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November 20, 2015

Preparing for Louisville

Filed under: Fans,Football — Chas @ 8:19 am

Since I, for one, am completely not used to this. This is NOT a noon game. Nor is it a 1 pm game. It is a 3:45 start time. Weird, I know. We’ll all try to cope.

And in light of the attacks in Paris last week, stadium security is back up to tight levels.

E.J. Borghetti, Pitt’s executive associate athletic director for media relations, said Wednesday that the university would take the same precautions as the Steelers did for their game Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Heinz Field is owned by the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and operated by PSSI Stadium Corp., an entity linked to the Steelers.


Fans and employees will be required to open their outerwear, and security guards will pat down those entering the stadium.

Some people also may be asked to empty their pockets, depending on the circumstances.

The school is discouraging bags at the game, although clear, one-gallon zip-closed plastic bags will be allowed.

Expect long lines and give yourself plenty of time to feel violated.

Outside the stadium will be the usual events plus, the Allstate Tailgate Tour hits Pitt. It’s part of those ads you have seen during college football games this year that includes the contest to win a trip to the Sugar Bowl, the playoff championship game in Arizona, and $100K. Per the press release the Tailgate Tour is a “unique and interactive fan experience.” So, whoo-hoo.

Shifting off the field, there’s been a bit of news about the Steelers committing to the shared UPMC practice facility and upgrades/updates. Pitt just finished a lot of updates/upgrades on its side. Now it is also considering converting one of its outdoor practice field to a synthetic turf.

If Pitt decides to swap one of its natural grass fields in favor of synthetic turf, that could push the costs of switching back and forth just one practice field to more than $1.5 million over the 15-year lifespan of the facility.

The facility opened in 2000 under athletic director Steve Pederson and head football coach Walt Harris with two grass fields. In May 2007, athletic director Jeff Long and head football coach Dave Wannstedt opted to make the switch to a Sportexe synthetic turf on one of the fields, so that Pitt could practice outdoors in all weather conditions.

Six years later, in the summer of 2013, head football coach Paul Chryst and Mr. Pederson, by then rehired as athletic director, made the change back to natural grass on both surfaces, since it’s the surface that Pitt plays on most often. Pitt’s home, Heinz Field, and nine of the other 13 ACC stadiums have natural grass.

Not sure why both fields needed to be grass. That seemed to be more of a preference by the coach, than any great leap of logic. The reason is simply wear and tear by this time of year.

“You think about the wet, moist, even in the fall and summer mornings, [natural grass] can get pretty slick late in the year,” he [athletic director Scott Barnes] said. “It gets torn up pretty good. Inclement weather, just a little bit, where you get to a certain level of weather and you’ve got to head in [to the indoor field]. We’d like to be outside more when we can and have the opportunity to do more on synthetic.”

Right now, if Narduzzi wants a synth field, just give it to him. Given the number of openings — already — it’s a seller’s market for coaches. Right, Houston?

As for Louisville, they have rebounded from a 0-3 start to be at 6-4. Some can argue that Louisville isn’t that good, based on their wins.

The Cardinals (6-4, 5-2) have won four in a row.

Among the recent victories are three-, one- and seven-point decisions against Boston College, Wake Forest and Virginia. Petrino said that’s a sign of “young guys growing up.”

“Guys have been able to make plays when the pressure has been on,” he said. “It’s fun to see how much smarter we are than we were earlier in the year.”

Given some of Pitt’s wins and their margins, I don’t know how many stones we should be tossing.

For Pitt, as much as the offense should be better — especially in the first half of games. Go figure head coach Pat Narduzzi thinks the defense should be better. Though, he seems to be willing to concede it won’t necessarily be this year.

This season, under a more aggressive system installed by Narduzzi and coordinator Josh Conklin, sacks (29) and tackles for a loss (67) are up 53 percent and 24 percent from last year, even with three games left.

Pitt is ranked 13th and 46th in the nation, respectively, in those categories. Last season, Pitt was 102nd in sacks and 120th in TFLs.

Narduzzi’s reality, however, is that full understanding of the defense takes time — much more than Pitt has left this season.

