When you spot a good opponent 14 points and you miss an easy FG, you won’t win many games. Those mistakes gave Miami a 17 point cushion and the final was only a 10 point difference. It’d be infuriating if it wasn’t so common. For some reason, this program likes to start games slow then try to crawl back. Unfortunately, they just aren’t good enough to do that. Maybe in a year or two they will be, but not yet. There were some positives and many negatives, but let’s look at both. (more…)
You can have the best facilities. A world-class training staff. Everything you need or could possibly want. And injuries will still happen. Just ask Florida this year. Or just go back to the 2011 season.
Pitt had a couple early bye weeks in the first half of the season and has now played six straight games. It can’t be terribly surprising that injuries are starting to happen with what seems increasing frequency.
Cornerbacks Trenton Coles and Titus Howard were the latest to join that group this week, as Pitt has suffered through a rash of injuries over the past few weeks, costing them a number of starters and key contributors.
In addition to the two cornerbacks, starting left guard Cory King (hamstring) and left tackle Adam Bisnowaty (back) also missed a 34-27 loss Saturday against North Carolina. Backup tight end Scott Orndoff has missed the past two games and appeared on the field for warm-ups Saturday with a sizable brace on his left leg. Defensive end Ejuan Price has missed the past four games with a back injury.
Add in (hopefully) a minor ankle to Devin Street and knee injury to Tom Savage and everyone begins to wonder.
Sorry. Not a lot of time today, so I kind of have to keep it shallow.
Paul Chryst gets effusive about UNC’s tight end, Eric Ebron.
“You love watching him on tape, and then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Shoot, we’ve got to play him,’” Chryst said. “He’s good, and I love a good tight end.”
That would have 1
2-year-old me 16-year-old me 22-year-old me Oh, hell it still has me snickering.
All the other Pitt basketball links not tied into the game.
Early signing period for the 2014 class started yesterday. Pitt was drama free with both Sheldon Jeter and Ryan Luther signing their NLIs. Welcome. (No official press release yet, but recruitniks have tweeted out that both signed.)
I talked about how I expect more utilization of the zone because of the rule enforcement earlier. Missed this article that makes the same point. Get used to seeing a lot of articles pro and con (and, generally a lot of bitching) about the new emphasis on enforcing the rules. Mike DeCourcy had a good one before the season started that really summed up a lot of the reasons why the NCAA decided to get tighter with the rules.
It’s the coaches who’ve injected the physicality into the game, gradually asserting their value over the past 15 or so years by instructing players to use their hands to contain penetration, to bump cutters trying to execute intricate offenses, to push players out of post position with forearms to the tailbone.
No one who is not affiliated with the teams or necessary for the competition to proceed, such as the clock operator or referees, is permitted to attend the closed Division I scrimmages teams are permitted to schedule. But there has been lots of buzz about how foul-plagued some of them have been, such as one involving Huggins’ Mountaineers and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
There’ve been some exhibition games that turned into foul fiascoes, as well. Dayton and Division II power Findlay combined for 96 free throw attempts last weekend.
There is a reason this is happening. The players are fouling.
I really don’t mind the rules emphasis. I don’t think it puts Pitt at any true competitive disadvantage. Watching the first couple of games you can see that they players are being taught to do different things in an effort to adjust. A lot more movement with the hands on defense. Trying to disrupt line of sight and get the ball out of the opponent’s hands. It won’t be pretty at times, but it was needed.
This is apparently what Paul Chryst’s victory dance looks like. Post to twitter with the hashtag #ChrystDance. Enjoy the .gif after the jump.
Down 21-6 after a two yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, things didn’t look too bright for Pitt. Then, an eight play drive was capped off by a 26 yard touchdown throw and suddenly it was a one score game. That touchdown was the catalyst to a come from behind victory, one that was finalized with an 18 yard field goal as time expired. The win kept Pitt alive in the race for the conference title. Of course that wasn’t yesterdays Pitt-Notre Dame game. It was Pitt vs UConn on October 10th, 2009. Why is this relevant? It was the last time Pitt won a game they were trailing at half time.
Savor that for a second. It feels good, doesn’t it? It’s like a cold beer after a great day. (more…)
After the Navy game, Chas tweeted how many points the offense has scored in the second half the past four games: 0, 6, 14, and 8, an average of 7 points. I decided to take it a step further and look at overall second half results the entire season. It’s uglier than I thought. If you solely use second half points, Pitt would be 0-6-1. Pitt has been outscored in the second half of every game but one: Old Dominion. To be blunt, tying Old Dominion in the second half should be considered a loss. (more…)
That wasn’t exactly fun. The OL got their asses handed to them and Tom Savage held the ball too long. The result was a putrid offensive performance. But, the defense turned in another respectable effort. They weren’t lights out like VT’s defense was, but after the dreadful performance against Duke, the defense made sure the offense was in position to win the game again. VT has certainly struggled on offense this season, but they’re not a team severely lacking talent like Virginia or New Mexico. (more…)
Here we are at the one third mark of the 2013 season and we are still not sure of what we have in the way of a football team. We sit at three wins and a loss and that should make us feel pretty good, yet it is as if somehow the other shoe is going to fall on the season. PITT fans, not the most optimistic of people in the best of times, have the tell tale marks of nervousness not just about the upcoming Virginia Tech game but of the rest of the season also.
