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August 25, 2014

Game One Preview: Delaware

Filed under: Football,Media,Opponent(s),Players — Reed @ 4:20 pm

Get your game faces on, it’s almost show time!!  Saturday we host the Blue Hens of Delaware at Heinz Field for the opening game of our 2014 season. Yeah Us!!

Here is the PITT SID’s office’s overview of the match-up.  Here are the much more detailed “PITT vs. Delaware Game Notes” that are distributed by that office to the local and visiting media writers up in the press box.  I find it interesting that we’ve never played them before but then again we have never lost to them before either.  Small blessings.

Pitt is undefeated (9-0) against current members of the CAA, most recently beating Maine, 35-29, in 2011 and New Hampshire, 38-16, in 2010.  I think we’ll easily handle Delaware.  The spread is 27 points and that is doable as I think we’ll run right over them.

Before anyone starts talking about ‘we thought the same thing against YSU‘  let’s remember there are huge differences in the two situations.  With the YSU game Chryst suspended six players including starters Ezell and Gonzalez just hours before the game.  That in itself rocked the team. Combine that disciplinary action with the natural uncertainty the players had about Chryst going into his first game of his first year, especially after they were just burnt so badly by Graham, and you had a perfect storm for a loss.  That isn’t the case at all this week against Delaware.

Our commenters have been showing us some good links lately, here is on who will probably redshirt. Here are the five true freshmen that Chryst says will definitely see action this season.  I’ll add at least one more in Adonis Jennings.  If his groin injury heals then I can’t see him not getting at least some playing time.

I think we see Wuestner or Challingsworth before Jones at #2 WR unless there is a specialty play called.  Again – keep an eye on Chris Wuestner as the season unfolds, he’s a good one and really has impressed the staff over the last year and through this camp.

It is interesting about the new position “Freeze Linebacker” as that is Nick Grisby’s nickname and the title apparently applies only to him and only when he’s in on special extra LB formations.  Remember last year when Grigsby was a bit put out that he wasn’t getting playing time and was making noise about leaving the program? Well, this year the staff wanted to ensure that he knew he had a real role on the team so in addition to being our Special Teams ace, and now captain, they created a LB substitution just for him.  He’s very talented and it was a smart thing to do on both fronts.

Also, see where Scott Orndoff has landed in the offensive positions – at “H-Back”. That was done because he’s really built more like a WR, a bigger Shanahan as it were as Orndoff goes 260 to Shanahan’s 220, and Devon Edwards is a better pure blocker.  Moving Orndoff to this position signals to me that the plan is to give Voytik as many short pass opportunities and targets as they can since his deep game isn’t happening yet.  I like the idea very much.

I still don’t like the idea of our money-maker Tyler Boyd returning kicks but until our offense proves that it can score points then we’ll have to rely on getting yardage every way we can including returns.  He’ll be exciting as hell to watch but I’ll cringe every time.

If there is any poor play with Adam Bisnowaty at LT or Dorian Johnson at LG again this season don’t be surprised if the staff goes to Jaryd Jones-Smith sooner rather than later.  He’s got the wingspan for left tackle if Bisnowaty falters and they could move Bisnowaty into guard to replace Johnson if needed.  That’s why they were moving Bisnowaty around to different OL positions during camp.  Jones-Smith was a big performer in camp and they trust him to step in and do well.

While we are discussing the OLtake a look at the size of them.  They average 6’5″ and 315 lbs.  I didn’t look it up but that may be the biggest line we have had in ages.

Here is the two deep listed in the Game Notes:

OFFENSE

Wide Receiver
23 TYLER BOYD SO, 6­-2, 190
88 Kevin Weatherspoon (SR*, 5-10, 175)

Wide Receiver
82 MANASSEH GARNER SR*, 6-­2, 220
10 Ronald Jones (JR*, 5-8, 170)

Left Tackle
69 ADAM BISNOWATY SO*, 6-­6, 305
75 Jaryd Jones-Smith (FR*, 6-7, 335)

Left Guard
53 DORIAN JOHNSON SO, 6-­5, 300
72 Carson Baker (FR*, 6-5, 330)

Center
57 ARTIE ROWELL JR*, 6-­2, 315
63 Alex Officer (FR*, 6-4, 335)