“Are they there yet? Probably not,” he said. “Will they be there this year or next year? Probably not.”

Not looking to rehash things from the Chryst era, but the parting with Huxtable after the first year really, really looks bad from the start of the article.

The defense is ranked 25th in the nation in yards allowed (340 per game) and is aiming toward its first top-30 finish since 2012 when it was 17th under one-year coordinator Dave Huxtable, a coach who pushed his players hard.

It’s only a slight exaggeration to state the Pitt defense hasn’t been able to hold a lead since.

Slight.





You may want remember tomorrow as you enter Heinz, that a French stadium security guard probably saved several lives a week ago today.

Yes, the probability is low and it’s a royal PIA, but it could be worse.

Comment by wbb 11.20.15 @ 8:31 am

@@@@@@

Louisville HQs for coaching lowlifes Petrino (hide your
daughters) and Pitino ( he of the sex on the table and hookers
for hire). How did we ever get hooked up with these guys?
ACC said WVU was unworthy then took these guys.

Comment by JR 11.20.15 @ 9:10 am

TV markets JR. Everything else means very little. Every set of eyeballs in wv can watch wvu & it wouldn’t make a dent. The Big 12 took them to deliver Pgh, which Pitt already gave the ACC.

Comment by Nick 11.20.15 @ 10:15 am

@Comment by Nick 11.20.15 @ 10:15 am

I can’t believe both those guys are still employed – let alone by the same school. Louisville should be ashamed of themselves.

Comment by BostonsCommon 11.20.15 @ 10:31 am

Win baby///WIN!! Winning brings in $$$$$$$$.

Screw morality////Lousville just wants the moola.

Comment by isnore 11.20.15 @ 10:48 am

When Peterson left, many clamored for Louisville’s AD for Pitt. He declared he was not leaving. He had it too good there.
=free hookers!

Comment by Caw Miller 11.20.15 @ 11:45 am

These are the comment from the post I just took down.

Oklahomeboy
Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 1:34 pm

@Dan 72We make that prediction about Pitts every week. In his defense he held his own against Duke.

WarrenPAnther Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 1:31 pm

Hopefully all the current season ticket holders got the note that they could put in to pre-buy Pitt/PSU extra tickets up to the amount of season tickets they hold. I requested my additional 8 seats to go with my 8 season tickets. No PSU folks sitting in them. Friend of mine did the same thing so if everybody did the same thing hopefully not to many of the PSU crowd there. I will let the seats go empty rather than scalp them to a PSU fan if I can’t fill them for some reason!!!!!

Yeti Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 1:09 pm

While I think we would all like to see higher attendance numbers, I don’t see any significant change for a couple years. Pittsburgh is not a large city and the population as a whole has a very average income. It will take more than a couple wins in one season for the casual fan to part with their money. If next season is better, a lot of hype surrounds the Pitt/PSU game and Pitt beats PSU, I believe that will begin to move the needle toward higher attendance. Some lost souls may re-engage next year but I think the true step-change will occur two years from now. To summarize, just win.

Nick Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 11:57 am

There will always be cheap tix. notre dame fans buy season tix to guarantee themselves a good seat & sell the rest for whatever they can get. psu people will do the same next year.

BostonsCommon Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 11:36 am

@Comment by gc 11.20.15 @ 9:44 am
I bet Pitt sets an attendance record next year. PSU back on the schedule – potentially coming off a top 25 season…
Season ticket sales will be through the roof.

Dan 72 Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 11:35 am

Louisville will go after Pitts with everything they have. They
beat him like a rented mule 2 years ago.
It was a close game at the half. First play of second half a Bridgewater bomb over Pitts for a 68 TD. It was all over for Pitt
After that.

gc Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 11:11 am

Lower Bowl tickets available under $10, not a good sign.

gc Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 11:08 am

Tyrique Jarrett is probable, which is really good news. Must put pressure on their QB, he is a very good pocket passer.
Big test for the offense tomorrow, especially the line against the Louisville front seven. Need to establish the run early.

gc Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 10:02 am
We need the next Tony Siragusa, Sean Gilbert or Aaron Donald.

pmdH2P Submitted on 2015/11/20 at 9:45 am

Thanks, Reed. I know you say that this is an easy cut and paste. Just want you to know that is valued by us. You going to the game tomorrow?
H2P (no)

Comment by Reed 11.20.15 @ 1:59 pm

It just seems to me that a team that is 7-5 with a chance to do better should draw a few more fans than the routine. I really think the Parkway closure is hurting this week. The casual fan is not going to head towards town from the east this weekend.

