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May 28, 2016

Saturday Afternoon Podcast; May 28th

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 1:14 pm

As I say in the podcast below I’d like to change things up a bit and do less writing and more talking on here – so here is the first installment of a series of recurring weekend podcasts.  I touch on a lot of different things and throw some opinions and numbers around… it is 54 minutes long so take a rest and enjoy.

I hope that the benefits of doing this will be two fold; first to get as much info and discussion topics across as we can and then secondly the get you all involved in subjects and issues you want to hear about before the fall camp starts.

Again, not a professional but I think it turned out well…

Here is a nice article about Tony Dorsett coming to play at the University.

Tony Dorsett was born on April 7, 1954 in Rochester, Pennsylvania. He was the sixth of seven children in the family. Dorsett’s father, West, worked in the steel mills for thirty years. Dorsett was very attached to his mother, Myrtle, who ran the household and carted the children to the Methodist church every Sunday. After his older brothers got into trouble for being out late drinking, Dorsett’s parents laid down the law with him, and he avoided much of the trouble so readily available in the neighborhood. Although the family lived in a government-funded project called Plan 11, the housing development was clean and well-kept.

All his siblings were known for their speed, and Dorsett was no exception. His older brothers were track and football stars before him, and they served as Dorsett’s role models and motivators. Upon entering high school Dorsett followed his brothers to Hopewell High School, located in a predominately white neighborhood, where a small number of black kids from the projects were bussed. Dorsett was determined that he would not end up working in the steel mills. Finding a better life was always in his mind.”

And here is Sports Illustrated article about Marino’s young life and his going to Pitt.

 “Pittsburgh Quarterback Danny Marino keeps all of his old game plans inside a red plastic milk crate in his room—to remind himself of the good times. In this same milk crate, which serves as an all-purpose file cabinet, Marino has carefully saved up a substantial wad of notes and letters from his father, Dan Sr.—to remind himself of what’s really important. In one of those World-According-to-the-Old-Man Epistles, Dan Sr. wrote to his son. “You are the best. You are the most dominating player in college football. Remember, nobody does it better.”

Danny looks over the dozen written communiqués from his father, not all borrowed from Carly Simon, and smiles. “He really keeps my confidence up.”

It isn’t as if 20-year-old Marino suffers from any noticeable lack of confidence. As Pitt’s quarterback for 2½ seasons, Marino has led the Panthers to a 33-3 record, the best in the nation, and became Pitt’s all-time leading passer midway through his junior year. Now, as a senior, he’s expected to go that final mile and sprout wings. Which for a college quarterback means producing an undefeated regular season, a bowl victory and, ta da, the national championship.”

Nice piece on OL Matt Rotheram….

Ed Note: PSU was 7-6 last season, not 7-5…. and that was a home game against Miami last season (I didn’t drive up for it).  Voytik is at Arkansas State not Eastern Michigan.

Let me know what you think….





Thank you for your service Reed, and thank you to all Blather veterans this Memorial Day!

My Dad was a WWII vet, saw quite a bit of combat action. Very proud Marine, we Semper Fi’d everything in the house and shook lots of hands. However, he never pushed us to the military, more steered us to college.

Looking back, I think I could have used the discipline of the military back then.

Alas, we all have our paths I suppose.

Much respect to those of you that served.

Thank you.

Comment by Dan 05.28.16 @ 4:14 pm

Well said, Dan. I was a Reservist. That doesn’t count.

Comment by steve1 05.28.16 @ 4:34 pm

Reserves certainly do count Steve. Best to you and thanks.

Comment by Reed 05.28.16 @ 6:52 pm

Reed you might not be a professional podcaster but you are a natural at the process. You have two things going for you in that regard, both a great voice for radio, and a face best suited for radio as well.LOL!

Seriously though, your podcast was done professionally, the subjects flowed well. Your train of thought was consistently followed to your conclusions and rarely did you repeat yourself to make a point. Compared to a guy like Chris Peak, who is a veteran podcaster, your rookie podcasting year is looking to be outstanding, Boyd like in fact. Keep it up.

