne, offering an empty room in a building he owned only a few houses down from Payne’s previous home. The youth league’s vice president helped set up a bank account for donations, while local businesses in Clairton and up and down the Monongahela turned tip jars into donation buckets. Raffles were held. Rival high schools chipped in.

“We were truly blessed because in a month’s time it was like we never had the fire,” Payne said.

It all resonated with Boyd. When it came to committing to a college, Boyd felt a loyalty to the region. So when Tennessee and West Virginia made late pushes, Boyd was conflicted but never decommitted from Pitt.

“I felt with all that support, how can I leave?” Boyd said. “I can get help from a lot of people, and it’s not even from family or friends. It’s the people out there that respect us as a family and see what we’re doing and that it’s all positive. … If I went far, I don’t think people would have my back like in Pittsburgh.”

You what depresses me. As I read that, there was more than a small part of me trying to figure out if this sort of community support would run afoul of NCAA rules. And if it had happened in December 2012 rather than 2011, it very well might have. Or at least some people on a rival message board might claim it was.

Since six of the seven teams in the Coastal division received a first place vote, that creates an easy set of fill pieces on why each of the six teams will and won’t win the division. Pitt’s pluses are essentially the offense and the schedule. The negatives are the unknown of the O-line, inexperience and, of course, the defense.

3. The defense is not consistent enough. Defense is a staple in the city of Pittsburgh, and the Panthers did not show enough of it last season. In their first two conference games, the unit allowed 99 points. It was against Duke and Florida State, but there is no excuse for those kinds of defensive efforts, especially if the plan is to compete for a division title. There are still issues throughout the defense, and Donald isn’t around to mask some of them.

And they didn’t even hit on how thin the defensive end position is.

Adjust your 2017 schedule accordingly, the Pitt-PSU game in Happy Valley has been moved up a week from September 16 to September 9, 2017.

Dave Wannstedt will be part of the revamped Fox Sports 1 college football program.

Fox officials are very high on Wannstedt after he crushed an audition last April.

“Everybody brings in guys for auditions at different times of the year and he just nailed it,” said Stone, who was the anchor for Wannstedt during the 10-minute tryout. “We had our executives coming through the door as quick as I’ve ever seen. It was as if they were negotiating with him there on set.”

One of those executives was Fox Sports executive producer John Entz.

“We were not expecting a whole lot,” Entz said. “And Dave was a little under the radar last year as a special teams coach with the Bucs. But after the audition we all looked at each other and were like, ‘Wow.’ I’m not just selling the soap here: I think he is going to be tremendous. He has a great personality and knows everybody in the game – pro and college. He’s a respected coach who has been at every level. We are thrilled.”

I dunno. On the one hand, there had been talk for years that Wannstedt would be a natural on TV (kind of like how everyone thought he would be perfect for coaching college football), but that one run he did for Fox on their BCS coverage a few years back did not exactly impress me.

Thankfully, Wannstedt will come into this without any agenda.

“I guess I am moving to the dark side, so to speak,” Wannstedt said, then laughed. “Now it is my turn to comment on the work of coaches…and athletic directors.”

Well, okay then.

Considering FS1 has significant coverage of the Big 12, I’m sure WVU fans are looking forward to this. Additionally he will be part of a weekly preview show on the Big Ten Network. For some reason, Wannstedt talking about nothing but Big Ten football each week gives me the giggles.

 





There seems to be something about the river schools that are kind to Pitt … the Mon (Clairton, T-J), the Allegheny (Penn Hills, Kiski) and the Ohio/Beaver (Aliquippa & Beaver Valley)

Comment by wbb 07.31.14 @ 7:57 am

Reed, great info and well-articulated. Thank you very much.

And please keep on posting. You provide a deeper perspective than most scribes.

Comment by steve1 07.31.14 @ 8:30 am

It will be very interesting to hear what DW says publicly about his firing. No doubt he has the football knowledge to be a commentator but I’m not going to turn the TV on just to hear it.

