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October 2, 2017

Pitt Needed Rice

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:41 am

No one, including the players and coaches, thinks Rice is much beyond a bad team. That still doesn’t change how much Pitt needed that game. They needed an easy win, and they got it. They didn’t turn it into a needless struggle or a painful slog. They had a nice, laid-back blowout.

Max Browne was returned to starting QB, and looked like a different player. With some actual protection and a non-top-10 opponent, he looked something the former 5-star QB grad transfer Pitt fans were hoping to see.

Only a couple bad throws, and more incompletions came on drops by the receivers then because he missed them. Able to look downfield.

The only true concern on the offensive side from the game is the offensive line and running game. The inability of the O-line to get any sort of push or run blocking against Rice was unnerving to say the least. It’s been a problem all season. I don’t understand how the line has regressed so badly. Even with Bisnowaty and Johnson gone. There’s depth. Experience.

And they don’t look anything like they had the previous two seasons under John Peterson. I feel like I have been writing the same thing in this regard after every game.

With the exception of Damar Hamlin misreading/playing the one pass that ended up going for a 69-yard TD, the defense had a solid game. Really, outside the misery that was Oklahoma State, the defense hasn’t been horrid this season. I think the expectation was that it would be better then this.

The secondary looks improved, especially with Jordan Whitehead back there. I still would not be surprised to see Paris Ford get a shot in the next couple of games.

It’s that D-line that still doesn’t seem to get enough pressure without extra help from the linebackers that remains concerning. Against teams that spread it or use a run-pass-option, that exposes a lot of space over the middle for slot receivers and tight ends.

Rice was exactly what the doctor ordered and while it won’t be easy Syracuse this Saturday can be also. This team needed some confidence and while Dungy may carve the D up and Pitt loses, Syracuse is beatable.

Max Browne showed with time he can be a solid accurate QB. Bottom line is he was definitely overrated coming out of high school and he needs help. Weah needs to build on Rice game, and Matthews needs to continue to help.

But what Browne really needs is the line and RB’s to get their shit together. Can AJ Davis still redshirt? If not, give him a chance. Going forward without a running game and pass protection you’re not going to see Browne be nearly as effective as he was on Saturday.

Chas, I agree we may see Ford soon too. He was dressed Saturday and very engaged in the game, he was the first guy to mob Dane Jackson after his pick.

Comment by Pap76 10.02.17 @ 12:52 pm

Pittblatherites’ response to a win, underwhelming.

Comment by MariettaMike 10.02.17 @ 5:31 pm

We need some athletes that play with attitude on that defense. Ford may be the one

Comment by Kvah 10.02.17 @ 6:53 pm

Rivalry week. Two hungry dogs fighting for??? respect,bowl eligibility, lambert trophy.

Comment by alcofan 10.02.17 @ 7:03 pm

Hoping the obstinate head coach changes up the defense this week.

Comment by Gasman 10.02.17 @ 7:58 pm

MM – just savoring the win. The opponent makes it hard to know if a corner was turned

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.02.17 @ 8:28 pm

So true TT regarding the outcome of the victory. It was nice to see Browne actually look around the field and throw some downfield. He apparently can do it. Also some nice catches by Weah after another drop.

Was Pitt’s defense horrid last season? Pitt finished 2016 ranked #100 in total defense. Pitt is currently ranked #104 in total defense. Pitt finished 2016 ranked #106 in scoring defense. Pitt is currently #101 in scoring defense. Hard to see improvement through quantifiable evidence and the OSU game alone doesn’t account for that.

Pitt is currently #107 in passing defense and #85 in rushing defense. Seems like they have better balance at poor defense than in 2016.

My expectations have changed for 2017. Forget competing for the Coastal. I just want to see measurable improvement.

Comment by Barvo 10.03.17 @ 7:27 am

The running game will get better once coach Peterson settles on 5 starters. The o line hasn’t gelled yet as Pete is playing too many combinations. This week look for less subbing during the game. It’s been dintino or morissey, hodges or hernden, bookser or hodges, officer guard or center. The o line hasn’t had a chance to gel. That needs to change starting this week.

