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August 12, 2014

Now that we have finished the Spring Drills and are a third of the way through Fall Training Camp it is about the right time to start wondering, with some intelligence in our folders, about how well the program, the coaching staff and players as a team will do this upcoming season.

Moving back to the East Coast after many overseas duty stations I started following PITT football closely again with the Walt Harris firing and Dave Wannstedt hiring as I agreed with both decisions.  One thing I have noticed over the last decade is that a lot of PITT fans make their season predictions based on emotion, more specifically on whether they like or dislike certain people in certain positions in the program.

A great example of this is those who couldn’t stand the “Slingin’ Sicilian” felt strongly that he’d never lead the team to a strong winning season, and with that they were pretty much on the mark as he always seemed to muddle through each year.  Along with that, fans who don’t agree with the Paul Chryst hire can’t see him coaching the team to an ACC championship; those who hate the Matt House hire as DC can’t see him ever molding our defense into a game winning unit, fans who think we can’t replace a superstar player like  Aaron Donald feel that whoever tries will fall way short of the level at which Donald played, and on and on and on…

Of course those issues I mentioned are generalizations but you get my drift.  They are all semi-valid stances by true fans and are a big part of the great fun college football fans have in following (living and dying with!) their teams.

An ideal time to make season predictions is the day before the opener when we have seen or read about the kids in action during the many practices and scrimmages and when the final two-deep lineup has been announced by the head coach.  That is something we’ll do at that time also, but you know we are chomping at the bit to make our predictions right now and have some fun reading what others feel at this point also.  I’ll ask that we try to make our predictions on football issues alone and if we must enter our ‘like/dislike‘ emotions into it at least base it on actual football knowledge and not the people’s personalities.

The great thing about college ball is that the roster and the two-deep lineup changes every year and our predictions always have that ‘wildcard’ aspect with the untested players.  So here goes and I’ll take the first shot, tell you what I think at this point, and then make a hopefully semi-educated W/L prediction.

Over all I like what Chryst has done with the program and the team itself.  He’s had two years to get the roster to reflect his plans for personnel and has made some changes in the coaching staff.  That all points to this season as being, in my eyes, the litmus test for him as the PITT head coach.  He won’t be kept on or fired based on 2014’s record, the PITT administration has a long hook for him and want him to be around to establish a solid period of normalcy in the football program.

As to the nuts and bolts of the team itself I think Chryst has pretty much who he wants to field both offense and defense going into competition.  That isn’t to say he wouldn’t want better players in some spots, every head coach wants that, yes even Alabama, but he’s getting able to field his own recruits.

On offense Chryst has been grooming Chad Voytik for two years and that is something that will pay off on the field as the season progresses; he’s gotten a good, maybe very good, stable of running backs so that he can use his preferred platoon system in the running game and he has a returning star WR who will be the centerpiece of the skill positions on the offense.  In addition he has the size and strength he wants across the offensive line, including talented TEs.  Those points all combine to make me feel better about the offense this year as opposed to how it ended up at the end of last season.

A Voytik led offense will be different than we saw with Savage.  I expect shorter routes and quicker passes with more completions and more YAC from the passing game.  The TEs will be freed up more to get involved in the pass and thus we’ll have a better 3rdt down conversion rate and more first downs on the whole.  The run game will be more consistent and with better OL play will be more effective in moving the sticks also.

It would be hard not to improve on offense as we pretty much sucked last season. Scoring only 26.3 ppg has to be bettered by this team.  But with our skilled players, including some kids who haven’t played yet in James and Jennings,  I think we can add at least 3ppg more to put us up around 29-30.  If we can do that then we are setting ourselves up for some extra wins.

Our defense is going to be pretty much untested with so many FR and SOs in the two-deep but I believe that House’s second year as DC will be better than the first. His players will have had a year to get used to him and his schemes and that can make a big difference.  My question mark for the defense is the defensive backfield as I think everyone’s is.  Last season the defense got better as the season went on, starting young players will lead to that.  We’ll see how that goes this year but if we can improve even a bit over 2013’s defensive results we’ll be OK.

Last year we gave up 27.2 ppg which is the bottom line when talking about defensive results. That has to move south this year.  Our total defense was a respectable 347 ypg (43rd nationally) and our rushing defense held our opponents to 149 ypg  (34th).  I really think we can better that even with Donald gone.  Our passing defense was OK also giving up 218 ypg (40th) and with the new younger defensive personnel we might be hard pressed to replicate that.

That said, the passing defense also relies heavily on a pass rush which is where Donald made a living.  I think we’ll see better push from our DEs this year to offset that loss, but overall I don’t think we’ll have a big negative loss in defensive efficiency, in fact I’m expecting it to improve.

We’ll improve on turnovers also and get more than 9 INTs and 8 fumble recoveries – say double digits in each this year.

So, just as I said we’ll gain 3 ppg on offense, I’ll predict we give up 3 ppg less on defense.  That would give us 29 ppg for and 24 ppg against, which is doable and would lead to at least seven regular season wins. I can’t see any circumstances unless we have a slew of season-ending injuries at key positions, where we would drop below .500 ball.

My overall predication at this point in camp is, fingers crossed, 8-4 regular season because I think the lucky breaks will come our way this year with more TOs, and that our schedule lends itself to that many wins.  Who knows what will happen in the bowl game but I’m much more concerned about the regular season anyway.  This prediction might change after I watch the full scrimmage on Aug 16th.  If the young kids bust out with some great play under real time conditions then I may feel better about the upcoming season, but for now one more win I think.

What do the some experts say?  Well, here’s a chart of what the CBS College Football Staff think the ACC divisions will do. They have PITT scattered all over the place.

OK, what say you guys?

NOTES: Remember how I wrote about the PITT Drone and its Wranglers?  Here is an excellent video taken from the drone over the Southside practice facility fields.  Notice that fields are only 60 yards long from the 20 to the 20.

How do you feel about Paul Chryst’s Disciplinary actions since he’s been named head coach?  Here is a poll from our friends at Cardiac Hill, great name for a PITT blog huh?,  which asks this simple question.

Remember the scene in the movie A Clockwork Orange where they police arrest the Droogie Malcolm McDowell and try to cure his anti-social behavior by strapping him down in a chair , giving him LSD eye drops and making him watch violent and pornographic movies?  Here PITT’s version of that cure for all you really pessimistic, hating fans. So strap in, drop that acid and enjoy!

 

 





I don’t know how to project out this season, much less one in 89 years!!!

Comment by Former Roc 08.12.14 @ 7:19 am

Great write up. 8-4 is a real possibility. Biggest concern is the overall youth on this team.

As you said, injuries in a position without depth and throw 8-4 out the window.

As an example, they are three deep on the O line, but the 2nd and 3rd string guys are young with hardly any experience.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.12.14 @ 7:37 am

Lets be honest here, this is a 6 win team.

Next year 8-10 wins.

Comment by NOPE 08.12.14 @ 8:04 am

While I’m not big on predictions and hope for 8-4 or better, a lot of things have to go right for this to happen and as we all know we are Pitt.

First and foremost our offensive line must gel and stay relatively healthy. Bisno is the key, I have not heard much about his performance, but he must protect Voytik. They are also key to a consistent ground game which makes everything else possible. The wild card is Voytik, A great season for him and we get 8-4 or better, a poor season…well you get the picture.

The defense has to mount some pressure on the QB or teams will just outscore us. Again because we are thin, injuries could change everything. We will also need some of the young guys to step up, Blair, Maddox, Maclean etc. Galambos has to have a good year.

We have to win the turnover battle, especially since I do predict mostly close, hard fought games. There will be few pushovers in the ACC.

I think 7-5 is the most likely outcome, since it is more likely that we get upset than we upset anyone.

Comment by gc 08.12.14 @ 8:08 am

Not – I think that we’ll be surprised at the strength and talent of the 2nd string OL this year. Currently it stands as, L to R:

LT – Jones
LG – Roberts
C – Officer
RG – Baker
RT – Bookser

With Reese, Grimm and Hayes rotating in. There are a few 4* guys there and a bunch of solid 3*s. These are the guys who Chryst wanted to built his program inside out with.

Lots of talent but as you say inexperience.

Comment by Reed 08.12.14 @ 8:10 am

lol…NOPE. Nothing like setting low expectations.

