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February 26, 2016

FB Bits & Pieces; 2/26/16

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 2:41 pm

Chris Peak has his weekly Rivals.Com podcast and speaks about Pitt football’s Junior Day (which I thought we already had done – apparently there are more to come).  Anyway, at the 13:00 minute mark Chris talks about how the upcoming Pitt-Duke BB game could be a “big day” for Pat Narduzzi as we are hosting rising SR players from the HS ranks.  Peak thinks the fact that 20 of the prospective visitors have Pitt offers means that the football staff is still paying very close attention to these kids… which works well apparently due to the results of their 2016 recruiting class.

Apparently we need to lock Clariton’s 5* (Rivals.com rankings) CB  Lamont Wade up as soon as possible then sequester him somewhere no one else can talk to him.  Four 4* will be there: Central’s LB David Adams, Seton La Salle’s DB Paris Ford will represent the local area.  From afar we’ll have Virgina  kids DE Jordan Williams and LB Ellis Brooks travelling to Oakland and  spending their own money to visit.

Honestly, I think that last point may be as important as anything else.  It’s one thing to get a kid on campus from Clariton but have them drive up from somewhere where they have to pay for the drive, meals and probably a hotel is a different story – that means they are interested.

Chris makes a good point about these BB games/events where Pitt brings in FB recruits to visit the campus and watch the game – who wins or loses doesn’t matter.  It is the atmosphere that is important.  Remember these are non-official visits so they can do it as many times as they like.

An interesting point about unofficial visits is that a school really can’t pay for or provide anything… except admission to three home athletic events… which includes FB games.  All those visits without athletic events are unlimited except they can’t happen during a recruiting season’s “Dead Period”

Here is a P-G piece on Tyler Boyd’s take on himself while he’s at the NFL Beauty Pageant / Combine .

“I [felt] coming out of high school that I was capable of taking a couple handoffs in the backfield because I was experienced at that position and I felt comfortable,” Boyd said. “We talked about that prior to the season, and it was a way to create more ways for me to touch the ball other than lining up at receiver.”

Huh, if taking handoffs outside your position is a positive for a player than Jordan Whitehead might be a 1st round pick.

I’m starting to think that maybe this season we get another DB used to playing Safety and get Whitehead the ball more on offense… maybe even think about getting him there almost full time for 2017. Put some weight on that kid and he’ll get major yards on the ground…

Before anyone says “What would that do to his NFL chances?”  I say that’s probably not relevant as he’s that good of an athlete; when he’s in college he needs to be used to win our football games.

In that same article we have PSU’s Hackenberg talking about this – like it is a huge detriment…

“There was a ton of adversity. But it was stuff you’re going to deal with at this level. You see it year in and year out. Changing systems. New coaches. New personnel. So, it was a great experience for me. Having the opportunity to do that at 18, 19 years old, it’s only prepared me for the rest of my career.”

Not a sheckle, not a soupcon, not “a lot”, not “a pound”, not “a kilo”, but a TON.  Really, I’m surprised he’s still alive after that harrowing experience.

Hmmm, funny Boyd didn’t use that same situation as an excuse for his drop in production.  A “ton of adversity”…OK that was terrible and I’m pretty sure no other D1 player has ever have to work under two different coaching staffs like Hackenberg did.

Hey, Maybe that’s why Tino didn’t win a Heisman! He had to play under three different staffs.  I knew there was a good reason for him missing out on that.

The Pitt News has an interesting article about the possibilities of new development of West Oakland and Uptown.  Good ideas but Scott Barnes’ sticky note about a new on-campus stadium must have fallen off the board.

Here is a good contrast between the popularity of sports at Pitt and the nation in general.  We all know about James Conner and his fight with cancer – it has been so highly publicized that any Pitt fan would be hard pressed to miss any latest news on it…

Pitt also has another athlete that has had bout with cancer and it seems no one has heard anything about it – at least I haven’t seen anything in the Pitt football news and media outlets I look through every morning…. Not recently anyway.

