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April 22, 2016

Chad  Voytikex-Panther and our 2104 starting QB Chad Voytik is Eastern Kentucky bound. The Football Championship Series (FCS) “Colonels” play in the Ohio Valley Conference  and, if you care to, you can follow Mr. Voytik’s progress on the internet via their “Live Audio” links at this website.

He’s not going to have an easy time of it there if he wants to grab that starting position right off the bat but it appears to be a better situation for him to get playing time than had he stayed at Pitt.

I wrote two weeks ago about the Colonels (Colonel = Eagle; get it?) and their returning starting QB Bennie Coney who has played well there.  However, it wasn’t such great play that he can’t be sat down (we heard that before on here) , but also isn’t a situation where Voytik is going to waltz in and automatically get the starting job handed to him as if there was no incumbent in that position at all.

Coney had decent stats at E. Kentucky with 225 completions in 367 attempts (61.3%) for 2471 yards.  He also had a very good 23 TDs to 8 INTs ratio that showed he didn’t turn the ball over a lot.  That’s about a 10:1 Completion to TD ratio and is very good.  His overall QB rating was 134 and that’s OK too.

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April 20, 2016

One thing not talked about much from Saturday’s game was that the Gold offense ran a Todd Graham-like hurry-up offense run a bit.  Please tell me that we aren’t going to a speeded up offense this season.  Yes, we saw a great run by Henderson on a quick snap, but let’s get a decent offense in place first before we start the trickeration.  Just wanted to get that out of the way.

To follow on a continual theme on here and elsewhere, Jerry DiPaola’s 24:19 minute podcast (below) starts out with the comment “If Nate Peterman gets hurt the season is over…

That’s an exaggeration hopefully but it is now a very public concern.  We saw how Bertke and DiNucci played Saturday and I didn’t see one bit of progression in Bertke from when I watched him on a more regular basis in past practices and scrimmages.  DiNucci, in my opinion, just doesn’t have D1 talent.  So for all intents and purposes it will be up to Manny Stocker to step up if Peterman goes down with and injury or if his playing goes into the crapper.

There is one very important thing to remember about the difference between spring and fall camps.  Tryouts are basically over when fall camp comes around.  Narduzzi and Canada will go with Peterman and Stocker as QB1 and QB2 respectively from Day One and Stocker will get all the snaps not given to Peterman.  He’ll get more one-on-one coaching and be the secondary guy in film sessions and unit meetings.  That will mean he’ll be sharper and more in command of the offense by the time the opener rolls around.

Now, if we can get him to grow three inches before then….

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April 18, 2016

If anyone can actually tell me what Conner is saying I’ll buy them a beer.  I got “great weather“, “opportunity” and “LA” …I think this is what wbb commented on yesterday.  That will be a great venue for Mr Conner to get his message across though.

“He will travel to Burbank, Calif., on Tuesday to tape a segment of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that will air at 4 p.m. Thursday on WTAE-4. His message to cancer victims: “Keep fighting.”

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April 17, 2016

Well, you know the players had fun out there.  I think the fans did too – as long as you kept the realization that is was a glorified scrimmage foremost in your mind.

As we talked about on here earlier, the way the Captains conducted the draft we fans were never going to see a full 1st team out there so neither the Blue team nor the Gold team was anything like what we’ll see going into or coming out of fall camp.

But it was a beautiful day for Pitt football and I have to say to anyone who professes to be a big fan and then decides that there are “better things to do than watch a glorified scrimmage” then too bad for you as you missed out on a great Saturday afternoon of football and having a blast with other Pitt fans.

Watch this and then we’ll address some points that I took away from the scrimmage…

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April 15, 2016

As we have been stating on here for sometime it looks like it is shaping up for Manny Stocker to be the QB2 going into fall camp… no, actually that’s a done deal now.

Still, one of Narduzzi’s goals this off-season is to find a backup quarterback to replace Chad Voytik, who is transferring.

Voytik, a starter in 2014, would have been a nice safety net to in case of an injury to starting quarterback Nate Peterman. Instead, senior walk-on Manny Stocker has taken the early lead over sophomore Adam Bertke and redshirt freshman Ben DiNucci.