I see three good reason why we’ll do better than last year, all else being equal. IE if we had the same schedule as last year, we’d be better this year.

1. Another year in the system for all starters. (Reed mentioned this)

2. Better strength and conditioning – every report I’ve read has mentioned this.

3. Desire and attitude – This is something that is new for this year. When have you EVER read about the entire team getting on a guy for dropping a pass in practice and not picking it up and running it into the end zone? When have you EVER seen a head coach make comments like “they’ve been practicing well, we really just need to clean up the little details”. I’ve been following Pitt football since 1997 and I haven’t ever seen that. As the vernerable Dr. Tom has said, the mind leads and the body follows. This team has the right mind. They will win games.

HTP!

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.12.14 @ 8:12 am

*venerable Dr. Tom.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.12.14 @ 8:12 am

Reed

I agree the talent is there but as we saw last year experience is a big factor. I think Dorian Johnson will be an animal this year but he struggled without the experience.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.12.14 @ 8:27 am

I’m looking at 8-4 as well. I like Voytik a lot and if the OL does its job, the offense could/should take off. Hard to gauge the defense but I expect them to tread water well enough.

Comment by ajb240 08.12.14 @ 8:40 am

I thought it was fall training camp.

EDIT: Indeed it is and I’ve corrected the post – thanks

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 08.12.14 @ 8:46 am

@Reed, great evaluation at this early point in the season. You have witnessed the team in practices and we value your opinion a lot. I’m going with 9-3 just because I am a big time cool aid drinker and want to hang my hat on this team so I can taunt my Hoopie neighbors. WooVoo 3-9 and Franklinstein 6-6.

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 08.12.14 @ 8:51 am

I also see an 8-4 season. The biggest reason for that is that we trade FSU for Boston College and Navy for Florida International. Simply put, the schedule is a lot more favorable. I think whatever Chryst is capable of we’ll see next year, but this season sets an important trend line.

Comment by PittHW 08.12.14 @ 8:57 am

Reed …cannot thank you enough for your time, research and astute observations! The curse of ” dreaded Pitt Optimism” is upon me. Please forgive me fellow Blatherites but I have Pitt 10-2!

Comment by Dan 72 08.12.14 @ 9:03 am

Reed -I like your prediction. Doesn’t seem delusional. I hope we catch some breaks and DAN 72 is correct.

Comment by Pittastic 08.12.14 @ 9:23 am

they tried the drone technology in Morgantown, and the Moutaineer thinking it was a large pheasant, shot it down with his musket.

Improved OL and weak schedule — 8 and 4 sounds about right to me

Comment by wbb 08.12.14 @ 9:25 am

I see Pitt at 9-3 due in part to a favorable schedule. Expecting to see a ball control offense consuming the clock to keep a weak defense off the field. I believe Paul Chryst was the right choice and is building a foundation for the program that will produce 10 wins or more a year within the next year or two.

Comment by Spindler's Spirit 08.12.14 @ 9:33 am

All I want from this team is to crush Penn State.
So as long as they improve every aspect of team to get to that point, the season record doesn’t really matter to me.
Let’s Go PITT!!!!

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 08.12.14 @ 9:35 am

yes I know that’s 2 years from now.

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 08.12.14 @ 9:36 am

Blue and gold glasses off.

Just looked over each game, and 8-4 is about the nail on the head.

With a good break 9-3, bad break 7-5.

Maybe this is the eternal pre-season Pitt optimism?

I’ve said this before, I like Voytik a lot, no, not just because of the half against BG. I actually got a cd with his hs senior year highlights on it. Liked him at the Elite 11 camp, where he won one of the 4 days of “qb of the day”. I’ve liked what I’ve heard about his work ethic, and also have liked what he has to say when he’s been interviewed or pops up on radio shows.

I think he will have the game day intangibles of a winning quarterback, and after three years, we will look back at him as being a pretty good Pitt qb.

Even with my enthusiasm, I realize there is a lot more to it than just one player.

I’m hoping that I am pleasantly suprised with HCPC’s program, moving forward and making some progress.

Believe me, I try to be a realist, and I have not been afraid to say “Pitt’s gonna suck this year” over the years.

I don’t think that’s the case this year.

I think Pitt could reel of 4,5, or 6 in a row to start the season.

I’m also aware, as a Pitt football fan, that I could be kicking the tv in, knowing that Pitt lossed to Boston College, and am now watching us get upset at Florida International on a 90 degree day in Miami.

Such is the life of a Pitt fan, but I think and am hoping for a pretty good year!!

H2P!!!

Comment by Dan 08.12.14 @ 10:26 am

I will go with 8-4. But, I really think that 9-3 is just as likely. So much depends on injuries.

I actually expect us to lose one that we shouldn’t and win one in which we are an underdog. This is college ball. So, part of the fun is its craziness.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.12.14 @ 10:34 am

I see 7 wins against Delaware, BC, FIU, Akron, UVA, GT, and Syracuse. If we drop one here, personally I see it against UVA. I know they were awful last year but if you look at their recruiting it’s been extremely good, particularly on defense. But overall, I would say the above 7 should all be wins.

Next I expect us to win one of Iowa, VT, Duke, UNC, or Miami. I like us to win one of those first three since they’re at home. If we drop one of the 7 would should win we need to find two. I would say duke and Iowa seem like the most likely wins.

Comment by PittHW 08.12.14 @ 10:47 am

Really enjoy the Blog and keeps my connection with Pitt strong and up-to-date. My fellow Pitt Alumnus and I prognosticate every year and like the media outlets range from 9-3 to 5-7 with the latter also being an ND advocate. Go figure. For myself, 8-4 seems right and feels right after reading media reviews of our competition. Also have bought into Paul Chryst. Bringing fundamentals, high integrity and creating a family atmosphere at Pitt is as important as 4 and 5 star players. I think it will show this year and years to come. Hail to PITT!

Comment by Dennis Augustine 08.12.14 @ 10:49 am

We talk about the importance of Voytik staying healthy and that’s a valid one. My real fear is that we lose Boyd and have to rely on a much more conservative approach to passing the ball.

Boyd will draw double teams much of the time and that will really help our other WRs especially when we go to a three WR set with Garner and Jones or Jennings. We will still have good talent in the receiving corps but it will make the OC roll back the playbook.

Last year we passed the ball 48.5% of the time and that was with an experienced ‘passing’ QB. Pretty balanced all in all. If we lose Boyd I’d expect that to drop to 40-45% and have the running game take even more snaps. That might happen even without injuries and Chryst has always liked to run first, pass second… as we saw in 2012 when Chryst ran the ball even more at 55.3%.

Comment by Reed 08.12.14 @ 11:18 am

While Defensive Secondary is the QUESTION MARK for this football team… QUARTERBACK is the WILD CARD.

Don’t know how GOOD Voytik is going to be. But having some mobility at the Quarterback position for the first time in years… is going to demonstrate very clearly how much we’ve missed out due to the OVERABUNDANCE of SACKS we’ve been forced to endure.

Expect Voytik to provide a SPARK as he did in the Bowl Game where we all but forgot about Savage as the second half unfolded. But Voytik’s challenges as a PURE PASSER are going to prove frustrating at times.

Although Chryst is loyal to a fault when it comes to sticking to his Starting QB… it’s a little NAIVE to think that a First-Year Starter is not going have his struggles.

That said I do see Trey Anderson getting onto the field at some point. Already on the record saying Anderson will SURPRISE those who remember him solely the way he was as a Freshman.

Bottom Line… with “Panther Beast Mode” toting the Rock and Boyd making plays and the Offensive Line now plentiful with RESERVES… this team is going to exceed many expectations.

The NEW Assistant Coaches will make the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE in terms of how this team wins the games it should win.

But, also keep in mind that we have a Kicker named BLEWITT who can only be BETTER than a year ago.

Sticking with my prediction for an OPTIMISTIC 9 and 3… and REALISTIC 8 and 4. Seven Wins, while better… would be disappointing.

NOTE… as I said the Secondary is a QUESTION especially with Howard’s suspension. But there is a SMALL but VERY FAST Freshman named Maddox who might be part of the ANSWER.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.12.14 @ 12:13 pm

There were a few times last season when Boyd was very slow getting up.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.12.14 @ 12:13 pm

By the Way, the Cardiac Hill blog linked above concerning PC’s Disciplinary Actions is incorrect.