(Jonathon) Finger was a first year, and the leading scorer for Pitt’s D2 club hockey team with no prior medical history, so there was no reason to suspect anything serious that first night in 2014. But when the pain persisted and Finger returned back to the hospital a few days later, doctors realized something was wrong.

The following month, his doctors diagnosed Finger with stage four peripheral T-cell lymphoma — a very rare blood cancer that causes white blood cells to grow abnormally in the body.

By the time he was diagnosed, the cancer had spread all the way into Finger’s bone marrow. In search of answers to his waning health, Finger left school.

“The idea that it could be cancer came up from the very beginning,” Finger said. “However, from the initial scans, they weren’t able to determine that. They had to do surgeries to get tissues for biopsies before they could come to a definitive answer.”

Now, a little over two years after his diagnosis, Finger, 21, has returned to the ice and is finishing up his junior year of college — even switching majors to pursue a career in physical therapy after seeing the field’s benefits firsthand.

Young Mr. Finger’s story is, to me, as thrilling as James Conner’s is.  Finger’s parents were relentless with pursuing the best possible treatments for their son and it circled back to the Hillman Cancer Center (Thanks Elsie!) where he finished his treatments and got another lease on life. Both seem like great young men with bright futures and not just on the field of play either.

Just as Conner has his Charitable organization so does Finger – “Pucks for Johnny” –  take a look and help if you can.

(By the way – am I the only guy on here who reads the Pitt News’ website?) 

Mike Vukovcan has his daily items about Pitt recruits getting offers elsewhere.  This article talks about our next star QB – if you believe some Pitt fans. It would help to have his name on the dotted line two years from now before we start counting the TD passes:

2018 Pine-Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec, possibly the #1 overall quarterback prospect in the country, will be on campus this weekend. “I’m excited for the visit to Pitt and I’m looking forward to seeing the facilities, talking to the coaches and also watching a good basketball game (Pitt vs.  Duke).

Despite only being a sophomore, Jurkovec (6-5, 190) already has offers from Pitt, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Temple, Tennessee, UCLA, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

For the BB fans here is a piece from Vukovcan about the “Big Guns (They Get It!) attending the SYR game and a nice little video on the post-game celebration.

VIDEO COFFEE BREAKS: Let’s try something new.  When I write up something for your workday pleaseure and Pitt sports fixes I’ll post up a few videos you can watch when you should be working.  To start here is a page from Pitt’s LiveWire site that lists some sports highlights:  Here is today’s offerings:

15 Memorable Moments from 2015  Complied by Pitt’s Casey Garrow.  Here are some nice pieces put together by the Pitt athletic department’s Casey Garrow who is rising the ladder as a sports journalist.

In case anyone was wondering here is a list of Panthers in the NFL:

PITTSBURGH PANTHERS IN THE NFL

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo
Darrelle Revis, CB, NY Jets
Aaron Donald, DL, St. Louis
Jabaal Sheard, LB, New England
Devin Street, WR, Dallas
K’Waun Williams, DB, Cleveland
Dion Lewis, RB, New England
Andy Lee, P, Cleveland
T.J. Clemmings, OL, Minnesota
Mike McGlynn OL, New Orleans
Tom Savage, QB, Houston (IR)
Dorin Dickerson, TE, Tennessee (IR)
Chas Alecxih, DL, Carolina (pr. sq.)
Matt Rotheram, OL, Green Bay (pr. sq.)
Todd Thomas, LB, Jacksonville (pr. sq.)

HERE IS A NEW VIDEO OF NARDUZZI TALKING ABOUT JAMES CONNER, ETC…





Reed, was Tyler’s lower production a result of his play, or how he was used?

Do you guys remember Curtis Martin? Not especially productive at Pitt, but a HOF Pro. Not saying that will be Tyler, but who really knows?

On the one hand you say Tyler has natural abilities, well running a 40 yard dash, obviously isn’t one of them. Perhaps the bench press, isn’t one either. But Fitz or Brown were not as cut when they started pro ball as they are today. Tyler is only a junior, plenty of time for him to get stronger.

