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July 31, 2015

SUZIE McCONNELL-SERIO SIGNS NEW AGREEMENT AT PITT THROUGH 2020-21 SEASON
McConnell-Serio guided the youthful Panthers to 20 wins and the NCAA Tournament last year. 

Serio-McConnell <<< That’s intensity!  Match that Narduzzi!

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh athletic director Scott Barnes announced today that head women’s basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio has signed a new contractual agreement that runs through the 2020-21 season.

Arriving at Pitt in 2013, McConnell-Serio has revitalized the Panthers’ fortunes in quick and impressive fashion. This past year she guided a youthful squad to a 20-12 record—including a 9-7 mark in the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference—and the program’s first NCAA Tournament in six years.

“Within a very brief period of time, Suzie McConnell-Serio has made a remarkable imprint on women’s basketball at the University of Pittsburgh,” Barnes said. “On and off the floor, she has Pitt on the rise and we are thrilled to announce this commitment to her and our women’s basketball program. Suzie is nationally respected as both a coach and person, and we couldn’t be more excited about her leading our program into the future.”

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July 26, 2015

Copied from the Pitt Website… 

James Conner talks to ESPN’s Andrea Adelson:

I love the way he list every other player on offense as the reason he won the ward in 2015 then says “I play a small role“. What a genuinely good person.

JAMES CONNER TRIES FOR RARE ACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR REPEAT

By Andrea Adelson

PINEHURST, N.C. — James Conner broke records, pounded opponents and had one of the most prolific seasons in Pittsburgh history, a school known for its remarkable running backs.

Yet, he was not chosen to repeat as ACC Player of the Year. The preseason honor went to Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who earned 23 more votes than Conner, who rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns last season.

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July 25, 2015

Whether it is the schedule or the learning curve of a first-time head coach or the voluminous questions on the defensive side of the ball, the prognostications that can be found in the numerous preview guides — and the ACC pre-season media poll — have not exactly been raising expectations for Pitt’s upcoming season.

Let’s take a look at the various prognostications.

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July 21, 2015

In the most timely news to hit the street and anger Pitt football fans our young DE Rori Blair made a monumental mistake when he chose to smoke reefer and treat the parkway like he was in the Hot Metal Bridge 500 race qualifying rounds.  From The P-G this morning:

State police wrote in a criminal complaint that a trooper working near the Fort Pitt Bridge clocked Blair, 20, of Upper St. Clair, driving at 117 mph in a 55-mph zone March 15. That trooper pulled the car over in a left lane on Fifth Avenue in Oakland and “detected a strong odor of marijuana emitting from his breath and about his person as he spoke along with blood shot glassy eyes,” police wrote.

Police took Blair to UPMC Mercy for a blood test, which came back positive for cannabinoids, police said. They charged Blair via summons Monday with driving under the influence, driving at an unsafe speed and other violations.

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July 14, 2015

With the predictions we talked about in the comments in our last article I thought it would be fun to look back at this time three years ago and remind us all of what predictions we  made prior to the 2012 season getting underway.

This three year old article, “2102 Season Predictions”, posted in the last week of August 2012, offered five questions for the readers to respond to in the comments section.  Here are those questions with my predictions included:

What will be PITT’s regular season record, what bowl game if any and why will it be that way?  (Actual: 6-6 in the regular season with a 38-17 loss in the BBVA Compass Bowl against Ole Miss to end 6-7.)

*  I think PITT will be a 7-5 team this season, 8-4 at best and will get to some minor bowl. I think we are 3-3 after the first six games. (Reed’s)

* 9-3; We win the Big East and play in the Orange Bowl

*  13-0 with a blowout win in our BCS bowl game.

*  Pitt goes 9-3. **If Tino tanks, no more than 6-6.

*  Pitt should have the most talented team in this conference… except… well… one little 5’10” problem named Tino Sunseri.

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July 13, 2015

Now is the time, before football is being practiced and scrimmages played, where we fans like to sit down and compare what we have seen in the past from Pitt football and then speculate how the new kid on the block is going to handle his first time at the rodeo.

Our new kid is Pat Narduzzi, a first time head coach and a football mind that should fit right in with the Western PA football traditions of an aggressive and strong defense. The thing is that we can’t really look at his individual history, most recently as the Defensive Coordinator at Michigan State University, and see that for as successful as he was it doesn’t predict his success as a new head coach.

What we can do though is look backwards 18 years to 1997 when the first of our last three coaches who had at least three seasons under their belts at Pitt was hired.  That guy is Walt Harris, a second time HC who did a stint as the HC at Pacific University out in California.

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June 18, 2015

Last week some media noted that it was five years after the dogs of the expansiopocolypse were unleashed. The picking apart of the Big 12 that started it all. That led to the silly winners and losers articles. The standards for “winners” and “losers” depended on the biases of the writers.

But hey, it is the offseason. Content is tough to come by. Why not join in the fun.

I just can’t put it simply in winners or losers. There’s a fair amount of stuff in the middle. How about,  “Win, Lose or Draw?”

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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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May 13, 2015

Once more, there is loud talk from coaches, administrator and conferences of eliminating the Graduate Transfer as we know it.

