March 23, 2017

Pitt Pro Day Fun

Filed under: Alumni,Draft,Football,Good — Chas @ 7:24 am

Do campus pro days make a difference? Probably not for the players who received and went through the NFL Combine last month. Guys like Nate Peterman, James Conner, Ejuan Price, etc. who had their measurables taken in that setting probably won’t do much to change things. Any changes for them in the draft board will come from private team workouts and evaluations of their game film.

For the next tier, though, it is about getting noticed. Raising an eyebrow. Getting teams to reevaluate them.

Arguably, no one did a better job of making that happen then Ryan Lewis.

Ryan Lewis always knew he was fast, but his form was flawed. He was a high school running back who never played defense until he got to Pitt, where he didn’t crack the starting lineup until his senior season.

But Lewis wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, so he knew Pitt’s Pro Day was his final chance to show scouts, like his father, what he could do.

Ryan ran the 40-yard dash, the ultimate test of speed. Scouts clocked Lewis at 4.35 seconds his first time, then at 4.32.

“It was a surprise for me,” [proud dad and director of pro scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs] Will Lewis said. “I was thinking he’d run in the mid- to low-4.4s. When he was 4.32, everybody looks at their watch and then looks at you.”

All thinking the same thing: Ryan Lewis just made some money.

Thirty NFL teams were represented, including Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, on Wednesday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side. They came to see Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman, running back James Conner or linemen Adam Bisnowaty and Dorian Johnson. They left buzzing about Ryan Lewis.

A Pitt cornerback was probably the last player expected to turn heads, considering that the Panthers finished next-to-last nationally in pass defense. But Lewis comes with pedigree, as the son of then-Seattle Seahawks vice president of football operations; nephew of former Pitt cornerback Tim Lewis, a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1983 and former Steelers defensive coordinator; and cousin of former Panthers Louis Riddick, Ian Riddick and Tristan Roberts.

Man, you want to talk about one of the great Pitt families. They get overlooked. Maybe because they aren’t from Pittsburgh and/or didn’t stay in the area. But I’m not sure you can find a bloodline in Pitt’s history that has covered so many different periods.

Good for Ryan Lewis. At the very least he is going to get a chance somewhere as an undrafted free agent.

James Conner continues to do James Conner things.

But what Nathan Peterman noticed was that even when someone like seldom-used William & Mary receiver Kevin Hart — no, not the comedian, but the Seton-LaSalle High School graduate — lifted alongside Pitt’s NFL hopefuls, there was one voice booming and imploring others to be just as supportive of Hart as they would their own.

Yes, even on Pitt’s annual pro day — an individual activity by nature, as draft prospects work out for NFL teams — James Conner’s presence was felt.

“Guys he just met today, he’s rooting them on, getting our whole team to cheer for them,” Peterman said. “He’s probably one of the favorite guys I’ve played with. Maybe we’ll get another chance one day to play with each other. … I’ve never seen a guy like him.”

Stop being so goddamn perfect that it makes the rest of us look so small and petty.

And from Coach Pat Narduzzi.

Standing outside the circle of NFL people, Narduzzi looked and talked like a proud father. Six of his players –­ Conner, Peterman, offensive linemen Adam Bisnowaty and Dorian Johnson, tight end Scott Orndoff and defensive end Ejuan Price — were at the NFL Combine and look like they could get drafted.

Asked what that would mean to his program, Narduzzi was honest.

“It would mean we probably should have won more games this year,” he said.

Said every Pitt fan after (almost) every loss this past season.

“It would be great for the University of Pittsburgh and for this program to have that many guys drafted.

“We just want to keep matching that with winning football games.”

It would definitely help, and yes.

So Gary Parrish is essentially calling Pitt dumb asses for lowering Dixon’s buyout so he could leave. There’s no one at Pitt who’s attempting to counteract that depiction of a Power 5 has-been and its has-been coach. That may be an unfair perception but it is real.

Of course Parrish is trolling Pitt as Dixon’s team makes the Final Four – of the NIT.

Comment by Tony77019 03.30.17 @ 8:45 pm

Hats off to Jamie and TCU winning the NIT. I’m sad that GA Tech could not finish with one last win, but Tech has momentum going into next season by playing in the championship game.

Comment by MariettaMike 03.30.17 @ 9:43 pm

All while we are stuck with a 56 year old bum who never won squat in his first 32 years. Good for you Jamie. Glad we have a AD who was hired because she agreed to keep this loser. No real
aD would take this job without being able to can a program
Killer like Rockports.