Agree with BC that PSU helps overall ticket sales, but I am more concerned with actual attendance. I know a lot of PSU fans that bought season tickets this year so they could get them next year. One reason for no shows, and availability on stubhub.

The overall question is what can Pitt do, besides winning to increase its fanbase and game attendance?

Comment by gc 11.20.15 @ 2:33 pm

I see Pitt winning the Louisville game in similar fashion to Duke. Starting off slow and getting into sync in the 2nd quarter. The pass rush will record 3-4 sacks and at least one int in the 3rd or 4th quarter. Ollison will run for another 100 yards and Boyd will make several big plays as well as JW. What we have seen from Pitt is consistency and improvement from week to week. Not yet elite but need more skilled players to compete with upper tier of ACC and NCAA.

Comment by The Big D 11.20.15 @ 2:55 pm

@Comment by gc 11.20.15 @ 2:33 pm

Nothing – It’s been the same for 50 years.

Sellouts for ND/PSU/WVU

50k-ish when they’re good

40k-ish when they stink

You’re not going to change the population of Pittsburgh, the number of alumni and fans, or the fact that this is probably the smallest metro with 3 professional sports teams.

Attendance will never change.
There will never be an on campus stadium.
Penn State will always suck.
We will always pay taxes.
We will all die.

Comment by BostonsCommon 11.20.15 @ 3:04 pm

Don’t forget BC that Mark Madden “The Super Genius” will always dominate the ratings airwaves. Haha. Talked about Pitt for what, two whole days?

Comment by tedsptman 11.20.15 @ 3:20 pm

@BostonsCommon, truer words have not been spoken.

Those of us that were at Pitt Stadium can attest to the exact same thing then as it is now.

Heinz yellow seats are Pitt Stadiums end zones of the 70’s and 80’s.

Just the way it is. We’re a 35K-45K fan base.

Nothing to be ashamed about or embarrassed about, we’re not a giant state school churning out 15K thousand new fans every year.

Now, besides those games against PSU, ND, WVU maybe Clemson, Florida State or some other big time program……………

you know, the other 5 home games a year, the YSU’s, Virginia’s, MAC teams, UNC

what to do about the yellow seats???????

What do we know??

1. It’s not pleasing. Not pleasing to the eye to anyone. The fans, the coaches, the ad, the president and certainly not the players.

2. We’re not getting an OCS. Even if I give you that there is some slim, tiny chance…..it won’t be for years.

3. As much as I think HCPN is here long term, because really, if he does make us a top 20 program, it will be up to Barnes and Gallagher when the time comes, if it ever does.

However, any human being, would find after building a program up after 3 or 4 years, would become depressed and disconcerted to see 5 of your 6 home games having thousands of empty yellow seats.

My proposal and laugh and crack away as you must………LOL

But, I propose, that the 500 sections on both upper tiers and the 500 sections in the end zone be covered with tarps.

Stop laughing for a minute. I mean done professionally. First class, not a bunch of students doing it. Having them professionally cut and fitted. Either dark black and completely nothing on them. Or, maybe dark blue, with a huge
“Hail To Pitt” on them in gold.

Whatever, whoever would see fit.

Now, as you are done laughing, I will give you this one stat, the quick seating count by me, it would remove about 16K-20K seats.

That would give us, the 40K-45K seat stadium. Much more closed in and confined.

When the big games come, the tarps don’t go on and you have your 65K.

Here is a pic.

link to seatgeek.com

Comment by Dan 11.20.15 @ 4:04 pm

Seriously, look at the seatgeek chart I linked.

In your mind, block the 500 sections out.

There’s your 40-45K stadium.