As I recall, PC lobbied for Chapman to be reinstated but it Nordy who made the decision to let him go … and he waited to do it right before the school year began.

Comment by wbb 08.12.14 @ 12:14 pm

Last season our biggest hurdle was getting initiated into the ACC’s tougher schedule. A solid thumping by FSU isn’t exactly the way that you want to start off finding your sea legs in a new conference but that’s how it was set up and in preseason, who knew that Duke was going to finally get fed up with being the ACC doormat and win the Division also? So looking at the early defensive statistics in the light of these two ACC opponents showing up with New Mexico State sandwiched in the middle for our first three games and I’ll show you that our biggest unknown for 2013 (a new inexperienced DC installing a new defensive system) really improved as the season progressed.

These first three teams put 123 points on the board against us (avg. 41 points/gm) with a total of 1,335 yards (445 yds/gm). Our defensive stats for the season, 27.2 points/gm and 347 yds/gm.

So we got hammered defensively the first three games but came around by the season’s conclusion to have respectable defensive stats by the end. That continued improvement will be evident this season even without AD. That one season of experience with the current system will pay dividends this year for BOTH the players and the coaches, especially House.

Now when you consider that we were 2-1 after three games and improved defensively as the season progressed, it begs the question, “well what went wrong where we only win three more regular season games then? The answer, horrendous special teams play. That one facet of the game cost us two games for sure and probably a third. So IMO, we’re 8-4 going into our bowl game if we clean up the special teams.

That my friends is the biggest unknown going into this season. Now that we have a dedicated ST coach and it has become woefully apparent that our ST play absolutely sucked last year, hopefully that improves, GREATLY! I like this new punter Ryan Winslow, good hang times and better positional punting to the coffin corners and out of bounds will help special teams play.

The other item that must be kept in check this season for success is lack of injuries. I’ve been saying the season goes as Voytik goes and if he gets injuried the season goes south with him. I’ve changed my tune as camp has progressed and I think that Anderson will be prepared to step in if required, but any injuries to other key players could be even more devistating than at QB because of our lack of both depth and experience. We cannot lose these guys to injury, Vinopal, Thomas, Rowell or Boyd, all are leaders and/or essential play callers for their units.

That being said, it is just talkin out your a$$ to predict a season’s record at this point, too many variables. The schedule sets up great for us this season though.

So I’m just hoping that we can concentrate on one game at time at this point, beginning with Delaware, cause if we find ourselves blessed with a record of let’s say 5-1 going into the VT game midseason, then we’ll know that we’ve been lucky enough to avoid key injuries up to that point and our young team will have picked up both experience and confidence heading into the tuff meat of the schedule. That’s where some relevant predictions can then start to be made for the remaining part of the season or the Panthers.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.12.14 @ 12:21 pm

In reply to PofD’s post above, QB sacks this year will be cut in half by two facts that will be self apparent soon enough, first the OL blocking will be better (how can it get any worse in pass protection?) and second, both Voytik and Anderson have good feet and motors to run out of trouble when it occurs.

Yes, Voytik will have the typical growing pains to work out at QB but this kid is a “gamer” and he will put this team on his back, if need be, to bring home a win, unlike the video on that other guy that Reed snuck into the very end of this new thread. Can’t we let him just R.I.P.?

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.12.14 @ 12:34 pm

Don’t care for W/L predictions myself either, but:

RE Injuries – my cannot afford to lose list would be Clemmings, Rotheram, Voytik, Thomas & Pitts.

RE Team Concerns (excluding ST) – DC & DE’s were my concerns last year, and they remain so.

Comment by 1618mt 08.12.14 @ 12:39 pm

“Do you folks bashing Savage really think you know more about quarterbacks than Bill O’Brien? That is comical.” – Notrocketscience

********
PRIOR to last season I posted very specifically why Tom Savage was going to have problems taking SACKS.

NOT “rocketscience” at all. All it took was a little looking at the facts at hand.

Again, looking at the facts at hand… I’m going to go out on a limb and say O’Brien is also going to have trouble holding onto his job as Head Coach.

Throwing your lot in with Fitzpatrick as your Starting Quarterback and Clowney as your First Round Draft Pick… now that is FUNNY.

Losing your first Pre-Season Game 32 to Nothing does nothing to quelch the laugher.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.12.14 @ 12:41 pm

It would be interesting if Connor Dintino (Ivy prep school Choate alum, whose tuition & boarding is $52,840 per year)burned his red-shirt and played this year. With Matt Galambos in back of him,who turned down scholarship offers from Harvard and Yale to play at Division I Pitt. With ACC All-academic football player Ray Vinopal surveing the field in back of him. That my Blatherites is scholar athletes playing college football. Be proud Pitt fans; be proud.

Comment by Tony in Hampton 08.12.14 @ 12:42 pm

@Dr Tom

I am totally with you about Winslow potentially being a huge step up in our play this year. I hope that he is well coached and is being trained to kick it where it needs to be placed—not just long. Plus, no shanks—I recall at least three of them last year at the worst possible times.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.12.14 @ 12:48 pm

I get it, so if an opposing RB breaks through the defensive line they’ll be there to throw the book at him.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.12.14 @ 12:50 pm

Tony
Dintino will be a stud. Maybe as good as Dr Tom’s Luke M.
:-)

Comment by notrocketscience 08.12.14 @ 12:53 pm

And why, Tony in Hampton, I wish we were in the Ivy League instead.

Boola f’n boola.

Comment by steve1 08.12.14 @ 1:05 pm

PittofDreams

Sorry, predicting Savage would have sack issues last year with an inexperienced line is NOT “rocketscience” either(by the way, that was well done).

If all those sacks last year were on Savage then you obviously think Pitt had no issues on the O line. I respectfully disagree. I am not saying Savage is the next Tom Brady but the line struggled greatly at times last year. The coaches and players all admit to that fact.

If Bill O’Brien is one thing, he is a good QB coach and even hating Penn State, you have to admit he did a good job there with the mess.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.12.14 @ 1:10 pm

notrocketscience…

You obviously are not familiar with the concerns I posted about Savage.

Contrary to many “expert” opinions regarding last season… Savage’s problems with being SACKED at a RECORD SETTING pace had LESS to do with Pitt’s Offensive Line and MORE to do with Tom Savage.

Savage’s problems with taking SACKS goes back to his Freshman Year at Rutgers.

Simply stated… Savage has been a SACK MAGNET throughout his collegiate career… and so far in his NFL Career as well.

Again… “NOT” Rocket Science. Or maybe it is?

Comment by PittofDreams 08.12.14 @ 1:29 pm

Not to say that Pitt’s O-Line didn’t BREAK DOWN at times… obviously it did.

But having a QB who was relatively SLOW OF FOOT with a tendency to STARE down field looking for Receivers while seeming totally OBLIVIOUS to when the Rush was coming and WHERE it was coming from… didn’t help things.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.12.14 @ 1:34 pm

And that’s the point…

This will be the first time in FOUR YEARS that we won’t be saddled with a Quarterback suffering from SLOW FEET and a seemingly TOTAL LACK of SACK-AVOID-ABILITY.

That’s good for TWO WINS right there!

Comment by PittofDreams 08.12.14 @ 1:40 pm

I think that both of you are in agreement that our year of

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.12.14 @ 1:58 pm

Sorry, my computer burped, I was saying that, for whatever reasons, you both seem to be in agreement that our years of living with a SACKopotamus under center hopefully, should be just a memory come this season, yes?

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.12.14 @ 2:03 pm

Don’t be so sure the sack problems are going away. Better line play & mobile qb’s will help, but sometimes the mobile qb’s think they can get out of everything & wind up taking -20+ yd sacks. The overall number of sacks may go down, but the yardage lost could be even or worse. 2nd & 18 is easier to overcome than 2nd & 32.

Comment by Nick 08.12.14 @ 2:38 pm

FWIW, here are our QB sacked data for the past several years:

2013 – 43; 2012 – 38; 2011 – 63; 2010 – 23; 2009 – 15; 2008 – 31; 2007 – 27

Comment by wbb 08.12.14 @ 2:38 pm

Tony in Hampton, don’t forget about Devon Porchia,fron the Gilman School in Baltimore.

