November 17, 2017

Cultural Exchange with the Key Play

Filed under: Bloggers,Football — Chas @ 6:29 am

Haven’t done one of these in ages.

Joey Coogan from The Key Play — your best source for VT news and analysis — reached out to do a Q&A ahead of this weekend’s game. My responses to his questions came out yesterday.

Like Pitt, the Hokies are coming off a frustrating and disappointing loss. In their case, to Georgia Tech. Both shared “honorable mention” in last week’s Misery Index.


October 27, 2016

Sorry about the week off. I was out of town on business and then meetings that took up way more time than anticipated. Got back late last night, and it is right back to everything else. Tonight it is Virginia Tech coming to Heinz Field for the big Thursday night ACC game.

As is tradition, the guys at The Key Play and I exchanged questions about the respective programs ahead of the game. You can find my answers to Joey’s questions here.


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.


May 4, 2016

The Cardiac Hill blog is running a “Bracket of Pitt” series that has  ‘all things Pitt” subjects listed much like we see during the college basketball NCAA tournaments.  Here is how they describe what they are going to do:

“The Cardiac Hill Podcast has a new segment; the Bracket of Pitt. It’s a 64-item bracket of everything Pitt. People, places, things, etc., basically if it has anything to do with the University of Pittsburgh, it’s in. I’ll be hosting the tournament primarily with Jim Hammett of Cardiac Hill. We’ll post the first episode here (and on SoundCloud) tomorrow with me & Jim discussing the bracket and you can vote for the matchups @CoreyECohen on Twitter; one vote per person. Each week we’ll put out a new episode discussing your results and advance the bracket accordingly! Let’s make some May Madness here at Cardiac Hill, we can’t wait to debut the #BracketOfPitt!”

This sounds like an original and fun idea and will fill up some of the Pitt sports dead time from now until the football Fall Camp opens up in early August.  Here is what the bracket looks like as a snapshot but click on this link to see the details.

Cardiac resized

Guess The Pitt Blather didn’t make the cut.

October 1, 2015

When last we checked in with our friends at The Key Play, the defense was expected to be terrifying, Mike Brewer was going to be toughing it out as QB, and the running back situation was unclear except that it would be a group effort that needed to be sorted. Well, here we are a little more than two months later and one of those things is still true.

Pierson and I have had another exchange of pleasantries. You can find my answers to his inquiries over at The Key Play. His responses follow:


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:


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


 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

(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


July 24, 2015

Talking to a third party can be good therapy. Especially as the long, empty, offseason has continued it’s plodding pace. You can crystallize some thoughts. Realize a few things. And generally get out of the echo chamber.

So, I want to thank Pierson of TheKeyPlay for reaching out to me for a pre-season Q&A exchange. I get to unload a little on their site. Wait, that came out wrong. I get to write some things out that have been percolating, and we get some insight into the hopes and fears of the Hokies in 2015.


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.


October 14, 2014

Even before the season started, this was a game many Pitt fans circled. Not simply because of it being a prime time Thursday night home game. Before the season started, it wasn’t hard to project Pitt at 5-1 or perhaps 6-0 heading into a showdown with a VT team that might have a similar record. I imagine many VT fans also circled this game considering their expectations and the history of Pitt screwing up their plans.

Now, this game is big for both teams, but not in the way envisioned. It’s more about surviving and salvaging at this point.


September 4, 2014

BC is coming off a sound drubbing of UMass and starts their second year under Steve Addazio. A surprisingly strong debut season that reversed a 2-10 2011 to get them to 7-5 and a bowl bid. This year, the rebuilding is really expected to happen, but the strong debut of QB Tyler Murphy — transfer from Florida — gives some hope to the Eagles fans of not having to bottom out while rebuilding

Eagle in Atlanta is one of the longest running college blogs out there. The proprietor, Bill and I worked together at AOL FanHouse back in the day. Bill is also the guy who warned me that the initial hire of Todd Rice as the S&C coach would not work out so well. So he gets credit for nailing that one.

We exchanged some questions and answers. You can find my responses here.

Bill’s answers are below the fold.


January 24, 2014

Thoughts on Playing AT Maryland

Filed under: ACC,Basketball,Bloggers — Mike Zimmerman @ 6:22 pm

Good evening all.