Comment by Dan 11.20.15 @ 4:05 pm

When I was at Wallace Wade Stadium, I could not help but think that all we needed was that stadium , only having it enclosed around the scoreboard end … and the concession stands to be enclosed. (those who were there would know what I’m talking about)

Comment by wbb 11.20.15 @ 4:15 pm

Comment by wbb 11.20.15 @ 4:16 pm

The day they tarp any part of Heinz for Pitt games is the day I start caring less about the program. A big expanse of tarp is as bad to my eyes as a block of yellow seats blurring together into one monstrous blob.

Comment by deepelemblues 11.20.15 @ 4:18 pm

@@@@@@

Winning key games will get us to 50k…..which is better than
most teams in the conference. Huge land grant one horse college teams will always do better. Better days ahead for
Pitt.

Comment by JR 11.20.15 @ 4:27 pm

Bill Hillgrove turned 75 today

Comment by wbb 11.20.15 @ 4:27 pm

Well, to that, I guess I say, hope you enjoy
the yellow seats for the next 20 years.

Cause, no matter what Narduzzi does,

Pitt will always have 35K-45K for

Boston College, Virginia, Toledo, Villanova,
NC ST., Georgia Tech, Bowling Green, Marshall, North Carolina, Syracuse

Louisville tomorrow.

et al.

I guess, like Clint says at the end of High Plains Drifter, I should just

“live with it”.

Actually, I have…I will, but it ain’t no fun seeing all that yella!!!!

Comment by Dan 11.20.15 @ 4:36 pm

@JR, that would be great, 50K for every game is nothing to sneeze at.

That’s a good solid college football crowd.

Thing is, even with that, 50K in a 65K seat stadium still looks empty.

Anyhow, I was just thinking out loud above.

I’m resigned to the facts!

Comment by Dan 11.20.15 @ 4:44 pm

My bad thinking. Gesling Carnegie Mellon stadium is about one mile from the Cathedral. Holds 3500. Grass field. Lot of open land. Have there ever been any talks with them.

link to google.com

Comment by Frank MD 11.20.15 @ 4:57 pm

3:45 start much better for drinking purposes.

No Games should EVER start at Noon. As we get better we should be able to dictate that.

BBall Game Tonite 8pm….Pitt is favored by 17.5 pts

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 5:04 pm

The Empty seat problem is a TV camera problem.

When CBS/Espn/whoever….want to limit at home viewing audiences seeing lots of empty seats for whatever game they’re covering…they do it.

We’ve all seen the tricks they use to do this. Low camera angles, no wide pans of the stands. Tight camera shots showing that section of the stands being packed, etc. etc. They even don’t move the camera up, when they want to, to follow the flight of the punt…when they want to limit, you seeing empties in the upper sections of these stadiums.

So I noticed when the game is only on the ACC network the cameramen will limit you seeing the empties. And it hasn’t been as bad this year with ESPN as it has been in the past.

So perhaps The ACC is looking out for Pitt a little bit and applying some pressure, to limit the wide pans.

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 5:17 pm

There’s only so many entertainment dollars to go around in Pittsburgh, the economy is not great and I don’t see it getting much better, unless there is a 180 degree change in Gov’t and more higher paying jobs are created.

Pitt will sell-out against the teams you expect as we have since the ’70’s. We probably did against those same teams in the 50’s and 60’s dunno.

Against a lesser opponent, not so much. I guess it could be done. We’d have to field a team similar to the ’76 team or early ’80’s, meaning in the National Title picture.

And then make being at Pitt football games, the cool thing to do in Pittsburgh, similar to when we had the great years in the BigEast for basketball.

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 5:26 pm

You wimps and your bitching about noon games! 50% of B12 and western B10 games have a 11 am start time, and they have no issue with attendance.

Comment by wbb 11.20.15 @ 5:37 pm

Also I still think Pitt needs to ring the stadium with student mini-sections, as their enthusiasm ringing the field would make a huge difference in the atmosphere of the game, as they do at The Pete.

