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July 26, 2015

Copied from the Pitt Website… 

James Conner talks to ESPN’s Andrea Adelson:

I love the way he list every other player on offense as the reason he won the ward in 2015 then says “I play a small role“. What a genuinely good person.

JAMES CONNER TRIES FOR RARE ACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR REPEAT

By Andrea Adelson

PINEHURST, N.C. — James Conner broke records, pounded opponents and had one of the most prolific seasons in Pittsburgh history, a school known for its remarkable running backs.

Yet, he was not chosen to repeat as ACC Player of the Year. The preseason honor went to Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who earned 23 more votes than Conner, who rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns last season.

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July 21, 2015

In the most timely news to hit the street and anger Pitt football fans our young DE Rori Blair made a monumental mistake when he chose to smoke reefer and treat the parkway like he was in the Hot Metal Bridge 500 race qualifying rounds.  From The P-G this morning:

State police wrote in a criminal complaint that a trooper working near the Fort Pitt Bridge clocked Blair, 20, of Upper St. Clair, driving at 117 mph in a 55-mph zone March 15. That trooper pulled the car over in a left lane on Fifth Avenue in Oakland and “detected a strong odor of marijuana emitting from his breath and about his person as he spoke along with blood shot glassy eyes,” police wrote.

Police took Blair to UPMC Mercy for a blood test, which came back positive for cannabinoids, police said. They charged Blair via summons Monday with driving under the influence, driving at an unsafe speed and other violations.

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July 18, 2015

Yesterday we had a discussion on The Blather regarding WR Tyler Boyd being dropped off the Biletnikoff Award watch list because of his arrest and it’s circumstances.  The fact that he hasn’t been convicted or anything yet was raised as a counter to that decision. However, the Award committee has separate criteria/standards/rules that they are applying here, just like a university or any other formal institution.  As such they don’t have to wait or even care about a conviction.

Being legally convicted of some transgression are a civil and/or criminal judiciary matter, not a non-legal institutional one.  The difference is that universities and their football programs apply discipline and sanctions as they see fit.  Hence we have suspensions and even dismissals which are based on internal and NCAA rules and not the local criminal laws.

There is a solid basis in the award committee making this decision, as the criteria is pretty straight forward:

5. The candidate must display leadership and self discipline; and he must have a significant, positive impact on his team’s success.

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July 15, 2015

July 15, 2015

PITTSBURGH—Three Pitt football players—offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty, running back James Conner and quarterback Chad Voytik—were named to the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service.”

Named after former Florida Gators and NFL quarterback Danny Wuerffel, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the Bowl Subdivision player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

In addition to being football standouts for the Panthers, Bisnowaty, Conner and Voytik rank among Pitt’s most active student-athletes when it comes to community service.

Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel), a junior offensive tackle, enters his third season as a starter and is a preseason candidate for the Rotary Lombardi Award (nation’s top lineman or linebacker). He is a two-time ACC All-Academic Football Team selection and also serves as vice president of Pitt’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

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June 11, 2015

PITTSBURGH —The University of Pittsburgh’s football promotional days have been unveiled for the 2015 season. New this season for any Youth Football team that reserves a group of 15 or more to any one of Pitt’s six home games is a FREE script Pitt football hat for all attendees. Youth Football website.

Sept. 5, Youngstown State, “Hail to Heroes” – Pitt will pay tribute to our heroes in the armed services as all active, reserve and retired military personnel and first responders are invited to attend. Hail to Heroes website

Oct. 10, Virginia, “Homecoming” – Always one of the most festive weekends on the Pitt calendar, details for Homecoming 2015 can be found at the Pitt Alumni Association’s official Homecoming website.

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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

Don’t get me wrong, last night was great and this is a good cause if you have some extra Jack to spread around. One thing I feel is that if we donate the money will be well used.  As said before, he’s working it and has been since his hire.  The links are nice also.  A piece about our own Center Alex Officer and the Rimington list is at the end of this article.

Dear Reed,Thank you for joining us at the “On the Prowl” Tour. It was an incredible experience for me to meet so many people who love Pitt. Check out the photos from last night. Since becoming head football coach in December, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous passion, energy, and dedication of the Pitt family.  With the enthusiastic support of fans like you, I am confident that our outstanding momentum will continue. During the event, we mentioned a few ways that you can directly support Pitt and our football program:

  • GET INVOLVED – Pitt Alumni Clubs, which are active throughout the country, give Panther fans many great opportunities to network with one another. LEARN MORE
  • COME HOME – Come back to Pittsburgh, visit campus, and help us fill Heinz Field. BUY GAME TICKETS
  • CELEBRATE HOMECOMING – We are offering a $10 discount for the Homecoming game against ACC rival Virginia on Saturday, October 10, 2015.GET DISCOUNT
  • MAKE PITT STRONGER – We are currently upgrading our locker room, team rooms, and constructing a new student-athlete lounge in the Duratz Athletic Complex so that we can provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes and ensure we are able to attract top recruits. Please consider supporting this project. GIVE NOW

We appreciate your continued support, and we hope to see you this fall at Heinz Field. Together, we will show the entire country why PITT IS IT!

Hail to Pitt!

Pat Narduzzi
Head Football Coach

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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.

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(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 12, 2015

(Taken from the original as linked, see endnote.)

All-Draft teams for five top college football programs

By Mike Huguenin

After breaking down how conferences and major college programs have fared in recent NFL drafts, CFB 24/7 set out to answer a more hypothetical question: Which five schools would field the best 22-player starting lineups using only draft picks from the past?

