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August 19, 2014

Cleaning Up Some Football Debris

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 6:03 am

First off, I can’t thank Reed enough for the work he’s done in August. It’s been tremendous having him writing and making the trips for practices and scrimmage. Some fantastic stuff.

There’s not a lot I can add to that part. So I’m just going to clear some tabs, hit the links, and toss a few of my own thoughts in along the way.

The offensive line is either going to have much better depth or the starting five is not nearly as improved as hoped. There is no disputing that there is more experience and size on the line. Then there’s the improved health of guys like Bisnowaty.

Bisnowaty most likely will be starting for the Panthers at left tackle when they open the season Aug. 30 against Delaware. That is the position he practiced while he redshirted as a freshman in 2012 and played before his injury last season.

But in the past two practices, he has also seen some time with the second team at left guard. Offensive line coach Jim Hueber said this was just to work out some emergency scenarios in case a lineman or two get hurt.

“I have to have an eye on what we’re going to do when we’re going to start putting the team together,” Hueber said Wednesday. “What we would do if something would go wrong, rather than just say, ‘Hey we have some guys.’ I’m not sure that some of our redshirt freshmen are ready yet.

“It really is ‘What’s the fit?’ I think [Bisnowaty] is the guy that can move inside rather than [backup left tackle] Jaryd [Jones-Smith].”

Jones-Smith has been given props by both the coaches and observers of the practices. He’s widely considered to be the next player off the bench if a starter goes down.

Bisnowaty healthy is obviously important, but I can’t help but be a little worried about how he will hold up for the season. The same article notes that he has been battling back problems since high school. As anyone who has struggled with even the most minimal back issues knows, they don’t go away. They can flare up at any point and without any warning. More so on a person who carries over 300 pounds on a 6-6 frame.

Still, despite the stability at the O-line, it doesn’t seem that anyone is overly impressed with them either. That becomes a concern, because with Chad Voytik and to have a better offense, Pitt needs to be able to use the tight ends as more than additional blockers. That’s supposed to be the plan this year.

Where Savage was a pure pocket passer, and made his best throws deep downfield, Voytik is more of a scrambler and will rely on tight ends to give him safety valves when he escapes the pocket.

“They box people out,” Voytik said. “They always provide a throw, and that’s so helpful for me. Already going through plays, I’ll see a tight end who has a guy on his hip, but he’s still open. That’s been really helpful for me.”

Holtz said he and the rest of the tight ends have done a good job in training camp building rapport with the new starting quarterback.

“I think we have great timing right now,” Holtz said. “Chad’s going to do great this year. I’m excited for him to take over the team.”

Even though the numbers fans will focus on are the receptions, yards and touchdowns, Holtz is quick to point out what a tight end’s No. 1 priority in a pro-style offense is.

“Obviously, our first job is to block,” he said. “Our catches will come after that.”

Hopefully.

Running backs. Reed mentioned him and I realized I had completely forgotten Jameel Poteat had transferred and walked-on to the football team. I’m not sure about his actual eligibility this year. At the time of his transfer, it was indicated that he wouldn’t be eligible until the 2015 season. He may just be getting some reps or something else has changed regarding his transfer status. I would imagine Coach Chryst would love to have him this year to be able to redshirt the entire freshman class of running backs. But more likely his last, best chance comes in 2015

Isaac Bennett seems to be showing his solid form. Not flashy, but consistent, not going to put the ball on the ground, and solid in blocking.

The Wide Receiver spot is the one area where there is a fair amount of comfort with the situation. From a clear number 1 and 2 receiver, to plenty of depth, and lots of potential coming down the pipe. Injuries can change that in an instant, but that is generally true for any team at any spot.

I’m not going to dwell on the QB situation right now. No one is sugarcoating that while Chad Voytik will be the starter; he does not appear to be near where we, the coaches or even Voytik himself wants or expected to be.

Over on the defense, the depth is more than a little shallow in the secondary. Yet, Reggie Mitchell is playing everywhere possible to cover all holes.

…versatile defensive back Reggie Mitchell, who has played safety, corner and nickel the past two weeks.

“I feel good about Reggie,” Chryst said. “He’s a smart kid, he’s dependable. The last two practices, he has come up with strips (forced fumbles), which we are trying to emphasize. I think he’s a heckuva football player.”Mitchell, a Shady Side Academy graduate who transferred from Wisconsin, was teamed with freshman Avonte Maddox at first-team cornerback after starter Trenton Coles went down with an undisclosed injury.

The move had more to do with Chryst’s quest to find depth at cornerback, where numbers are thin.

“Just getting a feel for what guys can handle,” he said. “What’s too much and what fits their skill set.”

And Avonte Maddox gets some big praise from DB Coach Troy Douglas, even as he cautions that there is more than just that one aspect.

“He’s a competitor,” defensive backs coach Troy Douglas said this week. “Probably out-and-out, he might be our best [man-to-man] guy. But you’ve got to do more than play man. It’s just the little things that we’ve got to keep coaching.

“He’s got a chance. He’ll be fine.”

Even for the speedy Maddox — he said his most recent 40-yard dash time was 4.38 seconds — adjusting to the speed of the college game has been his biggest challenge. Tuesday, he showed off his quickness when he chased down freshman running back Qadree Ollison from behind to prevent a touchdown in 11-on-11 drills.

“I knew it was going to be fast, but it’s way faster, so I just came out here and had to pick up with the speed,” Maddox said. “I’m getting used to it now.”

I am certain there are going to be more pass interference calls on the secondary this year, but I also believe the interceptions will be up significantly.

On the D-line the mantra of “it takes a village” to replace Aaron Donald continues.

Soto, like many of his teammates and coaches, preached a team mantra when discussing how the Panthers will make up for Donald absence.

“No one [player] is really going to do that for a while,” Soto said. “I believe the whole defensive line can do that, produce the same numbers he did.”

So far, a week and a half through training camp, Palermo said he can see flashes of Soto’s potential, but added that he hasn’t put everything together on a regular basis yet.

“Shakir’s done OK,” Palermo said. “Shakir needs to step up his game a little bit. He’s a starter for us right now, and he’s got to practice a little bit more on a consistent basis. When he does what he’s supposed to, he’s a very good football player.”

Part of the reason Palermo is a bit hard on his pupil is that he knows the importance of Soto to the defense and the possibilities if Soto can tap into his full potential.

There are legitimate expectations on the young sophomore’s shoulders, and Soto wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I like having people to have confidence in me,” he said. “I prefer that than having people not talk about me at all.”

It’s easy to also forget Devin Cook will be rotating at DE. He went down in the Duke game last year, and has been working his way back from a torn ACL and MCL in his knee.

And inside, Darryl Render had a good scrimmage.

The run defense dominated the Pitt ground game, and Render was in the middle of much of the action.

He batted down a pass and later intercepted a shovel flip that thanks to Donald-like quickness off the snap and the proper read of the play.

“I was where I was supposed to be,” Render said, “and it popped right there, and I said, ‘There it is.’ ”

Although it was only a scrimmage against a Pitt offense that has yet to find its legs, Render liked the results.

“We played good run defense,” he said. “That’s what we take pride in because, I guess, people are really sleeping on us because Aaron Donald is (gone).”

The other question in an era of more open offenses and much more passing, is whether the D-line will be able to generate pass rushes. Even with Aaron Donald last year, that was a struggle. That seems to be one of the big unknowns at this point.





Another scrimmage today. Hopefully the offense looks a little sharper.

Comment by gc 08.19.14 @ 6:47 am

I love that Render quote “…and it popped right there, and I said, ‘There it is.’ ”

2105 for Poteat. Chryst should really redshirt either James or Ollison. They are both showing well at camp but we’ve a solid crew at RB already.

Comment by Reed 08.19.14 @ 6:49 am

Not sure I agree on redshirts for running backs. Rare to see a good redshirt senior running back. Backs that have a chance as pros usually go after their Junior year.

Remember when we had so many great backs that two transferred to WVU. There were 5. Ironhead, Napoleon somebody, the star from Washington PA. I think Charles Gladman. The memory is the first to go. Anyway, the two did really well at WVU.

Comment by gc 08.19.14 @ 7:13 am

Looked it up, Brian Davis, Charles Gladman, Craig Heyward, and AB Brown and Eugene Napoleon, the two that transferred.

Comment by gc 08.19.14 @ 7:22 am

The TEs HAVE to be salivating over the playbook being prepared for Voytik. Coach Chryst loves to utilize the TE in his game plan to begin with but with the QB statues in the backfield that he’s been dealing we with since he took the job, those blocking assignments have been job one for guys like Mr. Holtz.

