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August 29, 2017

Something Will Happen on Offense

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches — Chas @ 7:27 am

With the exception of certain Offensive Coordinators (Scot Loeffler), we really don’t know for sure how things will go. Matt Canada was a decent, but not outstanding OC. He was fired/scapegoated by NC State’s HC Dave Doereen, and seemingly ended up at Pitt because of his ties to HC Pat Narduzzi. Nothing about the hire screamed revolutionary, outstanding. At most it seemed like a decent fit, and wasn’t horrible.

Instead his schemes meshed perfectly with the players. The players took to it, and quite literally ran with it. Pitt’s offense went from slightly above average — with Tyler Boyd — to explosive. All while in a pro-style offense. He parlayed that into one becoming one of the highest paid assistants in college football, and a couple steps closer to becoming a head coach within a few years.

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August 28, 2017

Less then a week to the first game. I’m ready to hit the turnpike now. Head Coach Pat Narduzzi had his press conference today, and the game notes with the depth chart (PDF, p. 3).

That’s the big thing. Plenty of speculation, but between injuries, key suspensions and players kicked off the team; there have been some questions.

Shall we parse?

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May 22, 2017

This is so stupid.

It has been seven weeks since Cam Johnson made it known that he was transferring from Pitt as a grad transfer with two full years of eligibility left. To no one’s surprise the process of finding a new home has been a slow one.

A long-armed, tall guard who shoots better then 40% on 3s. From a Power conference. He was going to be in demand. And he was. Teams like Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon and others all contacted him. He took plenty of visits.

It was clear that Johnson was looking to play at a big name school where he would get plenty of exposure.

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May 11, 2017

Sure, dump three bits of news on one day. It’s not like this time of year is starved for content or anything.

Pat Narduzzi is not a quick starter on the recruiting trail. We all know it. It is a bit maddening. Yet, even by his standards, this class has been slow to start. Pitt finally added commit number two. A QB from New Jersey.

Nick Patti, a 6-foot-3 quarterback from St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J., has committed to Pitt.

Patti announced the news Wednesday afternoon on Twitter, becoming the second verbal pledge in coach Pat Narduzzi’s 2018 recruiting class. He’s rated a two-star prospect by Rivals.com and a three-star by some other scouting sites.

According to Rivals, Patti chose Pitt over offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Rutgers and others. He’s considered a pro-style passer, and figures to be Narduzzi’s only quarterback in the class of 2018.

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May 10, 2017

Stallings Has A Plan

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Stallings — Chas @ 7:30 am

Just before the weekend, articles were published following a sit-down with basketball head coach Kevin Stallings. A transcript of the interview was also put out on Saturday, to help flesh things a little further.

This is Stallings at his best and worst as far as a public figure. He is candid, open about a lot of things and doesn’t hide behind as much coachspeak. That same honesty, though, can make him come off like an ass, and someone who puts the blame everywhere but on himself.

[Editor note. I had this drafted on Sunday, I swear. But I kept revisiting, and adding to it. SO much to chew on in this.Just posting it at this point before I do more revisions.]

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May 5, 2017

So the  two weeks have been close to positive for Pitt basketball and coach Kevin Stallings. Or at least as good as it’s been since the season ended.

No one else left, a couple coaches hired, a NLI signed and now a transfer. Let’s review.

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April 20, 2017

Opening Vote of Confidence

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches — Chas @ 7:43 am

These numbers are bad no matter how you massage them.

Since the end of Stallings’ first season – and the first losing season at Pitt (16-17, 4-14 ACC) since 2000 — four players have announced plans to transfer, including sophomore Cam Johnson, who would have been Pitt’s top returning scorer. A fifth player — point guard Justice Kithcart — was dismissed by Stallings near the end of the season.

That’s in addition to the loss of four seniors, all of whom were starters.

Nine players out, and six coming in (at the moment). It stands to reason that sooner or later, new AD Heather Lyke would get asked about basketball coach Kevin Stallings and Pitt basketball.

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April 3, 2017

The first two years for Pitt under Head Coach Pat Narduzzi, have been mostly positive. The defensive-minded coach, though, has had to rely on the offense to be the side doing the heavy lifting.

The lack of depth and overall talent on the defense has been glaring — especially with the type of defense Narduzzi utilizes. Bringing pressure constantly without going all-out blitz. It relies on overall speed, depth to bring fresh bodies, and individual talents. All things missing from the defense.

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March 19, 2017

NCAA Tournament has mostly gone according to chalk. Not been a good one for the ACC, as a whole. Down went Louisville, Virginia and Notre Dame. This is what it has felt like in the ACC for the last couple decades. Everyone flaming out and stuck hate-rooting for UNC and/or Duke to carry the banner for the rest of the conference. Sucks.

On the plus side, Villanova reverts back to form by exiting in the first weekend for the second time as a #1 seed in the last three years.