Comment by grizzly1 10.03.17 @ 8:21 am

Good to see “less bad play” which I can not stand watching. Agree with other posters the O line ( run game and pass protect) is the key to the offensive game.Hall is not the answer unless he is used as a receiver. Davis does look good. Loosing our FB again did not help but it seems Watson uses a lot of 1 back calls, maybe because he has to. Also saw fewer pitch outs and behind the line passes to the flat which usually result in losses in this game.D statistics are deceiving because of OSU and G.Tech games. Felt there were signs of life their but agree until we start putting the hits on the backs in the backfield we have probs.. . I am revising my season record call from 2/10 to 3/10 as I think they can take NC yet. Still do not even see Syracuse W unless we step it up another notch.

Comment by Pitt60 10.03.17 @ 10:44 am

I fear the O and D will be exposed yet again on Saturday. The cause has a decent pass rush and will pressure Browne almost every down. Cause uses many stunts and blitzes to get pressure on the QB. Not a good challenge for our O.
Dungey will use short passes against our LBs and will score a lot of points. I don’t think we can keep up. Same when we see most other teams in the coastal improving, we are still trying to catch up.

Comment by ROC2 10.03.17 @ 3:53 pm

Jamel Artis with 5 pts for the Knicks vs the Nets. In a exhibition game tonight.

Comment by alcofan 10.03.17 @ 9:41 pm

Don’t see us in the win column this week. These kids have to contend with poor coaching and its a matter of a game or two before the whole thing collapses.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.04.17 @ 9:31 am

Pitt Dreamer you must be a Nittany Lion or Moutaineer. The coaching maybe isn’t excellent, but it is far from poor

Comment by DocJLK 10.04.17 @ 11:53 am

This staff has Pitt right on track with how MSU built their program. I’ve been saying something similar for a while.

Vuk from the PittsburghNow site broke it down and compared …

Dantonio after 2 years: 16-10
Narduzzi after 2 years: 16-10
Dantonio Year Three: 6-7
Narduzzi Year Three: ??
Dantonio next 6 years: 65-16

Read the entire article. It’s pretty good … link to

Is Pitt Dreamer and PoD one and the same? Serious question.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.04.17 @ 3:45 pm

Pitt Dreamer and PoD are not the same.
Please do not compare Narduzzi to Dantonio and think the same thing is going to happen here. Hell folks , we almost lost to Youngstown state.
These are entirely two different situations.
We have no proven QB next year (far from poor coaching and planning), Running backs??? (I quess they are being coached by “far from poor coaches”. A disorganized offensive line ( could this be poor coaching )???. The only track Pitt is on is the one going south.
I also read the article and folks its a delusion here. Where is all the talent at, show me then I will become a believer. Beating Rice was like playing Duquesne people , get real.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.04.17 @ 5:44 pm

I want Pitt to win more that anyone but I just don’t drink the koolaid. At least not this year.
Even if this year really tanks, nothing will happen to Narduzzi. The athletic administration does not have the stomach to go through another coaching search, they would not know where to even begin looking for someone who wants to come here. Now, at the end of next year and still poor football, that’s another story. Then the whole mess starts again.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.04.17 @ 5:55 pm

As far as next year, really?
Unproven offensive line, a lot of new faces.
No experienced QB, Di Nucci maybe but this was the year he should have been playing. look for a transfer or two again.
Running Backs, we may have numbers but no quality, present offensive line may be the problem.
Wide receivers, below average play.
It all starts with the offensive line, it needs to be good in order to run any type of offense. Good pass protection, good blocking for the runners, need to push the defense back. This does not exist today and with a new group next year how do you expect this to be better.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.04.17 @ 6:13 pm

Pitt Dreamer – it’s not koolaid. It’s called liking your team. I like Pitt. I’ll root for them no matter what. I don’t get caught up in the negativity because I can find other things to enjoy about the season. I don’t watch the team thru the lens of professional football fan.

You can compare Duzz to Dantoni. That’s his mentor and they’ve had the same arc so far. In year 3 at MSU, MSU’s pass defense was 110/115.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.04.17 @ 7:29 pm

Tossing, so what you are saying it is ok to lose?
Please stop comparing MSU to Pitt programs etc.
It is not like comparing apples to apples at all.
I hope they win but I am also being real here and I wish everyone else would. As far as not watching thru “the lens of professional football fan”, neither do the other 40,000 plus who don’t buy tickets and go to the game.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.04.17 @ 7:44 pm

In year 3 of building a program? Yep – it’s 10,000% okay to lose … and I’ll still find something to cheer.

