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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!





I am beyond excited for not only the Pitt season to start, but for college football to be back as well. I had someone take my Thursday shift at work just so I could go with a buddy of mine to watch what should be some great games.

My thoughts on the Delaware game…. I don’t know if Pitt will win by 27 but regardless of the score it shouldn’t be close. I expect for this game and early in the season for the game plan offensively to be to just run it down the opponents throats using a bunch of different backs then **hopefully** capitalizing on play-action after the run game is established. I expect short, quick, easy passes for Voytik so that he can get a rhythm and ease into the season. I expect some defensive struggles especially early so I’ll just be looking at the young guys to see what they will be capable of this year and further down the road.

Comment by shady1 08.25.14 @ 4:38 pm

The only surprise I see on the two deep is Devon Edwards backing up Holtz and Orndorf backing up Parrish. Lazenga was backing up Parrish on an earlier list with Orndorf backing up Holtz.

I would think we might see Ordorf and Holtz in a two tight end set. Especially on the goal line.

First time I have seen Edwards show up, good for him.

Comment by gc 08.25.14 @ 4:48 pm

@Reed, thank you for all of your hard work this past month or two. Very enjoyable, and very informative. Best info on Pitt in the 4 state area, not even close.

Also, I know I can find the two deep online somewhere, but I was pleasantly suprised to see it at the end of this post.

Thank you for typing it all out, nice to have it listed, on the site I go too most.

Not looking for a blowout, but I would like to see and over 21 pt win, with out having any palpitations in the 4th quarter.

Comment by Dan 08.25.14 @ 4:52 pm

gc – don’t let that Orndoff listing fool you. He’s never going to play FB the way Parrish does 90% of the time and he’ll get his share of passes – just not always out of the TE position where he would also have to stay and block.

Orndoff in the much better receiving TE so they want to move him around.

Comment by Reed 08.25.14 @ 4:53 pm

Let the 2014 season begin….finally
Pitt 31
Deleware 14

h2p

Comment by Keith 08.25.14 @ 4:55 pm

This was under PITT 2nd HALF comeback since 2002.

10/10/09 Connecticut 21-6 (3rd) W, 24-21
12/26/09 North Carolina* 17-16 (4th) W, 19-17
11/9/13 Notre Dame 21-14 (3rd) W, 28-21
11/23/13 @Syracuse 16-10 (3rd) W, 17-16
12/26/13 Bowling Green# 20-17 (3rd) W, 30-27

Notice the Gap…..hmmmmmmm

Comment by Emel 08.25.14 @ 5:52 pm

Fantastic work as always, it’s a been a terribly long off season and the only way we Pitt junkies make it through the dog days of summer is because of your great work on this site.

I completely agree with you assessment of Jennings – he’s only in the maybe category because of his missed camp time. Way too much talent not to see action this year unless the injury doesn’t heal fast enough.

Not to start controversy, but did anyone else notice that Chryst listed Bertke in his second group of freshmen who could potentially play? That really, really caught my eye. Now, I know that it’ll only happen with a season ending injury to Voytik but still.

I’m looking for a beat down this Saturday. Not to jinx it, but I’m hoping for 42 v. 17. I am a little nervous about our DBs versus their spread. But our O-line and RBs will have a coming out party.

Comment by PittHW 08.25.14 @ 5:52 pm

Thx for posting this Reed.

Just a plethora of information.

No wonder why some of these announcers appear to be informed.

In fact with all this info available, the one’s that aren’t are just plain incompetent and/or lazy.

Comment by Emel 08.25.14 @ 5:55 pm

@reed, Good post and also I like the way you respond to comments and keep things going (and also this tends to keep the thread more focused!).

The biggest thing I am looking for in the first few games is to see if this is finally a team that is hard nosed, and physically and mentally tough.

If Chryst has finally succeeded in draining the swamp and creating the team mindset he wants, then he has achieved a huge accomplishment over where things are and there is a foundation to move forward.

This young team is going to have issues… but if they play tough and stay in the game all 4 quarters this should be a successful year.

Comment by Pittscript 08.25.14 @ 6:13 pm

where things were…

Comment by Pittscript 08.25.14 @ 6:14 pm

Comment by steve1 08.25.14 @ 6:23 pm

GREAT stuff Reed.

