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:


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)

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)

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

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

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


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
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

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

Sam Linebacker
4 Bam Bradley (SO*, 6-2, 230)

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

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

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)


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

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

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)


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

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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