I’m not sure what you mean by everyone not being real. It’s just a collection of people who enjoy Pitt and like talking about the team. I’m not sure what anyone said here that was so outrageous. I haven’t heard anyone mention national championships, or playoffs or even the coastal division. Hell, when was the last time someone even mentioned a bowl game?

It’s fine if you don’t like Narduzzi and if you don’t think he’s the guy. You’ll still have to be patient though. Whether you like it or not he’s here for a bit longer.

The only ones who are not being real are the people who expect Pitt to be Alabama in year 3 … or have the money of Alabama football in year 3 … or have the boosters of Alabama in year 3 … or have the fan base of Alabama in year 3 …

Btw, look a little more closely at MSU’s history … it’s a program very much like Pitt. In fact, before Dantoni, one of the most similar programs to Pitt. In the shadow of Michigan. A historically mediocre football program who peaked decades ago and that was just there. A non-threatening program in the middle of the Big 10 … Not as bad as Indiana or NW but not as good as Michigan or OSU. Duzz mimicking Dantoni’s blueprint sounds just about right to me.

Some of us just enjoy being fans of Pitt and have fond memories of our time at the school. I couldn’t care less about who doesn’t show up to games. I do and I’m 4 hours away. And I have a good time every time I go. The only thing that will fix attendance is winning and winning for a long time. And the only way that happens if we keep a coach more than 5 years at a time. That’s being real.

I understand why some people are bitter but nostalgia, for me, wins every time.

I want Pitt to be better, but I’m not impatient. I expect the process to take time. I don’t need instant gratification. Those type of deals are usually short-lived anyways. I’d rather have something built to stand for a while. I hope Duzz is the guy. I’d rather not start over again. That’s being real too.

We’ll find out starting next season what we have. In year 4, a program usually starts turning the corner with the team peaking in years 5 and 6. If Pitt’s not turning a corner next season, I’ll start to be more concerned. I won’t stop rooting for Pitt … Or going to games … Or let it give it me any ill will towards my school.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.04.17 @ 9:11 pm

… and that’s what I mean by watching it thru a “lens of a professional football fan”. I had a great time my years at Pitt. Absolutely loved it. I have a connection to the school that lets me see past it’s flaws. It’s not just a football team to me. Sports don’t define my experience there. If this were a Steelers blog, we’d be on the same page. The way you talk about Pitt is the way I talk about the Steelers. Pitt’s like family though. I’m a little more forgiving.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.04.17 @ 9:19 pm

Tossing… no not the same. One of me is enough.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.04.17 @ 10:02 pm

But Dreamer makes some good points. Gives me a chance to just sit back and watch.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.04.17 @ 10:05 pm

Let’s see…..

Pitt Dreamer/JoeD….One and the same?? For God’s sake. Take a deep breath and enjoy some football.

Comment by The Hagen 10.04.17 @ 10:36 pm

I have been coming to Pitt games for close to 50 years. My father a local high school coach started taking us to the games when you could just walk in without paying (lol). What we are watching is garbage pure and simple. You need to be real(lol) this is not even close to being a competitive team let alone near a Penn State, Alabama or anyone else in the top 25. You speak as if you don’t care if they win or lose, more interested in the nostalgia of the game. This may be perfectly ok for you but not for me. The fans are sick and tired of this performance and want to see a consistent winning program, I see no signs of that happening this year or next. An experienced Athletic Director should be able to have a handle on progress and take the steps to make improvements or changes necessary to achieve the goal. Heather L is more worried about when they will play sweet caroline, Pitt script, how loud the public address system is, throw back uniforms on and on. They just sent all of us a survey about “game day experiences” which listed some of these subjects for feed back. Complete nonsense, people in the athletic department have to much time on their hands!!!! THE BEST WAY TO ENHANCE ALL OF OUR GAME DAY EXPERIENCES IS TO PROVIDE FOR A WINNING PROGRAM. Maybe they will give that some attention soon.

I want them to do well and win on Saturday and if they do I will take back some, not all of my comments and become more positive for sure.