Thanks for your willingness to share with the masses.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.25.14 @ 6:39 pm

You got to know that the Coach for Delaware will give a little speech to his players about what happened not so long ago when a school called Youngstown State came to town.

This is an important game for Chryst. No room for slip ups.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.25.14 @ 6:41 pm

Again, awesome job Reed! I have never seen the full game notes before. Great stuff. The stats on Tyler’s season are amazing. He will probably miss Savage’s arm the most. The highlight film I reposted on the last thread is incredible.

I am sure glad some of the Juniors and Seniors stuck around. We need their leadership and strength up the middle on defense. I think there will be some highs and lows because of the inexperience, but that is where coaching can make the most difference.

Anyway, can’t wait till Saturday. Hopefully they can add some numbers to those individual career stats on the game notes, too funny!

Comment by gc 08.25.14 @ 6:49 pm

This never gets old either…

link to youtube.com

Comment by Reed 08.25.14 @ 6:50 pm

Guys – I’m no football expert but what I saw at the practices was really heartening. Not the individual play itself but how the practices felt and how engaged the kids were in them. The staff was loose with the kids and the kids were paying attention to the coaches. As a matter of fact I noticed players coming off the field after 7 on 7s and 11 on 11s and going up to talk to the coaches even when not being asked to do so.

I believe that really means something. Plus, and this is real important to me, they were having fun out there. When I went to practices under Tod Graham it was more like a boot camp atmosphere – the staff yelling on every play and drill and scolding the kids for minor mistakes. Granted they were instituting a brand new and wildly different offense but it seemed like a chore for the players to get through rather than a fun learning experience.

I don’t know if that positive practice vibe will translate to a winning season but I do know from my leadership days that a relaxed crew, no matter how tense the situation might be, is going to be a successful crew. What I saw both times was a relaxed team. Also, Chryst seemed to have a grin on his face most of the time. If a HC isn’t confident that he has talent that doesn’t happen.

On another separate note, let me thank all of you back in return for your good words over the last two weeks. I wouldn’t do this at all if we didn’t have very intelligent and willing participants in these commented discussions. It really isn’t like any other blog I’ve read on the Internet including subjects other than sports. I love posting an article and then looking forward to your comments and what you guys think in rebuttal to my opinions. I stay on the computer way too long after I post wanting to see what you all have to say.

Best of all though is that it’s done with respect for other’s points of view and with courtesy to allow others to disagree without rancor. Again, unusual in this day and age and with that it really feels like we’re sitting on barstools with a beer in front of us sometimes.

Speaking of beer drinking – who will be where before and after the game on Saturday?

Comment by Reed 08.25.14 @ 7:07 pm

Any listing for the 2 kickoff and 2 punt teams?

Comment by alcofan 08.25.14 @ 7:29 pm

alcofan – I don’t think they formally list the coverage teams because they change around so much. I did notice that there were a bunch of starters and 2nd string guys on those teams though – Orndoff, Weatherspoon, Garner, Vinopal, etc… Which I believe is a difference from what we saw last year and in 2012.

Its almost like Chryst finally realized how important special teams are.

Comment by Reed 08.25.14 @ 7:46 pm

Reed,

As always, great job and thank you for your time and incredible input. Like many have said before, I truly look forward to your posts and comments.

More than anything, I love reading about the team unity and respect. I agree that is such an important part of a team and something that makes me proud as an alum and fan.

Flying up for the Pirates game Friday and Pitt game Saturday. Can’t wait!!

Comment by JAM05Pitt 08.25.14 @ 7:49 pm

– according to Dokish tweet, PSU is 2nd youngest team in NCAA behind Pitt

– speaking of youth, Dravon Henry is starting at safety for WVU, Shell is 3rd team

Comment by wbb 08.25.14 @ 7:59 pm

Mike White says the starting QB for Delaware is Trent Hurley from Greensburgh Central.

Comment by alcofan 08.25.14 @ 8:09 pm

Good job Reed.

I actually think Ronald Jones has a good year. He is great in the open field. Wuestner will see some serious action also.

PC has implemented a true team mentality.

Go Pitt!

Comment by notrocketscience 08.25.14 @ 8:09 pm

I love the fact that Boyd is on the punt and kick return teams…You play to win the game. You do that by putting your best players on the field, not by keeping them off of the field to avoid injury.

