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September 26, 2016

I believe that the overwhelming majority of Pitt fans have no interest in even pretending that there is a case to be made to get rid of Head Coach Pat Narduzzi. Upsetting, maddening, frustrating and every other adjective you might care to use as the last two losses have been; they are not enough to even consider firing assistants or coordinators. Let alone the head coach.

That said, I do put the loss to UNC primarily on the coaching in the 8:44 of the game. Specifically on the head coach who once more defaulted to coaching only like a defensive coordinator.

Despite the tremendous flaw that is Pitt’s secondary and the other flaw that is the passing game. Pitt was in excellent position to win this game at the start of the 4th quarter. Up by ten. Pitt had completely removed the UNC running game from the equation. The Pitt defense was surviving against the pass, especially with a good amount of pressure disrupting things.

Chris Blewitt after early struggles came up big when asked to kick long field goals. Including the 40-yarder to give Pitt a 13 point lead with 11:04 left in the game. The defense then forced a 3-and-out and Pitt had a chance to — if not put the game away — at least not let UNC have enough time to score.

This is where the offense that had brutalized UNC all day with the ground game that did so much damage on jet sweeps and going outside could really end it. UNC did not handle the jet sweep well. Even when UNC stacked — as they were all day — against the run.

Instead the play calling went for two straight runs up the middle? The logic was purely based on not making a mistake. Running straight ahead so there would be no accidentally going out of bounds. Run in the tight area so that the ball carrier would keep both hands on the ball and not fumble. Even more bizarre was using Chawntez Moss and Quadree Henderson. Guys that are better in space. Not James Conner or Qadree Ollison. Or even fullback George Aston.The result was 4 yards and an obvious passing situation. The passing play was a good call, but Nate Peterman flat out missed Tre Tipton on what could have been a first down. A pass to the side. Again a safe play.

It is a strategy built when you know your defense can stop the other team. In this case, a strategy built on an eventuality.

Eventually the defense will be able to do that. Eventually the secondary will be better. Eventually. Not this year.

This was the third straight game where we saw it happen. Pitt barely got away with it against Penn State when the offense went from creative, motion, shifting. Devastating. To straight ahead runs against totally stacked-up defenses and attempts to eat the clock. Late in the game against Oklahoma State after Pitt had tied the game and gotten the ball back. A sudden shift in offensive strategy to straight runs and no passes that came close to being more than a few yards.

All while facing teams with decent to good quarterbacks and much the same with the receivers. While Pitt has a very, very, very porous secondary.

Just as maddening of watching UNC march down on Pitt during the subsequent drive to make it 36-30. Seeing Pitt burn two timeouts on defense. Not simply on the drive, but within one play of each other. And those were the final two timeouts Pitt had in the half. All three used by the defense. No one but a defensive coordinator would do that. Even with a defense like Pitt’s.

The head coach has to know that you don’t burn the timeouts like that on defense when you are winning. That is not acceptable.

Even then there was a chance. 5:24 left and Pitt could run the clock. As long as they can pick up a first down. You know. YOU KNOW how bad the defense is against the pass and how quickly they can score. And Pitt did it again. Runs straight ahead into the stacked defense on the first two plays. And then a screen pass for no gain.

I can’t even be mad at the defense. They are what we’ve seen them to be. But to watch the offense turtle up like that. That is on the head coach who has final say on the playcalling. On the very obvious strategy at that point in the game. No head coach is that hands-off.

Narduzzi isn’t mute on the sidelines just having conversations with the players. He’s the head coach who is talking to the coordinators and planning.

This is not the last time this season Pitt will face this sort of situation. Coach Narduzzi has to get over his own biases to deal with the real situation on the field. Not the idealized goal.

I believe he will. He has to. But, it better be sooner rather than later.





Chas, thank you, that is exactly how I see it. This team must win with overwhelming offense, since the defense just is not good enough.

Those three timeouts prove the defensive mindset.