Now that doesn’t mean that I agree with everything that you pontificate about. I feel that you are way off base with Conner for this coming season. I think there is a destiny factor now working here for Conner. He has his sights set on proving his worthiness to the NFL. His recent statement that he has been forgotten in the football world speaks to this kid’s mindset going forward. When you have a talent like James who has the drive to prove that his vision should become reality, then look out!

Same thing occurred with Marino in the pros. As you eluded to in your podcast, Marino,s Senior season was a disappointment, rumors surrounded him, Prima Donna, drug issues, etc.,caused him to be picked late from a great pack of QBs in that draft. Make no mistake about it though, that later Marino pick built a fire in Marino’s belly to prove something in the NFL, and the rest is history.

That is what I anticipate with Conner. He will be a force that this coaching staff will be unable to ignore, even with all of the other talent waiting in the wings. That being said, James will be hard pressed to produce BIG numbers this season simply because I feel that Canada will spread the rock around. I see Ollison, Ibrahim & Conner all getting significant playing time so although Conner will prove to be a force to be reckoned with when he is in the game I fully expect that the RB position will be run by committee in 2016 which will keep his total numbers in check. We’ll see who is more correct in their expectations soon enough.

One thing that I am in complete agreement with you on though, is that this will be a fun season to be following Pitt Football. There will be a lot of emerging story lines as the season progresses. Hail to Pitt my friend. Keep the podcasts coming!

Comment by Dr. Tom 05.29.16 @ 5:47 am

Problem with podcasts are you can no longer check the titles to see which you would want to read. Also it takes to much time. I don’t have an hour to listen to the whole podcast.

Reading I get to peruse the subjects I want information on or move on. A podcast is just a talking head after awhile the listener losses focus. I love the blather because if I have ten minutes I can get all the happenings going on at PITT and leave my 2 cent opinion. I’m sure you do a great job with the podcast but what matters is not what you say but what you write down. H2P

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 05.29.16 @ 6:19 am

Reed

I agree with Doc, excellent job. You are a natural and your thoughts were well organized and communicated. Will listen again. We all appreciate the time and effort you put into the Blather.

I listened to Peak once and never again, he babbles and repeats himself too much for my liking. Not that I don’t appreciate how tough it is, just don’t like his style.

I agree it will take Connor time to get back to normal. Chemo can weaken the body, I hope they ease him back so he doesn’t get another injury. That is my biggest concern. Give the kid time to heal.

I am not high on Ollison. He is good, but not even close to Connor. Connor is a stud after contact gaining extra yards. His beast mode. Ollison does not have that mentality. He did not run like a big back as a freshman. Hopefully that changes. DBs feared Connor. You can’t measure that. It gives the entire offense a different attitude.

I agree about the WR. Someone will step up. No worries.

Still completely worried about the defense.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.29.16 @ 6:59 am

Reed – very well done. Don’t sell yourself and Hames “the beast” Conner so short. Pitt should and could be promoting BIG things for James – like Heisman hype! Why not on his potential and back story.

As humble as James is, he may have already squashed that noise and expressed “I’ll win it on the field”.

Agreed, this will be a fun season – off to work on my golf game.

HTP!

Comment by Erie Express 05.29.16 @ 7:27 am

Off topic — Adams gets his revenge.
link to twitter.com

Comment by MariettaMike 05.29.16 @ 7:30 am

^ Hames = James^. Cellphone typing in the morning –

Comment by Erie Express 05.29.16 @ 7:40 am

Reed

Two things factors that you didn’t mention in the Conner vs. Ollison discussion were that it was Ollison’s first year vs Conner’s second year. Also that Conner ran behind Rotherham and Clemmings two seniors, one who started his first NFL season and one that made a practice squad. The running game is a product of the O-line as well as the Back himself.

Conner obviously still better due to the amazing TD production, which could really help this year. He will help the most in the redzone and if they share carries with the other backs as well, Conner will be fresh when needed most.

Also noteworthy is that Conner is coming off a season ending knee injury, has he lost a step or lateral speed, we won’t know till September?

Comment by gc 05.29.16 @ 7:59 am

Selfishness of OKC stars last night cost them a victory. That is why I prefer the college game.