One of the nice things about college football, in my opinion, is the week to week inconsistency by both the teams and units within those teams. One truly never knows what you’ll get week to week unless you are a powerhouse program like Alabama or LSU. Most times you can point to one part of your team after camp finishes up and feel pretty good about it or know that it will let you down. That really hasn’t been the case with PITT this year, with a few exceptions.
After watching some summer camp practices and scrimmages I felt like the strength of the team was going to be our experienced defense, especially in the backfield that played so well last season and which carried over virtually intact. Last year that unit ended up 20th in the nation in Pass Defense giving up only 194 ypg, 15 INTs and 15 TDs through the air. A real show of solid play was PITT’s Pass Efficiency Defense which was very good at 113 (21st nationally). Our pass defense was pretty solid all around.
In the world of Pitt Athletics, there are two dueling factions: those who look for the silver lining and those who think the sky is falling. This is their column.
*insert Law&Order dun dun here*
This week’s topic is the defense; a defense that has been quite offensive this season. When FSU tore them a new one, it was easy to justify because of how immensely talented FSU is. They could end up the national champion this season. When the starters played a good game against New Mexico, things stated to look better. A great start to the Duke game looked like this: interception, interception, touchdown allowed, punt. After that punt, the offense scored and with a 27-7 score, it looked like Pitt would cruise to an easy victory.
Then, the defense fell apart. (more…)
New game notes are out with the depth chart (PDF, p. 3). The only change is flipping Kevin Weatherspoon to primary kick returner over K’Wuan Willians. Nothing else has changed. Ray Vinopal is still the starting free safety. Cullen Christian is the back-up.
Could someone tell me what happened to Ryan Lewis? In presesaon, he was listed as the first back-up at both safety positions. Now he’s no where to be found on the depth chart. Haven’t heard about an injury. Was he that bad when he did get a chance (did he get a chance)?Is Vinopal really the best available? The man leading for the 2013 Pitt Fan’s Scapegoat Award — awarded to the starter who isn’t good, but gets ascribed for everything that goes wrong — breaking the 3-year reign of Tino Sunseri.
Defensive Coordinator Matt House hasn’t covered himself in early glory. His co-defensive coordinator audition in the Compass Bowl didn’t wow anyone, but that was probably an unfair standard.
His debut in the season opener was more disturbing. The biggest criticism of his gameplan was having the defensive backs play off the receivers and have the linebackers do more to help in the pass coverage. It suggested a coach who either doesn’t understand his own personnel — the linebackers are the most obvious weakness on the defense while the secondary is a strength — or one that out thought himself.
Needless to say, House had some questions to answer. It was a mixed bag.
Yesterday was rough. We learned a lot about the team. Some fears were realized, some new questions arose, and overall we saw how good FSU is. I knew Jameis Winston was good, but I didn’t expect him to have the best game of any BCS QB. Winston had a better game than Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and Tajh Boyd. Only Boyd played a BCS opponent in Week 1 so he arguably had a better game since he beat Georgia. Even still, Winston leads FBS in passer rating after Week 1. He’s also top 11 in yards, touchdowns, and yards per attempt. Insane.
There are a lot of justifiable complaints about the defense yesterday. Something you can’t account for is a QB who does not miss a single throw. Were guys open? Yes. But never in a million years did I expect to see a freshman QB starting his first game to play like that. Winston replaced EJ Manuel, a 1st round pick. Go ahead, look through Manuel’s game logs. I challenge you to find a better game than Winston just had. That includes opponents like Savannah State, Murray State, etc. The defense sucked yesterday, but they weren’t Savannah State bad.
After yesterday’s topic regarding how Pitt could win, let’s take a look at why FSU is a 10 point favorite. There are plenty of reasons, unfortunately, and Pitt is justifiably a 10 point underdog. FSU is talented, experienced, and overall appears to simply be better than Pitt at most positions. (more…)
I’m going to do two columns on this subject, one today and one tomorrow since the game is 6 days away (5 days tomorrow). Thus, tomorrow’s column will be “Five Reasons FSU Should Beat Pitt.” Even the optimist in me can’t deny that FSU is a heavy favorite (1o points according to Vegas). But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways Pitt can win this game. (more…)