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February 21, 2018

Remember the Pitt-Syracuse football game this past year? The one where Kenny Pickett had his redshirt blown for one play because Ben DiNucci couldn’t keep his helmet on? Lots of frustration at that point since there was no indication that Pickett was going to get much of a chance to play that season. Obviously that changed with the Miami game. One of the expected changes to the redshirting rule would have let Pickett stay redshirted.

If a new rule proposal goes through, that decision could be a lot easier and not cost anyone anything. The Atlantic Coast Conference has submitted a proposal to allow all players to participate in any four games without losing a redshirt, the designated term for a player who practices with the team but does not participate in game competition, thus preserving a season of playing eligibility. The proposal will be voted on by the NCAA Division I Council in April. If passed, it could go into effect as early as this fall but would not be retroactive to past seasons.

So, no it wouldn’t give Pickett back another year of eligibility, but this is a very exciting thought going forward.

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November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving and Relaxing

Filed under: Admin — Chas @ 3:12 pm

A few weeks ago, there was an article talking about holidays in terms of handling them as a parent. It was superficially amusing, especially in terms of the male/female dynamic in coping. But Thanksgiving stuck with me, because it is the most food-centric. And by food-centric, I mean preparing dishes. Kitchen and prep time. Most of the others can be faked, and/or unless you live in a warm weather climate can be done on a grill — which sets up a better division of labor for the adults.

Which again sets up that male/female dynamic of cooking vs. grilling. Unless, you are like me, who handles both because my wife can’t cook to save a dying man’s life. She pretty much gave up after serving me a hockey puck (it was supposed to be a boneless chicken breast that she tried to roast in the oven(?)) as part of my birthday dinner during our first year of dating. She can handle baking, because it involves very specific instructions and no room for improvisation, but not  anything that involves margins. But I digress.

The point is,  for me, Thanksgiving is a hell of a lot of stress. Mainly leading up to it. Planning the menu. Figuring out what I need. Going out to get it (total Bill Parcells on this aspect). Thanksgiving is fine. I’ll happily work in the kitchen all day preparing the meal, drinking wine and whiskey. Letting people float in and out to talk, asking insincerely if they can help (I make the kids serve as prep cooks with peeling and cutting, so they don’t get out of earning the meal).

But everything leading up to it while squeezing in the crunch of work with a short week. FTS. I really should take the week off and make it easy on myself.

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October 31, 2017

You know there really isn’t much of a choice with regards to Pitt basketball this year. When Ryan Luther and Jonathan Milligan are the cover boys for your media guide by default. Every game against an ACC opponent will have opposing bloggers and message boards going there.

Hell, as Pitt fans we went that way quite a while ago.

A secret scrimmage that stayed a secret. Exhibition game with Slippery Rock this weekend. I’m at least curious.

(more…)

August 25, 2016

Writer’s Block Sucks

Filed under: Admin — Chas @ 7:02 am

I’ve had it hit before. Usually it goes away. Maybe take a week or two off to reset. Sometimes I just pushed through. Do quick hits. Kind of easy. Just get a rhythm and routine going and eventually all is well. Not this time. This time it has been miserable. The words in my head, but can’t get them out on to the keyboard.

Yeah, there’s been the increased workload in the offline world. There’s been other stuff. But the truth is, when you want to write you find the time. You make the space in the day or the evening. Instead it has been blankly staring at the computer. It’s been making excuses for not getting to it. It’s been ignoring people and things related to the site, because of a sense of shame at not being able to write anything.

I let Reed carry the load with not a word. Nothing. I owe Reed the biggest apology, and maybe a bottle of something. I’m sorry Reed. I didn’t do right.

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May 22, 2016

I was trying to decide what I wanted to put up on a rainy Sunday afternoon (at least rainy here in MD) and saw a great Sports Illustrated article written in Oct 1962 by a previous Pitt Chancellor, Dr. Edward Litchfield, about the national debate if Grant-In Aids (athletic scholarships) were a good thing to have on college campuses.

This intro below is a personal bit about why this article strikes my fancy.  The article itself is the other audio bar.

Here is the body of the article – excuse the small mistakes if you will, I’m not a professional at this.  I especially like the contrasts between Litchfield’s descriptions of Pitt athletics then and today’s state of college football.  There are some great points made here – especially some timeless ones that hold true today.

Hope you enjoy it!

“Camel Driver” – try putting that on a kid today!  I also love that we stole almost a whole opposing team –

Far back in 1903, for example, out-university felt mortified to have been defeated two straight years by the football team of little Geneva College. Football in those days seldom made much money at the box office but many colleges recruited passionately, simply because they found defeat unbearable. In the wake of our losses to Geneva, corrective action was deemed imperative and there seemed only one surefire way of seeing to it that we beat Geneva the next year. We took it.

