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May 17, 2016

Two Gone and One Day to Go

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 1:09 pm

First off let’s talk about the new Unis.

Tomorrow is the Big Day regarding the pomp and circumstance of unveiling the new Pitt Panther uniforms. This doesn’t effect just the football team but will be the standard across the Pitt sports teams’ board.   That will take place tomorrow and I’m sure we will discuss it on here as soon as the Magic Happens.

I’ll bet on this happening – don’t hold your breath for and noticeable color changes. Pitt is most probably going to stick with what we have now or damn close to it (I believe).

I’m OK with that as I like the color combo as it is.  Fans want mustard, Old Gold, yellow, Navy Blue and various combinations thereof but I think we’ll keep it simple.  now, how those colors are used will be a different matter.  Let’s just hope it isn’t a repeat of this failed experiment.

 

Of course because we are Pitt and not many things go exactly as planned we may well see a variation of this uniform but with a torch-cut Panther biting the crotch…

As predicted rsSO QB Adam Bertke has departed Pitt for greener (for him) pastures.  We talked about this over the past month or so whenever we discussed Pitt’s QB situation on The Blather .  Bertke is a big kid at 6’6″ & 235 and very much looks the part of the large and strong Ben Rothlisberger type QB.  Which is kind of funny, or sad depending, because I’m 6’6″ & 250 and look like an upright boa constriction that just swallowed a medium-to-large sized pig.

 

Bertke was somewhat of a wunderkind in HS and did very well before then before he became a Panther:

“A three-time state champion quarterback at Marion Local…went 41-4 as a starter from 2011-13, leading the Flyers to three Ohio Division VII titles…threw for 6,272 yards and 58 touchdowns during his career, completing 62% of his passes…also rushed for 1,690 career yards with 28 TDs…”

Which really doesn’t mean a hill of beans when segueing from that level from HS to the collegiate level.  Just off the top of my head I can recall other Pitt QBs who were also HS championship players: Bertke, DiNucci, Sunseri, Myers, Gray, Anderson, Stull, etc.  Some did OK at Pitt and others never showed the same promise hear as they did in HS.  Later in the offseason I’ll do an article about the difference between HS success vs college success at this position – it is rather frightening.

The problem with Bertke was much the same as Mark Myers had – they both have big and strong passing arms but were a slow on the release telegraphing their intent and on were struggling in the pickup of the offensive schemes and playbook.  However, I’ve a feeling that Bertke is going to enjoy the same sort of success that Myers did at a lower competition level where those problems can be minimized.

There is a big difference between the speed and athleticism of the D1 defensive backs as opposed to D2 or lower players.  Even with a slower trigger but with that velocity speed on the ball worked extremely well for Myers when the DB couldn’t close on a WR with the velocity that they do up here in D1.

There is something that should be discussed on here and I’m not just speaking for myself but for other writers who cover Pitt football.  I’ve noticed that some fans cling to recruit rankings, especially the star system and  sometimes I do the same thing… until I have a chance to personally see that young player in action.

Once that happens, professional writers like Chris Peak, Jerry DiPaola, Sam Werner, etc,  and to a lesser extent myself as a non-professional, have the ability to form opinions on what we see and, sometimes more importantly, what we hear from others about the quality of the underclass QBs’ play.

I’m certainly no expert on the technicalities of the position other than what I have learned as a fan and lately a student of the game. But it doesn’t take a genius to watch these kids in warmups, practices and then scrimmages and form an opinion on how well that player will do at this level of play.

Earlier I expressed my opinion about Bertke and DiNucci along with Peak and DiPaola doing the same via their articles and podcasts when Pitt’s current state of the back-up QBs’ talents was a topic of discussion due to Voytik’s departure.

We all were pretty darn clear that it was poor and was a big trouble area. Also that with the subsequent  commitment of Schneider from FIU as a transfer for the ’17 season, FR Thomas MacVitte coming in this year along with the switch to QB by Manny Stocker, then either Bertke or DiNucci, or both, would transfer.

But some fans completely disregard those opinions and will say “Why don’t we let them play first before we pass judgement?” which is certainly reasonable.  But the hitch there is that most fans don’t actually get to see them play at all unless the QBs in question get into an actual game which Bertke didn’t do and, quite possibly, DiNucci won’t be able to do either.

I’m absolutely not advocating that fans read what we guys write and take it for gospel.. that would be a mistake as everyone is wrong on their predictions sometimes. I thought that, among other things, Jack Lippert would be a star for us, OL Dan Matha would be in the NFL after his time at Pitt and that Chris James was the RB of Pitt’s future. All swings and misses as others have been.

But when you have at least three writers (two of which; Peak and DiPaola,  are the best Pitt reporters we have) who closely follow our  football program and have the ability to get more info than a fan does, then there should be some weight put on those writers’ opinions and statements.

Why else to you think I steal from them all the time…





I just don’t understand why this took 15 months if all they are changing is a logo and one we already owned. Go with a Royal Blue and Yellow we use on the Pitt Blather. Done, they we only look like McNeese State instead of 20 other teams.