Comment by HbgFrank 08.25.14 @ 8:14 pm

Reed, allow me to chime in and thank you for all the time and effort you put into your posts and follow-up comments. It really is “neat” to sign on and see what you have to say.

A big key for this offense is to minimize the negative plays that have haunted this team for 4 years – the drive killing sacks and untimely penalties that result in 2nd and 17, 3rd and 15 situations. I’m cautiously optimistic that the line will be better and Voytik’s mobility will help it look better, even if it isn’t.

Comment by Iron Duke 08.25.14 @ 8:18 pm

Reed: Thanks again for providing incredible information on the Panthers. Even for the most of my life when I lived in and around Pittsburgh this kind of solid and detailed info. on Pitt football was simply not available to the average fan (me) no matter how much I scoured the papers, watched TV sports news, listened to sports talk shows and listened to the occasional individual with supposedly “inside information” spout off. Nor was it available on the internet until I found the Blather blog with Chas and you. Thanks a million and Chas thank you for running the blog in a way that not only gives us your outstanding knowledge and insights but also provides Reed the forum and incentive to do his excellent and detailed reporting and analysis. Now something I’ve been wondering about for a long time. I know nothing about blogs. How do you pay for this and how do you guys get paid or do you simply do it for the love of Pitt football and other sports? There have to be expenses even if you do it for fun. I know traveling I 70 and the Turnpike and the costs of lodging and eating in Pittsburgh isn’t cheap Reed although it may cost less than Dr. Tom’s retirement addiction er hobby (golf). Chas is there something, however modest, that we readers can do without having to go through a pay wall? What I’m looking for is a way to keep you guys doing this for the long term. Thanks for all you guys do. HTP!

Comment by OPFIM 08.25.14 @ 9:15 pm

My daughter is a Blue Hen grad, however,

ala ganee genac, genac genac. When walk ons are mentioned///think of Wuestner…..a great find by Chryst.

Hail to Pitt! 2014 the year our pussycats grow into Panthers.

Comment by isnore99 08.25.14 @ 9:19 pm

Reed & Chas – I guess the best thing I can say is this site is the first place I go to everyday. Thanks for the great insights and thoughtful opinions. The posts this summer have been especially good.

Bring on the Hens!

Comment by Joe Lawrence 08.25.14 @ 10:05 pm

HbgFrank – Boyd will be on the field on pretty much every play on offense, so it isn’t like he’s being under-utilized or anything. I just don’t think the value added by having him return kicks is worth the increased risk of losing him to injury. We’ve got other good, fast return guys, but no other WRs like Boyd. Of course, I’d be more than happy to take that back if he starts racking up returns for TDs!

Comment by SteveS 08.25.14 @ 10:07 pm

Jordan Whitehead will be at the Pitt game on Saturday as an official visit. Try to remember that if things aren’t going well. I can recall some games in the past where fans acted pretty badly towards the players with recruits in the stands. It isn’t all on the school/coaches.

Comment by Nick 08.25.14 @ 10:32 pm

Now we need to transfer the excitement to the field. Well done gents. I enjoy all of your posts and appreciate the fact we can disagree on certain things but in the end, pull for the panthers. This is such a great week. Kids back on campus gets me psyched!

Let’s GO Pitt!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 08.25.14 @ 10:47 pm

This is the first of at least 3 official visits Whitehead is taking. The other two will be WVU and OSU, and wouldn’t doubt that Fanklin and Smith will be hounding him to come to Happy Valley.

Gameday atmosphere — can’t compete. Local school and a chance to play right away — A OK.

His former teammate, Robert Foster, is now listed as 2nd team WR behind a senior at Alabama — certainly no shame. But I wonder if he is having any 2nd thoughts as his contemporary Boyd has been in the spotlight since his vvery first game.

This would appear to be our best hope.

Comment by wbb 08.26.14 @ 6:26 am

OPFIM – those are good questions about the PITT Blather. Here are some answers:

Most importantly Chas is the owner and operator of this website and does a fantastic job for which he does not make a profit. I’ve never discussed $$ with him but I’d guess he operates it at a loss to himself. Chas is a lawyer and political junkie, with a political blog also, in Ohio so this is a labor of love for him – he has a full family and sometimes takes time away from them to administer this site and write some posts. Think of him as the Steve Pederson of the Blather…

So – once a year or so we formally ask that readers donate what they can to keep the up blog the way it is. I know in the past I’ve sent him a bit – lately I contribute in other ways. I do urge everyone who gets their daily enjoyment from this blog to seriously consider ponying up a little jack to Chas. I believe you can do that through the PayPal box on the right side of the homepage.