Comment by Reed 07.31.14 @ 8:47 am

@Reed, excellent post, well written and interesting info about yourself.

About being lazy, very self deprecating, as driving 4 hours one way to attend practice, most of us would not put that in the lazy category.

They way you write and handle yourself, I would think you could pretty have been whatever you wanted to be in life.

Excellent stuff, happy you’re a Pitt guy!!

Comment by Dan 07.31.14 @ 9:08 am

Reed, I don’t think you are going to hear much about his firing (unless maybe he is asked about it.) In the interview I heard yesterday, he talked some about the past contacts he had made who are now coaching the Big 12 and Pac12 (note that Fox Sports televises these 2 conferences) as well as the evolution of college sports in general.

He will also do a B10 show during the week but he will not have any focus on the ACC … his main job will be an in-studio analyst for Fox during their telecasts which again will be B12 and Pac12.

And judging by the camaraderie he seemed to have with Brando, he will also be a radio guest on his show which is on Sirius XM’s College Sprots channel.

I also would like to commend you on your openness as to how you fit in with Pitt FB … as well as your own filter where you don’t just spout out everything you may hear from various sources. Too many of these message boards contain rumors from someone who know someone in the AD office. I too look forward to your comments

Comment by wbb 07.31.14 @ 9:57 am

As to posting what I hear or see:

Last year I was attending a March spring practice and OC Rudolph was rotating calling the 1st and 2nd string offenses onto the practice field for drills. I was standing next to the 1st string OL and heard one say “Is this a ‘with’ (Rushel) Shell drill or a ‘without’ Shell drill” – and they all cracked up. They laughed because everyone up there knew Shell was dogging it every chance he could and pretty much overblowing any injuries he may, or may not!, have had.

Now, the reason I posted that back then (w/o individual OL names) was because it had a huge bearing on what I knew was going to transpire soon afterward because I heard that Shell was quickly becoming persona non-grata at PITT from someone I knew close to the program. However, I couldn’t post the specifics due to the friendship courtesy. So I posted the OL story because it let readers know something bad with Shell was happening up in the Southside.

I followed up after Shell finally left with the story again because I was so surprised the fans complained when Chryst wouldn’t take him back into the program. I guess I figured the PITT fans knew that Shell was on thin ice with all the media reports about his attitude, but apparently I was wrong.

That’s just a small insight on how I might get stuff to write about during the camps and season.

P/S: Just now arranged a practice visit on Aug 5th so we’ll have ‘eyes on the ground” … or something.

Comment by Reed 07.31.14 @ 9:59 am

Ohio valley: Dane Jackson, Cam Johnson.

Comment by alcofan 07.31.14 @ 10:03 am

Maverick Rowan, Shelden Jeter – Beaver Valley

Comment by wbb 07.31.14 @ 10:06 am

Reed, I believe many more people on this site shared your view of Shell being a disruptive, self-absorbed troublemaker; there were a few dissenters, but my memory was that they were the definite minority.

Comment by wbb 07.31.14 @ 10:18 am

There are others who have dogged it similar to Shell and continued to play. I am not ready to anoint the staff with the halo of being fair minded and building “toughness”. I won’t call out names but others nursed minor injuries, haven’t taken are off the field, and continued to see action. Not surprisingly, these were the guys who took plays off. I am still in wait and see mode on several of these coaches. A couple are way past retirement age and don’t know what they are doing. Wisconsin is going on 14-15 years ago. In turn, if you are recruit and you meet one of these gramps, it doesn’t take long to say this isn’t for me I’ll cast my lot elsewhere.

Comment by PittMan 07.31.14 @ 10:23 am

On the other hand, I myself didn’t think Chapman should have been dropped (especially since Larry Fitz who was charged with the same offense had his number retired a week later), nor did I ever think Todd Thomas was a serious trouble maker (but since his issue came on the heels of Shell, he seemed to be considered the same).

Comment by wbb 07.31.14 @ 10:24 am

I fell sorry for Clairton and the other small school districts in PA. In MD and VA schools operate on a county level. So areas that are poor are mixed with rich areas as far as funding. Athletics and academics both benefit in this situation with funds distributed equally within all areas of a county.