You also neglect to mention that he excelled in the Gauntlet. A skill test that is much more valuable than the other two tests. We have seen plenty of guys that were really big, strong and fast with hands of stone.

Comment by gc 02.28.16 @ 11:39 am

1 out of the 6 tests he scored in top 10. You can go check out the results if you want.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.28.16 @ 11:42 am

PD – meaningless. So getting off the line of scrimmage when you are jammed by a stronger and just as big and faster DB is meaningless? It is about strength and quickness. Both he scored below average. He will have to work hard if he wants to stay in the league.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.28.16 @ 11:45 am

As for on field drills, Josh Doctson, Tyler Boyd and Laquon Treadwell stood out the most through various catching drills. Unsurprising given their propensity for strong hands at the college level. Boyd put on a show at the gauntlet to make up for mediocre athletic testing and Treadwell looked like a natural, hopefully making people forget he didn’t run nor did he post very good numbers elsewhere. I doubt the combine changed many minds in terms of who is the top receiver. Nothing drastic happened to any of the guys people may have at the top that should make them reconsider.

Comment by gc 02.28.16 @ 11:54 am

Upitt – My calculations? None of those were my calculations. Those were observances from other people.

Fitz ran a 4.63. Keenan Allen, who he is most compared to, ran a 4.71. Jerry Rice ran a 4.6. 40 times don’t mean anything if you run good routes. Route running makes a 4.6 guy a 4.4 guy and despite what you say, Boyd is one of the best route runners in the draft.

Is Boyd going to be part of the HoF factory? Not likely. Can he be a starting WR in the NFL and have a good career? Absolutely.

These work ethic attacks are garbage and mean spirited. We get it, you don’t like the guy. Not once has anything leaked out of Pitt with concerns regarding his work ethic.

What you hear is that his competitiveness can throw him off his game. That indicates he has to work on his mental toughness not work ethic.

No praise? In October Narduzzi said he was confused as to why Boyd wasn’t in the Heisman discussion. The praise was building an entire offense around him. Pitt needs 120 kids with Boyd’s competitiveness. Coaches, unless your Paul Chryst or Chip Kelly, want kids with emotion. If the team’s not doing well, you shouldn’t be happy.

Bad stats? He had the most receptions of his career despite missing a game and most likely would have have had his third 1K season if not for that missed game … all with a 3rd QB, 2nd HC, new OC … and without his buddy Conner forcing teams to focus on the run.

He did not have a great combine. No doubt. He still has a pro-day to improve on those numbers though. All these measurable are great for TV but the biggest thing the combine does is get actual size and weight and helps confirm what you see on tape is real.

That’s exactly what Boyd did. It’s why he’s not on any winners or losers lists … because he did exactly what was expected.

Everyone knew he wasn’t a burner. Everyone knew he wasn’t strong. It’s all on tape. Everyone knew he had great hands and ran good routes. It’s all on tape.

He didn’t hurt himself in the least. Proof is in comments like this …

“The wide receiver group as a whole really struggled and only a few standouts existed. Notre Dame’s Will Fuller, Pitt’s Tyler Boyd and TCU’s Josh Doctson really improved their standings when compared to the far more disappointing prospects at their position.”

So please fellas. Please stop with the personal attacks on another Pitt man that represented the university well and had an incredibly respectable career.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.28.16 @ 12:00 pm

Only two things matter, getting open catching the football. PERIOD. He had three years of huge production despite being double teamed his whole senior year. Playing the slot in the NFL he will put up big numbers, if the team has a short passing game…aka the Pats. Antonio Brown ran a 4.57.

Comment by pd 02.28.16 @ 12:16 pm

The most important thing for Tyler is going to a team with a great QB.

Comment by gc 02.28.16 @ 12:22 pm

Tossing – You lost me at Heisman Comments. I hope that was a joke. I never brought up Narduzzi but to say Boyd and Heisman in the same sentence with his season he had is ludicrous.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.28.16 @ 12:22 pm

Football is not track. Quickness and toughness are so very important. The best receiver of all time jerry rice was not fast. The best runner of all time is Emmett smith snd he was not fast.