Right Guard
74 MATT ROTHERAM SR*, 6-­6, 335
71 Gabe Roberts (SO*, 6-5, 305)

Right Tackle
68 T.J. CLEMMINGS SR*, 6-­6, 315
78 Alex Bookser (FR, 6-6, 295)

Tight End
86 J.P. HOLTZ JR, 6­-4, 245
45 Devon Edwards (FR*, 6-4, 260)

H-Back
31 JAYMAR PARRISH SO, 6-­2, 270
83 Scott Orndoff (SO, 6-5, 260)

Quarterback
16 CHAD VOYTIK SO*, 6-­1, 205
11 Trey Anderson (JR*, 6-0, 195)

Tailback
24 JAMES CONNER SO, 6-­2, 250
34 Isaac Bennett (SR, 5-11, 210)

 DEFENSE

Defensive End
52 SHAKIR SOTO SO, 6-­3, 270
55 Luke Maclean (FR*, 6-5, 260)

Defensive Tackle
91 DARRYL RENDER JR, 6-2, 275
56 Justin Moody (FR*, 6-3, 280)

Nose Tackle
95 KHAYNIN MOSLEY-­SMITH JR*, 6-­0, 310
54 Tyrique Jarrett (SO, 6-3, 335)

Defensive End
44 DAVID DURHAM SR*, 6-­2, 240
92 Rori Blair (FR, 6-4, 230)

Freeze Linebacker
3 NICHOLAS GRIGSBY JR*, 6­-1, 220

Middle Linebacker
47 MATT GALAMBOS SO, 6-­2, 245
30 Mike Caprara (SO*, 6-0, 225)

Sam Linebacker
28 ANTHONY GONZALEZ SR*, 6­3, 230
4 Bam Bradley (SO*, 6-2, 230)

Will Linebacker
8 TODD THOMAS SR*, 6­-2, 230
58 Quintin Wirginis (FR, 6-2, 220)

Cornerback
6 LAFAYETTE PITTS JR*, 5-­11, 195
14 Avonte Maddox (FR, 5-9, 165)

Cornerback
15 REGGIE MITCHELL SO*, 6-­0, 185
38 Ryan Lewis (SO*, 6-0, 195)

Strong Safety
2 TERRISH WEBB SO, 5-­11, 180
26 Jevonte Pitts (SO*, 5-11, 205)

Free Safety
9 RAY VINOPAL SR*, 5-­10, 200
25 Pat Amara (FR, 6-2, 190)

SPECIALISTS

Punter
18 RYAN WINSLOW FR*, 6-­5, 210
12 Chris Blewitt (SO, 5-9, 185)

Placekicker
12 CHRIS BLEWITT SO, 5­-9, 185
18 Ryan Winslow (FR*, 6-5, 210)

Holder
18 RYAN WINSLOW FR*, 6-­5, 210
45 Nick Goldsmith (FR, 6-2, 210)

Long Snapper
67 DAVID MURPHY JR*, 6­-1, 220
61 Pat Quirin (SO*, 6-1, 220)

Kickoff Returner

23 TYLER BOYD SO, 6-­2, 190

10 Ronald Jones (JR*, 5-8, 170)
14 Avonte Maddox (FR, 5-9, 165)

Punt Returner
23 TYLER BOYD SO, 6-­2, 190
88 Kevin Weatherspoon (SR*, 5-10, 175)

LET’S GO PITT!





and yet, there is a line on the Bama-WVY game … go figure!

did u see that PSU isa just a 1 point favorite? Of curse, last yera, UCF was clearly the better team (but not sure now with Bortles gone to the NFL)

Comment by wbb 08.26.14 @ 12:00 pm

Still not seeing a line for the PITT game anywhere. (where did the -27 come from ?)

Saw this in today’s PG PITT article;
Three keys to Pitt’s 2014 football season

“Wisconsin transfer Reggie Mitchell will start opposite Lafayette Pitts at safety.”

Nothing like accurate info from the beat writer and no mention at all of Ray Vinopal.

Slighted cause of what he did to Notre Dame perhaps. (writer’s alma mater)

Reed and Chas if we ever get the chance to have some drinks together, your money is no good.

