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June 28, 2015

The Chicken or the Egg?

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players,Recruiting — Reed @ 6:34 pm

After getting two more recruits;  4* WR Ruben Flowers and unranked as yet ATH Marcus Ffrench, we have had a lot of follow up discussions about past and present recruiting on here.  Well, here are another couple of thoughts about recruiting we can chew on over the weekend.

I think we all agree that Paul Chryst had some pretty specific strengths and weaknesses when it came to his recruiting.  He seemed to have been right on target with his offensive scouting and then getting commitments from kids who have helped us move the ball and score points over the last two years:

RBs Conner, James, Ollison, Hall and Parrish at FB;  WRs Boyd, Jennings (good get, too bad) and Zeise along with Holtz and Orndoff at TE. His recruiting what looks to be like the complete OL two deep this season is a great job also (fingers crossed).

So, on that side of the ball he’s leaving Pat Narduzzi with a well stocked cupboard with good players he and his staff recruited.

Where the weakness has been, or where we perceive it to have been (more on that in a second), is in his lack of ability to recruitment of talented defensive players and, given the way the defense faltered in key moments last year, that sure seems to be the case.

But wait a second! Let’s discuss the age-old football question of “Do you win ballgame with Xs & Os or Jimmies & Joes?

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June 26, 2015

Two New Commits

Filed under: Football,Narduzzi,Recruiting — Justin @ 12:03 pm

Now that we have official confirmation of the latest Pitt verbal, I can post who the two newest Panthers are. First up is Maurice Ffrench (not a typo), a WR/DB from New Brunswick, NJ. Ffrench was a recent prospect camp attendee and the coaches liked what they saw, so they put a ring on it extended an offer.

There was speculation yesterday and some unconfirmed reports that WR Ruben Flowers was the second commit, and the news just officially broke. The Lima, Ohio product chose Pitt over several B1G schools and Kentucky. The 6’4″ Flowers is the eighth verbal to Pitt’s 2016 class and the fifth in the month of June.

 

June 25, 2015

I knew Pitt had a lot of players getting some off-season surgery, but I didn’t know it was this many.

[Pitt Coach Jamie] Dixon, who has three players out with surgeries and at least five others recovering from previous surgeries or nagging injuries, said the changes to NCAA rules also played a part in the decision.

“The rules have changed to where you could only have two players from one college team on each of the summer league teams,” Dixon said. “That sort of made it difficult with only so many Division I players available to have the kind of competitive league you are looking for.

“Hopefully, it is something we can revisit for next year, but, for this year, it just didn’t seem like it was going to be able to work out.”

Josh Newkirk earlier followed by James Robinson and incoming transfer, Sterling Smith, recently had off-season surgies.

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It is a slow week for PITT football with the two exceptions in recruiting that Chas covered earlier.  To update that a bit here is the Post-Gazette’s Sam Werner’s article about the last three pick-ups and in his Red Shirt Diaries blog Werner lists all the recruits vitals with links to their highlights:

Bricen Garner
Safety, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Rivals: 2*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 80 S
Offers: Army, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, UMass, Miami (OH), Navy, Old Dominion, Temple, Toledo
HIGHLIGHTS

Chawntez Moss
Running Back, Bedford HS (Bedford, Ohio)
Rivals: 3*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 56 RB
Offers: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Kent State, Marshall, Miami (OH), Ohio, Old Dominion, Toledo, Western Michigan
HIGHLIGHTS

Chase Pine
Linebacker, Lafayette HS (Williamsburg, Va.)
Rivals: 3*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 86 OLB
Offers: Buffalo, California, Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia, Marshall, North Carolina, N.C. State, Old Dominion, Syracuse, Toledo, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia
HIGHLIGHTS

Here are a few interesting items for you all to look at during lunch…

First, I heard back from EJ Borghetti and the PITT Fall Training Camp begins on Monday, August 10th.  That gives the Narduzzi Power and Light Company 26 days to get ready for the season opener against the Youngstown State Penguins.