“Right now, I’d say he’s the guy,” Narduzzi said of Stocker, “but we’ve still got a lot of football to play. We still have all summer for those guys to go out and throw together.”

Here’s some not so good news for the listening audience… Billy Osborne back in the radio booth:

Bill Osborn, who served as the color analyst for Pitt football radio broadcasts from 1995-2003, is returning to the booth this season.

He will replace Pat Bostick, whose duties as director of development in the Panther Club are expanding. Bostick, a former Pitt quarterback, has been the analyst since 2011.

Osborn was a three-sport athlete at Pitt from 1985-88, including a three-year stint as a starting wide receiver. He also played basketball and baseball, becoming the first Pitt athlete to letter in three sports since Mike Ditka.

Longtime play-by-play veteran Bill Hillgrove will remain in the booth for the 47th consecutive season, 43 of them spent doing play-by-play. Larry Richert will return as the sideline reporter.

I’ll state this publicly now and get it out of the way so that you can say you heard it here first – Pat Bostick, Jr. is being groomed for big things at Pitt and I personally wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a Pitt Athletic Director within 10-15 years.

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April 14, 2016

I love what Bookser says at the 1:27 mark “Worse drill of the day… worse drill of the day…”

April 13, 2016

BLUE-GOLD ROSTERS | PHOTO GALLERY

PITTSBURGH – Rosters for the 2016 Spring Game at Heinz Field were finalized on Wednesday morning at the second annual Blue-Gold Draft.

The seniors were drafted on Tuesday by the coaching staff, and those seniors then drafted the remaining players to form Team Cavanaugh (Gold) vs. Team Dorsett (Blue).

Team captains for Gold were: Chris Blewitt, Mike Caprara, John Guy, Tyrique Jarrett, Dorian Johnson, Scott Orndoff, Jaymar Parrish, Nathan Peterman, Terrish Webb and Chris Wuestner.

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In case you missed it, Donald Trump endorsed necromancy, Lynn Swann is the AD of USC, and Tubby Smith is going to Memphis after Pastner went to GT. All boggle the mind in different ways.

In the realm of sanity, the coaching staff for Kevin Stallings looks pretty damn good with the final hire.

University of Pittsburgh head coach Kevin Stallings announced the addition of Kevin Sutton to his staff Wednesday afternoon. Sutton joins Tom Richardson and Jeremy Ballard as an assistant coach for the Panthers after spending the previous three seasons at Georgetown.

“I got to know Kevin in 2007-08 when we were recruiting one of his players out of Montverde Academy,” said Stallings. “He has a wealth of experience and is an excellent teacher and mentor. Kevin is well connected in the recruiting world particularly at the prep school level and within the ACC footprint. When you ask people in the profession about Kevin the feedback is extremely positive and flattering. I am very excited to have him on our staff.”

Sutton, a coaching veteran with 27 years of experience, joined the Georgetown staff in 2013. He helped the Hoyas to a 55-44 record with a pair of postseason appearances. In his second year with the program, Sutton saw the Hoyas go 22-11 overall and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Sutton arrived at Georgetown following two seasons as an assistant coach under Mike Lonergan at George Washington. He also had a pair of two-year stints as an assistant coach at both James Madison and Old Dominion.

In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Sutton coached at five nationally-ranked high school programs – Flint Hill Prep, Harker Prep, St. John’s Prospect Hall, Montrose Christian and Montverde Academy – amassing a 489-102 record and winning two national championships. In 1998, he was the associate head coach on the USA Today Super 25 National Championship team and in 2007, he was the head coach of the Montverde Academy Hoops.com National Championship team. He also coached Montrose Christian and Montverde to second place finishes in national championship tournaments.

Sutton has also been selected as a coach for USA Basketball on three different occasions.

Given where he was an assistant and the prep schools he coached, Sutton will be a strong presence for Pitt in the Baltimore-DC area.

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April 13, 2016

The Trib weighs in with a couple of things – first is this short video of Narduzzi’s post practice interview:

 The second is Jerry D’s article about the next star on offense Donte’ Ford (my opinion not his).  Ford’s contributions far exceed the chalk boundaries of the football field:

There were days early this spring when Sto-Rox baseball and softball players were forced to share gloves to get through a practice  When the sports returned to the school district after a two-year hiatus due to lack of funds, athletic director Ryan Kacsur thought the girls might have to wear mismatched uniforms.