Comment by Rayhpgh 02.28.16 @ 12:34 pm

Upitt – that was in response to another poster who said he never received praise. PN said that. Not me. I’m on record as saying Fitz didn’t deserve it either because the Heisman should go to a player on a championship caliber team. Individual awards like Walter Camp are distinguished yet less prestigious.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.28.16 @ 12:35 pm

Tossing, What is your take on Duke Game?? On paper they should kill us right??? Am I missing something?

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.28.16 @ 12:46 pm

Line doesn’t say so and I’ll side with Vegas any day of the week over you.

I’m rooting for Pitt and hoping for a Pitt win because I’m a real fan. Duke is decent not great this year. Louiville is a better team than Duke is. Pitt has a shot. Road game. Senior night for Pitt. And Pitt has been playing better. Not an automatic L by any means.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.28.16 @ 12:52 pm

Real fans can’t take Duke and make money? LOL.

You guys and your love afair with Dixon.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.28.16 @ 1:04 pm

TT – good posts on Tyler Boyd. I don’t get the attitude from some on this board concerning TB either.

How do we know how hard TB worked in the weight room? He seems pretty intense when it comes to football. How do we know whether 11 reps isn’t a good level for his body type? And we knew he wasn’t a burner just from the way he was used at Pitt. But he did make “wow” catches and a lot of them.

Best wishes to TB for continued success.

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 02.28.16 @ 1:29 pm

I didn’t say real fans couldn’t bet against Pitt. I couldn’t care less. I’m talking Pitt in general. You don’t act or speak like a Pitt fan to me. Sounds more like you have resentment from your playing days and you use this board to take out your frustrations.

I’m not delusional. I understand where Pitt stands currently. I come across overly optimistic on here but that’s really to counteract the extreme negativity by some of you.

There were so many dickish things posted on here regarding Boyd yet when you read about him nationally it’s a much different story. Then you try and use combine stats to prove your point when in reality Boyd performed exactly how most thought he would.

When was the last time a combine stud with out performance to back him up did well in the pros? The opposite has happened very frequently. Not so much the other way. The combine just confirms or debunks on field performance and confirm height and weight. The actua numbers do much.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.28.16 @ 1:40 pm

Mayock is the only one who compared TB to Keenan, which is fine. I think the analysis of Boyd is accurate from most on here. Let’s not be silly and project him as the number one wr.

The combine is an interesting animal. Run a good 40 and nobody asks about it again. It’s like a degree from Pitt. It gets you in for your first job and maybe one more after that, but a couple of years out and you are judged typically, by performance.

Everyone on here has said Boyd will be fine, even upitt. The questions about the combine are simple. When you have 3 months to prepare for several tests; 40 dash,vertical, long jump, you should do well. Lifting, you should have done for 3-4 years preparing. His results were light. Those are the facts and coincidentally, strength is where the pundits feel hurts him in the draft. So again, we all think he will be fine, it is just we want him to do so well and lifting weights over the years should probably have been the easiest thing for him to do consistently. I think that is the only perceived negative. Get the panties out of the wad already.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 02.28.16 @ 1:51 pm

No panties in a wad. The numbers are the numbers. I’m talking about work ethic and character assassination …and the truth still stands that Boyd did what was expected of him. Only some on here thought he would be another Revis.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.28.16 @ 2:24 pm

Tossing – read the comments again, only one guy is consistent with the more negative comments and he’s also the poster who is always consistent with negative comments.

BTW – no where did I say Boyd couldn’t play in the NFL – he sure can if the breaks fall his way, he’s a very talented kid. But that means getting drafted onto a team who needs a WR for the most part.

As to the ‘character assassination’ on here let’s put it this way – no one on the Southside is crying in their beer because he’s leaving the team. He copped the superstar attitude early on and this last year he knew early on he was leaving so he chose to take the path of least resistance.