Now that we have a kid under center that can escape from a collapsing pocket, springing a TE into the flat after shedding their blocking assignment is a go to safety valve play for a scrambling QB like Voytik.

If Coach Chryst’s reputation as an offensive guru is legit, he has to be competent enough to develop a playbook that will be difficult for opposing defenses to contain, considering all of the offensive weapons that he has assembled in his arsenal over the last three years.

Once this team starts clicking, we’re going to be a handful to contend with.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.19.14 @ 7:45 am

Calling Mr. Maclean, your opportunity is waiting.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.19.14 @ 7:53 am

Voytik will be a work in progress for the first half of the year. That being said. As with most college teams Pitt will lose one we all think they should win in the first third of the schedule.
Later in the year, they will make up for it with a big win.
Can’t wait to finally see a QB with wheels play at Pitt.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.19.14 @ 7:54 am

Chris Blewitt’s 4 for 8 on FG’s in the scrimmage is explained in a piece this AM in the PG. He has been having some problems with a heel–minor injury thing–not specified which heel so we don’t know if its on the kicking leg or the other leg. That seems to be the main reason for the number of misses–recall he was 14 for 18 last season and 40 for 41 on extra points (I think the XPT miss was either a snapper/holder thing or a block rather than a Blewitt miss). He also has a new holder. Yoklic held for him last season. Our new punter, Kevin Winslow, is holding this year. Maybe that contributed some as well. However, Blewitt said Winslow was doing a good job holding for him so–maybe its just the heel.

Comment by pitt1972 08.19.14 @ 8:21 am

Ok, for several weeks now we keep reading about the pass rush and every player has been talked about, but I have a key question and it has not been about the players.

What, schematically, are we doing different from a coaching perspective to get more pressure?

Appeared last year we didn’t blitz, and often it looked like one of those old cliché’s of “bend but don’t break”. I saw LB’s read, chase and tackle. I saw D lineman taught to hold gaps, which in turn makes it difficult to get off blocks, and unless you have beasts in there you are going to give ground.

Is the staff lining us up any differently? Are we going to take some chances and blitz some guys or are we going to have them afraid of making a mistake? News flash for those expecting Conner to run out on third down and make a huge difference, it will be minimal. Offenses simply x out or away from a guy if he is that effective. Like the statement said, it does take a village.

The opener gives us a huge opportunity to bring some pressure with a different scheme, not stand on the line. Last year vs. FSU we were overmatched.

I hope the staff hasn’t stuck with the same hit and engage system and expecting different results.

Comment by PittMan 08.19.14 @ 8:33 am

Good thoughts PittMan. Not sure if anyone would have the insight to comment regarding scheme on the DL, but I’d be interested as well.

Agree also, Conner will not make much impact on DL, however it would be nice if a couple of young guys step up to take the pressure off that position and finally give us some production.

Comment by 1618mt 08.19.14 @ 8:46 am

I’ll ask again … if Conner isn’t valued as a pass rusher, why would PC ever consider using his best RB as a DE in the first place?

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 9:33 am

Article linked to the PG talks all about Soto and nary a word about the other DE.

Not much anywhere concerning that.

Is he actually practicing? Or just a ghost.

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 9:58 am

@ Pittman

Until I see it with my eyes, I won’t believe it.

The DC does not give me much confidence in defensive schematics at all.

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 10:01 am

Former Panthers:
Manziel took advantage by leading a 16-play, 68-yard drive capped by an 8-yard pass to Dion Lewis for Cleveland’s first touchdown.

And noting the NY Giants starting backfield against the Steelers last week. Both starting RB’s were former Pitt Panthers. Henry Hynoski and Rashard Jennings. Jennings had the 73 TD run in the 1rst quarter blowing past all the 1rst team Steeler defense. Always thought that kid would have been a great Pitt back had he not transferred.

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 10:15 am

Emel if there is one thing you should know it is not to get your news or assessment from the media, and double that for Pittsburgh media. Reality of what goes on inside the program and what is talked about is two different planets. You keep staying on the point so why not just say the coaching staff must be complete dumb asses and for some unbeknown reason have a guy ahead of six others, I guess to lose. Case in point about not being mentioned in the media – T.J. I’ve been looking for notes this fall and the guy is hardly ever mentioned, just that the O line has “questions” and basically, well suck. But I have heard that he has developed so well he may go 2nd round next year? I think you and I should follow your second point, let’s wait and see it with our own eyes. I certainly don’t put much confidence in the Pittsburgh media to do much of anything positive.

Comment by PittMan 08.19.14 @ 10:48 am

I saw a much more aggressive shoot the gaps, with blitzing DBs or backers defense in the pizza bowl game than I’d seen Pitt do all season. Was this a change in defensive philosophy by House or just a scheme that was appropriate against this one opponent? Don’t know.

Whatever the case, I liked it!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.19.14 @ 11:00 am

Dr. agree. We saw the same thing. Yes, it was BGreen but if Chad is supposed to have confidence by his play maybe the defensive staff now has confidence in moving people around and blitzing also. I’d like to see us bring the house vs. Delaware a few times. By the way, ever notice other teams who even crash a corner or walk up a free safety? Heck, if things aren’t working try something. Now I understand the gap thing vs. Ga. Tech or Navy, but I hope we work on some stuff vs. Delaware, FIU and Akron and use it now and then in the ACC.

Comment by PittMan 08.19.14 @ 11:12 am

If Voytik is a “work in progress”… the final product will remain UNFINISHED.

Voytik is going to have to PRODUCE RESULTS right away… or you’ll be seeing Anderson.

If that doesn’t work… look for Bertke.

Usually Chryst would remain LOYAL to his STARTER despite how rough the going gets.

But this year… loyalty is going to be a VERY EXPENSIVE LUXURY that Chryst may not be able to afford.

It’s going to be all about WINS. Chryst needs at least SEVEN just to keep things from getting out of hand.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.19.14 @ 11:18 am

PITTman – the answer to your ‘what are we doing differently…” is this; we are playing 13 kids on defense but hiding them out on the field using duplicate numbers. That helps the pass rush immensely.

Seriously – I don’t think the DL scheme is any different than last season’s. However, I do think we’ll see Thomas and Gonzalez be more aggressive with a green light from the staff to blitz on their own… I think. From what I’ve seen out of the DBs so far it appears that we are looking at speed there as well as the ability to stick with the WR. Maddox is a great example of this – he might be one of the fastest kids on the team and can cut in front to get a hand on the ball. Vinopal can close very quickly and has developed into a very sure tackler so he’ll be unleashed sometimes also.

I am concerned if DC House does open the doors to more aggressiveness and creating TOs that also leads to big yardage plays and TDs if we missed that chance. I’m not sure our offense is going to be able to keep up if we allow an easy seven points to the opponent like that too often. We’ll still see soft coverage in a lot of series I think.

Some media reports lately that DE Durham has been ‘better than ever’ this camp so who knows? I didn’t pay much attention when he was in – more so when the other kids rotated into that position.

Comment by Reed 08.19.14 @ 11:24 am

As for the Freshmen Backs…

If it comes down to either James or Ollison getting Redshirted… personally I would go with Ollison.

James is mature beyond his years physically… pretty much MAXED OUT.

Ollison, while 230 or close to it…. looks like he has some maturing to do.

His BEST is yet to come.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.19.14 @ 11:26 am

If the D scheme has changed with more blitzes I doubt you see it against Delaware unless it is a close game. They will try to keep the new stuff for the BC game.

Hopefully, we see Anderson against Delaware because we are blowing them out by the fourth quarter. Chryst will stick with Voytik for several games even if he struggles.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.19.14 @ 11:51 am

wbb — same for me regarding Conner. That tells me one of two things: either Chryst is really really high on James and/or Ollison and figures one of them will supplant Conner by next year as the 1st string tailback, or Conner is really pushing to get some D reps and thinks he might switch eventually anyway…for best shot at pros.

My solution: have the kid play RB for the next two years and see how good he is — then, if he gets passed by one of the younger guys, so be it, let him jump over to D. Maybe not ideal for him, but its about what’s best for the team, not any individual kid…if Marino wanted to play tight end, would we have made that switch to humor him? I think not!

Comment by Matt N. 08.19.14 @ 12:26 pm

Matt. it also depend on how the DEs are performing. If there is little pass rush, he will be seeing increased time playing D.