“Take it”

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.04.17 @ 10:45 pm

To each their own. Like I said, I’m going to root for my team all the same. I’m a glass half full kinda guy.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.04.17 @ 10:59 pm

@TT, I appreciate you sticking to your guns and IMO keeping it “very real” yourself. The only thing that I would take umbrage with is the “don’t care” whether the Panthers win or lose, because I HATE to see my team lose!

However after forty years of following Pitt Football I’ve become accustomed to losing, although I don’t like it. That being said, hoping that winning happens instead, isn’t being addicted to the Koolaid, rather it’s just a fan being optimistic & rooting for the appropriate outcome for their team.

This game against the Orange is a toss up. Pitt matches up well against Syracuse. If we catch a break or two, there’s no reason Pitt can easily be 3-3 by Saturday evening.

Not a Koolaid drinker, just an optimistic Pitt fan. H2P!

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.05.17 @ 10:46 am

I’m with TT. I’m fine with criticism but tired of the negativity. I would always rather win but I will cheer for Pitt regardless and look for the positives. I think Pitt football needs the stability and I think we’re headed the right way. Next year is really the important year for the direction of the team.

Comment by AnotherClancyrebound 10.05.17 @ 11:57 am

Dr. Tom/Clancy – Agreed. I care if they lose. It absolutely is frustrating. That’s why I want (and Clancy alluded to this as well) stability and continuity. Without that, Pitt will continue on the course of the last 35 years. Patience is a virtue … I know you get that, Dr.

Like I said though, I’m a little more forgiving when it comes to Pitt.
My experiences at Pitt are defined by more than sports but if we don’t see improvement the next two season I’ll start to grumble a little more.

The Kool-aid comment is very dismissive of why people care for Pitt.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.05.17 @ 12:44 pm

One thing losing does for you though, at least for me, makes me appreciate the surprises when the Panthers play beyond their potential. The ACC is a steeper hill than the Big East ever was & even though we haven’t even threatened to pull outa Division Championship yet, we’ve been competitive within the Conference since joining.

Last year’s complete surprise at Clemson sure was fun to experience live in person, especially since I expected the Tigers to tear us a new one when we visited their house for the first time. Little did I know what the day had in store for the Panther Faithful in Death Valley.

The Orange ain’t nothing special, time to tally win #3, just wait & see.

Comment by Dr. Tom 10.05.17 @ 1:26 pm

People, I abhor losing. Does being a fan that is tired of negativity make me a Kool Aid drinker? Hell no! I want these guys to win as badly as any of you. I go to the games every week and endure the same disappointment as we all do. Do I think constantly calling for the Coach to be replaced is negativity. Yes, I do. The guy inherited another coach’s players and is just getting his fuzzy faced boys on the field. Give him a little time. I may eat my words but I think this guy has it.

Pitt’s athletic program is just another important facet of the University’s quest for excellence. Are we Alabama, Clemson, FSU or Penn State? Do we want to be Baylor, Penn State or any other program that puts the welfare of the players and coaches ahead of the welfare of people who come into contact with the program?? Hell no. I read the comments by Dr Tom, TT, Clancy, Barvo. These guys are not Kool Aid drinkers. When I encounter a guy in this blog who has NOTHING good to say about the team (coaches and players). Am I going to call him out? Hell Yes…..Take It.

Comment by The Hagen 10.05.17 @ 1:39 pm

“Take it” is a catch phrase created by coach Duzz to win a championship. I just repeated it trying to be positive.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.05.17 @ 7:24 pm

Just one more negative comment or perhaps its just a statement of fact, Pitt 2018 recruiting class presently ranks “55th” in the nation.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.05.17 @ 7:42 pm

+1, Hagen

Dreamer – relax. it’s a small class which hurts Pitt’s rankings. When the final rankings come out, sort on stars and you’ll have a better idea of where Pitt finished. Pitt gets penalized for having less than 20 kids. They have a few players due for bumps so it will improve a little, especially if they add Raines.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.05.17 @ 8:03 pm

Good point, thanks.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.05.17 @ 10:03 pm

You guys are hilarious. Year 3 and we barely beat YSU and His Guys are coming in???? He only won b/c of Potato Pauls guys. Narduzzi is fraud. He doesn’t make a pimple on Dantonios ass.

