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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 15, 2016

We did an article about this last year but here is a follow-up piece by Sam Werner of the Post-Gazette addressing Pitt’s new athletic logo that is to be unveiled on Wednesday (no big surprise that it is the Script PITT from the 1980s) and how it does NOT represent the University as a whole…  a visual reminder here:

Pitt TE coach tweets photoshopped Swimsuit Issue cover

From Werner’s article:

“If the athletic department is the front porch, then the Pitt script logo, set to be re-introduced as the school’s primary athletic mark at a Petersen Events Center unveiling Wednesday, is a sign on the front of the house.

Often times, though, that sign may not represent every room in the house.

Like Pitt, many universities across the country have developed distinct university logos separate from their athletic marks, as they try to strike a balance between the visibility athletics can provide and the academic pursuits of the greater institution.

“Most of the time, the rationale is that, look, we have two different products here,” said Antonio Williams, a sport and fitness brand researcher and assistant professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. “We don’t necessarily want to take away the academic rigor and prestige from the university side by associating with athletics. There may be certain liabilities by associating yourself with athletics.”

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April 4, 2016

Before I get to the meat of this article I would like to reiterate something I have passed along on here a few times since I started writing for the Blather all those many moons ago. After you read it, then get into the article itself, you’ll see the connection.

I’ve been asked many times on here, on the message boards, in person at tailgates, at special Pitt events and functions and at the games, something on these lines ‘Why do you think you are qualified to write a blog and why should we care about what you have to say’.

My response to that has always been pretty consistent in replying ‘Because I’m a fan like you, I have extensive historical ties to the university and actually there is no concrete reason why you should care about my stuff at all’ – or something to that effect.

Those ‘historical ties’ go back to 1908 when my grandfather on my Dad’s side helped the growing Western University of Pennsylvania Medical school become The University of Pittsburgh’s Medical school and stayed on as a staff instructor and professor.

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September 22, 2015

Here are the latest Team and Individual statistics for Pitt through the Iowa Game.

Pitt Team Stats – 09/19/2015
Statistic National Rank  Stat Value
Total Offense 107 349.0
Rushing Offense 83 169.0
Passing Offense 102 180.0
Team Passing Efficiency 64 135.89
Scoring Offense T-63 31.0
Total Defense 22 293.3
Rushing Defense 18 93.7
Passing Yards Allowed 55 199.7
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 23 103.55
Scoring Defense T-64 23.7
Turnover Margin 106 -1.00
3rd Down Conversion Pct 81 0.381
4th Down Conversion Pct T-55 0.500
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 27 0.286
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense T-1 0.000
Red Zone Offense T-72 0.833
Red Zone Defense T-111 1.000
Net Punting 73 36.67
Punt Returns 29 15.00
Kickoff Returns 23 26.56
First Downs Offense T-99 52
First Downs Defense T-28 46
Fewest Penalties Per Game T-9 4.00
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 3 29.33
Time of Possession 49  31:30
View Complete Ranking Summary

 

Individual Leaders

Stat Player Value
APY  (All-Purpose Yards) Qadree Ollison 315
FGM  (Field Goals Made) Chris Blewitt 3
Interceptions Terrish Webb 1
Passing Efficiency Nate Peterman 147.70
Points Chris Blewitt 21
Punt Avg Ryan Winslow 119.1
Punt Return Yards Pat Amara Jr 28
Receiving Tyler Boyd 21
Receiving Yards Tyler Boyd 226
Rushing Net Yards Qadree Ollison 305
Sacks Nicholas Grigsby 2.0
Tackles Jordan Whitehead 24
Total Offense Nate Peterman 433
September 7, 2015

The Narduzzi Era at Pitt began yesterday and Pitt came out with a 45-37 win against the tough and persistent Youngstown State Penguins in front of 49,969 mostly yellow-painted fans.  Here are the official game stats in case you are wondering how what happened came about.

There is good news and bad news coming out of this ballgame.  Here are the highlights so that you can see some of each type of play we had Saturday:

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September 1, 2015

It’s Tuesday and we have to get off our collective asses and figure out where we are going to meet so we can put faces to internet handles/names…. and for you guys to buy me many drinks.

Here is what I see our options are:

Our prospective waitstaff

Our prospective waitstaff

Tilted Kilt

353 N SHORE DR
PITTSBURGH, PA 15212

 Northshore RiverPros: Women servers almost unclothed (see above); close to Heinz

Cons: Small side area to overflow into – but it is covered in case of rain.

Tilted Kilt Bar

Tilted Kilt Bar

Bettis Bar and Grill

393 N SHORE DR
PITTSBURGH, PA 15212
(412) 224-6287

Pros: Has a big outdoor area that we can all meet in if the main bar is too crowded; short walk to Heinz.

Cons; Gets very crowded

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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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