Also, not rejecting the one penalty to make it fourth down.

The fear of offensive failure (turnover) in the fourth is palpable, putting more pressure on Peterman not to throw the int. All three misses lead the receiver by too much.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 7:45 am

Good article, Chas.

Every loss hurts. The Oklahoma State loss hurt but it was a non-conference game, on the road, against an angry team that was clicking on all cylinders on offense…oh, and with a terribly long lightning delay. We battled back. Had a chance and just didn’t exactly execute.

UNC stings way more. Obviously, it is a conference game and a team that has a legit shot as repeating as Coastal champs. It was there for the taking. UNC showed no signs of stopping our offense. Until we stopped ourselves. The last 3 possessions or so of the game resembled nothing of what we ran for the first 3 quarters.

Players have to make plays as well. Peterman missed a Tipton in the flat on a pretty easy throw that would have resulted in a 1st down. He also missed Ollison on pretty much the same throw a series later.

It’s frustrating because we know what we have with the pass defense. There is no confusion there. We have to wrap up games with our offense and our offense is what works really, really well for the 1st 3 quarters of games, not what we turtle into in the 4th quarter.

I know teams will sell out to stop the run down the stretch. But heck, they do that all game and we still have success. PSU, Ok. St. and UNC showed no signs of stopping the jet sweep. They didn’t magically adjust in the 4th quarter. We just went away from the play.

I’m biased but I think if we stick with our offense we are 4-0. We are at least 3-1 and 1-0 in ACC play.

The pass D is obviously a nightmare. UNC, to their credit, made clutch plays in the 4th quarter. I still think it’s crazy not to bracket Switzer on 4th down but that’s just me.

Tough Monday morning following that loss but still H2P!

Comment by JAM05Pitt 09.26.16 @ 8:01 am

The UNC defense had no clue how to stop us until the fourth qtr.

Also Narduzzi and Conklin have sacrificed any pass defense to stop the run, which we do extremely well. But Football is a passing game these days, and we can neither pass or stop the pass. Kind of amazing how well we score without the pass. Until the Fourth Quarter.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 8:03 am

chas, how do you know the secondary is going to get better?? i don’t have a crystal ball, but if the team goes 4-8, good luck getting better players than we have now.

Comment by goalie44 09.26.16 @ 8:13 am

Exactly how bad has our fourth qtr offense been?

Against PSU, we had an 84 yd punt return and then a TD. Then 2, 3 and outs and 3 plays to end the game.

Against OK ST, 4 and out, 2, 3 and outs, a 5 and out, and 10 plays and an int.

Against UNC, a 3 and out, a field goal drive, 2 more 3 and outs.

This is total futility when the game is on the line by an offense that scores with relative ease during the first three quarters.

Is it execution or playcalling? Yes, it is poor execution of bad playcalling.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 8:27 am

I loved the injection of energy and enthusiasm by this coaching staff, especially since the program hadn’t had much enthusiasm since the 2009 melt-down to Cincinnati. But these last three games have been incredibly Wanny-esque. I want to believe that Pitt has finally hired a great coach, after 35 years of mediocre. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts. If you consider the elite coaches in college football, all but Dantonio and Ferentz turned programs around in their second season, regardless of where they were (Meyer – BG & Utah; Kelly – Cincy; Stoops – OU; Richt – Georgia; etc…). Dantonio and Ferentz both won 11 games in their 4th seasons at their current stops.

This job wasn’t a total rebuild either. There are three bonafide 1st round draft picks on the offensive line, a stellar RB corps, and an NFL-caliber TE. When is the last time Pitt had three first-round draft picks on the offensive line? And yet somehow, depending on how you want to look at it, Pitt is a dropped pass from being 1-3 and staring three straight crushing last-second losses. What would the storyline be if Hamilton holds on to that pass and scores?