Adams could give them a real offensive advantage inside if they let him.

Comment by gc 05.29.16 @ 8:04 am

Reed.. I listened to the 1st half of the podcast – excellent.. Wish we could have “conference podcast” but that is why we go to bars.. At the 17 minute mark I think you hit the nail on the head ( last years Miami n Navy games) for us to have a good season. I witnessed both games – Nathan P and the “D ” have to show -up every game. I anticipate improvement on the defensive side especially in the pass rush/ tackles for loss department and Interceptions. Offensively, the pieces are in place though we are thin at QB- hope Canada gives the #2 QB some game action ASAP.
Regarding Conner, We all hope he leads us out of the tunnel and returns to his 2014 form.. Fingers crossed and continuing prayers for James..He has had a time with injuries shoulder, knee prior to his recent now past illness..he will be ready to go vs Penn State.. maybe he opens with a first carry for 60 yards like Tony D did in the deep grass in South Bend many years ago.

Comment by BigB 05.29.16 @ 8:06 am

One thing I can guarantee about Penn State..there will be no designer interpretation/ Feng shui iterpretation of the Creamery/ Peachy Paterno in the #s on their unis.. Their alums wanted the names off the back of the jerseys and return to the tradtional look which from my understanding were put their in the place as part of the need to change/ punishment for having a too strong football culture.. We older Pitt fans receive uniform punishment every 3-4 years …just not a big fan of ” Pitt Beige”

Comment by BigB 05.29.16 @ 8:19 am

A couple comments on Boyd. Last year he was used as a possession receiver, one reason for fewer yards per catch. Also, I believe he was dinged up and didn’t get his usual yards after the catch. Did not break as many tackles or produce missed tackles. Saw him limp off the field multiple times.

As far as him not getting more TD’s, when you had Conner get 26, why pass for the TD. Last year he was used as a decoy and the ball went to the Tight End and Fullback a few times.

I agree Ford is very good and other guys will step up (They Better), also Peterman should be better at finding secondary and tertiary receivers since he no longer has Boyd to lock onto.

Pass protection should be better with O’Neill in his second year and Jones-Smith back.

Artie got beat a lot as well, so the center position should be stronger.

Comment by gc 05.29.16 @ 8:28 am

Reed I know you are very high on Dontez Ford, and I think he can have a big year this year, especially if other receivers step up and take some pressure and attention off of him. But to say he was “much more productive” than Tyler Boyd last year, I just don’t get that.

Yes, his YPC was tremendous at 19.6 per catch. Boyd averaged around 10 yds per reception. But there were 5 games that Ford had one reception, with 4 being his most against UVA. Boyd on the other hand, had 5 games with double digit receptions. Boyd had 6 TD’s, 2 less than 2014, Ford had 2 TD’s. Yes Boyd’s numbers were a bit down, but he had a career high in receptions with 91 for 926 yds. He also added 349 yds rushing the ball. He also contributed in punt and kick returns, although I thought he had miserable year returning punts.

Boyd also did this while seeing a lot of double teams and especially without Conner, he was often the opposing defenses primary focus. I don’t think Chaney’s play calling benefited Tyler last year much either.

Again Ford had a solid year, but he undoubtedly benefitted from the double teams and attention Boyd recieved. Ford tweeted his weight recently and it seems he has taken off season workouts very seriously. I do think he is a big key to our passing game’s and offense’s success this coming season.

Comment by Pap76 05.29.16 @ 8:32 am

Good point on Tyler possibly being dinged up gc. If he had more YAC as he had his previous 2 years his YPC would have been closer to 13 or 15, and would have surpassed 1,000 yds.

Comment by Pap76 05.29.16 @ 8:36 am

OKC blew a golden opportunity. Had the defending champs against the ropes at 3-1 and had a chance to close them out at home last night. I’d be stunned if they won game 7 at Oracle.

Give Kerr credit, Golden St looked lost after game 4. Went with a bigger lineup and made the necessary adjustments.

Steven Adams is looking to be the 1st Pitt basketball player to get an NBA ring.