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 12:34 pm

.. I hit enter too fast. But I mostly agree that if the other RBs are doing well, his plan is to move Conner to DE because it’s best for his future

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 12:36 pm

Sam Werner tweet an hour ago:

#Pitt pushed its practice back to 3:15 today. Chryst said they’ll be doing some scrimmage stuff again today

(sounds like something he would say … Werner probably edited out “and it will be really neat”)

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 1:00 pm

Durham better than ever ? lol When was he better ?

If he starts it will tell us a lot of the state of the defense.

Your DE’s have to get some sort of pass rush and have to contain on the runs and make a few plays for loss of yardage. Last year they were barely noticed on the field even with the double teaming of Donald. Somebody HAS to step us this year for this defense to have any type of shot of being effective.

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 1:15 pm

Delaware runs the spread offense so, we’re gonna have to get some pressure on their QB, get some sacks and/or apply almost constant pressure.

As we’ve had problems in the past with spread offenses picking our defense apart. Need to make good tackles in space from our secondary. Cause they will complete passes.

Even with small college spread offenses.

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 1:30 pm

He was better than Murphy, a year of wasted experiment. You appear to be getting your news from reports. Reed reported the front four “stuffed the run”. He will start, so criticize the rest of the “state of the defense”. Yes, the DE’s have to get some rush, but Soto, Grigs, Murphy, etc. etc. had no better production so keep the plural in there. Soto was a true freshman, so he needs some slack, but as far as technique goes, may have the farthest to go in terms of rushing the passer. He may yet end up at D tackle in his career just because he has worked hard, built his frame and continues to grow. If the scheme changes, I think you will see several players up their stats – Grigsby, Conner, Durham, Soto, and I expect Rory and McClain in the rotation also.

Comment by PittMan 08.19.14 @ 1:43 pm

At this juncture we need to be concerned equally with the offense. We did not get Voytik nearly enough snaps last year, most programs with big years start with the QB. He can do it, but experience will need to come quickly. We need to get the TE’s more involved than last year. People talk about Donald getting doubled, but expect Boyd to receive the same on that side of the ball, others will have to step up. I think the line will be improved, but we will measure that on reduction of sacks. I think Voytik being more mobile is good for a bunch of them being avoided. It’s preseason, but PC deserves some credit for thus far keeping us healthy. I dread the daily wire expecting injuries, but I give credit where credit is due and we are good. I expect us to be peaking at noon on the 30th!

Comment by PittMan 08.19.14 @ 1:58 pm

Half full …. barring key injuries, I think we will be OK with some assistance from the early schedule.

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 2:18 pm

Univ of Maryland to offer lifetime scholarships, might be something to consider

link to testudotimes.com

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 2:48 pm

Murphy and Durham had about the same number of tackles.

Sacks were a little different.

Murphy had 4 sacks, Durham zero

Murphy had 6 tackles for Loss, Durham 1/2 a tackle for loss

I don’t think Murphy even played the last 3 games of the year while Durham did.

Who was better you be the judge.

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 3:02 pm

I was lobbying btw last year for Voytik to get some action since we were 4-4 and then 5-5 and we only we’re playing for a scrub bowl. Do you possible weaken your chances for the future for a 4rth tier scrub bowl today.

Whereas I would have liked for them to be playing for a better year this year by getting Voytik some more playing experience last year.

But what is ours to reason why, when all we can do is watch and cry. haha

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 3:09 pm

the 5th line of the 3:02 post might hold a clue as to why Murphy left the team.

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 3:14 pm

This staff seems to be big on their own recruits, but in fairness, most staffs are

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 3:21 pm

Emel, come in off the ledge we’ll be fine. Look another RB commit at 5 o’clock.

Comment by pd 08.19.14 @ 3:28 pm

4-star RB Darrin Hall has the hats out. He’s choosing between Michigan State, Kentucky, and Pitt.

Comment by Mailman 08.19.14 @ 4:00 pm

Pitt gets the verbal from the consensus 4-star RB Darrin Hall.

Picked the Panthers over Michigan State and Kentucky.

Had offers from numerous B1G schools and the animal lovers from Monongalia County.

Comment by Mailman 08.19.14 @ 4:03 pm

Animal lovers from Monongalia county…too funny

Comment by pd 08.19.14 @ 4:08 pm

No need to air it out, just bludgeon them with the running game.

Comment by pd 08.19.14 @ 4:17 pm

I don’t just read stats Emel, so you judge and I’ll judge. Different opinions. I saw one guy who didn’t get hooked or run crazy and it was Durham. If you check, we got gashed pretty badly when he was out – notably Duke and UNC. Watch the tapes or better yet just relax and trust the coaches know who puts them in the best position to win. Most lineups are a constant never ending rotation anyway.

Comment by PittMan 08.19.14 @ 4:20 pm

This is a real good get.

Haven’t got a 4 star as a RB since Shady I guess since we don’t discuss animal lovers on here.

Good call pd. You have a crystal ball or a magic 8 ball. ? :-)

Welcome to Mr. Hall.

H2P
VeV

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 4:27 pm

I’ll do that Pittman.

Don’t know what games you were watching as Durham played in both the UNC and Duke games.

And don’t tell me to relax ! :-)

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 4:32 pm

Another 4* skilled offensive position. I’m getting more and more convinced that this is how Chryst operates. Get the highly ranked offensive guys because, really, then can play singularly and produce.

His take on the defense is different and he is stressing getting kids who are smart out on the field and can play within a defensive system.

Supposing Hall sticks with his commitment we are going to be overloaded at RB going into next season carrying Conner, Ibrahim, James, Ollison, Briggs Poteat and Hall.

There just may be method to Chryst’s madness in that he’s recruited some real talent there. we’ll see after this season if the RBs other than Conner pan out and if they do perhaps that DE position become permanent.

With the projected talent we have growing into our OL and his wanting to build that OL into something special we could be in for a wild ride.

Comment by Reed 08.19.14 @ 4:35 pm

No this all over the net last night. Completely out of left field if you ask me, never was expecting another RB.

Comment by pd 08.19.14 @ 4:39 pm

Wow, very nice pick up for the Panthers. Don’t forget Sekai Lindsey, a nice looking RB from Florida, is also committed for next year’s class. I really hope Lindsey stays, I like his tape.

As already pointed out, that really presents a logjam at the RB position. A good problem to have for certain but assuming everyone stays, something is going to have to give.

Comment by JAM05PITT 08.19.14 @ 4:39 pm

^^^ Add Seki Lindsay to that list also…

Comment by Reed 08.19.14 @ 4:42 pm

OK Reed we’ll go with that, cause I’m baffled.

Comment by pd 08.19.14 @ 4:43 pm

@Everyone

I love being a Pitt fan. The worm is turning and we are going to be players again—but with integrity.

I am hoping that Paul Chryst loves us like Jamie Dixon and we have both for the next 20 years, or more.

Life is good.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.19.14 @ 4:53 pm

I was surprised also by another RB commit. But a 4 star recruit is a 4 star recruit, I’ll take it.

How about a 4 star QB? The O line is improving and actually has some depth. An abundance of talent at RB and solid depth at WR. This can be a very dynamic offense over the next few years, but we need a backup plan at QB if Chad Voytik does not develop into the 3 year starter we are all hoping he becomes.

Hail to Pitt!!!!

Comment by Pap76 08.19.14 @ 4:55 pm

Almost 3 hours since Hall announced and we beat out a Big 10 powerhouse and last year’s Rose Bowl participant for the BIg Joke.

Not a peep of a peep of an inkling of a peep on either the 2 local rags websites.

Let’s see how long it takes them to report on this and to what extent.

However the PG did deem it very newsworthy to run a story linked on their front page of:

TD’s nephew heading back to prison.

Nice aren’t they.

Comment by Emel 08.19.14 @ 5:45 pm

Comments on a possible full time conversion to defensive end for Conner next year given the loading up of running backs, especially with Hall? Why would he commit if he thought Conner would be around ahead of him for the next two years.

Also two years at defensive end would give Conner enough experience to give him a fighting chance to get to the next level if that is in the cards. If I recall correctly Conner was initially slated for the defense when he was recruited but was switched due to some “doofus” quitting on the team.

Comment by John In South Carolina 08.19.14 @ 5:46 pm

Still like to see some 4 star defenders, especially pass rushers, but this is great news. I am hoping we have 3 or 4 1000 yd rushers each year, that almost guarantees 9 or 10 wins.

Comment by gc 08.19.14 @ 5:59 pm

I don’t think we have near the depth at RB that people think. Bennett is gone after this year, Connor will move to DE full time as soon as depth allows, Ibrahim is a receiving/3rd down back, and briggs seems likely headed to DB. Poteat is a 5th year guy next year whose impact is questionable. So really you have Ibrahim Jr., ollison and James rsfr/so and two true freshmen next year.