As we know this opponent has given us problems before when Chryst opened his time at PITT with an embarrassing 31-17 loss.  That game needs to be looked at again given the circumstances that will be surrounding our ’15 PITT team.

For one we’ll be starting a season with a shiny new head coach again, this time trotting out Pat Narduzzi in his new PITT gear for all to see. We are all looking forward to seeing that because, I believe, PITT fans across the board are happy with Narduzzi’s hiring.

One of the reasons for happiness is that it is entirely possible that PITT’s defense will be better and more effective right out of the gate as this is Narduzzi’s successful background that he made his name in.  Looking at the specifics of that past YSU game we need that.

YSU basically ran all over us that day with 202 yards on the ground. Rushing the ball 46 times wore us down… even when PITT knew the run was coming we were almost powerless to stop it as they gained 4.4 ypc.

To complement that YSU used their passing game for surgical strikes that resulted in three TDs.  It is worth noting that those three TDs came on only 14 completions for 177 yards in 24 passing attempts;  a 58% completion rate with 12.6 yards per completion which is very good.

If we allow YSU to replicate that this year I’m pulling Narduzzi’s contract.

But, truth be told, it is entirely possibly the YSU might be a stronger team this season than it was in ’12. They are coming of 8-4 and 7-5 seasons so the team knows how to win games.

But the big stroke YSU made over the offseason was hiring Mark Anthony Pelini who, in addition to being Cleopatra’s third husband and losing the whole Roman naval fleet in a sea battle against Octavian, used to be the HC at Nebraska.  “Snarling Bo” as he is called these days knows how to fire up a football team, so we can expect the Penguins to come out fighting.

Another similarity to the ’12 game is that we’ll most probably start off the season with a suspension impacting the PITT team.  Back then we had six players suddenly suspended the morning of the game, two being starters.  Whether or not you feel that had any influence on the loss, we may well be replicating that is a short form depending on what sort of discipline Tyler Boyd gets awarded by Narduzzi.

Speaking of which in one of Cardiac Hill’s Poll of the Week series they asked the fans about what punishment Boyd should get.  You can see that most favor a one game suspension which fits my view and I think the majority of guys on this blog also.

What would you do with Tyler Boyd?

  • 7%No on-field punishment(79 votes)
  • 18%Not start him in the season opener, but let him play(199 votes)
  • 42%One-game suspension(460 votes)
  • 23%Two-game suspension(251 votes)
  • 10%Suspension of three or more games(107 votes)

That is a breakdown of a total of 1096 votes as of this morning.  That is a pretty big sample for a blog to gather especially when you count the 107 PSU fans who pretty much wants Boyd’s shot at a NFL career to end by suspending Boyd “three or more games”.  It is interesting to read the 50+ comments the poll and associated article generated.

Also as something I didn’t know existed here is a Cardiac Hill’s open thread “The Pitt Stop” that they do on a regular basis.  Linked is the June 2015 edition.

As wbb mentioned in his comment yesterday PITT is reaching out to various groups to form a Panther Fans Experience Committee to solicit feedback on how to enrich the PITT athletics game day experience.  It is a good thing to do I think and something we wouldn’t have seen with our dearly departed AD.

There is a short form to fill out then a section for text where you are asked to provide your Fan Resume.  Be aware that you are limited to 750 words to describe how you would be a great fit for this committee.  Stating that you are too much of a perfectionist gets your season tickets revoked though.

750 words might not be enough for some of you guys because when you start telling ‘Big Fish’ stories about how you are such a better fan than the next guy you go on and on and on.

The commitment is for quarterly meetings at PITT for a two year term. In other words eight times where you get to bitch and someone is actually listening.  Anyway, I suggest that you all apply for it – we definitely have some great ideas on here the PITT administration should be made aware of.