We lured to our campus most of the Geneva players and the following season, 1904, defeated Geneva 30-0. During the balance of the decade Pitt football teams lost only 13 of 71 games. Now what sort of boys were they, do you suppose, that could be proselyted so frivolously? Because many of them have passed on, we were able to trace only 17. Of that number, four were physicians, five dentists, two attorneys and one a Ph.D.

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May 21, 2016

Here is the Peak’s PantherLair podcast on the Trib’s website – he talks about the uniform roll-out and other things.  But specifically about what a ringing success the whole day was for Pitt athletics – from social media to returning players to the event itself in the evening.  He also talks about how the Pirates don’t give a crap about Pitt at all… as we read in Chas’ piece earlier.

He also addresses the current facilities improvements and what was done by previous FB HCs.  I like the fact that this administration is dedicated to long range upgrades and it’s starting to come to fruition.

(By the way – remember what Peak says here about Narduzzi’s using comparisons to other football programs when asking fans and boosters for $$$ to renovate the facility’s meeting rooms, weight rooms, etc… Pitt football does not exist in a vacuum and we have to play catch up to keep up with programs that have forged ahead of where we are now when you read the last part of this article.)

Chris Logue of Pitt Nation Sports always has interesting articles and is a damn good wordsmith. Here he writes about the QBs, or not, of the future for Pitt.

“Despite the success from a Pittsburgh standout and the myriad of congratulations the star (Phil Jurkovec) received after his commitment, it seemed like a dumpster-fire moment on Twitter from “Pitt-faithful.” Oddly enough, mostly aimed at Pat Narduzzi’s immediate “inability to recruit” after an incredible wrap to his 2016 class and the praises that sealed that envelope. Phil Jurkovec

The story that remains in the middle of the announcement, for myself at least, is everyone seems to have forgotten about Thomas MacVittie, a prized steal for Narduzzi last season.

To state that MacVittie did not produce the same attention through his senior season as Jurkovec had through just his sophomore season is excruciatingly obvious. But, the two may be more similar on the field than you may think.

Its a good read and should bring some of us back from the brink.

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August 13, 2015

(This is a long article so I’ll break it up into two parts)

Pitt football held its annual Media Day for fall camp yesterday and I drove up to attend.  It was an interesting day and we media types had time for as much access as allowed given the closed portion of the practices.  We had escort with us so that we can break off separately and tour the new parts of the football facility.  Thanks to Ted Feeley of the Media Staff for doing that with me and answering all of my questions.

All in all it was a good and worthwhile day with some info and ideas we have heard about Pat Narduzzi and the program reinforced and some other bits of new info coming to light with questions asked.

Because most fans don’t get a chance to see these practices and the facilities I took a bunch of photos and will take you all on a tour now and then later on in this article.  What I’ll write here are my impressions from what I learned from talking with the staff, some players and some family members.  My approach was to not repeat what the other media guys will write about,  there really isn’t any ‘football news’ to discuss in the 2nd day of camp, but to allow you guys a bit of an inside view of things Pitt fans don’t usually get to experience.

Players Meeting Room AV

Front view of new Players’ meeting room

Players Meeting Room

Comfortable as hell seating

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June 20, 2015

With the commitment we just received from Safety Bricen Garner of local Central Catholic High School ( Garner is listed as a 3* on two sites and unranked on the other two) we now have a total of four recruits with most being 3* kids.

Looking at that verbal and thinking about the recruiting game in general made me recall that I’ve always thought of the makeup of a school’s successful football program, and its recruiting, as much like a human body.

The skeleton, the frame on which the whole thing depends to stay upright, is the university’s administration and the support system those it gives to the rest of the football body. That support is both financial and administrative and if the program is getting a strong frame from the University, one that is healthy with no cracks or injuries to it, then building on those bones is made that much easier.

I see the internal organs of the program to be the athletic department’s administrative and support systems for the program and the players. There are a lot of separate parts which have to work together as a whole to make and keeps the program’s body functioning. For instance our last AD Steve Pederson was the Urinary Bladder because each time he came to PITT he tried to piss all over the program. Think Torch-Cut and DinoCat for starters.

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June 1, 2015

PITT’S BOYD AND CONNER NAMED PHIL STEELE ALL-AMERICANS
Five Panthers named to Steele’s preseason All-ACC team.

PITTSBURGH—The Pitt offense will feature two dynamic All-Americans in 2015 according to national college football expert Phil Steele.

