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September 25, 2017

Surprising Regression

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:44 am

A 1-2 start was not completely surprising. Disappointing? Yes. But not something completely unexpected. Even a 1-3 start was hardly out of the realm of possibility. But the way this third loss went down was not what anyone saw coming.

The defense was decent. Yes, the Yellow Jackets piled up the rushing yards,  time of possession and finished with 35 points. That’s what they do in the triple option. The defense also came up with four turnovers, made stops and generally gave the offense a chance. But they were gassed. They were gassed by halftime and finished by the end of the third quarter.

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi can complain about the style of blocking Georgia Tech employs — he’s hardly been the first to do that — but it is not something new. This loss wasn’t on the defense. This was on an offense from the coaches down to the players that looked scared, lost and unfocused.

The first sign of offensive trouble came on the next possession, when Pitt forced a turnover and took over at the Georgia Tech 33. But two incompletions and a 1-yard run forced Alex Kessman to try a 50-yard field goal that sailed just wide.

“The first drive was good,” DiNucci said. “Then the defense gets a turnover, and we can’t capitalize. That would have been nice to get points there.”

But the offense managed little the rest of the afternoon. They produced 37 rushing yards on 20 attempts, a 1.9 average. DiNucci completed 12 of 19 passes for 110 yards and was relieved by senior Max Browne midway through the fourth quarter.

“We couldn’t run the ball,” Narduzzi said. “Give them credit, obviously. We continue to not be able to get moving up front with our offensive line and we can point our fingers at the quarterback. But if you’re not running the ball, there’s not many quarterbacks who can sit back in that pocket and throw it all day.”

The leading rusher was safety Jordan Whitehead, who carried twice for 35 yards. Ollison gained 11 yards on seven carries but added five catches for 44 yards and a 28-yard touchdown.

“We’ve got to do something with the football,” Narduzzi said. “You can’t win if you don’t score points. At halftime, we had 24 plays and they had about 50. That’s not good … because they’re going to continue to run it and run it and run it.”

GT HC Paul Johnson had the most painful and honest burn of Pitt. One that stings more then anything after Penn State.

Four turnovers. Four freaking turnovers and 0 points off of them. Hell, there wasn’t even a first down made by the offense on the turnovers. I’m still incredulous over this.

I’m hardly impressed with the playcalling from OC Shawn Watson. It has shown little feel or sense of the game. Not ready to demand his firing and have Pitt on its 5th OC in 5 years either. Still, the number of short passes well short of the sticks is like watching half the teams in the NFL.

And where to start with the regression by players. Jester Weah is now 50-50 on every pass his way. The rest of the receivers don’t seem to be running good routes or getting any separation.

The O-line has one entire side not able to do much but wave at the defensive linemen as they go by. And the other side has struggled to do much better.

With little help from the O-line, the running game looks pathetic.

Then there is the quarterbacking and decisions made there. There seems to be a premium on not making mistakes. Couple that with the bad O-line play and receivers not open, the number of checkdowns and short passes for little to no gain were absurd. DiNucci and Browne combined to go 22-34 for a whopping 198 yards. And 28 of that came on one play.

The spark DiNucci provided off the bench was largely snuffed by the poor O-line play, drops and an excessively conservative offensive game plan. Browne, in relief, was what Browne has been. Largely immobile, scared of making mistakes, and making short throws on check-downs. Regardless of the situation.

I gave myself an extra day to cool down from this one. Didn’t help.

Did not see the Game.

Did not have to in order to know what’s becoming increasingly clear over time.

Narduzzi is NOT a Head Coach. Don’t even believe he’s a GOOD Defensive Coach.

I’ve been saying this for a LONG time… actually since before he was hired.

Everything in time.

Comment by PittofDreams 09.25.17 @ 8:22 am

As for the here and now… looks like Narduzzi is going to do ONE thing right.

Signs are that DiNucci will remain the Starter.

Give the Kid a chance. With his athleticism and natural LEADERSHIP abilities, he could end up being a GOOD College Quarterback.

However, the MUCH BIGGER problem is everything else surrounding DiNucci.

A lack of “Coaching Fundamentals” might be a good way to describe it.

Comment by PittofDreams 09.25.17 @ 8:36 am

No surprise to me… He recruits terribly, program pays cheap and he is a terrible in game coach. He is a MAC Level DC. Nothing more. He caught lighting in a bottle for 2 years in MSU. Look at body of work there it was weak. He uses twitter and is rah rah. His next job will be in MAC in Ohio. Everyone is better and hired better in ACC than us. UVA Way Better, VT Light Years Better, Miami Better, Syracuse Way Better Coach, Duke is on fire. We win 2-3 more games this year while it is Year 3.

Frauduzzi won with Chryst’s players.

Comment by Upittbaseball 09.25.17 @ 8:36 am

Gundy laughed about this defense. Johnson laughs and it is Year #3.

Comment by Upittbaseball 09.25.17 @ 8:37 am

But have no fear we have Heather Lyke as a AD.

Embarrassing on all fronts.

I can’t wait till our Shoesalesman Basketball coach wins 8 games this year.

Just winners throughout the program.

Lyke Sucks
Stallings Sucks
Narduzzi Sucks

I can keep going.

No spine in Athletics.

Comment by Upittbaseball 09.25.17 @ 8:39 am

Wow, still not sure how the GT loss is on the

3 of the 4 GT fumbles were lost on Pitt’s side of the field. It’s not all that shocking/maddening that points weren’t produced on those 3. I also only recall one of those fumbles as “forced” by the defense. The others were self-inflicted.