An even sadder reality: Some players may not get enough to eat before and after games.  “It breaks my heart seeing that,” Kacsur said.

Then, one day, Pitt wide receiver/Sto-Rox graduate Dontez Ford and classmates Jim Fanning and Craig Bittner showed up in his office.  They wanted to help.

For a project in their Advertising and Social Media class, the seniors, with free-of-charge production from professional videographers Ben Petchel and Adam Kunes, decided to create a video and promote it with the aim of raising money and awareness for the baseball and softball teams.

Their initial goal was $4,000 to be split equally between the teams. Some thought they set their sights too high.  “Even our professor was kind of wary,” Fanning said.

But less than week after the video was released Feb. 24 on Facebook, they reached their goal and money kept coming in from 92 donors. So far, they have raised $5,800, Ford said. Two donors gave $500. Donations are still being accepted on the GoFundMe page on Facebook.com/BringitbackPGH.

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April 12, 2016

Here are a couple of podcasts to listen to while working.  First is Jerry DiPaola being interviewed by WTAE’s Junker and the other Guy about the Spring Game… and talks about the closed practices.  He makes a good point (again!) about being able to watch only the calisthenics, then the kicker and the punter punting.  He hates it, every media person hates it, I hate it and some at Pitt even dislike it.

DiPaola’s Guy and Junker Interview 4/11/16

He also talks about how the offense looks unbalanced at this point because of the dearth of receivers with any game experience at all.  Challingsworth and Ford are the only two WRs on the roster who caught passes last season.  He quotes Nate Peterman as saying “Wait and see which WRs we can count on.

DiPaola reiterates that Stocker is slowly cementing the QB2 position.  Stocker is a big QB and is also a good runner – DiPaola mentions “Wildcat” a few times.  The subject of bringing in a FBS transfer QB in (Schneider) and how that signals that the staff isn’t happy with our current #3 and #4 QBs.

What is shaping up is a competition for the 2017 starting job between Schneider and MacVitte.

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April 10, 2016

Here are the scrimmage stats from yesterday.

Bertke was 3-3 for 52 yards but Stocker seems to be holding onto the #2 QB slot.

The Trib has a few pieces today.

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April 7, 2016

Well, it isn’t just The Pitt Blather talking about Manny Stocker rise through the ranks.  The Post-Gazette’s Craig Myer has a nice article on him also.  Check this part closely:

 After an experiment at wide receiver in 2015, his first with the Panthers, Stocker once again is playing quarterback, the position he has played virtually his entire career. He also has been reunited with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, with whom he spent one season at North Carolina State in 2013.

It’s a strange return to normalcy in some ways, but there’s also a certain solace for Stocker as he works to make an impact in a quarterbacks group that, outside of starter Nate Peterman, largely lacks experience.

The reason I clipped that quote is that we have seen Pat Narduzzi not hesitate to look at his roster and make decisions based on the talent at hand.  It is one thing when a phenom like Jordan Whitehead, a highly rated and sought after recruit, walks into camp and claims a starting job.  Many other coaches do that in allowing true FR to start playing right away. But Narduzzi sat down an established starting QB in his first year in a HC position.

Showing of course that every position on the team is truly up for grabs.

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April 6, 2016

Some movement on Kevin Stallings coaching staff. The only sure things were that Stallings was bringing his longtime assistant Tom Richardson with him. And that none of the old Pitt assistants would be on the staff. There is now some debate on the nature of what Brandin Knight was offered to be an assistant.

Stallings said discussions with longtime Panthers assistant and former player Brandin Knight included a “sizeable pay raise” and touched on changing his title to associate head coach, but Knight declined to pursue other options.

Prior to Stallings statement, it was assumed that Richardson was going to be associate head coach (top assistant) as he was at Vandy.

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April 3, 2016

It was closed. Nothing to see here.

(Calm down guys – Just kidding & still updating). 

The news outlets did have some football stories up though…

The Trib has an article on the OL.