Extremely exciting to get a 4 star recruit from Ohio and this class is very likely headed to be Chryst’s best if he can add one or two more 4 stars to finish out.

Comment by PittHW 08.19.14 @ 6:18 pm

Everyone knows that Chryst loves to use multiple running backs. Do the math, Sir Bennett graduates, and Conner goes full time to the defense in 2015 after our RSed Freshman proved he can play. All of a sudden Ibrham and Briggs are all that is left unless we play true freshmen in 2015. Heaven forbid the injury bug bites then things get thinner quick.

Very hard to have too many RBs, unless they are slackers like that Hoopie transfer.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.19.14 @ 6:46 pm

@ PittHW, apparently great minds think alike!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.19.14 @ 6:49 pm

a tweet from Sam Werner said that today’s scrimmage was mostly for 2nd and 3rd teams … and Voytik, Biz and D Johnson were only 1st team offensive to participate.

Not sure what this means .. maybe they need extra work. Hope PC is not taking Delaware too lightly

He also acknowledged that Pitt got Hall. I imagine both he and DiPaolo are both finishing up their report of the scrimmage before filing an article about the new commit

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 7:05 pm

Indeed Dr. Tom! Personally, I’m looking for CB Jordan Whitehead, S. Jay Stocker/Johnnie Petrishen, DE Shareef Miller/Austrian Robertson, and LB Saleem Brightwell to wrap up Chryst’s best class by far.

Comment by PittHW 08.19.14 @ 7:31 pm

Austrian Robinson*

Comment by PittHW 08.19.14 @ 7:33 pm

you may as well throw in Anthony McKee OLB also

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 7:39 pm

PittHW,,,,,,,,DITTO

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.19.14 @ 7:42 pm

Yeah, good point! Should’ve said Saleem Brightwell/Anthony Mckee. Though of those four it seems like Brightwell is the most likely Pitt get.

Comment by PittHW 08.19.14 @ 7:55 pm

OK, JD does the ice water challenge with a few companions near and dear to us Blatherites

link to cardiachill.com

Comment by wbb 08.19.14 @ 7:58 pm

Does anyone know if there is somewhere that I can still watch the Pizza Bowl online? I’m thinking particularly about the second half to rewatch Voytik.

Comment by PittHW 08.19.14 @ 8:12 pm

HW, highlights are on live wire. Checked on ESPN3 to see if was archived but didn’t turn up. Not sure how long they keep games on line.

Comment by pd 08.19.14 @ 8:45 pm

Good pick up today by the Panthers. I wasn’t overwhelmed with the reasoning because he indicated he wanted to commit so that the school he chose would honor his scholarship if he happened to get hurt during his senior season. He was also quick to point out that he was not graduating early. Reason to be nervous? No! Only get nervous if OSU offers the kid.

He had positive things to say about life after college which was great to hear and he is an honors student so that is good. Well done P Chryst Daddy. I am of the opinion that a redshirt should only be used by a running back if there is a great chance to improve speed and power or if there is rehab for an injury. You don’t see many RS Senior running backs.

Would be nice to get Whitehead. That youngster really needs to look at the two deep at OSU to realize he won’t see the field until his junior year. One or two more 4 stars and this class really looks solid. Mid 30’s.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 08.19.14 @ 8:47 pm

Nice get. So what does this mean for Sekai Lindsey? I thought we were only taking one running back?

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.19.14 @ 9:02 pm

Won’t Hall be our 3rd RB? I thought besides Lindsay that one of the Henderson kids was a back………

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 08.19.14 @ 9:19 pm

Won’t Hall be our 3rd RB? I thought besides Lindsay that one of the Henderson kids was a back………

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 08.19.14 @ 9:19 pm

I think he was recruited to play slot receiver.

Comment by Mailman 08.19.14 @ 9:22 pm

Quadree Henderson is to play the slot.

Comment by pd 08.19.14 @ 9:32 pm

Interesting stats, but a lot of apples and oranges:

link to online.wsj.com

Comment by San Diego Panther 08.19.14 @ 11:11 pm

No worries taking more than one back. There is competition at every school. PC has proven he can have more than one productive back play at a time. Great get.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.20.14 @ 5:40 am

I would be happy if we are able to close with just half of the players PittHW listed above.

Meanwhile, in DiPaolo’s column today which is primarily about the O-Line, he also writes about Hall committing, and then writes this ….

“If he signs in February, Hall will join four-star Chris James, who is competing for playing time this season as a freshman.”

I’m sorry, this rubs me the wrong way

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 6:12 am

I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves on the Conner move to DE. Obviously, PC thinks he has potential there or he wouldn’t be experimenting, but to date: he hasn’t done anything at DE (and was ineffective in very limited game time), and he is currently our best RB by a long shot. That said, once he proves himself as a DE and another RB threat steps up, then great. Right now, size wise, he’s more of an 3-4 OLB (or RB) at the next level than DE imho.

Comment by 1618mt 08.20.14 @ 7:23 am

1618mt, He was ineffective in his limited game time??

He drew a holding penalty on the 1st or 2nd play at DE because he initally beat his blocker.

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 7:30 am

wbb – is that it? If that’s all you have, than yes, he has to prove himself. And if/when he does, like I said, then great. He does have the physicality to make it happen for sure.

Comment by 1618mt 08.20.14 @ 7:34 am

ONCE AGAIN … PC is an offensive guy who loves a great running attack.

He would not risk his best RB on defense if (1) there was not real good value in playing him there and/or (2) he realized that there big need at that position.

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 7:34 am

I don’t think PC is getting ahead of himself, some of us are. And yes, DE is a huge need right now, obviously.

Comment by 1618mt 08.20.14 @ 7:36 am

1618mt, you even said yourself that he had limited playing time … and in fact, he played one defensive series!! … and then you have the gall to reply “is that it”

Soto, Durham and Cook played part or full time the entire season, and only have 1 sack each. Tell me who has something to prove??

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 7:38 am

Right now, once again, it’s obviously that they all have something to prove, Conner included, at the DE spot.

Comment by 1618mt 08.20.14 @ 7:40 am

It is pretty obvious that Chryst has been much more successful at recruiting running backs and offensive players in general. We have depth and are building more at all offensive positions besides QB. We appear to have little depth at most defensive positions. Even worst at pass defense, with the biggest questions at D-End and Cornerback.

It seems fairly obvious that the plan is to have the option to move Conner to defense next year. How much he plays at each position will depend on need and production.

I pointed out yesterday the year two excellent backs transferred because we had too many. Back then one guy was the feature back with the number two getting a few carries. Chryst will share carries among more guys, but it still is possible to lose guys if they don’t think they are playing enough. The option to move Conner will ease the problem if James and Ollison step up this year.

He can always stay at running back next year if needed. The best case scenario for him and the team is if he can be moved to D, next year.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 7:59 am

Unless he rushes for over 1000 yards this year.

Can’t move him then …right ?

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 8:13 am

He rushed for 800 last year … and still he is practicing at DE

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 8:17 am

@Reed

Help! We need a new post soon—or we will be back to the Pitt script and on-campus stadium debates.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.20.14 @ 8:17 am

DHuff – the fact that Hall stated that his scholarship would be honored is exactly what Paul Chryst is all about. I mentioned earlier that we have at least three kids currently on roster who either missed all of their JR or SR years in HS yet Chryst got them on the team. The fact that he said that doesn’t concern me one bit.

Regarding Seki – you can bet the coaching staff reached out right away and told him that there will be a platoon system in place the years he is at PITT with Chryst. If these HS RBs understand up front that no one player is going to be getting all the carries at their expense that makes it a lot easier to understand.

Of course, the fact that three RBs who played for OC Chryst at UW have been drafted in the last three years doesn’t hurt the idea of success in a platoon system either:

’14 – White 4th
’13 – Ball – 2nd
’12 – Ewing -5th (a FB!)

Believe me, there are more selling points for good HS recruits in being one of the Top 3 RBs during a season then trying to vie for the #1 RB spot ( with few RB2 carries)as some schools have. This way kids can get excellent PT very early on.

I agree that is is way too early for us fans to put Conner at DE a sa full time position. I think were it to happen at all it would be over the 2015 season but by that time we may not have DE problems at all – we have some real talent in the pipeline at that position.

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 8:28 am

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 8:32 am

wbb, Conner will see some time at DE for sure, it won’t be full time IMO unless, as I said earlier, Bennett is fully healthy and someone else breaks out with a monster rushing season. If that happens then maybe Chryst and Rudolph will feel they can do without Conner’s 800 yards and 5.5 ypc average.