Pitt’s defense surrendered 484 yards of offense and GT abbreviated 3 drives with fumbles. The 4th fumble killed a near certain TD. Somehow GT still ran 19 more plays than Pitt and also had 9 more minutes in ToP. GT averaged 6.5 yards per carry and no rusher averaged less than 4 ypc. GT was 6-14 on 3rd downs. The Pitt defense couldn’t get off the field.

That said, Pitt’s offense was bad. Is that a surprise this season? Did anybody really expect anything like last season (which apparently is what is required)? It’s ridiculous how many passes are attempted short of the sticks. Then again Browne had Mathews wide open on a route 15 yards downfield and skipped the pass 3 yards in front of him. Browne wasn’t under duress at the time.

I have no idea where MacVittie and Pickett are in development. Of the two guys I have seen I would play DiNucci over Browne, especially with the line play. In addition there is no hope of future development with Browne. There may be with DiNucci. A couple of more losses and I’d say insert MacVittie or Pickett. It really can’t grow worse and then at least it’s a level competition in the spring.

Comment by Barvo 09.25.17 @ 9:09 am

We played a complete game on Saturday…the defense was bad and the offense was embarrassing. C’mon, how many times did our D give up 7 or 8 yards on first down. A lot. On O, a QB that raised staring down receivers to an all time high and an OL that could not block most of the game. Hard to watch. I gave DW his 5 – 7 debacle, so I’ll take this impending losing season from PN. If we start out next season watching our secondary get lit up like a night time turnpike construction zone, then I don’t think HCPN should finish his fourth season as our HC.

Comment by HbgFrank 09.25.17 @ 11:36 am

This looks pretty hopeless. There will be 500 people at the Rice game.

Comment by Chris 09.25.17 @ 11:51 am

No surprises from Watson. He called the PSU game like Pitt was the favored team protecting the lead at home.

Comment by 2$Chuck 09.25.17 @ 1:40 pm

Chris – 500 only if 300 come from Houston. 🙁

Comment by Upittbaseball 09.25.17 @ 2:20 pm

I checked NCAA stats – 129 teams. Pitt is 108 on offense and 113 on defense.

Comment by JLE 09.25.17 @ 2:21 pm

See, way too much focus on the offense (smile).

Comment by 66Goat 09.25.17 @ 3:44 pm

Pitt should go the way of the University of Chicago. When they knew they couldn’t compete in the Big 10, they dropped out of the conference an dropped football.

Comment by MariettaMike 09.25.17 @ 8:48 pm

Folks, it is going to be the same next year so why belabor the point. Time to find a new coach now. A previous post was checking on the “development” of our other two quarterbacks lol. You must be kidding. If they stay around they may a see 8 or 10 games apiece. Trace McSorley was already developed when he came to Penn State.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 09.25.17 @ 9:17 pm

My real fear now is that the team will just become totally frustrated and show signs of giving up. That could follow with a complete collapse. The fans will see it but no one else in the Athletic Department especially not Heather L. She will be more worried about the upcoming bobble head promotion game.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 09.25.17 @ 9:22 pm

I am with Marietta Mike. Look at the rankings of salaries. Pitt still is not competitive and we are in the bottom 10% of the NCAA div I.Agree with others on recent ACC coaching upgrades. We are not even competitive in the AAC or the ACC. The only future competitor for this year I have not seen play is Rice therefore they are the only team I can not say we will loose to this year. Year end— 2/10 at best. Watch Texas play this year with Watson gone are we not sooo luckey to have him. Ha another cheap hire. I have to quit this now for medical reasons. Going back to hunting this fall and vacating Pitt football. Even if I miss there I can get my gun off and feel better.

Comment by Pitt60 09.25.17 @ 9:32 pm

Narduzzi worried about the Offense and lack of a Running Game.

Of course, “1 and 3” couldn’t have anything to do with the TOTAL inability to stop a Running Game or a Passing Game.

Comment by PittofDreams 09.26.17 @ 7:18 am

Assistant coaches from arizona ,miami louisville and a couple others arrested by the fbi for fraud. None wearing rockports.

Comment by alcofan 09.26.17 @ 12:31 pm

I think everyone expected a transition year. But I dont think anyone expected the huge dropoff in offensive production (And I mean YUGE) and the non-improvement on defense. Very disappointing. I blame this all on the coaching.

Comment by TX Panther 09.26.17 @ 6:51 pm

I applaud Pitt for not cheating. Now the FBI will be jailing the like of Pitino. Was it worth it?

Comment by TX Panther 09.26.17 @ 6:52 pm

Pitt will never exit the ACC. Too much money. But all the BoT cares about is doing as little as it takes to survive in sports. You’ll never see more than mediocrity across all sports programs until the BoT composition and structure changes. That will change the athletic culture. But there is no impetus for change.

Comment by TX Panther 09.26.17 @ 6:56 pm

Pitt coach Duzz just told the tribune review he has made a decision on the QB. but would not tell them who. I WILL NOW HAVE TO GO TO THE GAME JUST TO SEE WHO IT IS , WHAT SUSPENSE. This has me so excited I just cant wait that long (lol).
What the hell is the big deal, they both are underperformers and it should not make any difference against a team like Rice. This is the type of silly stuff that goes on with the head coach. Stupid drama for nothing.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 09.28.17 @ 3:16 pm

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