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.30.17 @ 9:59 pm

Arriving late so maybe this made it out there, but check out this little nugget

link to

What a scumbag. Sure — As long as one gets a little cash, this erases all the torment, tragedy from a child’s brain. Where has this world gone?

Comment by ck 03.31.17 @ 5:59 am

Congrats to Jamie, his team manhandled GT. With TCU really giving him the support he needs looks like he will be back with the elites soon.

Looks like more evidence to support the case that he wasn’t receiving that support at Pitt. No big surprise there.

Agree CK, Al Lord is the kind of scumbag that allowed all those years of child rape to go on unabated. Blame the victim.

Comment by gc 03.31.17 @ 9:49 am

Funny how a “poor recruiter” like Jamie can suddenly recruit guards and centers and freshmen ready to start. He also got the existing TCU players to buy in to his coaching unlike someone we know. Reminds me of “Not my fault Walt”

Even when Jamie was struggling, he never tried to deflect or blame his players.

Comment by gc 03.31.17 @ 9:54 am

JD knew hw could not recruit or play the ACC type of BB. He always had misgivings about Pitt joining the ACC.

We need to have a coach who can do the above to succeed in the ACC.

Comment by Frank MD 03.31.17 @ 10:04 am

He seems to be recruiting and adapting to Big 12 pretty well.

Comment by gc 03.31.17 @ 11:26 am

dixon had no problems hanging around with his buddy steve pederson. if dixon wasn’t getting the support he needed, he would have left long before.

Comment by goalie44 03.31.17 @ 11:39 am

link to

“ACC will make more than $100 million off schools’ NCAA tourney runs over past 3 years

The Atlantic Coast Conference didn’t have its best run in this year’s NCAA tournament, but North Carolina’s trip to the Final Four, combined with two stellar tournaments in 2015 and 2016, will yield the conference at three-year total of more than $100 million.”

“The ACC, like many conferences, splits the revenue equally. With 15 members, that puts the three-year tournament take for each ACC school at about $6.8 million.”

Comment by NickC 03.31.17 @ 1:58 pm

GC – No offense, but this has been covered many times, JD hired good assistants at TCU to fill his (recruiting) void, and I think just about everyone agreed that with good recruiters on his staff he’ll be successful because he’s a very good coach. That doesn’t make him a good recruiter. I am not sure why he didn’t hire good assistants to fill that void here at Pitt, whether it was a lack of financial support or other factors related to Jamie himself, but the fact is he wasn’t able to recruit while at Pitt, that ship has sailed.

Comment by 1618mt 03.31.17 @ 2:38 pm

Now we need ND to put up for FB or leave. We can get more BB money with UCONN and Temple.

Comment by Frank MD 03.31.17 @ 2:38 pm

Money means nothing when we dont spend it. Obvious a Regional sales Manager makes more than our Eastern Michigan AD.

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.31.17 @ 8:54 pm

Exactly UPitt, what good is it if one fails to spend it? Reminds me of the Pirates.. You see what we get. So disappointing. What good does it do to join the ACC if you do not take advantage of its perks?

Comment by ck 03.31.17 @ 10:28 pm

Cam Johnson leaving…

Comment by BigB 04.01.17 @ 12:59 am

1618mt, just semantics, the head coach gets the credit for the players recruited. I think we really are in agreement. The big question is why didn’t he hire better assistants over the last few years. I think the downfall was Brandon Knight. He couldn’t fire him because his jersey hangs in the Pete.

Comment by gc 04.01.17 @ 7:11 am

Pitt basketball….last one left on the roster turn out the lights. Freaking dumpster fire. Unless you are Kentucky, 3 roster players for an ACC school is an embarrassment. Really good thing they brought in “a basketball guy” in Barnes to take basketball to the next level. It took one off season to turn this program into Boston College.

The importance of hiring the right guy. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why universities don’t spend more money on coaches. An extra $1-2MM annually (above market) on top coaching will actually save millions and keep the stream of ticket sales and donations flowing. Barnes opted for the buddy system and look where Pitt ended up. The Peterson Events Center will look great with 2,000 people watching games. Typical Pitt. Time for Lyke to just rip off the band aid and start over with a young energetic coach.

Comment by Dallas Mike 04.01.17 @ 7:12 am

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