Comment by Pap76 05.29.16 @ 8:41 am

To my Blatherite brothers who served our great Nation.. I salute you this Memorial Day weekend. I was part of the Vietnam/ draft lottery generation who birthday was drawn late so I wasn’t drafted and did not have to enlist . Tried to get a Navy scholarship to cover my last years expenses but no luck. I finished my Physica Therapy training in the Oakland VA hospital which was located on the hill above Pitt stadium and across the street from the PT school – the building with the Pitt Panther and Hail toPitt painted on it. At the VA I had treats many of my contemporaries who were injured many with horrific life changing injuries – loss of limbs, spinal cord and brain injuries. It was there in April 1975 while assisting a gunnery Sargent who had sustained a spinal cord injury try to walk when the public address system announced that South Vietnam fell to the North… I will never forget that moment and the look on those men’s faces .. It is those real men who make us great and their sacrifice is the reason when can sleep easy each night. Hail to our service men and women.

Comment by BigB 05.29.16 @ 8:42 am

Spell check.. Sleep easy

Comment by BigB 05.29.16 @ 8:44 am

Reed, thank you for your service!

My father was a Captain in the Army Signal Corps stationed in N Africa and Italy during WW11. It was his unit, working with British Intelligence that floated a dead body of the Spanish Coast with fake orders on the where – when of DDay in Sicily.
The Germans were completely fooled when the actual DDay occurred and the USArmy and Marines walked onto the beaches almost unopposed.

He could do the Sunday NYTimes Crossword in 20 minutes. Now that I’m retired it takes me 3 hours and I still have to look up answers.

Comment by Dan 72 05.29.16 @ 9:11 am

Plus I didn’t mention that Boyd played in only 12 games due to his suspension – forgot that.

My point about Ford was that every a pass was thrown his way he got decent yardage out of it. Boyd was forced to be a possession receiver by Chaney’s play calling.

The intent was to pass along that I felt had it been anyone but Tyler Boyd opposite him and Jim Chaney calling the plays we would have seen an excellent year out of Ford – possibly even a stardom year which I think he’ll do in the upcoming season.

Everyone wants 26 TDs out of Conner again and if we get even close to that we’ll win those tougher games in the beginning of the schedule. But my gut tells me he’ll take some time to get back into a groove – so having Ollison , Ibrahim and Moss (and Hall) will be a good thing.

I’m very much interested to see what James does in Wisconsin.

So – consensus is that the podcasts are good if maybe a bit too long. I’ll organize the subject matter better and try to keep it to 45 minutes max.

Comment by Reed 05.29.16 @ 9:16 am

My dad was at Guadalcanal, always refused to eat rice there after. My brother was a door gunner on a Huey in Nam. I was in college with a lottery number of 293. I did not enlist.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO SERVED.

Comment by grizzly1 05.29.16 @ 9:23 am

A couple other points on the running game. Ibrahim was the third down back most of the time. Ollison was in the doghouse for his poor pass blocking.

Running is a product of timing and repetition between the line and back. My guess is Conner got a lot more reps in practice and wasn’t expected to pass block on third downs. He was the featured back. It seemed like Chaney begrudgingly played Ollison. Remember he played little vs Iowa and Miami, two losses. Also sparingly vs UNC which was a huge mistake.

Hopefully Canada will use his stable of running backs wisely.

Comment by gc 05.29.16 @ 9:46 am

Exactly – Tackle MBH at 6:19. During the week, I don’t have the luxury of 30-60 min to listen. On days off, my time is much too valuable to throw that amount of time away!

I enjoy a quick read once or twice a day – if possible. However, the podcasts seem to be well received here, and I can pick up their gist by reading the comments. Best of both worlds!

Comment by Savannah Panther 05.29.16 @ 10:25 am

Also under RB’s is the fact that QO can learn first hand what “beast-mode” means. K.Pugh could also follow in those same shoes.

The art of straight-arming will show itself big time this year when Conner returns to action. QO could use that technique to better his skill set.

HTP!