And I disagree completely with the narrative that Pitt lost to teams that are more talented than they are. UNC and Okie State are marginally more-talented than Pitt, yet are still deeply-flawed teams. Both will lose 4-5 games this season. PSU is probably more talented than both, if that’s the argument. The fact is, great coaches win with who they have. Brian Kelly won the Big East two out of his three years there, with what was probably the 4th-best roster in the league. And there are other predictable examples. But that’s great coaching. And that should be the expectation for Narduzzi. Otherwise, Wannstedt was good enough.

Comment by apm74 09.26.16 @ 8:34 am

The secondary will get better …. next year, and the years to cone. Aside from Maddox and Whitehead, there is no P5 speed. We saw Brightwell play, and play pretty well, on Saturday. We may also see the likes of Therran Coleman and DLs Wheeler, Camp and Watts in the near future.

Trouble is Hamlin, Hill and Hendrix, the 3 newcomers who were supposed to make an impact are out (Hill will not return)

Comment by wbb 09.26.16 @ 8:40 am

…. I thought in the summer, and this is documented here, that the defense would improve because Hendrix would provide another DL penetrator, which in turn helps the DBs. Problem is that Price can’t do it alone and the incoming frosh DL just aren’t strong enough yet.

The ONLY reason we are competitive this year is because of the OL.

Comment by wbb 09.26.16 @ 8:44 am

Thanks for being the rational one again, Chas. You’re 100% right.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 09.26.16 @ 8:45 am

BTW, I also agree with Chas’ synopsis. College coaches have to be the some of the most stubborn people in the world.

Comment by wbb 09.26.16 @ 8:48 am

Hendrix was the biggest loss, but you have to play with what you have. The strength of this team is offense. The defense has made enough stops to win games if they turn the offense loose in the fourth quarter. Sure they risk the turnover, but no lead is safe with this pass defense, so what do you have to lose.

We wouldn’t have to “wait till Narduzzi gets his players” if he would use what he has now to his best advantage.

Coaching is about taking advantage of your strengths, minimizing your weaknesses and taking advantage of your opponents weaknesses.

In the fourth quarter our coaches have done just the opposite.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 8:56 am

i don’t know if many of us have a “better next year” stomach.

Comment by goalie44 09.26.16 @ 9:05 am

goalie – you need one though because it’s most likely better in two years.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 09.26.16 @ 9:18 am

TT, I am not convinced on the two year thing.

While I hope it comes to pass, I don’t like the stubborness and unwillingness to change. PSU should have set off enough alarm bells. It is two games later and the pattern is established, on how to beat Pitt.

Also, the coach has obviously hit the recruiting wall. Local recruits have not bought in yet. To compete at a high level, you need elite players all over the field.

Next year will be a big transition from Chryst to Narduzzi players. He needs a great class this year if there is any chance of your 2 year prediction having merit.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 9:38 am

Chryst just beat the tar out of Narduzzi’s defense, with a redshirt freshman QB.

Duke just beat ND at ND, Miami will be getting a lot better, and UNC has a strong program.

Things seem to be getting tougher in the ACC.

Franklin will probably be gone at the end of the year.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 9:47 am

Next year will be worse than this year. Price will be gone and that alone makes this dismal current defense worse. Our CB’s are just too small to be left on an island with receivers 3 to 4 inches taller than they are.—Also, I’ve seen enough this year to believe Pitt will be lucky to be bowl eligible when the season ends. All our opposition has to do is to pass us to death and Pitt will give up 40 plus points every week absent turnovers. The formula is written to beat Pitt and we don’t have the horses to adjust to any great extent.

Comment by jrnpitt 09.26.16 @ 9:49 am

Last year at Iowa Narduzzi blew it by not going for it on 4th & short. He learned his lesson & didn’t do it again. I can’t understand why he keeps going conservative on offense in the 4th, despite blowing it. They got lucky vs psu & crapped the bed vs OSU. How the hell do you keep doing it, especially after going 3 & out on the 2 previous drives with only a 6pt lead & way too much time left.