Comment by Frank MD 07.31.14 @ 10:46 am

wbb – I was thinking of not only the Blather but what I was reading from the message boards regarding Shell.

I didn’t know what was going to happen with Chapman but knew it would be pretty serious, especially when he kept the girl from leaving the apartment for over an hour. Fans minimized that but it was core to the decisionmaking, But Chapman really shot himself in the foot when he stated publicly that Chryst told him the he wanted him to stay on the team… by that point Nordenberg had already told the Athletic dept that he was taking the final decision from them and so it goes. Yes, the politics of the University were part of it but was anyone really surprised when he was given the door? IMO if ever the university put football above all else in these situations it would have been then when we really needed another good QB on the roster (although I believe he’d never have started over Voytik).

PittMan – it wasn’t just the dogging of work that sent Shell packing. There was a lot of overt negative attitude from him in the clubhouse also – people had their fill, players included. He was telling people early on that spring that he was thinking of transferring because he wasn’t getting every RB1 snap – which was true as Conner and Bennett were many days getting more practice plays than Shell was. Chryst wasn’t enamored by Shell’s HS career as we local fans were, and that said, you can see how that went down.

Your point about the age of some coaches and your thoughts on how it impacts recruiting is interesting IMO revolves around the question of whether Chryst recruits specific to his program and plans or if he tries to get the higher rated players first and foremost. I’ll write about this in my next post – I have a bad habit of using up all my Talking Points in the comments section. Personally I wonder if that plays so much into a HS kid’s decision as much as other things do. Kind of like when I read a young PITT fan write that we’d get better recruits if we went to those hideous Nike ‘new-age: uniforms. I’m sure you’re right in some cases but I think there are a whole lot of issues going into a recruit’s decision making – not the least of which is the university itself for some.

Yeah – this FB staff isn’t full of guys who can do no wrong but IMO they are exactly what PITT needs after the Haywood/Graham fiascos.

Comment by Reed 07.31.14 @ 10:52 am

wbb – regarding Thomas I always thought that his issues were way more spur of the moment and rash and with that the staff had an opportunity to address it and resolve it quickly with Thomas.

Shell’s behavior was more like the chinese water torture.

Comment by Reed 07.31.14 @ 10:56 am

Getting back to T. Anderson,his situation is exactly like minor league hockey players. If you’ve watched them play hockey their skill level is as good as the NHL guys. The only reason they aren’t playing in the NHL is because they were not blessed with the size of NHL players. Thus, no one offered Trey a scholarship because he was deemed too small for D-1 football, not because he doesn’t have the skills, talent or intelligence to play D-1. I believe because of this, every time he steps on the field he has something to prove, and I am VERY glad to have him as a Pitt Panther. Could he be the next Doug Flutie (5’9′, 180)? I, for one, would not count him out. If Chad gets hurt Trey will do just fine. H2P

Comment by pittman4ever 07.31.14 @ 11:09 am

Chad is not much bigger than Trey and I believe, from what I have read and the little I have seen from both, is that Chad is the more talented. Nonetheless, I do think Trey has enough experience and knowledge to take over should the unthinkable occurs. (Wouldn’t suprise me if he was around next year as a GA)

Comment by wbb 07.31.14 @ 11:33 am

New pre-season coaches poll out and Pitt, PSU and WVa received as many votes as did Slippery Rock, IUP and Washington & Jefferson.

Only team ranked on Pitt’s schedule is UNC at 23.

Comment by wbb 07.31.14 @ 11:41 am

Point made by Sam Werner today on his Twitter today … Voytik will begin as starter this year with more years in the HCPC system than the previous 2 starting QBs.

Comment by wbb 07.31.14 @ 12:14 pm

wbb-

Chad and Trey seem to be around the same height but Chad hits his workouts hard! Lots of muscle and strength for a qb. Not a knock on Trey at all, like I said I really like Trey, think he is very talented and appreciate all he has done. Just pointing out the Voytik is a much more solid build.

