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September 1, 2017

Killing Time Until Saturday

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:39 am

I’m just going to assume that Tulsa is really trash and Oklahoma State isn’t that scary good on offense. It helps me sleep easier.

Good question in this article about Quadre Ollison as the starting running back: Can Pitt spread it around with the running backs this year?

A lot of guys in our room are going to play,” said Ollison, whose name appeared first on the depth chart this week as Pitt prepared to open the season Saturday against Youngstown State. “No running back wants the ball 40 times a game. Your body wears down.

“Our ability to keep guys fresh and keep rotating guys in and out are going to make us really, really good.”

For the past two seasons, Pitt has largely rode one running back most of the season. James Conner carried 216 times in 2016, compared to 42 by freshman Chawntez Moss, the next-busiest back. Moss’ total was only 7.7 percent of Pitt’s total carries. Two years ago, freshman Darrin Hall backed up Ollison (212 attempts), with only 64 (12.6 percent).

Those are the two smallest percentages for the No. 2 back at Pitt in the first seven years of this decade.

As the article notes, it has been true freshmen as the #2 back for the last five years. Which may have contributed to the numbers. It’s not like there weren’t other, older backs behind the starter. Just that the best one in the practices were the freshmen. I mean, we haven’t even heard much about Moss in the depth chart. A lot of the chatter suggests it would be A.J. Davis after Hall.

Speaking of freshmen, Paris Ford is nowhere to be seen on the depth chart. Per Head Coach Pat Narduzzi, it is unlikely he will be seen on the field this year.

“Not as well as you want to,” he said.

After uttering those words, Narduzzi backtracked, noting he shouldn’t have said that while adding that Ford has done an excellent job on the Panthers’ scout team. His response, while seemingly harsh, is understandable — Ford, who only started formally practicing with the team seven days ago, has a ways to go before he can start making the kind of impact of which so many believe he’s capable.

“He doesn’t really know what he’s doing yet,” Narduzzi said. “We’ve worked with him. You can work with him and he can say ‘Yeah, I know what to do,’ but until you see all the different things that can happen to you, you really don’t know. It’s just too hard.”

Pardon my skepticism. In no small part, because of the depth issues of the secondary. But also because we heard this before with other freshmen. The reality is we don’t really know what Narduzzi thinks or how Ford actually stacks up against his teammates.

We only know what we are told by Narduzzi and the Pitt Athletic Department. Practices are closed. The media “window” is essentially meaningless for seeing anything beyond stretching, warm-ups and practices snapping the ball.

Narduzzi isn’t the only college coach who closes practices. I just shrug at this point over the useless paranoia. He may like it as a coach, but the other part of it is that you just cannot take a coach at his word over the performance of a kid in the practices.

On the bright side, “Sweet Caroline” is being phased out. Oh, it will be around during the games, but the emphasis is being reduced.

Over on the defense, it was hard not to note  that defensive end Dewayne Hendrix is hardly 100% as he, “has been nagged by injury this summer.” At this point, it feels like Hendrix has been a 3-year, “what if?”


I have a bad feeling about this Youngstown game .Without Whitehead and Bookser. Anyone share my feeling.

Comment by fred filopek 09.01.17 @ 10:51 am

I will be there tomorrow and I will be grateful that they won’t be playing THAT song….HTP

Comment by The Hagen 09.01.17 @ 1:35 pm

They’re still going to play it, now you just won’t know when. It might actually be worse. At least before you could head to the can with under a minute to go in the 3rd.

Comment by Nick 09.01.17 @ 3:45 pm

Rashad Weaver will make us forget about the oft-injured D Hendrix…….or so i hope.

Comment by Gasman 09.01.17 @ 4:48 pm

Now that Sweet Caroline is not fixed at the end of qtr 3 we could actually hear it more than once.

Comment by Dinosaur 71 09.01.17 @ 6:04 pm

A muddy field may negate Pitts speed advantage. Pray the rains come later. Hoping for a resounding victory but I think this game will be close…too close for comfort.

Comment by TX Panther 09.01.17 @ 7:27 pm

Beautiful day for football on the North Shore. Rain stopped for now. Duzz and his team look hungry and confident. Let’s go Pitt!!!

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 09.02.17 @ 10:30 am

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