Boyd is not a ‘bad’ young man by any means, just one who knew he would be gone ASAP and coasted on his way out. I remember writing on here that you could see it in his type of play this season – he didn’t hardly throw a block unless the defender was within arms reach for one example. You could count the times on one hand that he charged through and went up for a ball on an intermediate crossing pattern also. He wasn’t about to get hurt.

To put it another way – there is about a mile wide gulf in personal accountability and respect both received and given between a star like Conner and a star like Boyd… and it has been a topic of conversation for a while. Beating cancer has nothing to do with it either. Conner is busting his ass in off season drills – most which are not allowed by the NCAA to be mandatory and none are for him certainly… and he’s doing it gladly.

That wasn’t the case with Boyd last offseason. After his DUI he was suspended for a month then reinstated in June. He wasn’t forbidden from taking part in the voluntary summertime drills the players put together but he didn’t take part in a lot of them even though the other skill offensive kids were there.

Finally, as in real life, just because you are a “star” performer doesn’t mean you are automatically a great role model for those around you. Boyd played well for us and now has a chance at the NFL..

I wish him the best of luck but I also think it’s time for him to move on.

Comment by Reed 02.28.16 @ 3:57 pm

Reed – Not directed at you sir. I don’t think you said anything off base. Just reading thru the thread and comments posted in general. It was partially directed at the individual you refer to and just a few other flippant comments written here and there. I disagree with the coast part but you’re not on my hit list today 🙂

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.28.16 @ 4:39 pm

link to thedraftwire.usatoday.com

I don’t remember anyone saying he would be the #1 receiver picked, so why make stuff up?

I just don’t get the need to tear a great Pitt player down. Probably the best three offensive years a Pitt player has has since…

Comment by gc 02.28.16 @ 7:14 pm

Reed, saying he doesn’t have the work ethic of James Conner would apply to nearly everyone.

I do agree that it was time for him to go, and Conner would have been gone too if not for his exceptional misfortune.

Comment by gc 02.28.16 @ 7:29 pm

gc – we talk about all aspects of Pitt football on here. Some of it is 100% positive.

Personally I think Boyd has the best hands of any receiver I’ve ever watched play and he makes amazing catches.

But, again like everyone who plays sports, he has some things that he needs to improve on to make himself successful in the NFL with the much higher level of competition.

There are other players on the roster who may be gone going into the 2016 season because they made the same mistake of not giving 100% in everything football related – Narduzzi doesn’t tolerate that at all and he’ll take action.

One telling aspect to this is how Narduzzi reacted publicly to Boyd’s decision… here are two example quotes:

“”We will all look forward to watching him play and succeed at the next level.” and…

““Although I only coached him for a year, I will forever be a fan and supporter of Tyler and his family. I wish him the very best at the next level and know he will make an NFL team very happy. Tyler loves Pitt and Pittsburgh, and we love Tyler. We will all look forward to watching him play and succeed at the next level.”

Those are completely canned responses and I haven’t found any real evidence that Narduzzi was anything but blase’ about Boyd leaving. I’m sure he’ll miss that talent at WR but that isn’t the ‘be all, end all’ criteria for being a good all-around player on a team. What was really lacking and may have even had a negative effect was the lack of leadership qualities Boyd had. Again, not a ‘bad’ kid but one who in leaving is doing the right thing.

So Boyd is just like other college players and just about every human in that he does some things wonderfully, some things well, some things average and some things need more effort.

Comment by Reed 02.29.16 @ 8:20 am

Reed, I guess I don’t interpret Narduzzi’s word the way you do. I do agree his leaving is the right thing for him, as it is for anyone who aspires to the next level. Boyd wasn’t going to improve his draft stock, and risked injury if he stayed. Narduzzi, like any coach has to focus on next year, so I think his response was normal.

Everyone has strength’s and weaknesses and room for improvement. Not every great player is a great leader or even a nice guy.

What I object to is the hatred directed at Boyd, and minimizing his success and positive impact that he has had at Pitt. UPitt has taken your position as support for everything he says about Boyd.