When this bum goes 4-8 and his recruiting is atrocious keep praising him.

Comment by Upittbaseball 10.05.17 @ 10:03 pm

Yes, another voice who sees the light.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.05.17 @ 10:06 pm

Another negative d-bag

Comment by grizzly1 10.06.17 @ 7:12 am

A little harsh on Narduzzi upitt, but you were right on Tyler Boyd.

Comment by alcofan 10.06.17 @ 7:24 am

Negative =‘s Honest Assesment

Alcoa – two years to arrests and passed up by 5 foot 10 white receiver

Comment by Upittbaseball 10.06.17 @ 7:48 am

Lol. Pitt Dreamer meet Upitt. Upitt meet Pitt Dreamer.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.06.17 @ 10:43 am

Exactly Upitt, , some people here can’t handle the truth, they call it negative and now were are negative d-bags. (lol).

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.06.17 @ 10:44 am

Pitt Dreamer – how long have you been posting on the board or following it? I’d agree you haven’t earned D-bag status yet. You’ve been pretty respectful in your responses.

Upitt earned his rep … years and years worth of posts. He relishes it like a good WWF villain.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.06.17 @ 10:51 am

Pitt earned it’s perception. A 10 cent program who acts like they care. I just call them on it.

Comment by Upittbaseball 10.06.17 @ 4:47 pm

Upitt – No one disagrees.

Pitt dreaming – we don’t get annoyed so much by the negativity. It’s when the same people continue to repeat the same crap without offering anything new to the conversation. We get it, you don’t like Duzz. You don’t like the AD. You don’t like the BoT. You don’t like the stadium. You didn’t like Chryst. You didn’t like graham. You didn’t like wanny. You didn’t like Walt. You didn’t like Dixon. You don’t like Stallings (hey – we agree).

It never ends tho. Just rinse, repeat, rinse. Offer real conversation on what Pitt should do.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.06.17 @ 5:38 pm

It’s not crap, its the present state of affairs.
I like the stadium always have.
Did not say I don’t like the AD, may be a great administrator, will not be able to pick good coaches in either football or basketball, who does she know in either of those sports?
I liked Chryst, knew how to coach and make changes during a game.
Who the hell did like Graham?
Wanny, had to spend more time with local police to find out what his players did. Had no control of his team off the playing field.
I liked Walt, he was the long term solution, again a guy who had to fight the athletic administration for everything.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.06.17 @ 6:51 pm

I just say a replay of the Duzz’s press conference this week. You can tell he is feeling the pressure. He actually made the statement that “next years team will be really good”. He has already given up on the rest of the season and pretty much told the Seniors I don’t need you. His comment may be honest but no smart coach ever makes this type of statement until after the last game of the year. Again, the subject of Paris Ford came up of which he keeps playing a game of he does not know if he will play him etc. And then later in a response he pretty much he wont because he does not want to waste the “red shirt” for one or two play a week, wants him full time for a full year.If that is the case just respond with a we are not going to play him and waste a red-shirt this year. He did the same with George Aston, yes/no/maybe. George goes in for one or two plays and reinjures his leg again. You wont see that poor kid again but our coach won’t answer directly.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.06.17 @ 7:08 pm

Pitt Dreamer – Sorry – those were directed at Upitt. I have no idea how long you’ve been following the blog so I wanted to show you why Upitt was shit on so quickly. We’ve been hearing his crap for 5-6 years now (maybe longer). This is a guy who can turn a feel good story of Conner getting drafted by the hometown Steelers into a negative … yes, he did that.

Long story short, you can be critical and complain but please don’t complain just for the sake of complaining. Trust me when I say this, we already get it. We’re Pitt fans after all.

I hated Chryst and was very critical. I also can’t stand Stallings and will be critical. I won’t harp on it though. I won’t repeat myself unless it’s responding to someone else.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.06.17 @ 7:56 pm

LOL. Connor was a waste of a pick that high. No PT and Boyd annother good story right??? Only 2 arrests in 2 years. Connor greeat kid and would still be great to
Pickup in 5th round.

Comment by Upittbaseball 10.07.17 @ 11:36 am

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