You could still have one main Student Section like they do now, however you could ring, say the first 5-10 rows of seats around the entire stadium with students. A lot of those seats aren’t very desirable anyway, as they’re actually too low, for optimal viewing of the game, and sometimes they are empty anyway.

If you had students if front of each section of seating, ringing the stadium….it would make a huge game atmosphere difference and their energy would infuse all the old f*cks in each section.
🙂

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 5:38 pm

.. and I leave around before 8 am for noon games in Pgh.

Comment by wbb 11.20.15 @ 5:39 pm

~ wbb Huge Land Grant Uni’s

The ones that aren’t (similar to Pitt) are TCU in DFW draw similar to Pitt.

TCU’s stadium capacity is 45,000

The other one is Baylor. Seating capacity is 45,140

Additionally, Iowa State was 55,000 until this year. And Kansas is only 50,000. And just for good measure, K-STate is only 53,000.

So they aren’t trying to fill a 68,000 seat stadium

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 5:46 pm

Nor could they.

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 5:48 pm

Interesting enough, TCU’s & Baylor’s climb to the elite in college football…coincided with their new or refurbished football stadiums.

If Pitt wants to ‘fast track’ it….build a stadium.

It worked in basketball.

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 6:05 pm

I don’t agree that Pitt can’t improve attendance.

The economy is what it is, not bad for most, and Pitt tickets are the most affordable game in town.

Pitt’s marketing has always been dismal. Needs to improve. Barnes and Narduzzi will make a difference. You don’t have to have a Pitt degree to be a Pitt Fan.

Pitt needs to spend money to build up the events, there are only 6 or 7 a year. Spend the appropriate amount of the ACC money on marketing and it will pay dividends.

Work with the hotels to create special offers to out of town Pitt Fans to come home for a football weekend. Fraternity and sorority reunions, sport team, grad school, band reunions reunions etc.

How many graduates have never been back to Pittsburgh since they left?

Duke offered free tickets to the military. Someone suggested Policemen, Firemen etc, why not? Maybe they would enjoy it enough to come back on their own dime.

Close the upper deck of the Endzone, unless it is needed. Just do something to consolidate the fans that do come.

Give the students the best seats in the House, put them right behind the players bench, after all, it is college football. The Zoo works pretty well, have one for football.

Comment by gc 11.20.15 @ 6:09 pm

Emel what’s wrong with Pittsburgh’s economy? The recent downturn in gas and oil prices notwithstanding, PGH is chugging right along. No boom no bust, but steady growth. Every ranking I see, Pgh metro area is top 20-25 in the country in overall economic indicators. It ain’t Austin, but it’s not Cleveland either.

I don’t mean to call you out but you sure like to cap on Pittsburgh. Bad weather, bad economy, crony politics, etc. It’s not 1980. Ok the weather still sucks in Jan and Feb I’ll give you that.

The economy sure has nothing to do with Pitt attendance. Cheapest ticket in town by far. The price of Penguin tickets is ridiculous, and the NHL is boring as hell right now, but they have no trouble selling out. I think they’re going on 10 years of consecutive sell outs. The Pirates set a new record this year, and we all know the Steelers print money.

Pitt has a smallish fan base in a pro town and they’ve done nothing but disappoint on the field for an entire generation. Sometimes I’m amazed they have the following that they do.

Win and more people will come. I already see people coming out of the woodwork thanks to Narduzzi. I’ve seen more Pitt gear this year than I’ve seen in a long time. A winning Pitt program will average 50-55k consistently.

See you got my Yinzer pride all jacked up…

Comment by Iron Duke 11.20.15 @ 6:31 pm

lol Iron Duke.

I was talking about the overall economy in general, nationwide.

Record number of people on Gov’t assistance.

The crony politics is nationwide as well, however PA is always near the top of the list for that.

I can be self-critical and still be proud of Pittsburgh.

Again this is supposed to be ‘family’ on here.
Sheesh ! lol

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 7:01 pm

Do people know that one of every 5 kids in America go to bed each nite hungry…live in poverty ?

All is not what it appears to be, according to the news.

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 7:02 pm

Which is why I find it absolutely astonishing these idiots want to bring in even more people into the USA.