That is asking a lot to place that rushing production aside unless you more than make up for it with two other RBs – assuming that Conner would better his 2013 output this year at RB. Then also, you have to ensure that some other RB is going to replicate Bennett’s 800 yards and 4.7 ypc (that is if he’s 100%) healthy.

IMO unless you have proof ON THE FIELD that that production is happening then you don’t risk the move of Conner to DE on a full time basis.

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 8:39 am

Reed, one thing you and others here seem to think I am making a judgment that Conner should be playing at DE. That is not the case at all … I am merely pointing out signs and reasons why a move to DE is both feasible and possibly inevitable.

There is only 1 RB on the field at one time … and with that in mind, the RB position next year is by far the deepest and most talented on the team.

And one more thing … had anyone noticed that while many other players have slimmed down, Conner is up to 250 lbs?

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 8:47 am

to 1618mt
Agree that presently Conner’s potential at the next level is as a LB in a 3-4 defense. A lot of faster, lighter DEs in college do not seem to have much problem being converted to LB at the next level. A lot will depend if Conner’s weight increases over the next several years and how it effects his speed.

We may get a preview of what is on the coaches’ minds this year at the season progresses. The first thing that has to occur though is an increase in the productivity of the other backs especially at least one of the freshman.

Comment by John In South Carolina 08.20.14 @ 8:58 am

I love these old phrases and they come in handy on some occasions. This is one of those occasions.

At this point, we know what we got with Connor, Bennett and to a lesser extent Irbahim.

The recruits that are now practicing and that might be coming in next year.

Are all currently…a pig in a poke.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 8:59 am

Reed, who do you consider the real talent in the pipeline? I think to be successful you need four d-ends that can pressure the QB. Most d-ends are not really good till their junior year so it takes time to build depth.

I do agree we need proof on the field unless guys go down due to injury.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 9:00 am

@Emel, speaking of not hearing a peep.

Haven’t heard from negative nellie about the
4 star rb commit, beating out offers Michigan State, Kentucky, WVU, Northwestern, Nebraska, Illinois and Vanderbilt, all Power 5 conferences.

His list of “interested” schools, was pretty much everyone.

Nothing? No peep? How about just a simple
“great get”, “nice pick up”???

Oh, I see, I see, I realize now what’s going on.

We’re waiting for him to change his mind, so we can come on and laugh at Chryst and Pitt.

Ok, Ok, gotcha.

Comment by Dan 08.20.14 @ 9:18 am

Pumped to watch Voytik, gonna be a gamer!!!

Comment by Dan 08.20.14 @ 9:25 am

gc – right off the bat for 2015 we have starter Soto who will be a JR and Devin Cook who will be a SR.

Then we have rsSO MacLean and rsSO Blair competing for a starting job and will be in the two deep. Those two will get some experience this season. Right there is a better DE two deep than we have now.

I’ll take a MacLean & Blair swap for Durham any day.

I’m not sure I’ll agree on DEs taking that long to mature into starters. The best ones we have had in the last ten years started playing as rsFR in Romeus (FR All-American) and SO in Sheard (kicked ass as a starting DE as a SO). Hell – both of those guys were equal to MacLean & Blair in recruit ratings if you care about those.

Also, I’ve watch Hez Trahan twice and think he could be one of those later bloomers after 2-3 years in the program… unless he grows and they move him inside.

Remember I’m not looking at the number recruiting stars for Chryst’s defensive players – not that I think they don’t matter at all but I believe he has a totally different approach to recruiting defense than he does offense.

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 9:26 am

Both the Trib and the P-G had articles on our new RB recruit.

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 9:27 am

Concerning our QB situation is anyone aware that a blue chip QB from Sourthern California is transfering (2 years left to play) named Pitt but apparently we have no interest despite the positive experience with Savage.
Vanderbilt quarterback Wade Freebeck made some headlines when he decided to back out of his verbal commitment to Pitt. As I mentioned, that put the Panthers in a bit of a bind as far as their quarterback stable and hurt a little bit in terms of depth.

Enter Max Wittek.

Wittek, if you’re unfamiliar with him, is a USC quarterback transferring out of the program. He was a blue-chip recruit, ranking as the third-best quarterback per Rivals back in 2011. His career never panned out the way it was expected to, and Wittek has played sparingly over the past two seasons for the Trojans after sitting out in 2011.

He’s transferring out of the program and is reportedly considering Pitt, along with Texas, Louisville, and Hawaii.

One plus in adding him is that he would be able to play immediately since he plans to graduate this spring. And unlike Tom Savage, he has two years of eligibility left.

I’m all for adding talent to the program and Wittek obviously fits that bill. With Tom Savage moving on and Freebeck backing out, it’s easy to see why Pitt would want a little insurance just in case the Chad Voytik experiment doesn’t go as planned.

An interesting aspect in all of this is that Chryst said he didn’t have any plans to add a quarterback despite the Freebeck defection, as stated by the Post-Gazette. That either has changed or was never the case. It’s worth noting that I’ve not seen any comment by Pitt on it yet, but it’s hard to imagine Wittek would list the Panthers as an option without finding out if there was any mutual interest.
Just for info. purposes.
Pitt’s success with Savage can be a positive value for quality QB’s at schools with deep depth charts. Consider Chad Kelly home town connection.

Comment by lost in atlanta 08.20.14 @ 9:28 am

P-G: NOTE — Pitt landed its 13th verbal commitment of the 2015 recruiting class when Youngstown, Ohio, running back Darrin Hall gave his pledge. Hall is rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and chose the Panthers over offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, West Virginia and Wisconsin, among others. He is the second running back in the class, joining Florida native Sekai Lindsay.

Read more: link to post-gazette.com

Trib:PITT GETS RUNNING BACK

Pitt received its second verbal commitment in two years from a four-star running back when Darrin Hall of Austintown Fitch (Ohio) told coaches Tuesday he plans to enroll next year.
Hall is rated the seventh-best overall prospect in Ohio, the second running back, by Rivals.com. Nationally, he is ranked 168th overall.
If he signs in February, Hall will join four-star Chris James, who is competing for playing time this season as a freshman.
The 5-foot-11, 196-pound Hall chose Pitt over 15 other offers, including those from Arkansas, Michigan State, Nebraska, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Pitt has commitments from 13 seniors, including three-star running backs Sekai Lindsay of Melbourne, Fla., and Quadree Henderson of Wilmington, Del.

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

What more do you guys think should be done?

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 9:29 am

This was tagged on to the Trib’s main article, which had a pretty interesting quote from Huebner concerning Biz.

PITT GETS RUNNING BACK

“Pitt received its second verbal commitment in two years from a four-star running back when Darrin Hall of Austintown Fitch (Ohio) told coaches Tuesday he plans to enroll next year.

Hall is rated the seventh-best overall prospect in Ohio, the second running back, by Rivals.com. Nationally, he is ranked 168th overall.

If he signs in February, Hall will join four-star Chris James, who is competing for playing time this season as a freshman.

The 5-foot-11, 196-pound Hall chose Pitt over 15 other offers, including those from Arkansas, Michigan State, Nebraska, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Pitt has commitments from 13 seniors, including three-star running backs Sekai Lindsay of Melbourne, Fla., and Quadree Henderson of Wilmington, Del.”

The PG in keeping had about 2 lines tagged on to their Pitt beat writer’s story.

Seem to remember both of them making a much bigger deal when the Creepy Valley Pedo’s sign a 4 star RB with many many offers. Some even merit a headline.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 9:33 am

lol Reed….too funny

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 9:33 am

I want headlines dammit….headlines !!!

And I don’t need to know that TD’s nephew who never played for Pitt is going to prison.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 9:37 am

@ Dano

Don’t worry bro, he’ll be back when we sign some kid with MAC offers. :-)

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 9:40 am

Nice story on Pitt’s Head Coach by ESPN.

If nothing else… Chryst does KNOW HIMSELF. Tailors his approach to his own strengths.

Maybe just maybe, Chryst’s personal experiment in how to SUCCEED AS A HEAD COACH will work out afterall?

link to espn.go.com

Comment by PittofDreams 08.20.14 @ 9:42 am

Emel – if we have to sound the trumpets from the highest ramparts every time we get a commitment from a 4* recruit then I’d say we are burdened with a real, and not imagined, inferiority complex.

I mean, after all, we already have the best college blog in existence…

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 9:56 am

Reed, I agree things are looking a little better, but certainly no sure things, other than maybe Soto.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 10:02 am

Good link PoD, thx for posting it.