Comment by alcofan 08.12.14 @ 2:52 pm

Zero expectations going into this year so I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 08.12.14 @ 3:16 pm

I am loving the positive vibe. This is a very young team, if they do win 8 or 9, the next few years ought to be pretty good. Only 11 seniors.

One obvious strength is tight end with Holtz and Orndorf plus Parrish at H-back and Garner at wide receiver. Plenty O Big Targets. Plus big muscle to add to the O-line.

Maybe I’m catching the fever.

Comment by gc 08.12.14 @ 3:55 pm

Agree 100% PittofDreams, couldn’t have said it better myself. I couldn’t figure out why some Pitt fans had such a soft spot for Savage. After giving it some thought I think it was because he was the sacrificial lamb. The O line was poor last year and HCPC stuck with Savage no matter what for fear of risking an injury or permanent mental anguish to future QB’s. Voytik might not be the guy but with more stability HCPC might be more willing to replace him for another option, something he wouldn’t do last year. Reed I think +3 is a conservative number on how better this O will perform. A better line, more experience, and some mobility will push that # closer to 7. For that reason I’ll say 9-3.

Comment by Steve h 08.12.14 @ 4:11 pm

I’m just saying that if we win 8 this year and don’t lose a ton of guys after their junior year to the pros, think of the expectations in 2016…

Bring on the kool-aid

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.12.14 @ 4:20 pm

I agree with the 8-4 prediction with an outside chance of 9-3. Even if Voytik goes down with an injury, we may still be a 8-4 team. Boston College game will be the first indication if us optimists are correct.

Comment by John In South Carolina 08.12.14 @ 4:22 pm

I think we can safely chalk 1 sack a game up to savage holding the ball too long. Yes our line was bad, but that guy was freakin’ deliberate. That puts us down to 31 sacks. Not too bad considering, but 15 was a hell of a lot better. I predict we finish below 30 this year and the trend continues in 2015 and on.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.12.14 @ 4:22 pm

9-3 is doable…8-4 is possible…so I’ll go with 7-5….come on…you guys know we’ll lose some games we should win…that’s what we do!..ugh

Comment by Keith 08.12.14 @ 4:27 pm

I am a huge fan of a mobile QB in college football. So yes, I am really looking forward to this year.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.12.14 @ 5:00 pm

Steve H – Wow! Adding another TD to our offense output would be fantastic and jack it up to 33.3 ppg. I’m glad you feel it could happen. Last year that would have jumped us up 44 slots to 3th nationally (from the reality of 80th).

I’m not so optimistic – PITT just never has been a big scoring team, at least not for a while. Just for fun here’s our points per game for the 10 years:

’13 – 26.3 (PC w/ Savage Boyd & Street)
’12 – 26.2 (Pc w/ Sunseri, Graham & Street)
’11 – 24.2 (TG w/ Sunseri, Graham & street)
’10 – 26.3 (DW w/ Sunseri, Lewis, Graham & Baldwin)
’09 – 32.1 (DW w/ Stull, Lewis & Graham)
’08 – 27.1 (DW w/ Stull, McCoy & Kinder)
’07 – 22.8 (DW w/ Bostick, McCoy & Turner)
’06 – 31.8 (DW w/ Palko, Kinder and LSH)
’05 – 24.3 (DW w/ Palko, LSH & Lee)
’04 – 27.1 (DW w/ Palko, Kirkley and Lee)

Here what we are trying to figure out for this season:

’14 – ??.? (PC w/ Voytik, Conner and Boyd)? = 33.3 ppg?

Really? I hope you are correct but I’ll stick with being in the 29-30 ppg range. If we get your 33.3 I can see us winning 9 or 10 games.

Comment by Reed 08.12.14 @ 5:01 pm

–Don’t like making season predictions – way too many unknowns. Really depends so much on how our strengths and weaknesses match up with our opponents strengths and weaknesses.

–I’m sure that each of our ACC opponents is looking at the Pitt game as a W for them.

–Glad that at least someone (Reed), thinks the DEs will be more impactful this season.

–Last season’s punter really regressed in his senior year – and I agree with the commenter that Pitt need’s to be more creative in punting (especially against UNC) and should angle kicks to the sideline or go for the corner sometimes.

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 08.12.14 @ 5:36 pm

What I want see is this same prediction thread again, after our first loss to BC or Iowa. It will be the same team but after an emotional reality check, the negative thinkers will see the season ending at 5-7 or worse.

The only team we all should be considering a win at this point is Delaware. One game at a time and focus on that task exclusively. That is how you realistically get to these 8-4 or 9-3 results. We may lose to a Virginia or Syracuse but this team is just of capable of knocking off VT yet again or some other team like Duke that all of a sudden is penciling in the Pitt ge as a win for THEM.

It’s a season long process with many twists and turns along the way. That’s the fun of it and also why they play the games!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.12.14 @ 6:08 pm

-09 also had Baldwin and Dickerson and the best (and healthiest) OL we had in some time

there is no substitute for talent or depth, any way you slice it.

Comment by wbb 08.12.14 @ 6:18 pm

I do think we should be pretty strong offensively. That is where all our high profile players are. We will have a very physical running game with power runners and a huge H-Back. A QB in his third year at Pitt with good legs. One superstar receiver with a second big, strong experienced receiver. Plenty of depth at receiver for 3 and 4 sets. Two really solid Tight ends. A solid field goal kicker. It will be a major surprise if we can’t score the ball often.

The question to me is will the defense be good enough?

Reed, as far as the chart is concerned, I think there is a better cast of characters surrounding the big 3. With the exception of the line in 09.
I’ll take Boyd over any of the receivers. Conner is a different type of runner than all of those, the best being Shady. As I said before, Voytik is the big question mark. Also Bisno has to give Voytik protection.

Comment by gc 08.12.14 @ 6:27 pm

My heart says 9-3 but my mind says 7-5.

PITT is a very young team with offensive line, defensive line, defensive backfield & special team questions to be answered.

Love the direction HCPC is taking PITT.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 08.12.14 @ 6:56 pm

Reed HCPC scoring average at OSU and Whisky

2003-33.3
2004-24.6
2005-34.3
2006-29.2
2007-29.4
2008-27.4
2009-31.7
2010-41.4
2011-44.1

That’s an average of 32.8. Considering he’s been handicapped at QB since he’s been at Pitt plus all the other problems he’s inherited I gotta think he’s gonna get closer to his career scoring average before he got here.

Comment by Steve h 08.12.14 @ 7:11 pm

If he can average 33.3 at Oregon State why not here. DW was a low scoring guy that wanted to play hard nose defense. F TG!!!!!!! He’s recruited towards more offense so let’s hope this is the year it starts to show!

Comment by Steve h 08.12.14 @ 7:21 pm

Hopefully 8 wins. Those who say no but 8+ next year are forgetting next year’s schedule will be tougher. IMHO, if not 8 this year its doubtful it will be 8 next year either.

Comment by pitt1972 08.12.14 @ 7:54 pm

Stop the complaining about Savage. He played his heart out last season. IF TINO WOULD HAVE BEEN OUR QB LAST YEAR TYLER BOYD WOULD NOT HAVE HAD THE HIGHLIGHT REEL CATCHES BECAUSE TINO COULDN’T MAKE THOSE THROWS! Enough!!

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 08.12.14 @ 8:43 pm

Reed you forgot to add J Baldwin to 09. Big part of why Stull was so good that year.

Hoopieland…we are Pitt fans. We have every right to complain.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.12.14 @ 9:19 pm

Dr. Tom, you stole my thunder. My prediction is that Pitt will be 1-0 and anything after that is just a bigger guess. Heck, we haven’t even seen a two deep yet.

Vegas has Pitt wins at 7.5. I assume that means we win 7 and then we win either the first half or the second half of another game. Hopefully we score more points in the half that we win than what we give up in the other half. If so, we should be 8-4. Hahaha. The over under on wins for 75 teams is a perfect bell curve.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 08.12.14 @ 9:56 pm

Steve H – those are good points about Chryst’s offenses while at UW and he is building towards that same player personnel template.

I actually started drafting a piece on a similar subject Monday and should have it up by the weekend.

Suffice to say if Chryst can replicate UW’s OL here at PITT, and he’s recruiting toward it, then we’ll see the results he wants to have.