Comment by JAM05PITT 07.31.14 @ 12:17 pm

Reed, no disrespect intended but if I had a Press Pass and access to Pitt football practices, I can gaurantee you that I’d feel privledged to have such access in the first place, and secondly that I’d feel obligated to make the most of that opportunity.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.31.14 @ 12:18 pm

My genious stepson is a tutor for WVU athletes. I hear some stories…. Nuff said on that front.

Trey will have to be ready because Chad is going to take some hits along the way. Any mobile QB gets banged up regardless of line play, although I believe our O line will be better and he will be better protected that Savage was and HE really took some shots.

I’m anxious for camp to start and to hear reports on how Bertke looks in practice. 30 days till kickoff, can’t wait!

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 07.31.14 @ 12:45 pm

Just pulled up an old article from Trey Anderson’s hometown paper: The Journal (Pearland), July 27, 2011.
“Anderson said recruiters shied away from him because of his height,because he didn’t have a great junior year season and because ‘I only weigh 150 pounds'”
He certainly looks 180-190 lbs. now, but if Trey is 6’ I am Yao Ming!!!!

Comment by pittman4ever 07.31.14 @ 1:33 pm

Glad to see some positive comments about Trey and that he has some support. Also very encouraging to see comments about what a young man CAN do and his attributes vs. what he CAN’T do. Very rare to go through a college season with only one QB taking snaps. We will need them both, hopefully idiots don’t throw him overboard first mistake he makes. He has a great attitude and can play!

Comment by PittMan 07.31.14 @ 2:54 pm

I stand corrected … I wrote above that I wouldn’t be surprised that Anderson would still be around next year as a GA. Actually, I had forgotten he had redshirted and currently has Junior status.

Comment by wbb 07.31.14 @ 3:30 pm

Dr Tom – that would be your prerogative. Some people have passed on Press Access altogether thinking that having it somehow would constrict their ability to criticize the program, which BTW, is as far from true as possible – at least at PITT with the current SID staff.

Attending practices, having access to the facility and being able meet and mingle with the players, parents and program staff is wonderful and, yes, I do consider it a privilege. I have it because the SID knows me well enough to trust me to be fair and open minded especially because what I write isn’t bound by rules of journalism.

He also knows that when I criticize the program or its personnel I do so because I’ve taken time to find out and understand what I am actually complaining about. EJ Borghetti’s whole deal is that he wants people who write about PITT FB to have access and to get the truths about it, even if it is unflattering. On that note I’d also like to make something clear – I don’t know SP at all but for being introduced with an accompanying nodding acquaintance, for some reason some people think we’re good friends or something.

However mine fair Dr. – I think you missed the part where I said it was a nine (9) hour round trip drive for me to get up to the Southside. I will say this, if I lived in Pittsburgh I’d probably attend almost every one because for one thing they are fun as hell and now I’m retired and can do anything I damn well please. But the truth is if I can’t physically make it to a game I’ll not drive up for that either.

Anyway, I make sure that EJ , who is the formal host of the Media, knows how much I appreciate his grant of a pass to me and we have joked about the stuffiness of the press box. He knows that I’m crazy for PITT and want to stand up and scream my support. To be honest I think it kills him not to be able to do that in the box either.

One last note on all this – I also know that there are limited Press Passes and seats in the press box. If I was there just because I could be, I very well may be taking an access opportunity away from someone who is trying to make a living in sports journalism and can’t get in the press box. I don’t want that to happen either.

Comment by Reed 07.31.14 @ 4:16 pm

We may have to start calling you YAO for short pittman4ever, because,,,,,,,,

Check out this video on 2 points.

First, Trey is standing shoulder to shoulder with Rachid Ibrahim and they both look the same height to me (unless Trey is wearing lifts in his cleats). Ibrahim is listed at 6′ 1” in the roster.

Second, check out Anderson heaving a 50 yard pass downfield right on the money to Rachid using a one step throwing motion.