Comment by Erie Express 05.29.16 @ 10:27 am

As long as Conner’s healthy, he’ll be back to his normal self. Unlike most chemo patients, Conner kept up a full workout regimen. He’ll lack some conditioning but with two months to get it back he should be fine. I, for one, would never tell Conner “no”. He’s the type of kid, as Doc alluded too, that will make you eat your words. His knee injury was relatively minor too. Had he not had pro aspirations he most likely would have skipped surgery and been back in 4 weeks.

I think Ollison loses his carries this season and may end up being a footnote in Pitt football history. Darren Hall is probably a better complimentary RB to Conner and he had a strong spring. Ollison will be relegated to 1-5 carries. Conner 15-20 and Hall 5-10 carries. Conner’s #’s may be down but it will be do to depth and not cancer.

I think WR will be fine. The running game will make the passing game … well passable. There are enough athletes at WR to survive losing Boyd.

The biggest problem with Pitt is still depth. They cannot afford key injuries and conditioning for the starters is paramount as there is not much behind them. Once the depth catches up with the talent starting, the Pitt program will take off. We’re closer than a lot seem to believe.

… and 8-5 is not a successful season. Pitt won the games they were supposed to last year. This year they have to win those games plus one or two they’re not supposed to and take the next step. Us Pitt fans are an impatient bunch and just treading water will not feed a hungry fan base.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.29.16 @ 10:44 am

All Hail the Vets we wouldnt be here without them otherwise we would be dead or slaves to Germans and Japanese… I have changed my mind Pitt will beat Penn St but the schedule is so tough a 7-5 record will actually be good this year H2P

Comment by Boo Boo #1 05.29.16 @ 12:22 pm

Tyler Boyd pretty much played with three first year QB’s. Last year he was out with the DUI so not much prep with Peterman going into the season.

This will be the first time in four years a QB plays more than one year.

I find it funny that Ollison, an ACC offensive rookie of the year would be a footnote in Pitt history. Possible but not likely. He already ran James out of town, a guy who played as a freshman.

In any case Running Back depth is very strong.

Comment by gc 05.29.16 @ 1:36 pm

It’s interesting that this will be the first time in 4 years that a QB has started 2 years in a row Too bad it’s with a different OC, but here’s hoping that Canada is an upgrade !

Comment by PittPT 05.29.16 @ 2:24 pm

Pitt needs Conner to beat PSU.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.29.16 @ 6:04 pm

With him, it’s NOT close.

Without him… don’t even want to think about it.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.29.16 @ 6:04 pm

TT – QO plays well in games, but does not practice well. D.Hall practices well but has yet to have a good game.

Comment by Erie Express 05.29.16 @ 6:06 pm

James Conner aside… Pitt has it’s future STAR at Runningback.

His name is George Hill.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.29.16 @ 6:27 pm

As some of you might know, I’ve been talking up Hill as a Runningback and NOT a D-Back as Narduzzi would like to see him play.

Early this year, I posted that the key indicator that Hill had some SERIOUS upside would be reflected in his ability to best his 10.75 100 Meters a year ago.

Well… Hill has come through.

How does a 10.6 100 Meters sound?

Not like a Defensive Back.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.29.16 @ 6:39 pm

It’s nothing against QO but on team where the coaches emphasize speed he’s the odd man out. He took over the backfield last year b/c he was most similar to Conner but he does not compliment Conner well. I’m pretty sure Hall will be the #2 back coming out of camp.

I thought I read not playing RB was partly Hill’s choice because of career longevity at CB vs. RB and the coaching staff would like him to join the backfield. Could be wrong but I think that was out there somewhere. But yes, if Hill plays RB, QO’s definitely a footnote.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.29.16 @ 8:38 pm

I had a low draft number and enlisted in the Army Reserve, fresh out of pharmacy school. The Army didn’t give commissions to registered pharmacists during the draft and I was sent to pharmacy tech school. Your tax dollars at work.

Comment by OhHowIhateOhioState 05.29.16 @ 9:51 pm

POD, Hill will be a DB because there is much more room there to use his talents than there is on the offensive. If Conner comes back to Pitt in his 2014 form(as I’m expecting), how many carries do you think Hill would get at RB for Pitt?