Comment by Reed 08.13.14 @ 6:48 am

Reed, did you notice if Bisno is going against Soto and if so how were those battles?

Comment by gc 08.13.14 @ 7:08 am

Interesting write-up by SW in the PG, observing yesterday’s mini scrimmage. Seems like the one RB that stuck out was Ollison, based on the #s.

Comment by 1618mt 08.13.14 @ 7:24 am

Sounds like Ollison and Wirginis had a good day.

Comment by gc 08.13.14 @ 7:33 am

There is no doubt that Savage had a great arm, one of the best I’ve seen in college … but that in itself does not make the QB. Consider the following:

– Anthony Morelli had one of the strongest arms in the class and was rated (as was Savage) as a 5 star QB
– the 2 strongest arms measured in the past 15 years at the NFL combine were Kyle Bollar and Jamrcus Russell. Both were drafted high (Russell was high in 1st round) and both were busts
– Joe Montana did not have a strong arm (relative to other NFL QBs)

If you would look at Pitt Blather a year ago, right before the season started, you will note that Savage had a reputation for holding the ball too long and staring down his receivers while he was at Rutgers.

Obviously, he did not have an good OL in front of him but don’t completely exonerate him either. Anyone who sat in the upper deck of Heinz last year during the UVa game and saw him constantly throwing the long passes to double-covered Boyd and Street while Garner and the RBs were open underneath would have a little less sympathy for him.

Did you ever look at the angle that this guy has 1st or 2nd round talent but wasn’t drafted until the 5th round?

Comment by wbb 08.13.14 @ 7:58 am

Two games will make the season. Win at BC and UVA and we will be talking Coastal title. Loose both and the new coach search will start. The only games that matter are ACC games. I expect we will be a stronger team at the end of the season if our young players grow and the coaches do their jobs. Lack of depth will make us vulnerable to injury at key positions.
My pick 6-2 (I only count ACC games)

Comment by end of an era 08.13.14 @ 8:11 am

Two weeks!!

Ya, I know, it’s a clunker, but it’s a start.

Abilene Christian vs. Georgia State 7:00 ESPNU

Won’t list a lot as I did weeks ago, but some pretty good openers for the first weekend. All on tv.

Georgia v. Clemson
WVU v. Alabama
Florida St. v. Oklahoma St.
Wisconsin v. LSU

Comment by Dan 08.13.14 @ 8:50 am

I didn’t read the article but from the headline, it appeared that a slimmed-down Shell may start or see a lot of PT for WVU.

I assumed he learned a hard lesson that was a long time coming … but someone with his character can always relapse (so to speak)

Comment by wbb 08.13.14 @ 8:56 am

Really looking forward to watching the hoopies get beat down by the Tide… Holgy all tomato-faced, pullin’ his hair out, losing his mind… Saben on the other side, just sippin’ a lemonade, running up the score… It’s gonna be great.

Holgy has to be on the hot seat… Another season of 4-5 wins, along with a few embarrassments by Texas, OU, and the air raid offenses in the Big12 has to send that lunatic packing, right?

What the heck was Dravon Henry thinkin’ when he decided that was the best place for him to go play defense… Unbelievable.

Comment by BostonsCommon 08.13.14 @ 9:05 am

link to en.wikipedia.org

All kinds of football sites of course, never thought about it, stumbled upon it, college football Wiki.

Has all the conferences lined up nicely and concisely for those looking for a reset as to where all the teams are.

Looks like everything is going to be set for awhile as far as expansionpalooza goes.

Some easy and obvious take aways when you look at the conferences as a whole.

1. Thank goodness we got in one of the Big 5, they stand out like a sore thumb from the others.

2. Even though lower, The American and the Mountain West will still be good, competitive conferences, just not anywhere close to the
Power 5

3. West Virginia sticks out like a sore thumb in the Big 12. I mean, really sticks out when you see the geography of the conferences and you look at the Big 12, it still gives you the “what the” feel when you see it in print.

Not even ripping on WVU. They had to do it. Would have liked to have seen them in the ACC.

4. BYU should be in the Mountain West.

5. Baylor 55K, Houston 40K, Tulane 35K, are all opening new on campus stadiums this year.

Comment by Dan 08.13.14 @ 9:20 am

@BostonCommon, certainly agreed.

Couple years ago, I really thought WVU hit the jackpot with Holgy. High powered offense, whippin’ Georgia in the bowl, not sure what he has goin’ on down there now. Stepped up competition I suppose.

Comment by Dan 08.13.14 @ 9:22 am

Let’s not get carried away. Paul Chryst has laid a few stinkers on the program – like YSU, Cincy, Syracuse, Mississippi, Navy, North Carolina…

Let’s focus on game one. Delaware will come ready to play.

Comment by TonyinHouston 08.13.14 @ 9:42 am

Holgy getting what’s coming to him. A quote from him about recruting:

“You lie in recruiting a bunch, that’s just kind of part of it. You become a salesman.”

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.13.14 @ 9:42 am

P.S. on the above link.

If you scroll down to the bottom, Wiki has a year by year short overview of all the college football seasons.

I clicked on 1976 of course. Reminded me of one of my greatest Pitt memories, actually even though younger, I would have to say it’s my greatest Pitt memory I have.

Sitting in Pitt Stadium, Pitt playing Army, with my Dad and brother, and Pitt being #2 in the country behind Michigan.

The P.A. announcer comes on and gives the scores of other games. Of course, scores are given in this manner as an example.

Maryland 24, Georgia Tech 20
Florida 34, Kentucky 7

with the winning team always listed first.

The last update he gave, Michigan was winning in a very tight game.

Late 4th quarter, Pitt handily beating Army.

Announcer comes on,

“From West Lafayette, Indiana. Final score,

MICHIGAN 14 (fans all dejected for 3-5 seconds as he paused for dramatic effect)
PURDUE 16

Place went absolutely banana’s!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Dan 08.13.14 @ 9:50 am

Reeds’ numbers for this year look pretty good in my view. Have been an avid follower of Phil Steel for 6 yrs. his systems and accuracy are great. His power ratings show 5 teams on this yrs. schedule schedule above Pitt and on his overall top 45 he show 4 teams on this years schedule above Pitt. Result, 8/4 to 9/3 this season. In addition his more detailed analysis includes some of the things seen on the Blather. Finally his prior years have been right on. This does not allow for contingencies and incl. must wins over Cuse and BC to start off and no screw ups against Delaware.Incidentally Delaware is rated high in their div. this year beware!

Comment by Pitt 60 08.13.14 @ 9:52 am

Rushed comments too much 7/5 not 9/3 which is why it follows Reed.

Comment by Pitt 60 08.13.14 @ 9:56 am

If I recall Dan … after he announced the score, he then said something like “Now who’s No.1″

Comment by wbb 08.13.14 @ 10:28 am

Yes – it was great moment in Pitt Stadium history. Shortly later, Bo Schembeckler, Michigan’s asshole coach, made a fool of himself saying that Michigan could beat Pitt.

Comment by rayhpgh 08.13.14 @ 10:43 am

Holgy is 6-12 in conference games since moving to the Big12, giving up an average of 40.5 points per game.

That includes games of 73 and 63 points against Baylor, and 52 against Iowa State. Eight times in the last two seasons teams have hung at least 47…

They were lucky enough to get a life raft from the Big12, but they’re heading in the wrong direction. Future not lookin’ too bright in hoopieland..

Comment by BostonsCommon 08.13.14 @ 10:55 am

rayhpgh – I was sitting in a Shadyside bar after that game and Frank Gifford came on later in the afternoon and said “Well, someone might pick PITT as #1 but no one at this network will.”

Comment by Reed 08.13.14 @ 11:00 am

@wbb, you are right. Good recall.

@rayhpgh, forgot about that, but I can vaguely recall that now that you mentioned it.

@BostonCommon, wow, didn’t realize it was that bad, knew they gave up some points and lost some games, but wow. All that traveling too. Pitt landed nicely!!

Comment by Dan 08.13.14 @ 11:01 am

@Dan 08.13.14 @ 9:20 am – None of those stadiums are even close to what Pitt would want to build if it were to build one on campus – and Baylor is in the middle of nowhere with room to build. Minnesota built a new 55K seat, quality, stadium and it cost them $330M. There is no chance Pitt will ever be in a position to drop that cash for a stadium that holds at most 7 games a year. Even assuming we purchased enough of south Oakland to put in a stadium and parking for that many people, there is no way we could get a $120M from the state like Minnesota did. We pay so little for Heinz that it would be a monumentally foolish financial decision for us to build our own stadium.