Found this after reading that.

We need some more votes for Connor/Bennett !

Click & Vote !!!

link to espn.go.com

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 10:03 am

Think we had some hard luck losing one of the Clairton kids. Check out Duke’s hard luck.

“Over the span of a week, Duke has lost starting tight end Braxton Deaver and starting middle linebacker Kelby Brown to torn ACLs. If they were the only two losses, that’d be enough. But going back to the end of last season, Duke has lost four key contributors from its record-breaking 2013 team.

Running back Jela Duncan is academically ineligible; backup quarterback Brandon Connette, who had 27 touchdowns passing and rushing a season ago, has transferred to Fresno State to be closer to his ailing mother.

So all told, Duke has lost players who had a hand in 34 of the team’s 54 total offensive touchdowns last season, plus its lone All-ACC linebacker in Brown, who had 114 tackles as the heart of the Duke Defense. “

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 10:07 am

@ Reed….since that was our first 4 star recruit of this class it might have warranted some trumpets.

And as the notes mentioned only our 2nd 4 star RB recruit in 4 years.

Not of question of inferiority, just irregularity.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 10:20 am

**Not a question** ^^

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 10:22 am

as I indicated earlier (and maybe I’m making too much of it), but I don’t care for DiPaolo’s line ..

“If he signs in February, Hall will join four-star Chris James, who is competing for playing time this season as a freshman”

just what is he implicating?

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 10:36 am

wbb…is it the “if” that has you bothered? You thinking he has some kind of scoop where this kid may waffle? Or just that it looks like a general diss that Pitt won’t be able to hold onto his commitment?

Comment by JCE 08.20.14 @ 10:44 am

exactly. It’s like, we finally got a 4-star so there is an if factor … bet he didn’t use that phrase with any other commit

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 10:50 am

Reed, not sure if you’re being sarcastic, but when PSU lands a recruit …. usually within the hour, you see the headline in both papers like … ‘PSU land a 4-star RB’ or ‘Lions adds an elite RB’ … and the whole article is about the commit, and not just an add-on to another column

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 10:55 am

@wbb

And, it is “Franklin grabs another…”

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.20.14 @ 11:01 am

So far no report on yesterday’s scrimmage other than mostly 2nd and 3rd string guys plus Voytik, Bisno and Dorian Johnson. Interesting, but I would like to know more. My guess is looking to fill the two deep.

Chryst said yesterday he is comfortable with seven O-linemen and he will go with 5 running backs.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 11:01 am

I’ll admit I don’t check the PGH papers everyday as I don’t live there so I’ll defer to your judgement…

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 11:03 am

Heard a bit about the scrimmage – Voytik looked about the same, Bertke plated a bunch made some good throws. James and Ollison both rotated 1st and 2nd team reps and did well. DL played well again.

Other than that it was really more of a practice with some scrimmage throw in.

Here is a DiPaola article that touches on it a bit. link to triblive.com

Chris Peake always has the best PITT reporting IMO but it is behind the Rivals paywall – that is the sole reason I keep my sub there. So if you do subscribe here is his take on the practice yesterday.

link to pittsburgh.rivals.com

P/S: I mentioned earlier I don’t look at other’s website or articles before I write an article and it kind of amazes me I see somewhat the same things he does and he does this everyday. We disagree on some things obviously and that is what opinions are about. I really like reading his stuff.

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 11:12 am

The only thing I read about the scrimmage yesterday was that Bam Bradley stood out, and should see a lot of action as back-up in both OLB positions (maybe even at MLB too)

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 11:27 am

from 247 today:

Chryst said after Tuesday’s practice that the picture of who may get redshirted this year is becoming clear. Also, some players established themselves while some are still a little bit muddy. He would not give details on who rose to the top but one player seems to be redshirt sophomore linebacker Bam Bradley.

“Bam’s a good football player. I think he’s had a good camp,” Chryst said. “We’re going to need him to be good for this team to be good.”

Bradley also felt he had a good camp. He hopes this is the season where he can make a solid contribution to the team.

“I think I did real good (at camp) especially coming off last year. I feel like I’m getting better. That’s my whole focus–continue to get better and increase my role with the team,” Bradley said. “Coach [Matt] House talked to me after the spring about increasing my role. I needed to know exactly what to do so I could play fast. I was thinking too much, which made me slow and lagging. Knowing exactly what to do so I can play fast has always been big for me.”

Bradley feels he brings a lot to the team including athleticism and now a better understanding of the defense.

“This summer I spent extra time, got into the playbook and really learned the ins and outs of the defense,” Bradley said. “I’m real athletic, I can play all three linebacker positions, I can cover a back coming out of the backfield, I can cover a slot. I’m [starting linebacker] Anthony [Gonzalez’] backup right now and I even rotate with him sometimes.”

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 11:31 am

Pittsburgh media is a problem. I think most Pitt fans quit watching KDKA Jr.s Sports Talk because they go on ad nauseum about the losses of the Pirates, which Steeler parts his hair wrong etc.and the post gazette was wrecked when the gang from the Press took over when they merged. PG prior to that was Special editions for Pitt games etc. Pgh. media except WTAE focuses on pro’s PS then Pitt.Solution=Be ranked ,get national media att. locals are squeezed to cover.

Comment by Pitt 60 08.20.14 @ 11:35 am

I saw the interview with Bam, good news if he steps up. If I recall they were expecting more from him last year as well, may have been injury issues. We sure need depth at linebacker, sounds like Wirginis has a chance at the two deep as well.

It’s all about who gets playing time after the starters. Receivers are another interesting story. The guy(s) that make plays will get more chances.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 11:48 am

It’s a pro town and will always be 4th behind Steelers, Pens and Pirates ….

but my beef is that it shouldn’t be 5th behind PSU

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 11:49 am

Well said wbb.

Comment by HbgFrank 08.20.14 @ 12:00 pm

yea i noticed that too wbb.

About the “if” in DePaulo’s reporting of Hall’s commitment.

Really way tired of the continual slights and innuendos you get when reading or hearing these bias media clowns reporting or commenting on anything PITT related.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 12:05 pm

I’d like to slap a few of them around. :-)

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 12:07 pm

Reed, not sure if you’re being sarcastic, but when PSU lands a recruit …. usually within the hour, you see the headline in both papers like … ‘PSU land a 4-star RB’ or ‘Lions adds an elite RB’ … and the whole article is about the commit, and not just an add-on to another column
Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 10:55 am

This seems to be my recollection too !

Our recruits are just add-ons, after thoughts to articles.

Implying they aren’t worthy enough to do a whole article.

Maybe I’ll have someone firebomb the PG sports dept. haha

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 12:12 pm

Since the local clowns refused to do their jobs.

For more complete info on the latest 4 star recruit.

link to vindy.com

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 12:20 pm

From the horse’s mouth.

Which would certainly seem to indicate there shouldn’t be much of a “if” in Darrin Hall’s commitment.

“First it’s not far away,” Hall said. “It’s only an hour and 15 minutes away.

“Plus they have what I need on the field and off the field, education-wise. I want to go into the FBI and they have a FBI headquarters that you can walk to.”

He didn’t talk to the Pitt coaching staff about early playing time and said that wasn’t something he was worried about.

“I know they have some young backs, but I’m ready to work hard and earn my spot,” he said.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 12:23 pm

once again, positive news about Bertke. interesting.

Comment by 1618mt 08.20.14 @ 12:24 pm

- It’s funny that new YSU Prez The Vest didn’t offer Hall free tattoos

– Buffalo Wild Wings? What’s up with that? Austintown is 15 minutes away from Sharon where the original Quaker Steak and Lube is

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 12:27 pm

Yea I’ve been to the original Quaker Steak and Lube and across the parking lot I think another good place was a place called Tully’s.

Saw an excellent blues group there called the Beached Whales.

They could even do some Thelonious Monk which was pretty impressive.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 12:42 pm

It’s funny that you think Pitt football is 5th in Pgh. It goes Steelers, Pirates, Pens, Pitt basketball, psu, high school football, Pitt football, wvu.

Comment by Nick 08.20.14 @ 1:15 pm

Not predicting anything here… but think how it COULD BE if Pitt handles Delaware and then goes into Boston College PULLS THE UPSET?

Boston College’s Field is a FAST TRACK… and this year that could play in Pitt’s favor.

Conner is BETTER on TURF. The Defense if nothing… SHOULD be QUICK.

Then there’s that guy named Tyler.