Comment by Nick 09.26.16 @ 9:54 am

Well put Chas.

The other thing I would point out are the LIMITATIONS with the Offensive Play Calling and the performance of the Offensive Line.

I’ve called Canada’s Offense “Smoke ‘n Mirrors.” And that’s EXACTLY what it is.

You think you have a RUN Game, until you REALLY need one late in the Game.

You say you trust your Quarterback, but you have him put up numbers you’d expect to see from a High School QB.

Quadree Henderson, and where would we be at this point without him… makes the point that UNC started doing a good job of shutting the Jet Sweep in the Second Half.

What happens in upcoming Games if the Opposing Team starts shutting it down in the First Half?

Hate to even think about it.

Like I’ve been saying, Canada’s Offense is simply NOT set up for a Power Running Attack that’s going to get James Conner his 200 yards.

And even if it were, NOT sure this O-Line would be able to get the job done.

But I guess we’ll never know.

Comment by PittofDreams 09.26.16 @ 9:58 am

I think we have seen enough from Henderson, Weah, Tipton and Orndoff, to know that they can get open and catch the ball. Do not understand why so few downfield passes are being thrown. Why absolutely no deep balls to Weah? Why no passes to Orndoff over the middle to keep the line backers honest.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 10:05 am

@gc How do we know Hendrix was a huge loss? He still really hasn’t played a game since he left Tennessee. My understanding is that he and Blair were still hard to separate entering the Nova game.

@gc Perhaps your message wasn’t intended as I understand it, but how has the defense made enough stops? Pitt has given up an average of 40 points and 440 yards passing per game over the last three games. They’ve surrendered 8 passing touchdowns with only one interception. Their red zone defense is atrocious. The Pitt offense has clearly dominated time of possession in each of those games.

I completely understand criticism of the offense being extremely conservative in the fourth quarter. I would have straight up blamed HCPN if Pitt had lost the PSU game due to that approach because it actually started in the third quarter of that game, presumably because Pitt had so dominated the first half and there was not yet clear evidence of just how bad the pass defense is.

I don’t have the time to research it, but it sure seems to me that the Narduzzi regime burns a lot of defensive timeouts that ultimately don’t serve the purpose. Didn’t Narduzzi burn a defensive timeout in the Penn State game just prior to PSU completing a 34 yard pass to convert a 4th and 16 on their final drive?

HCPN needs to start playing with what he has rather than what he wants or this season may turn ugly after GT. I am assuming GT will struggle to throw but then again Navy threw very successfully against Pitt in the bowl game blowout.

Comment by Barvo 09.26.16 @ 10:06 am

Barvo, what I am saying is that the defense has made enough stops to win all of our games if we had any offense in the fourth qtr. We have scored 10 fourth qtr points, aided by an 84 yd return, while our opponents have scored 39 fourth quarter points. My position is that if we would have maintained our average offensive production through the fourth quarter. our defense would have been good enough. When you consistently are 3 and out, it puts way too much pressure on a weak defense. In the UNC game, the D made two fourth qtr stops, but the offense kept giving the ball back. One offensive drive and UNC runs out of time.

The way to win is to keep the ball away from the opponents offense, something we have done well for three quarters.

Even if Hendrix was only as good as Blair, he would have been another pass rusher. He is bigger and stronger. No we don’t know for sure, just like we don’t know whether Hamlin would be any better. But on a team that could use help at both positions….

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 10:39 am

We scored 3 fourth quarter points in our two losses. That was when and why the games were lost.

I agree the defense is weak and can’t hold a lead.

Makes it crucial for the offense to keep scoring throughout the game.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 10:51 am

Also we better hope Hendrix is that good and sticks around for next year, because Price is gone, and I don’t see much help from any of our current guys. Narduzzi’s defense won’t work without pressure even with better d-backs.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 10:58 am

Sadly, there is nothing to say after reading your synopsis Chas. You. Said. It. All.