I will also add as an aside that I am currently on MSU’s campus and yesterday I was able to tour Spartan Stadium – I’ve been to the Big House and Beaver stadium in the past as well – and let me just say that the actual stadium experience at Heinz blows away anything that any college stadium offers in terms of amenities. From the seating to the stadium itself it’s not close. The NFL builds better stadiums, period. You do absolutely get a different vibe being on campus, but there is no way we’d be able to build a better stadium for fans than what we currently have.

I was talking to two B1G network guys who were filming a show here and I asked what they thought of Pitt at Heinz v. an on campus and ya know what they said to me? “Does it really matter, your fans are traveling to the stadium either, way it’s not like they live on campus.” 55K people in Oakland would be a nightmare for traffic and massively expensive for Pitt with little to no gain.

Comment by PittHW 08.13.14 @ 11:30 am

How about 20,000 dark blue mannequins then??

LOL

Comment by Dan 08.13.14 @ 11:39 am

Kind of late on my early prediction but I think 9-3 is doable and 8-4 is likely. But I’m praying for 9-3!!!
Also, while we were debating how great RB James would be, Ollison may be the freshman phenom. Yesterday while James was struggling to get 3 yards Ollison was running like a wild horse. I looked at his bio – rated as #1 running back in the state of New York. Like Conner last year, Ollison could be our break out guy this year. Sure it’s early in practice but this kid surely has the attention of the coaches at this point. Lets Go Pitt, Lets Go Pitt, Lets Go Pitt……

Comment by pittman4ever 08.13.14 @ 11:47 am

@ Dan, haha. Yeah maybe we can put a big Pitt tarp Jaguars style over some upper deck for the noncon games. Jk. Look, I would absolutely love to have an on campus stadium it’s just not realistic for the foreseeable future. But really, the recipe for getting fans to the game is winning 8-10 games a year consistently. We often forget, but Pitt is 2 games under .500 ball and has only had one 10 win season over the last 30 years! It’s a testament to our status as a true sleeping giant that we get the fan support and blue chips that we do.

If we can start to win again we’ll have no problem filling the stadiums. It’s a great stadium, it’s incredibly cheap by college football standards and it’s not a huge stadium.

Comment by PittHW 08.13.14 @ 11:57 am

Yeah, Ollison put up some excellent runs yesterday it seems! I had the same thought when I read Redshirt Diaries recap. Though I’m not sure you can put much stock in being the #1 football anything coming from NY…

If we can have a rotation of Connnor, Bennett, James, and Ollison we’re in very good shape. No one ever mentions Ibrahim in any recaps, I still don’t understand why he hasn’t been moved to DB.

Comment by PittHW 08.13.14 @ 12:15 pm

Yesterday’s 11 on 11 Drill… PRETTY REVEALING.

The clear Freshmen Standouts… Quintin Wirginis (aka Mr. “Perfect 10″ Backflip)… Avonte Maddox (Mr. Fastest Guy on the Team)… and what I’m sure is a SURPRISE to many… Pitt’s new Breakaway Threat… Runningback Quadree Ollison.

Ollison showed yesterday why I have pointed to him as the Freshman Back with the potential to be a FUTURE STAR. And at the same time, Maddox is showing why he seems to be on the SAME TRAJECTORY.

In fact, the paths of the Two POTENTIAL Future Stars crossed yesterday making for what was the MOST EXCITING Play of the Day.

From Sam Werner and Redshirt Diaries…

********
“Facing 4th-and-1 from their own 40, the offense gave the ball again to Ollison, who burst up the middle for a big gain. He looked like he could’ve gone all the way, but cornerback Avonte Maddox showed off his impressive speed to run down Ollison and limit him to a 45-yard gain.
********

Ollison wasn’t done.

“Starting at the offense’s 37, it went Ollison left for 11 yards, Ollison up the middle for eight yards, Ollison up the middle for eight yards.”

To date, Chris James has been the one getting all the publicity and attention. But it seems that is not James but Ollison whose abilities as a Breakaway Threat are translating to the next level.

A BIG BACK with NATURAL ABILITY to “hit the hole” and “run to daylight”… and who is also FAST ENOUGH to “take it to the House”… if it weren’t for NEW FASTEST GUY on the Team.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.13.14 @ 12:43 pm

and now for the important stuff … new gourmet offerings at Heinz this year (Trib excerpt):

People’s knowledge about food has grown to the point where everybody knows everything,” Heinz Field’s executive chef John DiMartini says. “We’re trying to come up with different ways of doing things, like the “Burgher” on a Stick.”

This features panko-breaded ground beef, cheddar, relish, spicy ketchup and bacon. Another new item is the Arancini, which are breaded Arborio rice balls filled with ground beef, veal and pork, sweet peas and parmesan cheese. Both are available in the suites.

Local better-burger chain Burgatory has several items at the suite level, including two sliders — Standard Deluxe and Moo Better Blues, with natural angus beef, a blue cheese IPA sauce, applewood bacon jam, dill pickle and onion straws. They also have two shakes, the Coffee & Donuts (Kona coffee, glazed doughnut bits, chocolate syrup, topped with a doughnut hole) and Campfire S’Mores (pretty much what you’d expect, with a giant roasted marshmallow on top).

There’s also an AFC North-theme Football City Mini Sampler of hot dogs, featuring three short, grilled dogs representing the Steelers (grilled kielbasa, bacon-caramelized onion kraut, whole-grain mustard), the Ravens (Old Bay crab dip and diced tomato), and Cincinnati (Skyline Chili, cheddar, onion).

Read more: link to triblive.com
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Comment by wbb 08.13.14 @ 1:26 pm

@PittHW, actually I totally agree with you, just having some fun.

For full disclosure, my comments above were actually generic for the college football junkie as to a footnote they had on that site about the new stadiums.

Not trying to stir the on campus stadium debate.

You are correct, go 9-3 or 10-2 and we will have some good crowds.

Winning cures a lot what ails you they say.

Comment by Dan 08.13.14 @ 1:41 pm

Allthough I could see how one might look at that and think that.

In this case, just college football minutiae!

Comment by Dan 08.13.14 @ 1:43 pm

Re: Ollison. Lets not forget that there has to be holes for Ollison to hit. Bodes well for O-Line progress.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.13.14 @ 2:20 pm

I remember the very classy way the “Q” announced that Pitt was his choice. How great is it to have so many horses in our back field, including some mobile QBs? And, an O-line that is shaping up to be one of the best in the country.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.13.14 @ 2:24 pm

Pitt tried to close the upper north endzone to season ticket holders 2 years ago. They wanted to move them to the upper sideline on the visitor side. The fans weren’t having it & Pitt caved. Didn’t make sense to tick off a couple thousand fans when you already have attendance problems.

Comment by Nick 08.13.14 @ 3:10 pm

You can hire “extras” in Pittsburgh for minimum wage. Why not just hire seat fillers? Give me a couple of dogs and a beer and fill the place up.

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 08.13.14 @ 3:59 pm

OK. Looking ahead. Who knows something about the Delaware Blue Hens? What should we expect?

And, is the mascot really a Blue Hen? Does anyone have a pic?

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.13.14 @ 4:10 pm

DE. Met a wide receiver who is a likely starter across from their star wr link to bluehens.com

All I know is that he’s excited about playing at Heinz and he knows of Boyd but not Conner.

The mascot is not a Blue Hen. It is a Green Parrot. 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

Comment by steve1 08.13.14 @ 4:26 pm

@ Pitt Dad, you’re a funny guy but while we’re all laughing, you have actually touched on a fantastic Pitt PR concept that should be explored.

I’ve mentioned this very concept in the past. You have a great resource in these empty seats. Why not develop a program that encourages the Pitt administration to volunteer unused tickets to organizations like the YMCA, the Boys Club, Big Brothers, local Pop Warner football programs, etc., especially for games like The Delaware opener that will have and easy 20,000 seats left empty, for minimal costs to such organizations. Not only is it a great benevolent gesture by the University to the wider community but it is also a great way to foster interest in Pitt football to an upcoming generation.