Steele released his preseason All-America squads today and Pitt receiver Tyler Boyd (first team) and running back James Conner (second team) were both honored. This is the first of what figures to be many preseason recognitions for the pair of Pitt juniors. Both players enjoyed prolific and decorated seasons in 2014.

Boyd compiled 78 catches for 1,261 yards (16.2 avg.) and eight touchdowns in earning first team All-ACC last season. He became the first player in ACC history to compile 1,000 receiving yards in both his freshman and sophomore years. Boyd also led the ACC in kickoff returns (27.6 avg.).

Conner was selected the ACC Player of the Year after rushing for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. He broke three Pitt season records—rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns (26) and scoring (156 points)—set by the legendary Tony Dorsett during his 1976 Heisman Trophy campaign. Conner was named to seven postseason All-America squads as a sophomore, including first-team honors from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

In addition to its All-America selections, Pitt also had five players named to the Phil Steele All-ACC teams: Boyd (first team receiver and punt returner, fourth team kickoff returner), Conner (first team), junior offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty (first team), junior offensive guard Dorian Johnson (second team) and junior placekicker Chris Blewitt (fourth team).

Season tickets and mini-plans for the 2015 Pitt football season are now on sale. The Panthers will be led by new head coach Pat Narduzzi, who joined Pitt in December after an accomplished tenure as defensive coordinator at Michigan State.

Fans have a new seating option at Heinz Field this fall with the debut of the South Plaza Champions Club. For more information, call the Panthers Ticket Office at (800) 643-PITT (7488) or log on to PittsburghPanthers.com. Click here for the Panthers’ 2015 schedule with announced kickoff times.

In sadder news PITT benefactor John A. Petersen died.  He is well known for his generous donations to the University of Pittsburgh general funds and to help build the Petersen Arena.  People of John and his wife, Gertrude’s, quality are few and far between.  John Petersen didn’t just drop money out of the sky on something but intently researched what areas of both PITT and CMU he wanted to enrich with his endowments toward where it would do the most good.

On a personal note, I was introduced to the Petersens at a dinner party some years ago and was told by Mr. Petersen that he was taught by my father back in 1950 & ’51 before my father fleeted up to Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration.  He also said that he and my Dad had maintained a friendship until my father passed away in 1969 when I was 13. That was a nice thing to be told and it was a somber day yesterday when I heard that he had died.

 

May 24, 2015

On That Day…

Filed under: Admin,Alumni,Coaches,Football,Good,History,Honors,Players — Reed @ 11:30 am

As the years’ calendar turns to the end of May and the start of what we all see as the spring and summer season, or as we PITT football fans say “the time when no football things are happening” one date always jumps out at me.

It’s on that day our Memorial Holiday falls.  In addition to the store sales, reunions, parties, parades, and picnics Memorial Day also holds a meaning that strikes a deeper and more significant cord in many of us.  You all know that I’ve reference my professional life as a military officer before.  Because that career and my experiences serving in that capacity filled almost my whole adult life, from age 22 until I retired four years ago, it is the lens in which I see, think and feel almost everything through.

So while woolgathering yesterday to try to figure out the next thing to write about Pitt football it occurred to me that I’ve never done a separate Memorial Day piece and that is because it seems to have nothing to do with PITT football.  But after some serious reflection I do believe Memorial Day and the University of Pittsburgh, in all their respective facets, have deep ties and are intertwined both historically and in the present.

Many Pitt fans have friends and relatives who have served in the Armed Forces at some point, or maybe they themselves have.  PITT students fought in our Civil War in the 1860s… on both sides.  Early in the 20th century some of our grandparents who attended or were affiliated with the university volunteered to serve and were sent to Europe during WWI.  Many of our parents, aunts and uncles had their PITT educations interrupted to join the fight in World War II.  My father, two of my aunts and an uncle went directly from being students at PITT into the military then overseas to Europe and China-Burma.

Of course my mother, an younger woman, stayed home and attended PITT until my dad came back from the war and they could get married in Heinz Chapel in the shadow of the Cathedral of Learning.  A scenario repeated thousands of times across college campuses I’m sure.  It is true thatThey also serve who only stand and waite”.

PITT had many other students and alumni who served and some who gave ‘the last full measure’ as Lincoln so eloquently stated.  There has never been a war or an armed conflict without PITT personnel involved.  Here are just a few examples.

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May 19, 2015

You have to say one thing about our new Head Coach; he knows how to work a room.

PITT hosted a Pat Narduzzi Alumni Meet and Greet evening in Washington DC last night and approximately 220 PITT Alumni and fans showed up for the festivities.