Herman Munster Head probably had his Recruiting Buddy on a Retainer so he could pay him more money just because. In other news it is time to hire a new baseball coach after another sweep. Sad part is no one cares about Baseball and it is obvious.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.17.16 @ 2:30 pm

Upitt

The current colors are every where…I mean every where and on everything. The are the colors of the University seal so they cover the academic and athletic sides.

It is a much bigger, more costly change.

I like the idea of keeping the uniform color for the entire University and having throwback uniforms for all the teams.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.17.16 @ 2:38 pm

I totally agree about baseball. I follow their progress….well, lack of progress.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.17.16 @ 2:40 pm

Which QB had the offer from Penn and chose Pitt?

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 05.17.16 @ 2:55 pm

@pmdH2P, Ben DeNucci

Comment by Dan 05.17.16 @ 3:07 pm

I suppose high school championships and winning programs count for something, but agreed Reed, doesn’t really matter.

Don’t want to throw him under the bus, good career, good kid, but look at James Robinson.

Almost every time after his name was announced for the starting line up, Billy Hillgrove would add in “the winningest player in powerhouse DeMatha Catholic’s history”.

Ya, well, ok.

Comment by Dan 05.17.16 @ 3:12 pm

To be honest, all of these departures don’t really bother me. I know some fans point to this as a reason for concern, but this is part of the process when you are trying to upgrade the talent on the roster. Many of these guys leaving were 1-A or MAC level recruits. Guarantee you Chris James won’t be a featured back for UW either, more so the change of pace guy similar to how Chryst used him here. In other words, none of the guys that have left are going to be starters for Power 5 programs, which is a very good sign.

I liked Voytik too, but the clamoring about him not given a chance by Chaney to be the starter made me question some posters’ football IQ. Peterman, in about half the games he played, threw the ball for Pitt the way we haven’t seen in a long while. Voytik was never capable of throwing the ball the way Peterman (though I feel he would have thrived in a second year of Chryst’s offense). Peterman transferred from an Tennessee (SEC Football) to Pitt (ACC football albeit program that’s been down for 3o some years). Voytik transferred from Pitt to Arkansas State (Sun Belt Football). There is a major difference and it was telling that no major programs really went after Voytik. If some posters on here were actually right about Voytik, he’d be playing Power 5 ball this coming year, whether it be at Pitt or another program.

With that said, it’s still a shame we couldn’t keep Paul Chryst’s play calling and O-Line recruiting with Narduzzi’s defense. We would have been 10-2 AT LEAST last year, and this season I would be saying a PSU win is a sure thing on top of being the Coastal division favorites. Just a damn shame because that 2014 offense purred at the end of the year man! Fun to watch

Comment by Timmeh 05.17.16 @ 3:34 pm

Dan – here is DiNucci’s recruiting webpage.

link to n.rivals.com

Look at his commitment date – 1/27/15. He didn’t have an offer until 1/23 when he visited Pitt.

I think the offer was a means to get a Pine-Richland kid on the roster to entice the better QB who just verballed to ND.

Comment by Reed 05.17.16 @ 3:38 pm

Yeah, Reed. But, he did have an offer from Penn. I realize that this is the chance he took in choosing us over the Quakers. But, if he gets pushed out now, I can only hope that he ends up somewhere like Penn—and there are not many places like Penn.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 05.17.16 @ 3:45 pm

My spell check corrects “Jaquaun” to “Aqualung”.

PITT’S ALEX OFFICER NAMED TO RIMINGTON Trophy WATCH LIST

PITTSBURGH—Pitt’s Alex Officer has been named to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, annually presented to the most outstanding center in college football.

One of the Panthers’ most versatile offensive linemen, Officer started at center in 2014 before moving to right guard last season. The 6-foot-4, 335-pound junior is slated to move back to center for the 2016 campaign.

Officer has paved the way for two 1,000-yard rushers as a starter at Pitt. Last year, he helped Qadree Ollison, the ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year, rush for 1,121 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2014, Officer was part of an offensive front that helped James Conner rush for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns en route to All-America and ACC Player of the Year honors.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Officer was a highly regarded offensive line prospect at Eastridge High School, where he earned first team Class A All-State from the New York State Sportswriters Association (NYSSWA). Blocking for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, he led Eastridge to a 10-1 mark and the Section V Class A championship his senior year.

Season tickets and mini-plans for the 2016 Pitt football season are now on sale. Call the Pitt Ticket Office at (800) 643-PITT (7488) or log on to PittsburghPanthers.com.

Comment by Reed 05.17.16 @ 4:18 pm

Reed you are every bit the professional as those you listed above, you just aren’t a paid professional. I have a similar problem, same ht and weight as James Harrison but look like Refrigerator Perry.
I am somewhat surprised by Jurkovec’s early commitment but as you mentioned the other day our reputation is not as good as we see through our rose glasses.

Comment by rkb 05.17.16 @ 5:54 pm

I think the QB kid from Charlotte NC is a very key get. Hope he decides soon.