Comment by jrnpitt 05.30.16 @ 3:02 am

Tossing – I keep hearing this staff’s emphasis is on speed but we’ll see Conner back in there – his forte’ isn’t speed.

And for a guy who isn’t speedy Ollison broke some nice long runs last season. Ollison was a rsFR last year and had a 5.3 ypc average. IMO the only thing that will keep him off the field, aside from Conner, is if his pass blocking doesn’t improve.

Comment by Reed 05.30.16 @ 4:53 am

Reed – I would agree with you on QO except for the fact this coaching staff places a premium on practice performance. For that reason only Hall gets the nod as the #2 back when Conner returns to full strength.

I don’t agree though with the staff on this point, when a RB shows he can perform in game situations like QO and unlike Hall.

I hope Hall is that good that I eat my words, but I cannot make QO a footnote yet. He has a lot of talent and three years to develop. Plus, he is another fine, well mannered young Pitt man, as I’m sure Hall is too.

You want them all to succeed, but only a few can. And practice success never got anyone to the next level – it has to be on game film.

HTP!

Honor and glory for all who gave their lives for our freedom and liberty. May they rest in peace knowing we are truly grateful.

Comment by Erie Express 05.30.16 @ 6:37 am

Happy Memorial Day to everyone. And I now believe Pitt will beat Penn St on Sept 10th. That makes Pitt 7-5 in my humble opinion. Today I am having foot long hotdogs with brown mustard (Heinz) mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm
H2P

Comment by Boo Boo #1 05.30.16 @ 6:39 am

QO’s pass blocking improved greatly at the end of the season and we know how much that helped the team. NP actually got worse.

Hmmm…

Comment by Erie Express 05.30.16 @ 6:42 am

The incoming Freshman WR Ruben Flowers could surprise us with his abilities this Fall camp. Challingsworth came into his own at the end of the season & Henderson is a slot receiver that has the makings of a YAC factory with his speed and shiftiness.

Throw Ibrahim into the mix coming out of the backfield as a receiver too and Peterman will have a plethora of targets to choose from. The only worry I have is that Weah is given too many chances to get that long ball caught. Wasting a down on a fast WR who has a mental block on catching the ball in real games is a losing proposition that kills scoring drives.

If Weah doesn’t pull in one of the first three balls thrown his way in the Villanova game, and I’d make that happen in that gameplan, then I would bury him so far down on the depth chart that he’d be a transfer come 2017.

This team is ready to climb into the fray to be a contender. It all depends on Peterman’s performance. We need guys that can make him look good when he puts the ball on target. Until proven otherwise Weah ain’t that guy.

If not, NEXT!

Comment by Dr. Tom 05.30.16 @ 7:06 am

Hill is the perfect compliment to Conner or even Ollison.

10.6 is what Brian Davis ran and within a second of Dorsett.

Once Hill flashes his speed with the Ball in his hands… the comparisons will come.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.30.16 @ 7:13 am

complement not compliment

Comment by PittofDreams 05.30.16 @ 7:15 am

New article up – talks a bit about the WRs.

Comment by Reed 05.30.16 @ 7:57 am

Reed – i think you underestimate Conner’s speed. He’s a 4.5 guy which is right in line with the top backs. QO is not a 4.5 guy. What was QO’s average in ACC play? About a full yard less per carry I’d bet.

This was from June 2014 …

Conner, who said his knee is healed from an injury suffered in the spring, realizes he set lofty goals. But he remains undaunted in his mind.

“Every time I tell myself I’m going to do something, I do it,” he said. “Before the bowl game, I said I want to leave with the MVP, and I did that. I said I want to run a 4.4- (second) 40-yard dash, and I did that (in the spring). So far, I’m having success putting my mind to something and doing it.”

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.30.16 @ 9:50 am

Flash forward two years … Anyone still want to question him? Add beating cancer to that list. If Conner says he’s going to do something … I’m gonna believe him.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.30.16 @ 9:51 am

And of course meant within a tenth of a second of Dorsett.

Boy, Holiday Weekends can be tough.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.30.16 @ 10:16 am

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