Yeah, maybe Trey Anderson won’t be such a poor back up QB after all.

link to youtube.com

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.31.14 @ 4:18 pm

JAM – I’d say Anderson and Voytik are about the same size bodywise but Chad is about an inch taller. Take a look at this video and you’ll see that he’s pretty well built and, BTW, has a good deep throw.

link to pittsburghpanthers.com

Interesting to note also that Ibrahim is 6’1″ and Anderson is listed at 6’0″ – they look equal in height here and I’d say Anderson is at a true 6’0″. The fact is that Anderson has grown steadily over his four years here. I can say for a fact he’s not as short as he was as a FR when I’ve stood next to him on the sidelines recently.

Also, that pass at the end of the video was 45+ yards without any effort, and the best part is he say’s “See Yinz” at the end of the video (I think).

Comment by Reed 07.31.14 @ 4:27 pm

Dr T – you beat me to it!

Comment by Reed 07.31.14 @ 4:28 pm

Yes I did! But you added the cherry on top with Trey’s “yinz” sign off.

The kid is from Texas but he’s talkin like a Pittsburgher, for sure.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.31.14 @ 4:33 pm

From Yao Ming,
“I would like Trey to be as tall as me – but 6′ is GREAT! I’m very glad he has grown in both height and weight and want great things for both him and Chad. Now please pass the egg rolls and lets talk some BB” :>)

Comment by pittman4ever 07.31.14 @ 4:48 pm

That was one of those passes you can throw in practice, you toss it up as high and deep as you can and the receiver runs under it.

But in a game if you threw it up that high, the Safety comes over and probably would have a pretty easy pick. The higher you throw it, the long it takes to get there, and gives the defenders more time to react.

If you noticed Savage’s deep throws were basically on a rope, which is why he got the NFL scouts to take notice. Marino also threw deep on a rope.

That said, I think Trey will be an adequate backup and if he gets a chance, who knows.

Joe Montana was a backup once as well and didn’t exactly have great arm strength.

Comment by Emel 07.31.14 @ 5:07 pm

That was a pretty good Upittbaseball imitation Emel.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.31.14 @ 6:22 pm

I used to have a view that the NFL was really good at evaluating talent until the Dolphins signed Wallace to that contract. Johnny Football threw mostly rainbows after 35 yards in his workout day. Voytiks arm is fine for college football

Comment by chethejet 07.31.14 @ 6:40 pm

Chet – I think so also especially since I believe we’ll see a lot different playcalling than the staff did with Savage. Voytik was accurate on that deep pass to Boyd in the bowl game and that was a hefty pass so I’m sure we’ll see some deep completions. I just don’t think we’ll see many play calls where the primary receiver is the deep guy.

Personally I think shorter passes with good YAC is as exciting to watch as deep completions and this season they will be easier to get also. Expect Manasseh Garner to have a big year with Boyd being targeted and double teamed.

Garner did well last season as a converted H-Back / TE and this season he be the firm #2 WR. He’s got the hand skills and the strength to come down with the ball and get decent YAC. But Garner was used as the short receiver behind Street who could run all routes and of course Boyd as the deep threat.

One thing I’m hoping for is that if Boyd gets doubled teamed by a safety thinking Boyd’ll go deep and if he doesn’t then Boyd has a single team on the shorter routes. That way he’ll get the ball and use his running skills after the catch. Boyd might not make the same numbers he did last season but if he takes a defender away from the other side we could see a great year for Garner and Jones, whom I think will get more PT than a true FR.

Another advantage is that Boyd might get both a DB and the LB on his side shadowing him which will open up areas for our running game. Hell, after three quarters of Conner banging into them LBs may salivate at the chance to vacate the spot and double team Boyd.

Comment by Reed 07.31.14 @ 7:05 pm

HCPC offense doesn’t throw deep as Savage was an arm that the playbook took into account. HCPC at Wisconsin was short to intermediate passing and I expect the same here. HCPC has recruited the makings of an very good offense, Boyd, Holtz, Garner,Jennings and Jones are recruits who can play for just about anybody.