We all love Narduzzi’s attitude. But these 2 losses just accelerated the jury’s deliberation on his ability to be the head coach on Saturday too. The man is of the age where changing one’s ways are challenging, but if he hasn’t learned anything in the last 3 weeks put your travel agent on alert for cheap fares to Birmingham.

Comment by wally 09.26.16 @ 11:27 am

Spot on Chas. Hopefully Narduzzi has learned a hard lesson. Maybe in a few years that strategy works. No one who has seen this team play PSU and Ok St. and the first 3/4 of the UNC game would expect the defense to be able to hold on.

Comment by Iron Duke 09.26.16 @ 11:37 am

I could live with the OK ST loss because it seemed like we were the ones playing catch-up all day long. This loss to UNC is completely unacceptable. We were the ones being chased all day.

I can’t imagine how happy the UNC coaches must have been to see our play calling on our final possession. It is as if we made the decision to punt on first down. It looked like our strategy was “Oh well if they are willing to give us a first down we’ll take it, but otherwise we’ll run three safe plays and then punt.” Pathetic. And our coaches have made that same decision for three straight games, so don’t expect them to change anytime soon.

Comment by HbgFrank 09.26.16 @ 11:41 am

I’m still a Narduzzi fan and supporter. He’s the best coach Pitt is going to get and a perfect hit for the University and the community.

I hope he’s not so hard-headed that he refuses to see what’s obvious – you can’t win in college football anymore playing shut down defense. You’ve got to keep your foot on the gas and play to win.

Comment by Dan85 09.26.16 @ 1:11 pm

gc, I think Hendrix has to stick around for next year since the NFL will have very little to go on. Plus up front, the likes of Wheeler, Camp, Watt and Gilbert will have a year of practice and strength training under their belts.

If nothing else, the defense should be much faster all-around next year … Brightwell, Fields, Coleman, Ford, Hamlin, Miller, Wirginis, Whitehead and hopefully McKee can all make big contributions next year

Comment by wbb 09.26.16 @ 1:17 pm

I agree that Hendrix should stay, but some of these guys can’t wait and would rather sign as a free agent. I hope he is not one of them.

Those are a whole lot of really young guys that you mention, with little or no experience.

Plus a first year QB.

Just like a few years ago.

It seems like we always have huge gaps in the pipeline.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 1:26 pm

The pass defense is going to be a weakness all season. Sure it may improve. I don’t think it can get worse. Even with improvement, this defense will give up it’s share of yards through the air and teams will put points on the board.

I’m concerned that if the offense doesn’t figure out a way to stretch defenses and throw the ball downfield, they will not be able to continue to put up 30+ points a game and 300 yds on the ground. This offense is too one dimensional and that may end up being a big problem.

If this team cannot consistently put up 30 points a game, we could be looking at a 4-8 type season…

Comment by Pap76 09.26.16 @ 1:33 pm

New chant heard at Pitt Home Games –
“Turtle Up Panthers, Turtle Up!”
H2P

Comment by giffer in Denver 09.26.16 @ 1:51 pm

Hendrix to the NFL? Based on what? His hudl footage from high school, 1 year at Tenn & 5 plays at Pitt. Now that’s hilarious.

Comment by Nick 09.26.16 @ 2:15 pm

Gaffer,
I’m not second guessing the offensive play calling in the 4th qtr, I believe every effort was made on those 3rd down plays passing the ball to secure first downs, but you realize if Pitt’s offense had really turtled up as in Tino time Pitt runs the ball on 3rd down making the clock run and NC does not have 2 seconds left to score the winning score. Turtle up 1 time on 3rd down running the ball before punting wins in NC.

Comment by Spindler's Spirit 09.26.16 @ 2:18 pm

why not run two plays to try to get the first down?? it was obvious that wherever nc got the ball, they were going to score.