Comment by Emel 08.26.14 @ 12:07 pm

The die hards aren’t hard to find. They’re the ones who are still there screaming their heads off in the 4th quarter of a blowout, one way or the other. Personally I don’t leave a game until the clock hits zero, no matter the score/outcome. I’ve had to tone down on the yelling though, I used to leave games with horrible headaches.

Comment by Nick 08.26.14 @ 12:22 pm

Most of the games I’m seeing that involve a FBS playing a FCS school are all OFF (not being handicapped)

Including Duquesne Dukes @ Buffalo Bulls.

Dukes are stepping up. Once upon a time Duquesne played D1 and had a top notch team, and we played them a lot.

From 1933 to 1942 had the 6th best winning % in Major College football.

Beat Mississippi State in the 1937 Orange Bowl.
While PITT’s only loss that year was to Duquesne but PITT won the Rose Bowl that year ! Our last year we played in it.

So Pittsburgh college teams played in both the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl that year, that’s some trivia that could win you some money bro’s.

Be crazy if we play them again sometime in the future.

Comment by Emel 08.26.14 @ 12:24 pm

lol Nick.

You need to upgrade your liquor brands. 🙂

Comment by Emel 08.26.14 @ 12:27 pm

Reed…I hope he also shares your concerns and advice that you have so astutely researched and written!

Comment by Dan 72 08.26.14 @ 12:36 pm

ACC did PITT a huge favor by placing us in the Coastal Division.

Florida State and Clemson every year would relegate us to ‘also-ran’ status from the get-go at the present and foreseeable future.

Which might be an indicator the ACC would like to see PITT football become a major player again.

It would certainly help out with ACC TV ratings as PITT games generally are some of the highest watched TV games on ESPN.

Hardly anyone in Durham even noticed Duke was a ranked team last year.

They would in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

Let’s Do it !!!

Comment by Emel 08.26.14 @ 1:00 pm

So much bonhomie, positive spirits, excitement.

Has upb been banned?

Comment by steve1 08.26.14 @ 1:08 pm

Found some info on the Blue Hens QB. (from Mike White of the PG)

Hope it doesn’t turn into some sort of Bruce Gradkowski thing.

“While Pitt has a number of starters from the WPIAL, the Panthers will open the season against a quarterback from the WPIAL.

Trent Hurley a graduate of Greensburg Central Catholic, will be Delaware’s quarterback against Pitt in the season opener Saturday at Heinz. Hurley is the first three-year stater at QB since MattTrent Hurley Nagy from 1998-2000. Hurley has played at Heinz Field once before. It was in 2009 when he was the quarterback of a Greensburg Central team that defeated Aliquippa, 33-7, in the WPIAL Class AA title game.

I remember the last game Hurley played in high school. It was in a snowstorm in Hershey in 2009 when Greensburg C.C. lost to Lancaster Catholic, 21-14, in the PIAA Class AA title game. (Check picture of Hurley diving in the snow).

Hurley started his career at Bowling Green, but transferred after two years. He threw for more than 2,000 yards last season.”

Bowling Green, too funny .

Comment by Emel 08.26.14 @ 1:23 pm

@Comment by Emel 08.26.14 @ 1:00 pm

Completely agree. Not only should Pitt be competitive in the Coastal, but I think it’s great that there’s already some history and rivalries with VPI and Miami as well.

FSU, Clemson, and Louisville are all much more committed to winning and would have made ACC life less enjoyable. Think of Cuse trying to compete with those guys with their limited recruiting ability..

I don’t think I’d change a thing about the divisions.

Comment by BostonsCommon 08.26.14 @ 1:32 pm

Reed:
Great work – I just put a small $ in paypal after reading your note. Like many I come to site and read it every day however I rarely post.

I appreciate all the work you and Chas do to let me scratch my Pitt itch frequently. I love reading the posts from the regulars: Emel, Pitt Dad, Dan72, gc, web, Dr Tom, et al. I live in Columbus, Ohio and hope one day to meet the good Rev George as well.

I love the passion, I am a Pitt grad (’88) and like many share other family members as alumni (father, brother, sister, uncle…). I also am a PSU grad (MBA) but that is for another day.

I have quite a few stories as have many of you. I was at 48-14, on the goal post of 10-0 (87) burned the shirt off my back after the Iowa loss, final game at Pitt Stadium against Notre Dame, and forced myself to watch every single play in the 72-0 loss to the Buckeyes.