I have no objection for fair analysis of a players strengths and weaknesses. I do have objection to over the top character assassination and negativity directed at an 20 year old kid, who has set records at Pitt, and is one of the best I have seen in 50 years of watching Pitt Football.

Many of our former Pitt stars had flaws and did stupid things while at school, lucky for them the internet didn’t exist when they were getting many parking tickets, walking on top of cars down Forbes, smoking pot or snorting cocaine. Or how about Curtis Martin, who self admits he didn’t feel like playing or practicing while at Pitt.

Comment by gc 02.29.16 @ 10:48 am

Just reading this now… Boyd’s hands are very good, but not in the same category as Fitzgeralds’. That said, he is still one of the Pitt ALL TIME greats, we wish him the best.

Comment by 1618mt 02.29.16 @ 1:28 pm

@1618mt. Totally agree. Too many times we get caught up in 40 times, reps, shuttle times, etc. Sometimes teams forget to see if guys can actually play football in a uniform and not in shorts. Boyd is in fact a football player, not a combine guy. He will be a success on Sundays. Fitz has lost a step but still was highly successful this year. The most important part of being a receiver is to catch the ball and I think Boyd can do that as well as anyone. If you can get open and catch the ball, you’ll have a nice career in the NFL. Boyd excelled at both of those at Pitt. What I don’t understand is what Tyler Boyd has done to warrant such criticism. This is a player that Pitt would not have had near the amount of success it has had over the past 3 years without him. He took hits over the middle, fought for jump balls, and always seemed to make the clutch catch when you needed him to. Every team knew he was the guy to stop and they typically couldn’t. He’s a hell of a player and a true Pitt great.

Comment by FoolOfPitt 02.29.16 @ 2:31 pm

gc – You just listed ‘negative’ things about other players and those are correct. Tyler Boyd is no different than many other college players who have gotten in trouble, played through that to do well and along the way was a real human being.

If anyone is suggesting that we don’t talk about any negative aspects of Pitt football then we have very short memories – after all you guys have publicly pilloried Steve Pederson, Mark Nordenberg, Wesley Posvar, (two Chancellors who built modern day Pitt), Tino Sunseri, Paul Chryst, Jon Baldwin, the list goes on, and on, and on… and those guys did many good and some great things for Pitt and Pitt football.

Why would or should Tyler Boyd be exempt?

I don’t buy the age excuse either.

When you are a 21 year old and looking at literally millions of dollars in income you should be as mature as possible about your work, and yes – for him it was work. If not it should be mentioned. You, I and every other citizen have put our lives and trust behind First Responders and Military members who are the same age as these college football players – most of them they aren’t looking at a free education and tons of money in salary yet they don’t ‘take plays off’ in their duties.

I really don’t play the hero worship game with athletes. They are like all of us with just a different talent than we have. I save my heroic designations for those who actually deserve it. He is a sports star and an adult. In that he, like anyone else who chooses to put himself in the spotlight, is open for discussion as long as it pertains to Pitt football – which all of the discussions above do.

If you haven’t noticed I haven’t ever commented on what a players has done in his private life – unless again it pertains to Pitt football. Boyd’s arrest resulted in a suspension and a missed game – that sure as hell is open for discussion because that has a direct effect on his Pitt football work.

But how many times on here have we read commenters point out that a player has children out of wedlock (which is ridiculous to complain about in this day and age) and others ‘negative,aspects of a player’s personal non-football life? All the time and they are rarely if ever called on it by other readers… but Tyler Boyd? As far as I’m concerned any player who chooses to do things while in the program that is detrimental to himself or to the team in general is open for discussion.

Again, I think Boyd is an exceptional talent and did wonderful things on the field. Hope he does well from here on out also, but he’s a player on Pitt’s team and an adult and really nothing more than that at the end of the day.

Comment by Reed 03.01.16 @ 7:20 am

I mentioned 20 years old in respect to his physical not mental maturity. I also agree that fair criticism of a player is justified. It is the constant, every chance you get, over the top, abuse, that makes me want to come to a guys defense.

Comment by gc 03.01.16 @ 9:00 am

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