We get to see the Panthers 2014 version play their first game tomorrow and I’m sure you guys are excited as I am. Last night I sat in the car while my wife was shopping and I tried to gather all the info I know and all the opinions I have and come out with some sort of handle on what the PITT team will be like this year.
Not an easy thing to do. You guys have read what I’ve observed and thought about the different segments of the football program and the team itself over the last six weeks. You’ll formulated your own opinions and will watch each week unfold to see if PITT was “we were what we thought we were’. That’s what is so much fun about football at this level. Things change so drastically not only season to season but week to week.
So, this morning I wake up and read Jerry DiPaloa’s opinion piece on the team in his Pitt Locker Room Blog and I thought – that’s putting a finger on it. DiPaola is an interesting guy. He’s not a rah-rah PITT booster but has an edge of cynicism to him when discussing the team so when I read his thoughts this morning I was surprised at how optimistic he is.
He included an interesting take on how Chryst approaches player’s attitudes:
Chryst has Pitt pointed in the right direction. He recruits players who love the game, and he doesn’t worry about how many stars recruiting services place next to their names. He demands accountability and respect for the game. He has no sympathy for those players who believe they can get by on talent and don’t work hard enough to nourish it.
“Calling Mr. Shell… Mr. Shell… there is a message at the front desk for you.”
Then following that DiPaola relates a conversation he had with a player who was unhappy with his position coach:
Chryst also loves coaching because of the bond he shares with his players. Most of them genuinely like him. There was a player at Pitt not long ago complaining to me about a member of Chryst’s staff. The player found it necessary to add this: “Not Chryst,” he said. “Coach Chryst is the man.” I found it interesting and instructive that the player spent only one season under Chryst, really didn’t know him all that well.
Then he lays out his prediction on the season’s win total which should make us all smile. Of course, he is banking on a few things to click into place for his predictions to happen but that’s what all of us rely on also. Anyway, read the blog article and feel a bit better this morning about what we may seen unveiled tomorrow at noon.
Speaking of predictions here are three guys from Bleacher Report who also have stars in their eyes, and a very positive view, when it comes to PITT’s season. The writer of the article goes on to give his game by game breakdown and why things will happen the way he thinks they will. I think it is kind of funny that everyone who has commented on the Panthers this preseason has said the same thing (below) but with wildly differing predictions.
The Panthers have had plenty of play-making WRs and RBs over the last decade, but they haven’t had a solid offensive line in a long time and a mobile playmaking QB since Tyler Palko. The fate of Pitt’s season will likely depend on QB play, the O-line, and the ability of the defense to gel together.
All pretty positive stuff for the Friday morning before the opener but let’s face it – you are going to be spending your workday cruising the Internet looking at PITT football stuff anyway and I just wanted to save you a bit of time. I’ll be driving up in the morning and hanging around the Red 7C parking lot tailgates – I’m the weirdly tall guy with a white hat on.
OTHER BITS & PIECES:
– Werner of the P-G’s take on the Delaware QB. The headline is misleading in itself but a nice background piece. Here is Werner’s “Three Things” article from the 26th. It has a nice sidebar going through the 2014 games.
– PITT News has ramped up their reporting over the last few years and I suggest we add that on our daily list of site we look at to satiate our PITT football appetite. Here is a piece on the OL and Clemmings. Also, as if these students are experts at it, here is their take on how to tailgate at Heinz Field on game days. Actually it is well written and informative but the left out the part where it is required for PITT students to leave at the end of the 3rd quarter so they can start getting their drink on in preparation for the Saturday night meat swap.
I love this quote at the end of the article: “Last rule: tailgating isn’t a one-time event. It’s an ongoing commitment.” Of course actually attending and watching the games obviously isn’t but why split hairs right?
– Here is Chris Dokish’s Panther’s Prey blog with his take on the program, staff and football team. It is very in-depth and not as negative as he almost always is. His predictions and grades are there also. Good stuff. I like his writing, don’t agree with it all the time but I tend not to read the comments as much as they tend to degenerate.
– Here is a great video from Pitt Live Wire with Pat Bostick talking about our new MLB Matt Galambos. I’ve read some comments here and elsewhere about Galambos’ “lack of speed” but that isn’t the case. Not only is he quick but he seems to get that great first step which gets him to the ball carrier. BTW – Pitt Live Wire is a great inside view of all things PITT football. One sided of course but a very nice website.
– For those of you who have a Rivals subscription they have a new weekly piece where Pat Bostick contributes his “The Bostick Breakdown” and it is really well done. Holy Hell! Bostick does a great job with his fantastic knowledge of college football’s intricacies to give an extensive and detailed review of our opponent and how PITT should do against them. BTW – he’s a great person to talk with about the team, just an all around great guy and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets snatched away from this level of broadcasting at some point – he’s that good and that well respected.
I’m not a shill for Rivals so I don’t have a dog in the hunt as they say but if you are a PITT fan who really needs as much good info and opinion on PITT as possible then a Rivals monthly subscription is worth it. Or… you can just read my stuff that I steal from Chris Peak anyway. Just kidding, the only thing I take away from his stuff is his camp practice’s two-deep listing as I’ve no short term memory left. He’s the best in the area I think.
That’s all folks, start getting your game face on and your liver tuned up. Here’s a drinking tip: Imbibe as much as you can without passing out. That way you can say you were at the win even if you don’t remember any of it and, should the worst happen and we get upset, you won’t feel any pain afterward.