I’m excited to take another ride on the Pitt roller coaster! Keep up the good work Chas, Reed, and all the regular posters!!!!

One issue – likening Chas to Smilin’ Steve? – that one’s gotta hurt!

Comment by Mill 08.26.14 @ 2:12 pm

Some comments have been made about the expanded walk-on program… Just looking at the roster page, I’m counting at least 13 non-scholarship true freshman representing the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

link to pittsburghpanthers.com

Comment by BostonsCommon 08.26.14 @ 2:14 pm

Mil, found your posting pretty interesting from your PSU MBA to watching every play in the 72-0 debacle (that had to be doubly gruesome for a Pitt fan in Columbus)

If you do happen to run into Rev George, give him our best wishes (and I know I speak for many here). Best wishes to you also.

Comment by wbb 08.26.14 @ 2:28 pm

wbb
Thanks – yeah – living here… I’ve lived several places and it is my experience that some of the most obnoxious fans I’ve ever seen are the Buckeye fans. I really like the city of Columbus, love the neighbourhood we live in but man Buckeye Nation is way over the top!!! Tip my hat to their consistent success.

I agree with many today that I like the trajectory of our team – on and off the field. I’m a Pitt fan through and through and always will be (I do prefer the mustard colour and the Pitt Script). I have always thought we should have our stadium on campus but Reed has helped me best understand why this is not ever likely to happen.

I enjoy the blog and you guys – Thanks again to all.

Comment by Mill 08.26.14 @ 3:20 pm

Bostoncommons – Wisconsin had a very strong and hugely successful walk on program that even sent kids into the NFL.

Comment by Reed 08.26.14 @ 3:27 pm

I have lived and worked in Akron, Massilon and now on the easter burbs of Cleveland, and have long realized that Buckeye fans put PSU fans to shame when it comes to being obnoxious. I don’t even want to think how bad it is in Columbus.

Comment by wbb 08.26.14 @ 3:29 pm

In my opinion this is the guy that makes or breaks our season after Voytik, maybe even more important.

But no pressure, LOL

link to pittsburghpanthers.com

Comment by gc 08.26.14 @ 3:52 pm

How cool is it that they named a position after Grigsby? The freeze linebacker, his nickname is freeze. He had a pretty solid bowl game, hopefully we see a lot more. I thought using him the way he did was House’s finest moment so far.

Comment by gc 08.26.14 @ 3:58 pm

gc, if he plays well enough, the FLB may become a new position like the H back, giving Reed fodder for his first novel “The Great Grigsby” — about a young upstart who was being surpassed by his younger brother, thought about giving up or moving away, but then decided to move forward with so much vigor that the authorities made a new a standard for him.

There you go Reed .. run with it (a little acknowledgment in the Forward would be nice)

Comment by wbb 08.26.14 @ 5:16 pm

That’s funny, as I suggested they use Grigsby as some sort of hybrid LB/DE a couple weeks before camp started.

And wallah, the FLB has been created.

Those guys must read our stuff to get hints ! lol

Comment by Emel 08.26.14 @ 5:20 pm

gc, good call on Galambos. My pick would be Pitts, L. He’s gotta improve or with the inexperience on the other side, we’re gonna get torched.

Comment by Iron Duke 08.26.14 @ 5:24 pm

I love it, “The Great Grigsby” better than Mr Freeze from the Batman series.

Comment by gc 08.26.14 @ 6:14 pm

Pitts is another key, both of those guys have to make a lot of key third down stops.

Comment by gc 08.26.14 @ 6:16 pm

@ Emel, wanted to agree with how fortunate we are to be in the Coastal Division. Although things will change much easier road to hoe. Herbstreit says we can do it, how out of left field is that? Although, I do think it possible, a lot of fumbles would have to go our way. Just think our youth, and lack of depth on defense will catch up to us.

Still wouldn’t it be amazing to play FSU in the championship game?