After nine days of spring ball, Pitt’s offensive line is unsettled, with only the left side set. All-ACC seniors Adam Bisnowaty and Dorian Johnson man the left tackle and guard spots, respectively, and both have been starters since 2013 (30 starts for Bisnowaty, 27 in a row for Johnson).

But when former starters Alex Officer (left foot) and Jaryd Jones-Smith (knee) return, the offensive line will look different than it did Saturday when Pitt scrimmaged at Heinz Field.

With all the questions concerning the Pitt hiring process and the square dance that Barnes did with that Search Firm John Harris’ article in the Trib on the subject is timely:

Universities’ reliance on a third party has made search firms power brokers in college athletics. And that has raised questions about sports departments’ and coaches’ relationships with those firms.

“It used to be sort of be the old boys’ network,” said Chris Hunt, president and cofounder of Hunt Scanlon Media, which tracks the talent management industry. “This athletic director knew another one. The people (behind) them might be brought up through the ranks to replace them. That’s changed.”

In this instance, Barnes didn’t enlist the services of just any firm. He reached out to a friend. Barnes selected Collegiate Sports Associates, which has conducted searches for high-profile head coaching and athletic director vacancies.

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March 31, 2016

DiPaola’s Blog from the Trib has some interesting stuff today:

Make room in the outside linebacker competition for North Allegheny graduate Seun Idowu.
He is one of three players who came to Pitt at other positions, but have been moved to linebacker to help fill a big hole in the defense left by graduating senior Nicholas Grigsby.

At practice Thursday, Idowu caught everyone’s eye when he recognized a jet sweep by wide receiver Quadree Henderson and made the tackle.
“He was like a jet,” senior middle linebacker Matt Galambos said.
Idowu, who came to Pitt as a walkon, said he remembered the play from previous film study. Earlier in the day, he didn’t make the tackle on a similar play, but he refused to be fooled twice.

“It’s a great feeling to recognize something you saw in the film room,” he said.
Idowu said it takes time for walkons to attract attention.

He also has a piece about the possibility of our OC ‘using the TEs more’. Sure, we haven’t heard that thought before have we?  That’s right, we wrote about that on here a week or so ago.
Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Canada directed a unit at N.C. State last year in which tight end Jaylen Samuels was the leading receiver.

In fact, Samuels and reserve tight end David J. Grinnage combined for 90 receptions, 887 yards and 10 touchdowns. The numbers for Pitt tight ends J.P. Holtz and Scott Orndoff fell short by comparison (37/59 4?9).  [Edit Note: DiPaola needs to explain what that last number is.]

That information received special attention from the current Pitt tight ends, but Canada said his passing game is not philosophically tied to that position.

“The philosophy is the best players (get the ball),” he said.

DiPaola also has a blog entry on what we are seeing in this spring camp as far as the positions go. This is an interesting prediction for a player who hasn’t taken a real snap in a Pitt uniform: “Defensive end? I believe Pitt’s coaches will be disappointed if Dewayne Hendrix doesn’t have an All-ACC season.” 
Also this: “That about covers it. Except this prediction: Chris Blewitt will become the first kicker in school history to hit from 60 yards. If I know Pat Narduzzi, he won’t be afraid to let Blewitt try. Maybe it’s just me, but Blewitt looks a little bigger this year.
Mike Vukovcan over at Pittsburgh Sports Now has three new recruiting articles.
Here is a bit of a twist and some pieces from a least expected source but the Pittsburgh City Paper has a writer, Mike Wysocki, who every once in a while puts out some interesting information and his views as written are fun to read.  Here are two articles I found that you all might enjoy.
Mike Wysocki - PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL

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March 30, 2016

Spring Practice #7; 3/28/16

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 7:56 am

Let’s get back to football for a while and turn off the “noises” we fans have been spewing about BB that upset King Scott so much.

Here is the latest video of the practices out of the Southside.  We are at the halfway point as we just finished our seventh out of 15 practices allowed which includes the Spring Game – the NCAA counts that as a practice just like the others. That scrimmage BTW will be at Heinz Field on April 16th.

Take a close look at #85 making some nice plays and harder catches.  That’s rsJR Jester Weah and the guy who we Pitt fans, and the staffs over the last three years, having been hoping to come around. Would be nice… especially if our new OC wants to open up the passing game with more deep balls.

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