Like you guys this is the first thing I look at in the morning and when I get home from being out. Just like PBS I don’t think you can put a monetary value on something that is as fun and intellectually stimulation as this blog – so help Chas out when you can please.

One last thing on that. Chas is truly ‘hands off” when it comes to what I write and post on here. I’m a pretty level headed guy but one thing I absolutely wouldn’t abide is censorship in any way. I’ve never encountered that in the approx. seven years I’ve been contributing. In the beginning some commenters complained that my articles were too long but Chas had no problem with it. That alone made my trips to PGH worthwhile.

OK – that’s Chas and the Blather. As for me this is a ‘dedicated’ hobby because I really have no others except for reading, and writing fills a need in many different ways for me especially since I retired in ’11. Obviously I like PITT football and truly love the University. PITT was such a huge presence in my young life that it’s hard to describe. Grandfather was graduated from the new PITT law school back in the very early 1900′s, Grandmother a nursing grad way back when also; My Dad was a tenured PhD professor in the Grad School of Business for his career and my Mother was the Ass’t Dean of Women for years also – both parents grads of all levels of course. All my Aunts and Uncles either graduated from PITT or had full careers there – my uncle ran the Pathology department at Presby University, My brother runs a department at Hillman library where he’s worked for 40+ years, Other brother attended also, etc…. Weekend cocktail parties at our house were filled with PITT people from the Top Guy on down. I couldn’t get away from PITT even if I tried, which I did by serving in the Military for 33 years.

So PITT is way more to me than a football team and you can tell that by my strong opinions about how the team affects the university itself by negative publicity and also by the successful years. Truly though – if it ever seriously came down to football or the university’s sterling reputation I’d drop the football program without blinking. Even with that opinion I love PITT football and care about it in many different ways. It is that vested interest that gives me the pleasure to drive up and down to practices and games without $$ compensation. I can live without taking money from Chas and I stay with my best friend (since 2nd grade!) in the ‘Burg so all the costs I have really are gas, tolls, beer and food – which used to be cheap until PGH started getting all the great restaurants they have now.

Anyway, you can see I get carried away at the keyboard – the above is a long way of saying this is a labor of love for both Chas and myself.

Comment by Reed 08.26.14 @ 6:42 am

I agree with Steve S regarding Boyd’s role in the offense – too valuable to risk losing him, but I also see the need, especially with a young untested QB, to get yardage in any way possible and he’ll do that for us as a returner. I’ll either be right or wrong with this so we’ll see.

(BTW I just misspelled ‘yardage’ above and spell checker gave me ‘yarragadee’ as an alternative – it is an aquifer in Western Australia)

I guess I like Wuestner in part because of his military background with his dad being a full Colonel in the US Army. Chris is a disciplined kid, which a WR has to be, and has real talent so I think we see him on the field a lot in ’14 and as a starter in the future. When a walk-on is offered a scholarship before his first camp even ends you know the staff sees something special there.

I don’t really care about how well recruits we’ve missed or players that transfer to other schools do. For one reason I think that there are so many other factors for success at this level it isn’t surprising when one kid does well and another doesn’t. I wanted Shell to succeed at PITT but don’t get any pleasure when a kid who chooses elsewhere doesn’t do well. My whole take on recruiting is that we really have no idea who will be able to play college ball well until they have been in it for two years or so anyway, unless it is somelike Boyd, McCoy, Dorsett, etc.

Comment by Reed 08.26.14 @ 7:01 am

I’m interested in how our interior DL plays on Saturday. Hopefully they will play with a chip on their shoulders having something to prove. No better way to disrupt the spread offense than constantly harassing the QB. I’m patiently awaiting Luke Maclean’s coming out party, sure hope I hear his number called a lot on Saturday, this kid has great potential but has gotten zero press coverage in camp.

I’m nervous about Boyd returning kickoffs too but appreciate the fact that if in fact Coach is going to walk the walk and play to win, then this is simply another opportunity to get the ball in the hands of the most talented player on the team. It will be the responsebility of the other 10 Panthers on the field to do their jobs effectively by holding blocks or knocking guys on their cans straight away to protect Boyd’s health.