I think it’s time to start getting “a little” EXCITED.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.20.14 @ 1:34 pm

I’d say Steelers, Pens, Pitt BB, Pirates, Pitt Football, PSU, WVU. Keep in mind, Pirates are hot the past few years, before that they’d fall to the bottom. Would be an interesting poll, eh?

Comment by 1618mt 08.20.14 @ 1:34 pm

Emel, the Beached Whales sound familiar, swear I saw them a while ago … and I have been to Tulley’s many times back in the day.

Back in late 70s, it was connected (railroad cars) to the Seafood Express which used to have a buffet salad bar that included caviar. On Thursday nights, it was all the rock shrimp you can eat .. (sauteed in butter)

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 1:43 pm

In the past 2 years, Pirates may have moved up to 2nd place … but otherwise, they are behind the Pens

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 1:45 pm

Pitt should be favored over BC, PittofDreams. Early season, these two teams seem to be going in oppsosite directions and Pitt is the one going in the CORRECT direction.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.20.14 @ 2:08 pm

wbb, yea this would have been in the mid to late 1980’s when I saw the Beached Whales.

They were very good for a small town based group and I was so impressed I purchased one of their cassettes. And sax man Kenny Blake of Pittsburgh fame plays on the album. Which was really cool since we use to see Kenny play often at the Balcony in Shadyside.

I do remember the railroad cars and Tully’s had pretty good food.

I believe Chilly Billy Cardille was from Sharon.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 2:13 pm

so was Teryl Austin (and Trent Reznor, I believe)

Kenny Blake is still playing, I believe … been away for too long.

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 2:21 pm

Pecking order by media coverage in Pgh. (based on print coverage since I don’t live in the Burg and therefore don’t experience the tv & radio coverage)

1) Stillers, stillers and more stillers
2) Pirates now that they broke the 20 year jinx and PNC draws over 30K pretty regularly and the shear volume of games.
3) Pens (were 2nd until Buc revival)
4) PITT basketball (grudgingly from the media)
5) Pedo State football (lots of psu zombies and joepedo worshippers in the confines of western pa. and the 2 local rags are full of em.)
6) PITT football (whipping boy of the local media)
7) Duquesne bball
8) Hoopie football

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 2:32 pm

Kenny Blake played some at the Encore on Walnut street when I was bartending there. First some trio stuff the as King Solomon Band. He would play duets late at night (2:00 am) outside the Mardi Gras bar there with Eric Kloss after we’d close the Encore down.

“Blind Eric” might have been the best sax player PGH every bred… yes including Stanley Turrentine He started in bars at age 16 and was a regular around town in the mid-70s when he was in his 20s.

Listen to this rendition of “It’s Too Late”

link to youtube.com

And here is Turrentine with his favorite and mine – “Pieces of Dreams” (great seduction music):

link to youtube.com

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 2:40 pm

I never saw Kloss play but heard he was good. Hard to beat the original Mr T (Turrentine) though. I have a couple Blue Note CDs where played with Jimmy Smith.

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 2:43 pm

wbb

Last couple times I was up in Pgh. I noticed the Jazz scene is not nearly as prevalent as it was when I lived there :(

The Blue Note was gone, the Club Cafe didn’t play jazz, the Balcony was gone, Al Dowe’s on 9th was gone, and several places that use to have jazz groups in the burbs didn’t anymore.

Too bad since Pgh. has some of the greatest jazz artists of all-time.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 2:43 pm

forgive me for being a traitor, but I use to listen to jazz on Duquesne U radio many, many nights when I was going to bed back in the late 70s

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 2:50 pm

Used to go see Eric and his band at the jazz club on Forbes in Oakland, 1973,74. What was the name of that place, the owner had been in an early doo wop or rock and roll band? Closed the place down on several occasions, Eric’s last sets were always the best.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 2:50 pm

Hemingway’s, Decade ?

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 2:55 pm

You are right Emel, not the same. The Manchester Craftsmen Guild brings in big names each year though. Seen some great shows the last couple years.

The kick off this year had Peter White, Euge Groove, and Rick Braun, great show even if it was in the Robert Morris Gym.

Definitely not the same as having your hand around a cocktail, in a smoked filled club. Although these days, I’m fine without the smoke. Although I did smell a little herb wafting through the RM gym. Brought back memories of gone-by concerts.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 2:58 pm

when Benson hit it big in mid 70s, went to see him with another couple at the Mosque …. got within 2 people from the box office, and they closed it — sold out! Went down to Forbes to eat and drink

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 2:58 pm

I saw a few good acts at Manchester in last decade, and remember seeing Chick Corea and Sonny Rollins at Arts Festival

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 3:01 pm

No pre-Hemingway’s and Decade.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 3:03 pm

Sonny Dayes Stage Door, gotta love the Google!

I would have never remembered the name.

Anyone else remember it?

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 3:15 pm

Nice tunes Reed. Oh wow the Encore…really !

Couple of Pgh. legends on this one.

Mr. T & Little Georgie Benson.

link to youtube.com

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 3:18 pm

Eric would sit in with Spider Rondinelli, who was the leader of the house band.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 3:19 pm

Oh yea for sure..Sonny Dayes on 51.

Was there for quite a long time !

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 3:21 pm

gc

Good lineup at Robert MOrris. I’ve become a big fan of Euge Groove and own several Rick Braun cd’s, one of my favorite trumpet players.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 3:23 pm

lol wafting herb….ikr !

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 3:25 pm

I get that Delaware is FCS, but I see other games with lines on them, why no Pitt- Delaware line?

Comment by PittMan 08.20.14 @ 3:27 pm

They are waitng to see if Conner is starting on offense or defense, I suppose

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 3:31 pm

I believe Sonny Dayes offered more than jazz and cold drinks.

Comment by Dan 08.20.14 @ 3:42 pm

In that time period (1973 -74) Hemingways was Frankie Gustines.

I think the place gc was talking about was on the 2nd floor.

The Decade only had Rock I believe maybe Blues in a blue moon.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 3:43 pm

haha Dan-o

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 3:44 pm

Sometimes games involving FCS teams don’t get lines on them until a few days before the game.

Sometimes not at all.

Very hard for Vegas to put a number on that type of game.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 3:48 pm

Perhaps we’re talking about two different places??

I knew of Sonny Dayes on 51, maybe there was a Sonny Dayes Stage Door in Oakland??

From the late 70’s to the early 90’s, the Sonny Dayes I knew on 51, catered to, uh, hmmm, let’s say adult entertainment.

Comment by Dan 08.20.14 @ 3:51 pm

Maybe Sonny liked his jazz and women separate?

Comment by Dan 08.20.14 @ 3:53 pm

Sonny Dayes did move from Oakland to route 51, after a while the jazz stopped and the hanky panky began.

Sonny Dayes was on Forbes in Oakland closer to the City.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 3:56 pm

Good memory Dan-o

So what happened at the one on 51 to keep it burnt in your memory. lol

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 3:56 pm

CB Trenton Coles has left the program. Looking to transfer.

Comment by Mailman 08.20.14 @ 3:58 pm

I did see the George Benson show at the Mosque. Kenny Blake used to play at the sunken cork in Mt.Lebo a lot. Saw Spyro Gyra at the Holliday House in Monroeville like five times. Its all starting to come back to me now.

Comment by pd 08.20.14 @ 4:01 pm

That is a real shame, our best gunner from last year. Thought he would play a lot if not start.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 4:01 pm

Oh yea the Sunken Cork forgot about that place.

Pittsburgh use to have some really cool places.

If you had a GF in all 4 suburbs you could keep more abreast of the music/jazz scene in those areas.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 4:04 pm

My memory is returning, the owner of Sonny Dayes was an original member of Bill Haley and the Comets, how’s that for Rock and Roll history.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 4:06 pm

Mailman, you are really on top of things, you must have great sources.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 4:09 pm

Chryst says team voted for captains, Clemmings, Vinopal and Grigsby.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 4:11 pm

Chryst on Mark Madden at 5:30

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 4:12 pm

Emel, how about the Boardwalk on castle shannon blvd. used have a lot of jazz bands.

Comment by pd 08.20.14 @ 4:14 pm

Defensive backfield just got thinner.

Think I need a drink. Good thing it’s happy hour !

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 4:14 pm

wow….yea right. I use to work out of an office by Caste Village.

The Boardwalk…that totally slipped my mind.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 4:15 pm

The Trolley party trolley use to stop in Castle Shannon as well at some bar out there on the corner of Park Ave. in Castle Shannon. Or close to it.