Who knows a free seat given to some Pop Warner player now might just end up being the next Tyller Boyd coming to Pitt in another 5 years.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.13.14 @ 4:26 pm

oops on that Green Parrot, sorry
link to google.com.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.northrup.org%2Fphotos%2Fred-crowned-amazon%2F&h=613&w=920&tbnid=egPXS9H7CAJ1sM%3A&zoom=1&docid=cDSOmRQ3McbaXM&ei=8tfrU6SGIs2VyAThpoLADw&tbm=isch&ved=0CDQQMygBMAE&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=0&page=1&start=0&ndsp=9

Comment by steve1 08.13.14 @ 4:28 pm

Comment by steve1 08.13.14 @ 4:29 pm

@PittHW, you have some balls to stand up and be one of those counted as actually liking Heinz Field as the current Pitt Football venue. Don’t you know that we must have an on campus stadium to have the Panthers return to the glory days?

I’ll stand up with you. As an out of towner alumni I really enjoy the entire North Shore experience. If you like to roll the bones or try your luck at the Blackjack table, it’s a no brainier with the Rivers Casino being a short walk from the stadium as well.

You want to see Heinz filled up for Pitt games, just win baby, win. Pittsburghers will support a winner, win and they will come!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.13.14 @ 4:40 pm

@Dr. Tom – I was being slightly facetious (and btw the “me” was an auto-correct from “em”) but I do think it would behoove the University to do just that (although perhaps without the free food and beer). The incremental cost of some extra attendees is minimal and the incremental benefit of a near capacity crowd is, as they say in the commercials, “priceless”.

We keep referencing the dreaded Ivy League but, by comparison, kids 12 and under are always admitted free to the General Admission seating in the Yale Bowl. Scout troops, youth groups, etc. are often there on a nice Saturday. Pitt should consider something similar while we have a resource (empty seats) going unused.

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 08.13.14 @ 4:45 pm

And, btw, from the Yale website:

Q.I’m a current Yale student, do I need to buy a ticket to a home football game?
A. No! Simply show your Yale ID at any of the Yale Bowl ticket booths for a free student section ticket.

Q.Where do I sit?
A. The Yale Student Section starts at Portal 14. If needed, we can expand the student section to accommodate everyone. For bigger games, we typically stretch the student section to include Portals 12, 13, and 14. Seating in the student section is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Yale Bowl map for reference purposes – link to vividseats.com

Comment by Pitt Dad 08.13.14 @ 4:48 pm

Reed is in a casino resort and he already lost his IRA and military pension.

Have to pawn my laptop. It has been nice to know all of you.

Comment by Reed 08.13.14 @ 5:00 pm

I agree, win and they will come. Heinz field is better than the dump we had.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.13.14 @ 5:07 pm

Haha, thanks doctor tom. I mean, I’m all for it if we can find a booster to give us 100+ million, but for some reason that hasn’t happened.

Although just to stir the pot there is a giant parking lot behind the Pittsburgh athletic association and we could easily knock down the days Inn. That’s a third of the space right there… I’m only kidding. I really do legitimately like Heinz Field.

And I really mean what I said about us as a sleeping giant. If we win, the folks will show up. If we struggle no stadium will cure that.

Comment by PittHW 08.13.14 @ 5:19 pm

Quickie-quiz, Pitt Dad: Who is Yale’s AD and why do I ask?

Comment by steve1 08.13.14 @ 6:04 pm

This says it all about my prediction for this season: We will play FSU!

Comment by HbgFrank 08.13.14 @ 6:06 pm

Even though i want to say pitt will win 8 games this year, I’m going to predict 7-5. I think that our de’s and cb’s will play better than expected due to freh faces coming in and making an impact. i think our offensive line will be improved. We will have tons of weapons at the skill positions; Our wide receivers are deeper this year and have another year of experience under their belts and both chris james and qadree ollison seem to be impressing coaches. Although, ollison will still likely redshirt imo. I dont think voytik will be a stud this year but i think he will get his feet under him after a shaky start to the season during which pitt will rely on the run game.

The only reason that i am predicting 7-5 is because 75% of the roster this season is freshman and sophomores. With such a young team, the youngest in the country, mistakes will be made and i see that inexperience hurting us them at some point.

I can feel fall in the air when i walk outside. I just need the season to start already!

Comment by shady1 08.13.14 @ 6:17 pm

*fresh faces

Comment by shady1 08.13.14 @ 6:19 pm

Remind me not to have Steve1 post a link. Hahaha, just bustin your chops.

Half way up there was talk of Chryst laying a turd or an egg against YSU and others. I completely disagree that the blame lies with the coach. At that juncture, the pitt team was soft in the mind. I don’t care who you are. If you don’t play with emotion and stay focused on the task at hand, you will get beat. You must have the attitude that you are going to smooooosh your opponent if he stands in the way of, or is your blocking assignment. You can never be satisfied with beating your guy once in a row. You need to beat him every time if he is less talented and most of the time if your talent is on par. You beat the equally talented with emotion, grit and determination. You must will yourself to beat your man when things are not going well. Now get out their cupcakes and kick their tails

Comment by dhuffdaddy 08.13.14 @ 6:38 pm

dhuffdaddy, my chops get busted on a regular basis.

And deservedly so.

Comment by steve1 08.13.14 @ 6:53 pm

@Reed – been there done that.

As long as you don’t pawn your smartphone, you can stay in contact but you will see why “pmdHTP” made you open a new discussion tab back in July.

Enjoy your casino visit. I love to go to Biloxi, Ms. but usually end up at Harrah’s Cherokee in the mountains of N. Carolina.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 08.13.14 @ 8:10 pm

I think the BC game is going to say a lot how this season goes. I know it’s only the 2nd game, but a win up there and you’re 2-0(1-0 in ACC). I think that would do wonders for a young team’s confidence.

Injuries and luck always come into play and feel they will be the determining factor between 7 and 9 wins.

Anything less oh boy, we gotta start considering blowing this thing up again

Hail to Pitt!!!!

Comment by Pap76 08.13.14 @ 8:14 pm

I may have missed it, but did Jamal Davis ever make it to campus? Or are we looking at him being gone? And on the basketball side, what about Haughton?

Comment by JJ 08.13.14 @ 9:07 pm

@JJ

Have not heard any news on Davis. I am guessing he is still trying to get his eligibility in order. Sounds like a prep school candidate perhaps. Hoping for good news, the D needs as much depth as possible.

As far as I know Haughton is good to go. If he can block and alter shots like he did at the JUCO level he can be a real asset. I think that really affected our D this past season.

Comment by Pap76 08.13.14 @ 11:44 pm

Another big plus of beating BC is Pitt would appear as #1 in ACC rankings until someone else plays a conference game. Appearing on top for several weeks is great PR.

Comment by Caw Miller 08.14.14 @ 6:29 am

I read that Davis joins the team Sunday. The article stated the reason for the delay was a HS transcript SNAFU. It went on to detail Jamel’s ambitions for his Freshman year at Pitt. He explained his drive and attitude and he aspires to START as a true Freshman! Good luck on that one but at least the kid sounds super motivated.

@ Reed, I’m always thankful that my ATM card has a $500 daily limit on it when things aren’t going my way at the casino.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.14.14 @ 6:38 am

Reed, Years ago I worked in banking. You can get that limit increased.

Comment by rayhpgh 08.14.14 @ 7:10 am

Coming in late won’t help Davis get on the field but at least it sounds like there will be some freshmen making contributions this year. The more the better.

Hueber’s explanation of the move with Bisno, bringing Jones in is plausible, but he must have liked what he saw in the spring. Good to be ready if Bis is getting blown up early at BC. Last year his footwork was not fast enough IMO, then the injury, interested to see improvement this year.

At least they don’t have to face FSU in the first game.

Comment by gc 08.14.14 @ 7:16 am

@Steve1 – you mean Pitt alum Tom Beckett?

Comment by Pitt Dad 08.14.14 @ 7:44 am

Hit send too soon. Also former Pitt Baseball captain and a coach at Pitt?

Comment by Pitt Dad 08.14.14 @ 7:45 am

Right on, Pitt Dad. The same fella I shared a room with at Pitt Preview (‘member Pitt Preview?).