No matter how you cut it it truly demonstrates how the coaching staff has committed to improving the special teams play by utilizing so many starters on STs. Turning around this very weak aspect of our play, transforming it into a valuable asset instead could spell the difference, in itself, to winning an additional game or two this season.

There’s a vibe of Panther Pride that is palpable this preseason that I haven’t witnessed for many seasons. Let’s take care of business like we should against the Fighting Blue Hens and get this party started on the right foot! H2P!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.14 @ 7:17 am

You gotta love the positive energy on this board that comes with the opener a few days away! I am sure each of you share my enthusiasm and nervous excitement for the start of the season like only true football junkies can feel. So pumped.

I’ll also pile on the Chas and Reed love fest. Reed…your posts are the absolute best. Thank you. If I ever run into you pre or post game….beers are on me! I’m annoyed at the prospect of you even having to purchase a beer in this city. Same for you Chas. HTP!!!

Comment by FG 08.26.14 @ 7:25 am

When it comes to censorship, Chas is the best. He allows everyone an open forum including the anti-Pitt viewpoint, and when and only when a few (and one notable) posters have gone over the top, has he banned them.

What I especially like is that he does not have an issue with posters who doe not share his opinion. I know for a fact that he and I are on opposite poles when it comes to an opinion of a former coach, but unlike another Pitt blog, he will allow an opposing viewpoint to be shown.

I too am a little too addicted to this blog at times but it’s better than heroin I guess.

Comment by wbb 08.26.14 @ 7:44 am

Thank your Reed! Yes it NEVER gets old watching RichRod mumble through that post game presser after 13-9. Thanks for posting that. I watch it from time to time and send it to my Hoopie friends as well. A classic indeed!! H2P!!

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 08.26.14 @ 7:49 am

5 days to kickoff! Biggest fear is the defense. Greatest hope is…the defense. Maybe hcpc is a really good judge of talent not just in players but in coaches as well. My point is, everyone on this blog, and I mean everyone!…seems to have been dead wrong about the news strength and conditioning coach.

So my sincere hope for the season is, lets hope we were all wrong about Matt house too. Because if we were…then I think it’s going to be a great season.

Comment by DD 08.26.14 @ 8:16 am

@Reed

You asked where we will be at noon on Saturday. I will be playing very bad golf in a tournament. Hope to be home by 2pm. And, I cannot get ESPN3 here. So, I will be nervously searching for the score as soon as I get home. I will depend (and value) you and others to provide a rundown on our performance after the game.

I am happy to do a contribution via PayPal. Like wbb, I keep coming back to this site throughout each day. Works fits around my Blather reading.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 08.26.14 @ 8:18 am

It is great to know that there are a few of us that bleed blue and gold, no matter the variation, mustard etc. I agree 100% the University’s overall reputation is much more important than winning at all costs. That seems to be the best thing that Chryst has done so far, give us a group of guys we can be proud of on an off the field. Reed’s take on the new culture he felt at practice is telling, and I agree there seems to be a quiet confidence building within the program. It surely will be tested on the field, but any organization that is on the same page is stronger than one that is not.

If we can have a successful campaign this year, things will only get better.

Since I retired a year and a half ago, I have time to spend on my favorite hobby as well. I feel extremely lucky, thanks to Chas to have this forum to share the love with like minded Pitt Fans. Reed does such a great job providing information and opinion, he takes it too a new level.

I particularly enjoy the back and forth, the debate on the issues and the passion for the team and school. Maybe because I have a degree in Speech and Rhetoric ( My wife says I have a BA in BS) But I want to thank everyone for participating in the discourse, especially Reed.

I feel like I now a lot of you guys and especially respect those that hang in there during the off season.

It won’t be long before the casual fan, the negative nellies and the trolls return, then the real fun begins.

The game is not on TV so hopefully we will get a good turnout on Saturday.

I want to see a dominant ground game, and an efficient passing game. I also want to see some good plays on third down by the D.

It is probably too much to hope for a raucous crowd that keeps it’s mouth shut if things don’t go according to plan.

Comment by gc 08.26.14 @ 8:29 am

DD, hope you’re right about the S&C coach, but note that every such coach we ever had, including the previous one, had received raves by the players. As I recall, the issue with the current coach is that he is not certified/qualified (or whatever) for the position he has .. it was not that he wasn’t capable of being a good coach.