Comment by gc 08.26.14 @ 6:27 pm

The biggest advantage we have in the Coastal race is that two of our four ACC road games are at BC and at UVA. Throw in Syracuse being a mandatory cross division opponent (let’s be real, they aren’t a rival) and you have the building blocks for Coastal race success. We almost surely need to go 6-2 in ACC play to win, though, so we’ve probably got to beat VT, GT, and Duke at home to give us a cushion for at UNC and Miami. Winning the Division seems unlikely to me, but a 5-3 finish and a 2nd/3rd place finish would be a great step in the right direction.

Comment by PittHW 08.26.14 @ 7:02 pm

Thanks Chas and Reed for your insights. It keeps my sanity here in Columbus where tOSU teams, or band get all the ink.

Comment by OhHowIHateOhioState 08.26.14 @ 8:12 pm

Reed,
Glad to see you are back to being positive on Pitt. I remember a while back when you were pretty positive about Pitt, then you seemed to go into a period where you didn’t have enthusiasm for what was going on with the team. Am I remembering this correctly?

Anyway, I echo the lauding of your work on this blog – you and Chas.

BTW, someone asked about who is playing on special teams. This is a major shortcoming of football coverage – the special teamers never get credit for what is a difficult job. I’d like to see the players for all the special teams listed somewhere. And it’s tough to find any stats on special teams – other than kicks made and missed.

Thanks again Reed.

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 08.26.14 @ 8:19 pm

I think when PC analyzed last season he had to conclude that special team play (both sides of the ball) cost us 2 Wins. For example, we beat NC if that kid doesn’t run back those punts for touchdowns. Now, Boyd can do the same for us – big up side. Also, way too many missed tackles last year on coverage teams. This year our best tacklers (many starters) should make a big difference on our kick off and punt coverage. I hope we all slurp steaming Chicken Soup (from blue hens)this Saturday after we pluck, gut and boil the birds. H2P

Comment by pittman4ever 08.26.14 @ 9:10 pm

Weather forecast for Saturday 93 degrees with morning thundershowers, hope they are wrong as usual. Lots of cramping potential, will learn about our conditioning program.

Comment by gc 08.26.14 @ 9:49 pm

If it’s 93 degrees forget about the player’s cramping potential – I’ll be in a puddle by my seat. Oh well, here’s to $40 spent on cold water during the game.

Comment by Reed 08.27.14 @ 5:40 am

New forecast 89, still too hot.

Comment by gc 08.27.14 @ 7:26 am

Playiing in the heat and humidity may serve the team well since they have to play at FIU (near Miami) at high noon in 2 weeks

Comment by wbb 08.27.14 @ 7:35 am

@gc, since you brought up Herbstreit. Anyone Ohioans know if he actually ended up moving??

Always enjoyed him, very likable, and I always thought he was very fair when the subject of Ohio State came up on telecasts or gameday.

I guess that is why they were running him out of town. I always respected him for calling out things against Ohio State when they happened.

Threats against his family, relentless taunting of his children at school??

Anyhow, just wondering if he actually made the move or did things smooth over?

Comment by Dan 08.27.14 @ 9:15 am

If Pat Bostick got a national job, I would expect him to tell it like it is about Pitt, good or bad.

Being national is much different than being local. National you have to tell the truth and can’t play favorites, or at least not as much.

Mark May, jabs at Holtz over Pitt and ND, but when Pitt has sucked on the field, or with our debacle of coaching three years ago, he said so.

I just said, ya, he’s right.

Comment by Dan 08.27.14 @ 9:19 am

Did not know bout the threats on Herbstreit. Does not surprise me though, amazing how people can act like terrorists over something as inconsequential as a sport team. I guess that’s why they call us fanatics. I would hope Pitt Fans would have more class but I know there will always be a percentage of animals. I would also hope that when ACC fans come to our games they are treated with respect even when they don’t deserve it. It is probably too much to ask our fans to treat ND, PSU, or WV fans that way. Stay classy my friends.

Comment by gc 08.27.14 @ 1:13 pm

unforunately, last season I witnessed an ND fan being verbally assaulted by a drunken Pitt fan — just one; but it was, vicious and embarrasssing. I was sitting right next to the ND guy and apologized, and we got along fine during the game, and didn’t even rub it in at the end.

It doesn’t take much to give a bad impression and mostly I see Pitt fans acting very civil (except for that fight song with the PSU refernce … and of course, Hoopies are always fair game.)

Comment by wbb 08.27.14 @ 1:23 pm

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