A few ground rules for this top five:

1.  To make the list, a player had to have entered the NFL as a draft pick — no undrafted free agents or guys who played in the NFL before the draft began. (We bent the rules a bit on three guys who began their careers in the AFL.)

2.  All things being equal, we gave more value to a middle- or late-round pick who hit it big. It’s possible that a fourth-round pick, for instance, shows up on our list instead of a first-rounder. First-rounders are supposedto pan out, whereas teams hope a fourth-rounder produces. But don’t fret: The majority of players who made our list were indeed first-rounders.

3.  We picked an actual starting 22, which means some Hall of Famers did not make our list.

Four of the five teams we’ve selected probably won’t be a surprise. Three of the five are long-time powers, and one is a relative newcomer to the scene (17 of the 22 players selected were drafted in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s). The other, while it hasn’t been nationally relevant in a while, has pumped out numerous stud players, and definitely belongs.

A lot of big-name programs didn’t make the cut. We discuss them at the end; for the most part, they fell short — frankly, way, way short — at one key position.

Here is our top five.  Feel free to disagree — and we know you will.

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May 7, 2015

Let’s Go See Narduzzi in DC

Filed under: Alumni,Coaches,Fans,Football — Reed @ 9:19 am

My fellow PITT Fans,

I just registered for a spot at this Washington, DC ‘meet up’ with Narduzzi and staff in DC.  Who else would you like to go, drink beer and ask the hard questions?  Should be a blast and it is free.  This should be a great time and maybe small enough that we can actually bullshit with some PITT people who we can get drunk and pry secrets out of about the program.  Here is the detailed info:

WASHINGTON, DC

Monday, May 18 – (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.)

Occidental Grill & Seafood – The Willard Atrium & Courtyard, 1475 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 2000045

Metro Rail Line: Blue, Orange, Red, Silver Lines to ” Metro Center Station”.

It is on a Monday night so parking in that area might not be too bad – here are some local garages.  It may be easier is to drive to a Metro Station and take the rail line to “Metro Center Metro Station” and walk the three blocks to the Willard Hotel.  The easiest for us MD PITT fans in the eastern side of MD is to drive to the New Carrollton Station and take the Orange Line straight into Metro Center.

The Occidental Grill and Seafood is one of the nicest restaurant/Bar in DC so business casual or PITT gear is required I guess.

DEADLINE TO REGISTER IS MAY 13;  Call “Sue” at 412-624-4658 ASAP to reserve a spot – you can add one guest name also.

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December 12, 2014

It has been a crazy day. I woke up to text messages, Facebook posts, and tweets that all say Chryst is gone. While this is still the likely scenario, there’s a tinge of hope. Let’s go over some facts of what we know:

  1. Chryst is a candidate for the Wisconsin job and at worst the leader for the job. Most reports indicate the job is his if he accepts if he hasn’t already.
  2. Wisconsin cannot formally announce a hire until Wednesday due to some legal job posting rule, so no formal announcement can occur until then.
  3. Chryst met with Chancellor Gallagher and only Gallagher today. Pederson was not a party in this meeting.
  4. Chryst attended practice today with the team and a meeting was held before. At this meeting he did not tell the team he was leaving.
  5. Jordan Whitehead said he’s still committed to Pitt. This isn’t relevant to any of the above other than THANK YOU BABY JESUS!!!

Take all of that in. What could it all mean? (more…)

October 26, 2014

Matt House’s Defense

Filed under: Chryst,Embarrassing,Football — Justin @ 1:00 pm

It was painfully obvious to anyone watching yesterday that the defense was woefully unprepared for Georgia Tech’s offense.  Even disregarding points and blaming it on turnovers, 612 yards of total offense is so high no amount of expletives can come close to calming the justifiable anger. I’ve defended Matt House a lot this season and the narrative right now is that Pitt’s defense had high ratings due to inferior competition. Let’s explore the stats there to see how close Pitt came to holding opposing offenses to their season average. (more…)

September 29, 2014

Quicksand

Filed under: ACC,Athletic Department,Chryst,Embarrassing,Football — Justin @ 9:44 am

There’s a scene in Oscar-snubbed film “The Replacements” where Coach McGinty (played by Gene Hackman) asks his NFL replacement players what they’re most afraid of. After some typical responses, QB Shane Falco (played by the enigmatic Keanu Reeves) hits the nail on the head:

Quicksand (more…)

June 4, 2014

Football Notes, 6/4

Filed under: Alumni,Football,Good,Injury,Lists — Chas @ 7:27 am

Scott McKillop is done with professional football. Now it is time to give coaching a go.

After he was released this year by the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League, he decided to pursue a career in coaching. He said his familiarity with the Pitt program led him there.

“It’s definitely something I am looking forward to doing,” said McKillop, a graduate of Kiski Area. “I have to get my feet wet and prove I can do it and work my way up.”

McKillop was an All-America linebacker and Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.

Due to NCAA restrictions, he won’t be permitted to instruct players on the field, but he will help in other areas.

“He can be a life coach,” Chryst said. “Here’s a guy who walked it and did a good job doing it.”

McKillop is taking a volunteer coaching position. He can help with breaking down film and work off-the-field with players.  As McKillop says, it is the starting point.

For Pitt and Coach Chryst, this is very good. Having one of Pitt’s best players from the last decade around the players and program is the sort of thing they should want. Between the coaching chaos that had happened and trying to change a lot of things around the program, bringing in a former player it arguably should have been a priority sooner.

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