Comment by goalie44 09.26.16 @ 2:29 pm

Goalie,
Running the ball two plays is easy for us to say now but its not fair to the coaching staff after the fact to second guess them.

Comment by Spindler's Spirit 09.26.16 @ 2:43 pm

I think this season shows just how far behind the program still is. We are one or two injuries away from being one of the worst squads in D1. We are severely lacking in talent. It doesn’t look like that will be improving in the next year or two. Hopefully the coach can take small steps and gradually nab higher level talent more consistently as the years move along. Look, I know Pitt’s philosophy for the last I don’t know how many decades has been to pay a coach AFTER he has proven to be a successful coach (which never seems to happen anyway). But long term, perhaps the new administration will realize that maybe Pitt will have to over pay up front to get a “bigger time” coach…and put more money into the football program as a whole. That would be step one. The other part is actually nabbing top local talent. Continue to thumb your noses at that all you want, but we have no shot at top talent anywhere else in the country. The local kids are our best option.

Comment by The Pitt Dilemma 09.26.16 @ 2:56 pm

Narduzzi would have been a great coach in 1935…

Comment by Jackagain 09.26.16 @ 3:19 pm

Hendrix left Tenn. to come to Pitt, if he doesn’t like school, he could very easily get an invite to the combine. Maybe even get drafted. But a 6’4 260 lb d-end would definitely get a shot as a free agent if he puts up numbers at the combine.

Would not be the smartest thing for him to do, but we’ve been down this road before, and have seen plenty of guys make bad decisions.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 3:24 pm

Hendrix has as good of a chance at a combine invite as you do. He’s a redshirt soph who played in a handful of games & has 2 tackles. JP Holtz couldn’t get a combine invite after playing in 52 games, starting 48, putting up plenty of numbers, & was listed at 6’4″ 250.

Comment by Nick 09.26.16 @ 3:45 pm

All the prognosticators on here had Pitt at 2-2
after this game at the beginning of the season. Now your worried about 2 years from now.

Talk about a bad coaching move how about running from the 5 with no timeouts. NC is lucky that kid is 6’5 and at OSU our kid fell down on slick turf.

We didn’t have Caprara who comes up with a great play every game and to be that close in all these games has been a great testimony to the character of these kids. Also great fun to watch.

Chas is right on with his analysis. We had some bad breaks with the health of these kids so far with our recruits from last year, but they are the right players for our weak spots. We’ll be fine H2P

Comment by Tackle Made by Hugh 09.26.16 @ 3:55 pm

link to walterfootball.com

I stand corrected. Nick is right.

Comment by gc 09.26.16 @ 4:08 pm

For 1+ seasons now, we’ve been wondering why 2 OCs havent let NP take shots down the field – and one of those OCs never met a pass he didn’t like. Obviously, NP doesn’t have a good enough (or accurate enough) arm to be a good risk down field. Every team we’ve played this year has packed the box, and begged us to throw down field. We won’t do it. There can be only one reason. I wouldn’t expect that we will see down field throws this year at all.

Someone above made the point (gc?) that since we go conservative in the 4th period and go 3 and out most of the “drives”, we might as well try a few long balls, and risk stopping the clock vs getting a few more first downs. At this point, we have nothing to lose.

Off subject, I watched a little of the Duke/ND game – either Duke is no pushover, or ND is. Either way, I don’t think we will have our hands full with them.

Comment by Savannah Panther 09.26.16 @ 5:08 pm

FYI Tackle by Hugh… I have not GUARANTEED one Game so far this year.

Every year for the past four or so I have gone out on the limb for at least ONE.

Narduzzi and his STUBBORN mentality and LACK of experience makes it tough to do.

But I’m sure there will be at least one. Well let’s hope. George Tech looks like a Contender.

Comment by PittofDreams 09.26.16 @ 6:14 pm

Narduzzi exudes a “Sense of Entitlement.”

Maybe because of his Dad’s success.

