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August 31, 2017

Assorted Notes as CFB Resumes

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:27 am

College football kicked off this past Saturday, but it felt a little half-hearted. Tonight it really seems to begin and with that a quick little browser tab clearance.

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August 30, 2017

YSU Impacts

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:27 am

There is absolutely no reason to fear YSU. There is every reason, though, to worry.

To say the last two meetings have had an impact on the team and season is being polite.

2012: The debut of Paul Chryst as head coach. Suspensions galore announced just ahead of the game and on a sweltering night with periods of rain, Pitt came out flat and stayed flat. Losing 31-17. Setting things in motion early for that third straight trip to the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham.

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August 29, 2017

Something Will Happen on Offense

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches — Chas @ 7:27 am

With the exception of certain Offensive Coordinators (Scot Loeffler), we really don’t know for sure how things will go. Matt Canada was a decent, but not outstanding OC. He was fired/scapegoated by NC State’s HC Dave Doereen, and seemingly ended up at Pitt because of his ties to HC Pat Narduzzi. Nothing about the hire screamed revolutionary, outstanding. At most it seemed like a decent fit, and wasn’t horrible.

Instead his schemes meshed perfectly with the players. The players took to it, and quite literally ran with it. Pitt’s offense went from slightly above average — with Tyler Boyd — to explosive. All while in a pro-style offense. He parlayed that into one becoming one of the highest paid assistants in college football, and a couple steps closer to becoming a head coach within a few years.

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August 28, 2017

Less then a week to the first game. I’m ready to hit the turnpike now. Head Coach Pat Narduzzi had his press conference today, and the game notes with the depth chart (PDF, p. 3).

That’s the big thing. Plenty of speculation, but between injuries, key suspensions and players kicked off the team; there have been some questions.

Shall we parse?

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August 25, 2017

A hallmark of a Pat Narduzzi defense is being disruptive upfront. Not simply being able to stop the run, but penetrating in the backfield to keep pressure on the quarterback whether simply dropping back or those running the option or spread. The linebackers are going to play closer to the line, and look for chances to make plays up-front rather then contain.

The risk to his defense is that it also leaves the corners on an island with little help. It’s one of the reasons Pitt was so bad against the pass and led the conference in surrendering passing plays of 20 yards or more. (The other reasons included injuries and issues around talent in the secondary.)

It was a source of frustration for myself and many others that Narduzzi and Defensive Coordinator Josh Conklin refused to change — or even tweak — the system to account for the fact that the D-line simply couldn’t generate the pressure up-front that was needed.

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August 24, 2017

Receiving/Defending Depth Chart Bits

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 7:08 am

Two sides of the ball. The receiving corps and secondary. Both are anchored by a senior. Both are going to be heavily reliant on youth. Lots of questions.

First, a little on Pitt’s latest verbal since he happens to be a cornerback.

The Cardinal Gibbons three-star cornerback committed to Pittsburgh on Monday night after stating earlier in August he was favoring Wisconsin. Before the Badgers, Penn State appeared to be his favorite, and UCF was a trending pick leading up to Monday.

“[Pittsburgh] will be very happy,” [Marquis] Williams said. “I’m going to change college football.”

The 5-foot-8 speedster, who is ranked the 76th-best corner in the nation, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings.

“They’re getting a really fast guy with a lot of speed,” Cardinal Gibbons coach Matt DuBuc said. “And a guy with ball skills because he can play receiver too, special teams guy. A guy that can do a multitude of things.”

Former FAU coach Charlie Partridge, now the defensive line coach with Pitt, played a major role in Williams’ recruitment late.

“Charlie Partridge did a great job recruiting him. We’re close with Charlie, and it ended up working out,” DuBuc said. “I think the ACC was better for him than the Big Ten.”

Williams clearly doesn’t lack for confidence.

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August 23, 2017

Almost as long as this blog has been around, a familiar question has been about getting the back-up quarterback some game reps. Specifically, when there is a senior starting QB. It essentially became a running joke in Tyler Palko’s senior year, of fans asking when Bill Stull might get a few mop-up snaps.

Which serves for some amusement to see this bit in Kevin Gorman’s column praising the naming of Max Browne as the starter:

DiNucci, by contrast, hasn’t even played a full game. He was 3 of 9 for 16 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions in late relief of Nathan Peterman in the Pinstripe Bowl.

That should have taught Narduzzi to get his backup more playing time during the season, something DiNucci needs if he’s to eventually succeed Browne at Pitt.

Ah, the classics. They never get old.

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August 22, 2017

Shocking.

I’m not saying it was inevitable. Just because Max Browne is a graduate transfer. A former 5-star QB recruit from California. Had a starting gig at USC for a few games last year. Looking to make it to the NFL and impress scouts this year. Came nearly all the way across the country to play at Pitt.

Pitt also had a good track record of transfer QBs succeeding. The quarterback Browne is trying to replace Nate Peterman started out at Tennessee. Before him, ex-Rutgers and Arizona QB Tom Savage ran the offense and he ended up in the NFL. The climate of the Panthers’ program bodes well for Browne to come in and thrive, which is obviously what he’s hoping for.

“The ideal scenario is to bring Pitt an ACC championship, and throw for a bunch of yards and touchdowns,” he says as he looks for a re-boot to his football career.

“I’m not an idiot. Right now, I know what my story is. It is what it is. A lot of people are writing me off. I know that’s not (in line) with the work that I’ve put in or how this should end. I know that I can play at a high level, end on a high note and put myself in a position to get drafted and have a career in the NFL. All the goals that were out there when I committed to USC are still out there. I just have to go have a good year.”

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August 21, 2017

…And We’re Back

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 9:24 am

Sorry about the Johnny Carson-esque hiatus. I don’t know when summer vacation became more hectic, busy and insane then during the school year. Between the camps, activities, drop times, work, trying to do things with the family on weekends. It felt non-stop.

So, what did I miss? I mean, aside from everything.

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