Comment by Emel 08.20.14 @ 4:18 pm

Today’s WSJ compared major conference coach’s records against ranked teams. Some current records:
F. Graham 3-5, B. Petrino 4-5, R. Edsall 0-8, B. Kelley 7-7, K. Flood 0-3, S. Shafer 0-3, D. Holgorsen 5-6 and P. Christ 3-4
link to online.wsj.com.

Comment by OhHowIHateOhioState 08.20.14 @ 4:31 pm

WTF?????? Just reported on Cardiac Hill that Trenton Cole intends to transfer????? I Don’t get it??

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.20.14 @ 5:21 pm

Wow this Coles news is not good, somebody asked Chryst about him after practice and he said he is working on some things. I should have known he always says that when somebody is about to quit.

Comment by pd 08.20.14 @ 5:25 pm

Sounds like a case of a kid who thinks he should start, finds out he will not and is too proud to stay and battle. Too bad, he really was our best gunner on the punt coverage team last year. Made lots of plays. We got burned twice when he did not play vs. NC.

Hope he changes his mind, if not hope he does well.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 5:41 pm

@gc, actually, that’s really interesting. One of the comets?

@emel, no, not any hanky panky for me there. My memories are more of a driving by with unknowing family or clients and someone saying,

“hey, Sunny Dayes, what’s that place all about?? Good place for lunch??”

and I’d have to tell them, you might get more than lunch there!! LOL

Can also remember driving by the Tennyson Lounge over in Bethel Park.

I remember them saying, something to the effect of “hey, that’s a cool looking building, done in the tudor décor, what goes on in there??”

LOL

Comment by Dan 08.20.14 @ 5:45 pm

Now I see the math. Coles leaving opened up a scholly for our new 4* RB.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.20.14 @ 5:47 pm

Let me guess off to Hoopie U

Comment by pd 08.20.14 @ 5:48 pm

And I think we’ll be alright at corner with the four we have. Just need to hope that we stay healthy…

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.20.14 @ 5:48 pm

I understand that we can’t afford much attrition, but I wonder if he’s gone because he assumed he was going to be the starter this year, and is not happy with camp.

If that’s the case, then we have to move on. Next man up.

Really, I know it’s a tough situation, but if you don’t want to be here mentally, you weren’t going to be that much help anyhow. In fact, he could be a detriment to others.

Not trying to spin it into a good story. Not good, but we can’t do anything about it, our only choice is to move on.

p.s. Was he a Chryst recruit??

Any reasons given why he’s going?

I’m not gonna rip the kid, but his timing is a bit off. A week before the opener??

Comment by Dan 08.20.14 @ 5:49 pm

Does Coles lose a year of eligibility while sitting out a transfer year since he used his redshirt at Pitt during his freshman year? If so then transferring seems silly. Unless he goes down in classification & is immediately eligible. Wether or not he started he was going to see plenty of playing time.

Comment by Nick 08.20.14 @ 5:54 pm

Coles was in the 2012 class so he was part of Chryst’s 1st class that he salvaged from Graham.

Comment by Nick 08.20.14 @ 5:56 pm

it just dawned on me that the only jazz channel now in Pgh is on the internet, and that Bill Hillgrove is one of the DJs … can someone confirm?

Coles was known as the biggest trash talker which is not necessarily bad in itself, but when you start believing all of your BS, then you do things like ths

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 5:59 pm

Soory wbb, I listen to satellite or Pandora for Jazz, had not heard of a local internet channel.

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 6:04 pm

just checked his Wikipedia page and it confirms that he started in 2012 as DJ on the online Pittsburgh Jazz Channel — never listened to it though

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 6:08 pm

if memory serves, Thomas quit but came back the next day and apologized. PC let him sit a week and brought him back, which IMO was OK since I believe that was his only incident.

He probably would do the same for Coles, although I’m not sure Coles will do the same

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 6:11 pm

TJ Clemmings (offense) Ray Vinopal (defense) and Nich Grigsby (special teams) are team captains

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 6:13 pm

Appears to be a done deal.

link to triblive.com

Comment by gc 08.20.14 @ 6:30 pm

Whether he was a Chryst recruit is pretty debatable. I say if you give a guy 6 weeks, none are his recruits but c’est la vie.

Guys losing coles is not a big deal frankly. He left because even after losing the presumed starter he was passed for playing time at CB by a transfer and a true freshmen. If he couldn’t make the 2 deep this year, and he didnt,he wasn’t ever going to. I wish him the best of luck and thanks for opening up a scholarship.

Comment by PittHW 08.20.14 @ 6:36 pm

I am not surprised at all by this news. You could see it on the sideline the couple of times I was up there as Coles was pretty distant from the other kids. Just not surprised at all…

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 6:48 pm

He was a good special teams player and will be missed. He did add depth for both games and practice. He knew if he couldn’t make it this year next year would be a non starter. HCPC said he will help him find a program and that is why HCPC is trusted by the football players.

Comment by chethejet 08.20.14 @ 7:23 pm

looking at the bright side, our 2 top RBs didn’t get charged with pot possession

Comment by wbb 08.20.14 @ 7:29 pm

This transfer is interesting. I guess he will go to Cal U. in an effort to play this year? I am disappointed when kids transfer when they are close to making a name for themselves. Perseverance is a terrific trait, ask Todd Thomas.

The captain picks are also confusing to me in some respects. I guess that we are so young on offense that Clemmings was a logical choice. JP Holtz may have been a slightly better choice, but we are splitting hairs between the two, so give it to the senior.

Defensive captain was perplexing to me. Thomas and Gonzalez seemed to be a much better choice than Vinopal. I have been critical of Ray V. for his play and I hope he gets better. I didn’t realize he was a two star when he went to Michigan. He needs to play well.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 08.20.14 @ 8:18 pm

This is sad news. Unless a player is a thug or a total malcontent, I always wonder what the real story is. Coles contributed last year and is talented, sort of disappointing when he isn’t even gone five minutes and immediately minimized by the “fans”. No one knows the real reason why he chose to transfer, there has been no comment by a coach, the Athl. Dept. or the player. Of the 80+ players we have left they must all be wondering, hell, if I tear my ACL a whole bunch of people will be on boards saying “good riddance” within minutes, next man up. Yet the next man becomes the guy they want to replace with the next man, and so on and so on. Some attrition is inevitable, and some for good reason, but I have to trust Coles is making a decision that’s best for him, and we don’t know all the factors. So, from my end, I wish him happy trails and best of luck, lots of programs out there and many that could use him to contribute.

Comment by PittMan 08.20.14 @ 8:23 pm

Can’t he transfer to a AA school like RMU or Duquesne and play this year too? I believe they are considered a lower division for transfer purposes so he’d be eligible immediately and wouldn’t have to go to D2.

Comment by PittHW 08.20.14 @ 8:27 pm

Ugly night for Pitt and Steelers (my God ..how stupid can Bell and Blount be?) pirates pull out a win.

Can someone tell me what channel Mark Madden is on!

As a former HS coach, I can tell you that with some players there is no rhyme nor reason why they want to quit the team. Especially after camp! If Cole wants out tell him not to “let the door hit him in the ass!”

Comment by Dan 72 08.20.14 @ 9:10 pm

Coles was the ‘Clariton Kid’ who was rumored all through the off season to be considering transferring. Transfers happen in every program not Alabama, and even with them actually, so this isn’t something to get too worked up about.

Have to say this he was also the skinniest football player I have ever seen – I wondered how he’d make it through a season without getting broken in half.

Comment by Reed 08.20.14 @ 9:44 pm

Honestly if Coles is transferring because he got jumped on the depth chart, bon voyage…

Also, he was not actually recruited by Chryst, even though he was part of his 1st class. In the long run may be a good thing as it opens up a scholarship down the road. Short term it will hurt, because of the lack of depth in the secondary and his special teams experience.

If early playing time is something that is important to Jordan Whitehead then Pitt should be it for him.

@Dan 72: not sure how much it helps you now but Mark Madden is on The X 105.9 from 3-6 i believe.

Comment by Pap76 08.20.14 @ 11:09 pm

if he was slotted for PT in a thin position, then it hurts in the short run. For the 2nd year in a row, it appears that Pitt will have at least 2 natural freshmen DB learning on the job.

Comment by wbb 08.21.14 @ 5:56 am

Youngstown area has made some good contributions to Pitt football over the years. seem to remember a pretty good QB named Jim Traficant who had nice career at Pitt , and earned a reputation as a maverick congressman neither party could control and who spoke his mind in no uncertain terms—– so the party got rid of him. He was fun to watch on the football field and on the house floor.There were others some better on the football field but no more fun to watch.

Comment by Pitt 60 08.22.14 @ 10:40 am

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