But you got to wonder “Why did it take him TWENTY Years to get his FIRST Head Coaching job?”

Comment by PittofDreams 09.26.16 @ 6:17 pm

Chas, great article, thanks. Agree that the Duzz must learn to be a HC and not a DC! I believe we should be 4-0 had we made two first downs, one against OKC and now NC. Other than the obvious fact that our DB’s suck, is some of the offensive play calling. Last week was the power sweep attempt from the 50, this week was a little better but a one yard pass to the sideline is nothing but a long hand off. I’m not saying to throw a bomb, but why not a quick slant over the middle, or a TE or WR screen? Does Orndoff stink now? I don’t think so, this guy has size and is a mismatch for defenders on so many levels.

Can’t argue with the offense and what they’ve done but do question why they’re not opening the offense just a little. You can’t be completely one dimensional, it’s about 65-70% run to pass but deceiving part is majority of passes are those long hand off types. Need just 3-5 passes over the middle, behind the LBs, keep these defenses honest.

If this coaching staff doesn’t make adjustments it could be a really long season. Marshall can throw the ball, as well as Va. Tech, Miami, Duke, Clemson and we always have problems with Ga. Tech’s running game.

Comment by PTG 09.26.16 @ 7:14 pm

Pitt Football Verified account
?@Pitt_FB

RB James Conner is the first player in #Pitt football history to rush for a touchdown in 12 consecutive games played.

Comment by PittofDreams 09.26.16 @ 7:37 pm

Until this Football finds a Passing Game or a Defense… it’s ONLY going as far as James Conner can take them.

If only Narduzzi and Canada realized so much!

Comment by PittofDreams 09.26.16 @ 7:39 pm

This is absolutely the most frustrating loss ever that I recall in the past twenty years of Pitt fan frustration. PN is getting off too easy. Not to just bash the head coach, but the best teams in CFB are usually the best coached teams, not always the most talented. You win with what you have. The stubbornness to keep Maddox in and Lewis is crazy. Devising an offense that doesn’t demand its QB throw the ball downfield is ridiculous. And every time PN calls a defensive TO, the other team gets a 1st down. And not just any 1st down, we are talking 3rd and 14 or 3rd and 18 and 4th and 13 conversions. Its all coaching. Players own it too but its starts with the coach. And his screaming and arguing with referees and also getting snippy with the reporters is not a good sign. This nonsense has gone on for years. Watch any AA team in the WPIAL and everyone throws the ball downfield, except Pitt. Good Lord, this defense was a disaster for almost two years now–they recruited well and yet none of those players are even playing. And finally, they lost out on five 4 and 5 star caliber Western PA recruits this past month or so. All of them seem to be leaving Pitt to go to ND. You can run all you want and talk about it but who cares–YOU LOST. Its not Jerry DiPaolo’s fault he asked a question. Coach better and bench players. He had no problem benching Voytek last year–do the same to Maddox and Lewis. If he’s the “best we have at that position” play a FR. Pitt fans can live with two losses like OSU and NC if they felt that FR were back there. And this team is lucky to have beaten PSU because that kid dropped the ball. Coach Narduzzi – grade F.

Comment by TD 09.26.16 @ 7:42 pm

I haven’t read anything but the title. The title is really all that is needed. Amen. So disappointed in that 4th quarter. Scared. We played scared. Where is the bravado displayed the previous year? Going for it on fourth down, fake punts. This staff is playing scared and it is costing us wins and momentum. It must STOP before it is too late.

Comment by FG 09.26.16 @ 8:44 pm

Another problem I mentioned on the POV…..tell me what 3-5 star QB or especially WR would be stupid enough to come to Pitt right now?

Comment by Jackagain 09.26.16 @ 9:23 pm

Pitt has a GOOD Quarterback coming next year.

He’ll be MORE than glad to take the Starting Job from the other QBs currently on the Roster.