Comment by Frank MD 05.17.16 @ 6:46 pm

Our rep is diminished when we cant fill a stadium, when we shit the bed on national TV, when our fans dont travel to bowl games, when we play in Birmingham for 3 straight years.

Now we have sent some players to the pros recently (Donald) and our record against the Domers isnt bad recently (last 10 years).

But can we develop QB’s for the pros. Do we run a pro style offense. Do we have a football culture and adoring fans from coast to coast???

I dont blame the kid.

Our rep will get better but Pitt will never be a Bama, Michigan, USC or ND. And I wouldnt want it any other way. We aint no stinkin football factory with cult-like zombies.

Comment by TX Panther 05.17.16 @ 7:00 pm

Confused Tex on why we wouldn’t want to be a bama, michigan. usc, etc.? We are number 19 in all time wins behind these programs. Were it not for a lost 90’s and 00’s, we would be top 15, all time, easily.
You can have both if you commit to being excellent at both. The decentralized nature of a university allows for multiple units to be excellent.

As far as qb’s, the nfl and major colleges have elite qb’s. We are one elite qb away from multiple 10 win seasons. The qb is the key. I liked Bertke better than Dinucci but was concerned over the mental aspects. Physically, I think he is gifted. I learned a lot about the qb mindset during the sophomoric song and dance routine of all of our qb’s the night before the bowl game last year. Lack of focus, yes.

Good start for Officer, but I think every starting center makes that list. Not being a hater, but thats how the rimington shoots, straight.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.17.16 @ 7:36 pm

With Dallas Mike watching kids play. Uniforms are coming and we have the dirt on them. White Uniform looks weak and the numbers are made really odd. Color Scheme is same. Numbers look stupid and Oregon Like. There is a blue throwback that is royal blue. Needles to say disspointed. Could of done it right but like hiring Vacuum salesman Stallings they went cheap.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.17.16 @ 7:42 pm

link to rantsports.com

See for yourself. The throwback looks good but will only be worn once.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.17.16 @ 7:46 pm

A commitment often results in taking short cuts to get there such as scandals and high crimes. That’s what we should be worried about. And Pitt’s football culture will never match some of these schools. Thats a good thing. We dont live our lives through football. Its not the only thing to do in the town. We dont have cult followers. Our fans are based in reality. Yes – could Pitt’s campus and culture be more Rah Rah for good olde alma mater? Sure. But know your bounds.

I for one think The experience around the game could be made more fun. Having fun via traditions and activities on campus creates memories. Those memories drives donations. Thats why this front porch is critical to fund raising for the university overall. Fond athletic memories can enhance contributions down the road. Your first have to win the hearts and minds of current students. You create a Pitt identity with them…a special bond glued together with sports. But dont create a cult like Penn State. We know what that path leads to.

Comment by TX Panther 05.17.16 @ 8:35 pm

You can bet safe money that Pitt will wear the RETROs come Sept 10.

Let’s just hope there’s a healthy #24 among them.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.17.16 @ 9:15 pm

Upitt

Come back from the ledge, just uniforms.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.18.16 @ 5:43 am

The Pitt FB program has can be better than it has shown the past 25 years. 3 steps are necessary:

– The initial step is to get in a stable conference situations with visibility and financial rewards. CHECK!!

– the 2nd step is a commitment from the administration … something it finally now seems to have (after 25 years.) CHECK!!

– The last step may be the hardest. Back in the 70s when the Pitt admin (re)committed to FB, Western PA was the most fertile recruiting area. Now, not only do we not hold a candle to the likes of Florida, Texas and California .. and Ohio for that matter … even New Jersey and Eastern PA has passed WPa in many years as far as quality FB players available.

It’s likely we never reach the status that this program enjoyed in late 70s, but no reason why we can’t compete for the ACC Coastal title annually.

Comment by wbb 05.18.16 @ 6:05 am

Pitt has to overcome 30 years of mediocrity. A major challenge to convince elite athletes locally and nationally that Pitt will win and they will play in front of big raucous crowds. Also have to convince the crowds that they won’t have to endure more painful experiences which have been prevalent for thirty years.

I have lost count of the times I left the stadium with disappointment and disgust. Recently adding Miami and Navy to that list.

The average fan has given up long ago and it will take a lot to bring them back. Uniforms or a magnificent 50 yard line marquis won’t do it. It will take multiple 10 win seasons and big wins against top ten teams to convince the fans of Pittsburgh and WPIAL elite players to come.

Narduzzi is off to a really strong start but still has major heavy lifting ahead.

Comment by gc 05.18.16 @ 8:24 am

Yes, it will take winning, but I am not as pessimistic as some. The Steelers sucked for over 40 years, much more so than Pitt has been, and winning and charisma had fans coming in droves!
Pirates, Pens, Steelers. Why not Pitt! Fans are there,just dormant. Not like land grant schools, must win AND have some charisma. Fans will show, but Pittsburgh is not the south or State College.

Comment by JoeKnew 05.18.16 @ 8:31 am

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