The issue with House is that he has arguably the 2nd most important position on the coaching staff but is extremely inexperienced. In fact, IMO, there are at least 2 position coaches under him that are more qualified.

And what really hurts is that there were a handful or better qualified candidates available with Pitt or Pgh ties, and yet they were bypassed.

Conjecture is that the opposing recruiters have used this against Pitt, and it has certainly been apparent in the last and current recruiting classes.

House may well up as a good DC and we all certainly hope he does … but at what cost? Most other BCS coordinators learn their trade from experience.

Comment by wbb 08.26.14 @ 8:37 am

Really glad to see all the love for Chas & Reed. I echo all the sentiments. It makes me feel good to know I am not alone in circling back around to the Blather – not just to read what they have to say but what all of you have to say. While Pitt Hoops is my focus, this time of year always brings me back to my first love – Pitt Football – we all know the East End of the 412 is most beautiful in the fall & if I close my eyes I can hear the PA system from the stadium just outside my childhood home a stones throw from the tailgates at the Syria Mosque. There is no doubt in my mind that HCPC has us trending in the right direction & if we can get improved OL play as well as some kids stepping up on D we could surprise some people! LETS DO THIS – H2P!!!

Comment by ptbreezeb 08.26.14 @ 8:39 am

every player interview seems to really like the program and enjoy the stability and style of HCPC. The old line if you can’t play for HCPC you can’t play for anyone. Look forward to a great season and I for one was very positive on the S&C hire. Especially bouncing rice cakes outa here.

Comment by chethejet 08.26.14 @ 8:41 am

Reed,

Visit the site every day, but not a frequent poster. Consider myself to be a willing, if not an intelligent, participant. Just want to thank you and Chas for all the effort. I know this site must consume an incredible amount of time for you both.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 08.26.14 @ 8:41 am

@DD, as FDR,so eloquently stated in one of his famous speeches, “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”. Don’t underestimate the value of an entire defensive system being in place the previous season.

This one fact alone will prove to be a huge advantage for our defense this year. In the college game key positions being vacated by team standouts are common place occurances. The elite teams simply plug in the star in waiting and reload. The good teams find the underclassman that’s motivated to step up his game and contribute. Pitt is turning into a good team and our defense will surprise many people this season if we stay healthy. The Aaron Donald effect will have a lingering presence on this squad going forward. His accomplishments created a void that guys like Mosley-Smith and Render feel obligated to fill. These guys will prove throughout the season that they will be up to the task, I assure you.

By the VT game, this will be a synergistic defensive unit that Pitt fans will be looking at in an entirely new light. My question is, will they be able to continue to up their game to win more contests during the much tougher second half of our season?

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.14 @ 8:45 am

We are in fact the die hards. Had some head turns one time, when I said Pitt’s die hards are every bit as impressive as any die hard from Michigan, Alabama or Ohio St.

They snickered with an “o come on”. Then I said, “listen to what I said”.

No, we don’t have the numbers, but there is no one that can tell me that there is anyone that loves Alabama, more than I love Pitt.

And easily can tell the same from fellow Blatherites.

They then got my point.

A die hard’s a die hard.

Hail to Pitt!!!!!

No heart palpitations in the 4th quarter, let’s open with a solid, convincing win!!

Comment by Dan 08.26.14 @ 8:51 am

Was checking odds update in Vegas and note that no line is now listed as Voytek is listed as “probable”. Anyone know if he’s hurt?

Comment by Dan 72 08.26.14 @ 9:45 am

In-Depth Blue Hen Article will be posted soon.

Comment by Reed 08.26.14 @ 9:48 am

They list Voytik as “probable” because Paul Chryst read my articles last week and said to himself ‘Gee, maybe Chad isn’t really as good as I thought’.

I think that was listed that way because of the length of time it took to declare a starter – that’s the only thing I can think of because I haven’t seen or heard of any injury to Voytik.

Comment by Reed 08.26.14 @ 10:20 am

“Saban not ready to name Tide’s starting QB” for the opener Saturday against WVCC.

Everyone is playing it close to the vest.

My thanks to Reed for his great reporting/analysis. Always a pleasure to read Reed. And thanks to Chas for making the Blather the best place on the interwebs.

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 08.26.14 @ 10:24 am

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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