I am in the process now and it will be interesting to see the final makeup when the committee is selected.  Here is the Trib article on it.

For those PITT BB fans who are wondering what is happening the P-G’s Paul Zeise, our old P-G PITT football beat writer friend, has a rather detailed ‘catch-up’ about that program. It seems to me that the main news is that former PITT BB player Ontario Lett is joining the BB staff as a Grad assistant.

Just for something else to look at and because we talked about actually playing a football game in September here are the details and stats of PITT’s 2014 season.

 

June 17, 2015

Boyd’s first court appearance will be August 5th. PITT’s Fall Camp will start soon after that.  That timing probably doesn’t help anybody with this incident.  Lets hope Narduzzi makes his decision way before then.

An interesting thing;  I checked the Patriot-News “Pennlive” newspaper online and didn’t see any reference to Boyd’s troubles at all.  That is newsworthy because the Pennlive is smack in the middle of PSU country.  But for a smile check this article out.

Here is today’s article in the Trib on the latest Narduzzi Meet & Greet held at the Cheswick. This part is interesting…

“The Panther Prowl was Narduzzi’s idea from the outset. He initially brought up the idea to Jeff Gleim, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor for alumni relations, while at the Armed Forces Bowl in January. His plans for a $3.5 million renovation of the team’s practice facility also made it prudent to invite fans and donors. Gleim said the tour attracted more than 1,000 people to five previous sites — Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.”

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June 15, 2015

Well, here is Coach Narduzzi’s first personnel discipline test… or at least the first that we know of.  Chas posted the basics, this article will look at the issue from the administrative side.

Old news by now but reports came out stating that on early Saturday morning at 2:35 a.m. our 20 year old star WR Tyler Boyd was stopped while driving and placed under arrest.  Here is the quoted Borough of Jefferson Hills affidavit on the case as researched and posted by Dean Kovacevic on his sports blog:

Your affiant, Sergeant John O’Leary, is a police officer employed by the Borough of Jefferson Hills. On June 12, 2015, at approximately 0235 hours, affiant was traveling north on SR885 in a marked patrol unit and observed a dark green black Ford Fusion bearing PA registration (I’m redacting this) traveling south on SR885 enter the northbound lane of travel and pass the vehicle ahead of it as that vehicle was turning right onto Wray Large Road. The lane change was made within an intersection immediately after the crest of a hill and the operator of the Fusion did not signal the lane change.

Affiant effectuated a traffic stop in the 100 block of SR885 and identified the operator as Tyler Boyd per his PA photo driver’s license. In conversation with Boyd regarding the violations, affiant smelled the moderate odor of an alcoholic beverage about Boyd and asked how much alcohol he had consumed this evening. Boyd said he had “two shots” but did not start drinking until after the NBA Finals game he was watching on television ended. He estimated this time to be approximately 0100 hours.

Affiant determined Boyd to be only (note: I’m guessing he said “20 years old” here) and administered a PBT that was positive for alcohol. Boyd was placed under arrest for DUI (Minor) having been deemed to be under the influence of alcohol to a degree he was unfit to safely operate a motor vehicle.

That is the nuts and bolts of it. It is pretty basic really.

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June 12, 2015

First off to assuage the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair by PITT fans regarding our ‘late’ recruiting start we need to revisit this issue just like we do every year at this time of the offseason.  Because of that repetition I am going to be stealing some info from earlier Blather articles.

Here is a bit of info that will help to quell your fears. This table shows how PITT has ‘late’ starts every year since Wannstedt was hired back in 2005:

Year  # Before 6/12     Total Class #  Notes:
 
‘05 1 23 Wannstedt’s first partial class
‘06 5 27 DW’s first full class
‘07 2 24  
‘08 2 19  
‘09 1 20  
‘10 2 24  
‘11 2 21 Graham’s first partial class
‘12 0 16 Chryst’s first partial class
‘13 5 27 Chryst’s first full class (after purge)
‘14 1 23  
‘15 3 15 Narduzzi’s first partial class
‘16 1 (3?) TBD Narduzzi’s first full class

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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 8, 2015

Clearing Tabs, 6/8

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Narduzzi — Chas @ 7:12 am

Before there was “Pitting” or  “The Pitting” if you want to be formal about it, there was “Sparty, No!” The, um, battle cry for Michigan State football across the country.