Comment by PittofDreams 09.26.16 @ 10:15 pm

Chas right on…terrific analogy. I don’t care how bad the talent is on defense, a team should NEVER have receivers running open in the secondary by 15-20 yds. No Pitt player anywhere on my tv screen. To happen once…ok maybe you were expecting help over the top from a safety…but 6 times in 2 games. That’s all coaching! Let’s fix that first please!

Comment by Dan 72 09.26.16 @ 10:56 pm

Bowl Eligible? Guaranteed losses Virginia Tech, Clemson and Miami. At best all the rest are toss up games which includes Marshall this week in which we were established as a “SOLID” 1 point favorite. So we need to win 4 of the remaining 5 games(Marshall, GT, Virginia, Duke, Syracuse) other than the 3 I listed above to become bowl eligible. Yikes!!!

Comment by jrnpitt 09.27.16 @ 3:25 am

Sorry I may have been misinformed on the Marshall game point spread. It now looks like the early line has Pitt is favored by 13 to 14 points.

Comment by jrnpitt 09.27.16 @ 3:30 am

I wouldn’t call Va Tech a guaranteed loss but it won’t be easy either. And the Duke game may be much more competitive than originally thought.

Nonetheless … we lose 2 games by a collective 8 points that we were underdogs to 2 good teams. Yet, some people are here are on the ledge.

I never once thought this team was ready for the big time. I do think, just like last year, that we may compete for the Coastal title .. but I also thought both UNC and Miami were better than us. Both have better athletes, that’s for sure. We are at least another year away, especially with getting our defense up to ACC speed, but I see a lot of freshman and sophs getting more and more PT — they just need more experience.

Comment by wbb 09.27.16 @ 6:35 am

Again, people—this has been going on for three seasons, starting in the bowl game against Houston, The last six games of last season when they couldn’t stop anyone–against Navy. Against PSU this year, they won only because the other guy dropped a pass. OSU and NC put up record passing numbers. Its a joke. Its all on the coach. The dumb time out calls, and then still giving up big plays. Take out the underperforms and play a young player that is likely better and more importantly will likely improve with time.

Comment by TD 09.27.16 @ 7:06 am

TD – this has been going on since 2009 and you could argue 30 years. Pitt is 2nd in the nation with losses by 3 points or less since 2009 with 14. 1st being Iowa with 16. That’s a byproduct of conservative offenses and trying to win with defense when CFB has transitioned to attacking offenses and culture problem in the program.

The culture problem is the harder to fix. It’s started with a complete rip and replace of the Pitt administration from School Chancellor to AD to Coach. That’s a start. The harder part is the kids that have been in the program and are part of this cultural problem. It’s not their faults but they are a hinderance to progress. Once they are graduated from the program, hopefully the new recruits aren’t tainted, the school can progress. There’s been talk about how good coaches win right away. It’s not that simple … and very very very rare. Circumstance plays a big part and PN did not inherit a team in a good place mentally to go along with the deep deficiencies in talent and depth. The fans contribute to this too. It’s human nature. Patience is required though. Pitt, and it’s fans, are like a sensitive kid right now. PN is trying to teach the kids how to close out games. The whole 4th qtr program is an effort to do that. It hasn’t worked out that way … yet. Eventually, I think it will. It’s not easy going from the one being bullied to being the bully. That’s what PN is trying to do and it’s not a one or two year fix.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 09.27.16 @ 8:13 am

The crux of the Pitt fan patience problem is the 35 year ongoing mantra “Wait until next year….or preferably the year after.”

We’re numb at this point…in a dazed mediocrity trance.

Comment by Jackagain 09.27.16 @ 1:04 pm

wake forest 4-0.interesting…

Comment by goalie44 09.27.16 @ 7:03 pm

i guess they have better athletes as well.

Comment by goalie44 09.27.16 @ 7:04 pm

Spot on Chas. Spot on.

Comment by MissingWlat 09.27.16 @ 7:31 pm

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