And we can’t even take care of the American citizens we have here.

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 7:04 pm

Agree Iron Duke…with the administrative f*cups that Pitt has been blessed with the last 30 years and the mediocrity of the football program and everything else (to much to list and we all know it).

Pitt drawing 45-50K for 2nd rate opponents is what TCU & Baylor are drawing at max for 1st rate opponents.

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 7:08 pm

Ha, ok man. I know a lot of people are struggling. A lot of people are doing very well also. I’m not sure any of it is impacting Pitt attendance.

Comment by Iron Duke 11.20.15 @ 7:12 pm

Emel, the Red River rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma more often than not begins at 11

Iowa and Wisc both start at 11 for some of their games.

I’m just saying that we bitch about 12 … they start at 11

Comment by wbb 11.20.15 @ 7:15 pm

BTW, I and everyone I know are doing pretty well financially … I was in dire straits in 09 and now I’m better off than I ever was

Comment by wbb 11.20.15 @ 7:18 pm

Avg income for middle class has dropped, dropping many of those into the ‘working poor’.

Middle Class is shrinking as a result.

Yes the top 2% is doing very well. I guess when you drop a couple trillion into the Stock Market, it can have that effect.

I personally am not doing bad, but I tend to look at the nation as a whole when I look at the economy.

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 7:19 pm

If they want to play at 11..let them. I think Texas and Okie folks would show up at 6am. lol

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 7:22 pm

Probably Stiller fans too.

Give me a towel to wave.

Btw the effect of the Terrible Towel was supposed to be used….ONLY For Playoff Games per Myron.

Using it too often, as we’ve seen the last several years….lessens it mystical powers. ha

Might be even having a reverse effect with all the injuries to key players.

Comment by Emel 11.20.15 @ 7:25 pm

Well for those of us that can afford to splurge once in a while (Thanks to our splendid Pitt Education), I recommend a Pitt Football weekend at one of the fine hotels in town.

Omni Wm Penn, Renaissance Pgh, Fairmont Pgh, Hotel Monaco, Westin Convention, Wyndym Grand, Courtyard Penn Ave., I have stayed in all of them except the new Hotel Monaco, and they are all great and convenient to Heinz. There are also several new ones near the stadium. There are fantastic restaurants all over the city and great night life for every age group.

Do yourself a favor and experience a game weekend with your wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, they will thank you.

Besides, Football is what we do to forget about the economy. lol

Comment by gc 11.20.15 @ 7:33 pm

link to washingtonpost.com

While you are in town.

And I don’t even work for the Chamber of Commerce.

Comment by gc 11.20.15 @ 7:40 pm

Trust me….Signed up for 8 tixs for Pedo St. game next yr assuming they are honored. If I end up with a stomach flu, no State College prick will get those tickets. I will eat the entire cost before that scum uses our seats. Yeti….Agreed! Would not sell them just in case. Would require blood relatives to use them. Do not resell them…..I give as a gift since our home field is a joke. Glad to have interested parties after I get lambasted for cheering too loudly…..God forbid. Most stadiums get applauded for such behavior, but not here. Argument for another day. Show vs The Ville and cheer loudly for the good guys!

Comment by ck 11.20.15 @ 11:52 pm

Emil…. Love your idea of surrounding the stadium with crazies 5 deep from the ground up. Everyone loves the Zoo. Why not apply it to football? Lord knows we need non-tradtional ideas. Did you see Iowa fans up our asses? Do not need joke regarding Sandusky and the cult.

Comment by ck 11.21.15 @ 12:17 am

I have to admit I do not know how other teams do it. Perhaps there are such huge fan bases, but there were years I had to miss every game of the year outside Labor Day weekends due to my kid’s games … because of kickoff times. I cannot be in the minority to pick my own child’s games over Pitt. Are Big 10 fans defunct parents? Yep… got to be alumni bases. After 4 decades, we cannot find enough sellouts to fill in for parents that have to coach or watch their kids play their own games? Kills me. Most Pitt fans probably give away their tixs or should.

Comment by ck 11.21.15 @ 12:31 am

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