My name is Mike, and I’m happy to announce that I’ll be joining Chas as a writer here at Pitt Blather. I’ve spent many years here, first as a casual reader and in more recent years as an active poster. You guys are a vital part of this great community, and I look forward to continuing the standard of excellence that the Blather has come to know.

As always, I will remain active in the comments section. Ultimately, the backbone of this site is the tremendous dialogue, and I wouldn’t give that part up for anything. If you like what I have to say, that’s great; if you don’t like what I have to say, that’s great, too.

Now, with introductions out of the way…


October 10, 2013

Joe from The Key Play — a proudly independent Virginia Tech blog and tremendous community — and I did what I hope will continue to be our yearly Q&A exchange for the weekend’s Pitt-VT game. My answers to his questions are over here.

1. Whatever happened to the Virginia Tech running game? Take out the 1-AA Western Carolina game and the Hokies are getting under 105 yards/game on the ground. Is it with the O-line? Has it been the players. Has it been a case of Jay Paterno Syndrome at the Running Back Coach?

Well you’re right, we’ve struggled to run the ball consistently since 2011. David Wilson was a first round pick after that season, and no combination of backs have been able to replace his production. 2012 was an anomaly though. Former offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring and play caller Mike O’Cain tried implementing a wonky pistol offense that resulted in Stiney’s demotion and O’Cain’s termination. Both scheme and talent were issues two years ago.

New offensive coordinator Scot Loeffer has preached a commitment to the run from the minute he was hired last winter. However, opposing defenses have also been determined to stop Tech from rushing, forcing Logan Thomas to win games. Thomas has gotten much better at working through his progressions, and Loeffler has designed good underneath routes that exploit a loaded box, pick up good yards per catch, all while controlling the clock.

Both the o-line and tailbacks have made mistakes and left yards on the field. Tech’s running about as multiple (in every sense of the word) offense as possible. One week it’s rushing from the next spread, zone, power, inverted veer, veer, triple option, etc… I expect the rushing game to strengthen as the o-line and tailbacks become more familiar with the system, different techniques, and all the nuances.


April 1, 2013

by Lilburn Nole for

No matter if you’re looking at advanced statistics like the ones found at or traditional statistics like scoring defense and total defense you’ll find the Seminoles as a Top 5 defense the last two seasons. However, if there has been one complaint about that Mark Stoops-led defense it would be a lack of turnovers and less aggressive strategy.

While Florida State has been near the top in most defensive categories, you have to scroll down the page a bit to find the Seminoles when it comes to turnovers created. FSU fans will be eager to see if new Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt (formerly on the Alabama staff) will install a more aggressive style defense with more blitzes and man to man looks mixed in with the zone heavy looks that have been the norm the last couple of seasons.

Pruitt has spent the last three seasons working under Nick Saban, so it is likely he will have been influenced working under arguably the top defensive mind in the game today. While I don’t expect FSU to switch to the 3-4 defense of Saban, I do expect to see greater variance in coverages and more blitz packages. Stoops relied much more heavily on a zone scheme mixing in man to man on passing downs. Saban’s philosophy is to run zone on running downs and man to man in passing downs with zone mixed in. There is no guarantee that Pruitt will continue to incorporate the schemes that he has worked with the last 3 seasons, but as this is his first time coordinating at the college level, and knowing Jimbo Fisher’s respect for Saban and his philosophies, I feel it’s a safe assumption.

Unfortunately, it may be difficult to get a good read on a defensive strategy in the spring as practices are closed and the spring game will most likely feature more vanilla calls both offensively and defensively. However, pay close attention to the player interviews and you may be able to gain an insight into what is being worked on and discussed in practices.

September 13, 2012

A nooner on ESPNU with once and future conference foe, Virginia Tech. A game that was greeted with great anticipation before the season started is now viewed with dread as to the outcome.

Somehow VT is only favored by 10 points or so. Apparently the oddsmakers are confused that this is a game in 2012, not 2002.

Brian from THE KEY PLAY got in touch with me to do a little Q&A exchange. I sent him my questions on Tuesday night, right before the latest round of expansiopocolypse hit — rendering some of my questions a little dated even before the responses came. My answers to his questions can be found here.

When Pitt joins the Big East in some 290 days, The Key Play will definitely be a part of the ACC link selection. One of the finer blogs out there, and like Pitt Blather not part of the SBN borg collective. You can also find them on Twitter at, well, THE KEY PLAY.


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