Very nice person. I wanted to see him be Pitt’s AD but I think Yale’s coach transcript fiasco throttled him.

Comment by steve1 08.14.14 @ 8:16 am

@Caw Miller, you are absolutely correct.

Very small thing, but they all add up. Maybe it’s part of the marketing guy inside me.

There will be tens of thousands of hits to websites checking out records and standings.

Many of these by high school kids even, and seeing Pitt on top, stands out immensely as opposed to being in the middle.

It’s similar to getting a large decent logo at the 50 yd line, decent end zone markings and the ACC logo’s at the 20.

Ya, it’s all really small shit and many would say, who gives a flying ****.

These things all add up in the fans (customers) mind.

Maybe not so much with us die hards here on the Blather, that just want Pitt to win, and would watch Pitt football and basketball if they played on a concrete parking lot in Wampum.

But, in trying to build a bigger fan (customer) base………

anything positive, is a positive.

Comment by Dan 08.14.14 @ 9:15 am

I actually played basketball in Wampum .. and it was a concrete court … near their ballfield on the north end of town near Rt 18 (and not far from the field house where Don Hennon and Dick Allen starred)

Comment by wbb 08.14.14 @ 9:53 am

@wbb, no kidding. Where did you grow up?? I know your up around Cleveland now, right?

Comment by Dan 08.14.14 @ 10:11 am

link to cardiachill.com

Just happened to look over at Cardiac Hill. Saw this nugget from ESPN.com

Power ranking the ACC, without divisions.

#7, what’s wrong with that for where we are now??

Quite happy when I looked at the list of 14 teams and saw us in that position.

Comment by Dan 08.14.14 @ 10:21 am

Good news to hear Jamal Davis joining the team.

He really looks like an IMPACT Player based upon his Highlight Reel.

If you haven’t seen it… here you go.

link to hudl.com

Comment by PittofDreams 08.14.14 @ 10:25 am

I grew up about 5 miles north of Wampum … New Catle alum

Comment by wbb 08.14.14 @ 11:47 am

@Steve1 – Notwithstanding that Yale still has difficulty beating Harvard at football, he is truly respected and admired on campus and in the city of New Haven. He has done great outreach work to get the city involved in Yale athletics.

Comment by Pitt Dad 08.14.14 @ 12:18 pm

Yes, for example:
link to en.wikipedia.org

Tommy Lee Jones is just how you’d expect.

Comment by steve1 08.14.14 @ 12:47 pm

Made enough back for gas money to get home and bail out my computer. I’ve got a nice limit on my debit card as is, can’t afford to raise it!

We go to Rocky Gap Resort & Casino in just east of Cumberland, MD. It is a nice smaller casino with good prices for food and drink and excellent hotel rates. Nothing fancy like Vegas but in an absolutely beautiful lakefront setting in the Blue Ridge mountains of Central MD, smack dab in the middle of Rock Gap State Park. Really nice to sit outside and have a drink and enjoy the scenery.

It also has MD’s only Jack Nicklaus designed course and even though I don’t play golfers staying there tell me its great and not expensive.

link to nicklaus.com

It is only 114 miles from Downtown PGH, 124 from my house and is well worth it short two hour drive. It has slots, and all the table games with some having smaller bets allowed but its all in a comfortable smaller casino room with some separate poker rooms.

The best thing is that if you become their ‘Club’ member and bet a bit they’ll comp you like crazy. We go once a month and they send us eight (!) free rooms and hundreds of dollars ‘free play’ money at the beginning of each month and we are not real big spenders.

link to rockygapresort.com

Comment by Reed 08.14.14 @ 1:17 pm

@Reed

I was supposed to play golf there years ago and a huge storm washed out our visit. I had no idea that they have a casino there. Good stuff.

And, welcome home. I assume that you did not have to leave your “squeeze” there as a guarantee that you will return and pay off your debts.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.14.14 @ 1:46 pm

@Steve1 – Tommy Lee Jones is ok. Never ever mention Frank Champi to any Yalies of that era or earlier.

Comment by Pitt Dad 08.14.14 @ 1:56 pm

As for the Offensive Line…

Based on Hueber’s experimentation in moving Bisonwaty to Guard, it would seem one of the following is true…

1) Hueber is NOT happy with Bisonwaty’s play at Tackle.

2) Hueber is NOT happy with Dorian Johnson’s play at Guard.

or

3) Hueber is NOT happy with either Bisonwaty or Johnson.

Which one is it?

Hueber’s comments in the Trib might add insight.

“Bis is comfortable (at tackle). I hate to take anything away from a guy who truly got injured playing for us. The days of Wally Pipp are over.”

Sounds like Bisonwaty is NOT exactly tearing it up at Left Tackle.

As for Johnson…

“There is a dramatic change in Dorian’s size (to 310 pounds), which is plenty big enough,” Hueber said. “His awareness is better. I don’t know where he goes from here. We have to get him ready to play, and we’ll find out.”

Possibly a little more positive but NOT exactly a Glowing Review.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.14.14 @ 3:22 pm

Again… yes Bisnowaty had the back back last year. Still, he looked awfully SLOW in reacting to the Outside Rush.

We’re all familiar with the struggles Johnson had filling in at Left Tackle. The Jury remains out on Johnson’s ability to MEET EXPECTATIONS at Guard.

Still see Johnson BEST-FITTED for Center. Depends on how much improvement is made by Rowell from a year ago in which he struggled at times against BIGGER Interior Linemen.

But from the look of things, Artie should be PRETTY SOLID.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.14.14 @ 3:33 pm

Chryst interview seems to say that change is possible and there are still jobs to win. Looking for the best five.

Comment by gc 08.14.14 @ 3:41 pm

I havent done all of my reading yet today but the moves on the OL seem to have just as much to do with jaryd jones-smith doing well than bis and johnson doing poorly.

Comment by shady1 08.14.14 @ 4:06 pm

Maybe Jones-Smith has impressed them enough that he jumped to 1st team. I hope it’s because he has singled himself out as a guy that’s one if the 5 best & not because the others have stunk up the joint.

Comment by Nick 08.14.14 @ 4:24 pm

I think it is more likely that they realize there’s a pretty good chance that someone along the line gets injured this season and they wanted to get Jones-Smith some reps with the first team.

I don’t think it was based on anyone’s actual performance, though I could be wrong.

Comment by PittHW 08.14.14 @ 4:30 pm

As to Dorian Johnson, I think part of the problem is that last season he was totally lost out there and so far in training camp he’s just now figured out that if you walk toward the sunrise you’ll be going eastward.

In other words, he has a lot of learning to do still, knowing the responsibilities and having the quick reactions needed for an good OL are not natural for him yet hence the ‘awareness’ reference by Hueber.

Let’s also remember he’s a true SO and thus is still in his college ball learning curve.

Comment by Reed 08.14.14 @ 4:43 pm

Unlike years past, Huebner now has a lot of raw material to work with. I’m actually surprised he hasn’t mixed it up with more of the other RS freshmen OL men up to this point, just to see.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.14.14 @ 5:09 pm

@Reed – Is that Casino Resort as beautiful as the picture looks. What a gorgeous place if it is.

If true it beats Cherokee with only a mountain creek & outstanding landscaping.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 08.14.14 @ 6:15 pm

Tom Beckett is a great guy. He was a coach on the baseball team when I played at Pitt.

-On the Oline, perhaps Coach Hueber is thinking about how well Jones-Smith played during spring ball and is thinking that he needs to find a way to get JJS on the field… I’m looking at it as a possible positive for JJS versus a negative for Biz or DoJo.

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 08.14.14 @ 10:21 pm

Best guess …… Predictions always a scary proposition
with Pitt FB …… 8-4. Nine wins only possible if they win
a bowl game. Net beat Delaware, FIU, and Akron…. go
no worse than 5-4 in the conference. Key game BC.

Horgy….lie to get kids on campus. Interesting use of words.
Wonder if he met Mr. Luck after that comment?

Comment by JR 08.15.14 @ 5:06 am

Just got on the Blather and wonder why Blatherites feel Pitt will not do well because they are a “young” team. Florida State won a national championship with a freshman quarterback. As far as I’m concerned, having a young team is good. My prediction: Pitt 9-3 because they are young. ;)

Comment by MariettaMike 08.17.14 @ 8:32 am

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