The first four days of the NCAA Tournament has been more interesting for the coaching moves, then any Cinderella stories.

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March 17, 2017

Media availability was pretty decent after the first practice. Both coordinators were put out there, along with Quarterback Max Browne and Safety Jordan Whitehead. Quadree Henderson, the team’s offensive utility knife and Defensive Tackle Jeremiah Taleni got some media time.

Max Browne had some attention for wearing uniform number 4 — which probably speaks to a lack of topics as much as anything else. It’s always been the uniform number he wore. Nate Peterman also wore it, and I had no idea that was any sort of conflict or problem. Like plenty of QBs in college now, Brett Farve was the idol to many.

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March 16, 2017

Spring practices start today. 14 practices mostly closed off to the public and media, culminating in the Blue-Gold Scrimmage on Saturday, April 15. There’s no way it will be as perfect weather as last year, but at the moment I’ll settle for it being warmer then this week in the Cleveland area.

Yesterday was the pre-spring practices press conference. (Is that really what we’re calling it? Shut up.)

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February 17, 2017

The only surprise in the firing of Mike Mark Gottfried from NC State was the timing. With only a few weeks left in the season, NC State made Gottfried’s lame duck status official.

The list of names possible for NC State range from the obvious: Archie Miller. To the jump before pushed: Tom Crean. To the absurd: Greg Marshall or Chris Mack. To other alum: Vinny Del Negro. To random natives of North Carolina: Kelvin Sampson.

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February 16, 2017

It’s stale news, but still worth hitting.

Coming back to work for a third Pitt head coach, Charlie Partridge takes over as Defensive Line Coach.

Charlie Partridge, a renowned Florida recruiter who previously served as a Pitt assistant from 2003-07, will return to the Panthers’ staff as defensive line coach, Pat Narduzzi announced.

Partridge rejoins Pitt after serving the past three seasons as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. Prior to FAU, he was an accomplished assistant at Arkansas and Wisconsin.

“I’ve been a big fan of Charlie’s work for a very long time,” Narduzzi said. “I remember watching his defensive lines at Wisconsin and really admiring how they played. Charlie’s players reflected his high energy and passion. He’s an incredibly bright coach who is an excellent teacher and knows how to develop players.”

The opening sentence of Pitt’s press release sums up the hiring.

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February 5, 2017

Surprisingly Sims Out

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 11:01 am

It broke on twitter via Richie Walsh for KDKA-TV. And quickly confirmed by other outlets.

Defensive line coach Tom Sims is no longer with the team, according to a source.

Sims, a defensive tackle at Pitt who was a sixth-round draft pick in 1990 after his senior year, played in the NFL until 1996 with the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts.

Pat Narduzzi hired Sims, 49, back to his alma mater from Youngstown State in 2015 when Narduzzi took over as Pitt’s head coach.

With national signing day now in the rear-view mirror, and four defensive line recruits officially in the fold, Narduzzi will look for a new assistant to coach that position.

Narduzzi also said Friday morning on a conference call that when the NCAA approves a 10th assistant coach for Football Bowl Subdivision programs, which it’s expected to do in April, he will most likely add to the defensive staff.

From a coaching standpoint, this comes as a surprise. I thought Sims had been doing an excellent job considering injuries and lack of depth on the D-line.

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February 2, 2017

This Year’s OC is…

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:27 pm

…hello, Shawn Watson.

Shawn Watson, a 35-year coaching veteran who owns an extensive and accomplished record overseeing offenses on the collegiate level, has been named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Pitt by Pat Narduzzi.

Watson previously served as offensive coordinator at Texas (2014-15), Louisville (2012-13), Nebraska (2007-10) and Colorado (2000-05). He also has head coaching experience on his résumé, serving in that capacity at his alma mater, Southern Illinois, from 1994-96.

Watson joins the Panthers from Indiana, where he spent the 2016 season as an offensive quality control assistant before being named the Hoosiers’ quarterback coach. His Pitt appointment serves as a reunion with Narduzzi. The pair previously worked together on the late Randy Walker’s staff at Miami (Ohio) from 1990-92.

“Shawn Watson was one of my first mentors in this business,” Narduzzi said. “He sat me down as a young coach and taught me how to work with wide receivers in my first full-time job at Miami in the early 1990s. Ever since that time, we have always talked about being able to reunite on the same staff again. I’m really thrilled that the time has finally arrived and he’ll be joining us at Pitt as our new offensive coordinator.

“Shawn is, first and foremost, a wonderful person and father,” Narduzzi added. “As a football coach, he is extremely knowledgeable, an excellent recruiter and will be a tremendous strength in the quarterback room and offensive staff room. I’m really looking forward to having Shawn and his wife Anita join us in Pittsburgh.”

I think most Pitt fans will concede that their first reaction to the name, was hardly, “Oh, hell yes!”

But it shouldn’t have been, “Oh, shit!” Either.

The latter would have been reasonable only if the name had been Scott Loeffler.

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