20150518_190402

(Note: here is a late addition of all the photos taken by the PITT media department of the event – pretty interesting and try to play “Where’s Reed”  Hint: I’m taller than everyone else.  Look at photos #26, 46, 55 and 56.

It was a nice evening and was intended as an avenue for PITT to re-awaken the alumni – athletic department connections. There is really no telling how well that went over, I’m sure PITT will contact the attendees later to further the money side of the equation. It was very well produced, people were happy to be there, and Narduzzi used his oversized image and personality to get a good and excited feeling going with everyone to take home when they left at 8:00.

The plan was set up like this.  Schedule the evening in late May when DC is starting to really heat up so that in addition to the high temperatures you also get the springtime mugginess that permeates DC.  Then, arrange to have most of the event outdoors; the check-in line (with a five minute wait),  two  tables with PITT advertisements and information publications, a table of PITT shirts and hats for sale and two other tables with the ‘light appetizers’ which were actually substantial and well presented.

The only thing missing was the Red Cross station where one could get intravenously re-hydrated due to sweating every drop of water out of your body. A lot of the attendees parked outside of DC and took the Metro in and that four block walk on hot concrete was a killer.  It was nice later in the evening though and no matter how talented Narduzzi is he really can’t control the weather.

But honestly, the place was well arranged and attractive and because PITT rented out a smaller conference room at the most famous and expensive hotel in DC, The Willard, space was at a premium so they adapted well to the size allotted.

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May 15, 2015

Closer to the Script?

Filed under: Admin,Football,Media — Reed @ 8:46 am

Here is a chance to vote on which “Football Shirt” you want to see for 2015. I guess this means which shirt they will give away at the home games or something.

PITT T-Shirt

But in the spirit of our recent discussions about logos and branding I thought you all might like to do this:

Football Shirt Poll Site

 

May 14, 2015

Admin in Amelia Island

Filed under: Academics,Admin,Athletic Department — Chas @ 11:41 am

The ACC Spring meetings are wrapping up. Nothing accomplished of real note. Lots of talk. Lots of coaches expressing opinions on rule changes. The administrative and conference stuff isn’t what fans and media want anyways. On that front, this is simply a chance to talk to masses of coaches and ADs.

Nothing concrete. Just opinions. The conferences and coaches may state their preferences for certain changes, but they will not actually do anything right now. They will have the NCAA enact the rules and changes. That gives them cover over unpopular things and items that have unintended consequences later.

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May 13, 2015

Once more, there is loud talk from coaches, administrator and conferences of eliminating the Graduate Transfer as we know it.

Start with the basics. Graduate Transfer Exception (or Waiver):

The graduate exception is a version of the one-time transfer exception. It is for student-athletes who cannot use the normal one-time transfer exception because they play one of the sports that are not permitted to use the exception.

The student-athlete must have graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree;
The student-athlete meets the other requirements of the one-time transfer exception;
The student-athlete must have at least one season of competition left; and
The student-athlete’s previous school did not renew his or her athletic scholarship or offer an athletic scholarship for the following academic year.

The requirement that the scholarship be cancelled or not renewed is generally not an issue. The scholarship does not need to be cancelled before the transfer or be the reason for the transfer. Because the one-time transfer exception requires you to get a release, what will happen with your scholarship is generally just an administrative detail.

The Graduate Transfer Waiver is often conflated with the exception because they are so similar. There is one key difference.

The graduate transfer waiver is now typically used by athletes who have previous transferred once before and so cannot use the one-time transfer exception (even as a graduate student).

A letter from the previous school saying it does not object to the student-athlete being eligible;

Documentation that the student-athlete has been accepted into a specific graduate degree program;

Documentation about whether that degree program is offered by the previous school;
A student-athlete statement including the reasons for the transfer; and

A statement from the previous institution about the student-athlete’s status on the team.

[Emphasis added.]

Unlike regular transfers, there is no requirement to sit out a year after transferring. The player is eligible to play right away. That is the big bonus for both the player and the school to where he transfers.

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April 9, 2015

Back For More

Filed under: Admin — Chas @ 9:18 am

Prediction of unintended consequences. This new Morgantown ordinance will result in more broken doors and windows as drunken hoopies are forced to drag ratty couches from outside their houses rather than off their porches.

Sorry, took something of a surprise mental health break.

When Pitt’s basketball season came to its end, I found myself unable to do any writing. It wasn’t writer’s block, or that I didn’t have anything to say — lord knows, it is never that. I was just drained.

I figured I would start back to writing the next day.   Then it became another day. I’d be fine after the weekend. Well, not quite yet. Excuses based on the offline world activities were allowed to perpetuate other days of not writing. Next thing I knew, I hadn’t written anything of note for more than a while. (more…)

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