…starting a seven-year period of frustration and the “Sparty, No!” meme. Under Bobby Williams and John L. Smith, the Spartans put a lot of individual talent on the field, dropped hints of excellent play, and went 38-45. From 2002-06, they went 4-14 in games decided by one possession. Nobody snatched disappointment from the jaws of hope as frequently as early-aughts Sparty.

Familiar themes. Familiar performances.

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June 5, 2015

PITT Needs You at YSU!!!

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Media,Opponent(s) — Reed @ 9:04 am

PITT is bending over backward to get that sellout.  PITT will have free “Pat Signal” tatoos before the game…

pat signal

 

Here’s the windup and the pitch…

Fathers Day Special

 

In exactly three months we’ll start to see how the “Narduzzi Ultimatum”  project is going to play out for the 2015 season.  September 5th is the opening game against the Youngstown State Penguins and who knows at this point what will happen.

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June 3, 2015

#Subtweet Battle

Filed under: Football,Narduzzi,Recruiting — Justin @ 8:01 am

A quick disclaimer: if recruiting and twitter are not your thing, I won’t be offended if you move on without reading. Head into the comments. I’ll give you a topic: is Script Pitt the greatest logo of all time OR the best logo in the universe? For the rest of you, let’s look at some tweets! (more…)

June 1, 2015

YSU – BoGo and Academics

Filed under: Academics,Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 10:03 am

PITT is pulling out all the stops to make sure there is an actual full house at Heinz Field… you know, where there are actual humans sitting in the seats… for the season opener against Youngstown State at 1:00 on September 5th.  Here is their flyer sent out to offer existing PITT fans, and those who want to become PITT fans, for buy one – get one tickets.  You can buy up to ten tickets. and get ten free.

YSU BOGO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 28, 2015

Paul Chryst Remains Consistent

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 6:14 am

Unlike the Fraud I don’t want to be overly malicious to the late-not-really-lamented-so-much-as-wanted-to-see-one-Pitt-football-coach-still-be-on-the-job-when-at-the-very-least-his-first-recruiting-class-graduated, Paul Chryst. Hell, I would have taken being a little more laid back on him than I have been to Dave Wannstedt.

And yet…

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May 27, 2015

What a great day yesterday. It seems like we are learning about each other and each other’s families more and more on here.  It was a nice day for me and the feedback on the article made my ego run more rampant that it usually does.

Back to football though, that’s what we are here for.

PITT has sent out a press release on the new renovations going on in the Southside Football facilities. Here is the advertisement and the link takes you to the actual website.:

Renovations

As it is and will be for some time it eventually ties into donor giving.  The levels are listed and it is a good cause for us PITT fans.  I’m donating one month of the salary I get from Chas for my writing on The Blather.

Even if we media types can’t get into the actual fall camp practices and scrimmages we’ll be able to get into the facility.  So, next time I get up to Pittsburgh I’ll take photos.  If anyone else has access before me feel free to snap some and send them to me and I post them.

Here also is a May 16th article by Sam Werner of the Post-Gazette that I’ll link to again.  It is a background piece on the facility renovations.  I’m not sure about this quote from Narduzzi though:

As far as the aesthetic part of the renovation, Narduzzi even admitted that’s not for the players currently on Pitt’s roster.

“It’s obviously something visual where you go in, look it and go ‘Wow, this is beautiful,’” he said. “It’s not about the beautiful factor for the kids currently in our program. The beautiful factor is for the guys that are walking through those doors on recruiting visits.”

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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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