Comment by chethejet 08.01.14 @ 2:21 am

The ingredients are there. This schedule is a recipe for success. Come Monday, it will be time for this coaching staff to get busy in the kitchen. Come August 30th and thereafter, it’s on the coaches this year to prove that they can cook!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.01.14 @ 6:23 am

Savage wasn’t a 5* recruit for nothing. He had the best arm I’ve seen around here since Morelli (don’t laugh) and the best I’ve see in a Pitt uni since Oakland Dan (only saw Flacco in a brief mop-up at USF) …. and Emel was correct in his assertion about throwing the long pass on a rope.

However, Kyle Bollar and Jamarcus ____ from LSU (can’t remember his last name) had the 2 strongest arms tested at the combine and were NFL busts.

The point I’m getting at that arm strength helps but is only one asset a QB has. From my all too brief looks of Voytik (bowl game 2nd half and ’13 spring game – rmember them?), he seems to possess the intangible asset of playmaking. Yes, it is a very small sampling but it still provides me hope.

Comment by wbb 08.01.14 @ 6:31 am

I don’t think you need a huge arm to be successful in college ball. A good arm in the right system? Yes. Case in point: Ty Detmer didn’t win the heisman on arm strength.

I’m very interested to see how Chryst plays to the strengths of our new QB.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.01.14 @ 6:54 am

Time to get fired up!

link to youtube.com

Comment by gc 08.01.14 @ 7:12 am

A short passing game will also lower the number of sacks. Not at all worried about arm strength. More worried about accuracy and decision making.

Hoping that Jennings comes in as ready as Tyler Boyd was last year.

And of course, how we are going to generate a pass rush.

Comment by gc 08.01.14 @ 7:23 am

There was an article about the DB that transferred to Pitt from Wisconsin. I forget the kids name. I thought it was interesting that he said Pitt’s defensive scheme was very similar to what Wisconsin runs.
The O will be fine. Here’s to House having a great year as D coordinator! Yikes.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.01.14 @ 7:38 am

Don’t know if this was posted already. It is a good read about AD.

link to si.com

Comment by notrocketscience 08.01.14 @ 8:18 am

There is a whole lot of exciting football in that highlight reel, gc.

The key for this season is how well the schedule sets up for this young team. If we show up for the BC game, there could be a lot of excitement surrounding our VT nationally televised game. We just have to build on the momentum of “winning the games that we’re supposed to” and we could easily be 5-1 going into the VT game, sniffing around for a top 25 slot in the rankings. Acquiring team confidence early, will definitely help later in the season when we start getting smacked in the mouth with stiffer competition.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.01.14 @ 8:18 am

notrocket, The person you are referring to is Reggie Mitchell who saw limited action as a frosh at Wisc and then transferred back to Pgh because the coaches who recuited him are now at Pitt.

He played for former Pitt QB Dave Havern who confirmed that Pitt is getting both a good player and good kid. Best of all, I believe he still is only a Soph, and is at a position of need .. Safety.

Comment by wbb 08.01.14 @ 8:46 am

notrocket, great article … imagine my confusion when I initially thought that it was a good read about Stevie P!

Comment by wbb 08.01.14 @ 9:16 am

Aaron Donald won every major award that a defensive lineman could, and still there are those that doubted his ability to perform at the next level. Soon enough, there will be no doubters left, just those who will be wondering when he’ll play in his first Pro Bowl.

St. Louis is going to fall in love with AD this season and why not?

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.01.14 @ 9:54 am

Wbb & Notrocket – see part about DB Reggie Mitchell on new 8/1 Blather post.

Comment by Reed 08.01.14 @ 10:03 am

@wbb, Russell??

Also, ya, I’d say it was about 90%-10% on here and around town with not letting Shell back on the team.

A few “give the kid a chance” people, but most people said “he quit us”, “see ya”.

I personally remember posting, it’s not like Pitt is stopping him from going to college, go ahead go, just go somewhere else.

Anyhow, August 1st, won’t be long now boys!!

Comment by Dan 08.01.14 @ 10:30 am

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