Start with the basics. Graduate Transfer Exception (or Waiver):

The graduate exception is a version of the one-time transfer exception. It is for student-athletes who cannot use the normal one-time transfer exception because they play one of the sports that are not permitted to use the exception.

The student-athlete must have graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree;
The student-athlete meets the other requirements of the one-time transfer exception;
The student-athlete must have at least one season of competition left; and
The student-athlete’s previous school did not renew his or her athletic scholarship or offer an athletic scholarship for the following academic year.

The requirement that the scholarship be cancelled or not renewed is generally not an issue. The scholarship does not need to be cancelled before the transfer or be the reason for the transfer. Because the one-time transfer exception requires you to get a release, what will happen with your scholarship is generally just an administrative detail.

The Graduate Transfer Waiver is often conflated with the exception because they are so similar. There is one key difference.

The graduate transfer waiver is now typically used by athletes who have previous transferred once before and so cannot use the one-time transfer exception (even as a graduate student).

A letter from the previous school saying it does not object to the student-athlete being eligible;

Documentation that the student-athlete has been accepted into a specific graduate degree program;

Documentation about whether that degree program is offered by the previous school;
A student-athlete statement including the reasons for the transfer; and

A statement from the previous institution about the student-athlete’s status on the team.

[Emphasis added.]

Unlike regular transfers, there is no requirement to sit out a year after transferring. The player is eligible to play right away. That is the big bonus for both the player and the school to where he transfers.

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April 24, 2015

Presser for the New AD

Filed under: Conference — Reed @ 10:02 am

We all saw the breaking news about PITT hiring ex-Utah State Athletic Director Scott Barnes as the new AD and here are the formalities of introduction.

MEDIA ADVISORY

From: E.J. Borghetti
Executive Associate Athletic Director/Media Relations

Re: Friday Press Conference

The University of Pittsburgh will hold a press conference to address its athletic director position on Friday, April 24, at 3 p.m. The press conference will be held on the first floor of the William Pitt Union (3959 Fifth Avenue) in the Lower Lounge.

Media outlets with marked vehicles only may park in the circle located on the Fifth Avenue side of the William Pitt Union.

 

UPDATE: There will be a livestream of the press conference.

April 21, 2015

New Football Media Info

Filed under: Conference,Football,Media — Reed @ 11:10 am

New Press Release from the ACC & PITT regarding some media info:

Atlantic Coast Conference Spring Football Media Teleconference—Reminder

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22, 10:20 a.m.-12:50 p.m.

The ACC will hold its annual Spring Football Media Teleconference tomorrow,  Wednesday, April 22. The teleconference will begin at 10:20 a.m. with each of the Conference’s 14 head football coaches available as well as Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. Each coach will be available for 10 minutes. This teleconference is for accredited members of the media only. The teleconference will also be streamed live through theacc.com and transcripts and audio files will be available.

The Schedule of Coaches:

10:20 a.m.—Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

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March 28, 2015

Something to Chew On

Filed under: Basketball,Conference,Football,Media — Reed @ 7:48 am

I just saw this article from DiPaola of the Trib and thought it would be good to get your collective blood pressure up before you really start your weekend…

New Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said Friday former Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson never received proper credit for the Panthers’ move from the Big East to the ACC.

“I hope people realize what an unbelievable job Steve Pederson did for Pitt basketball and the university,” Howland said on TribLive Radio. “You would not be in the ACC today were it not for his vision.”

Pederson hired Howland in 1999 and guided the Panthers to two NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons.  Howland left Pitt for UCLA, where he guided the Bruins to three consecutive Final Four appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2005-2006. His lead assistant with the Panthers, Jamie Dixon, succeeded him at Pitt.  UCLA fired Howland after the 2012-13 season. Mississippi State hired Howland on Tuesday.  Pitt fired Pederson in December.

If Pitt was still in Pitt Stadium and playing in (Fitzgerald Field House), you’d be in the AAC in a no-bid league with (non-revenue) football and wondering what we’re going to do next,” Howland said.

Discuss please until we have news from today’s scrimmage to talk about…

Note: the number to call if you feel like you are about to hurt yourself or others is 1-800-STEVEAD

March 26, 2015

QB Thomas MacVittie has committed to Pitt per Jerry DiPaola and others. MacVittie is a 6’4″ dual threat QB who’s set to be a first time starter this upcoming season. This would normally be a negative, but he’s coming from Ohio powerhouse Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) and his physical skills are elite. 6’4 QBs with strong arms and 4.5 speed aren’t common. MacVittie will likely blow up this season, so hopefully this is a commitment that will stick.

The concern regarding MacVittie’s lack of experience isn’t unfounded. However, Pitt is not going to attract proven QBs with elite talent right now. That leaves the coaches the option of taking less talented players or taking talented players who for some reason haven’t had the opportunity to shine. With Voytik here for two more years along with Adam Bertke and Ben DiNucci, the coaches have options if MacVittie doesn’t pan out. Also at 6’4″ with 4.5 speed, another position is certainly an option. But, if MacVittie puts those physical tools to use, Pitt could have a steal.

March 8, 2015

(This is part two of a two part series looking at PITT’s chances of having both a Heisman Trophy and a Biletnikoff Award winner in the 2015 season.  Part I was posted earlier)

THE BILETNIKOFF AWARD

Let’s discuss Tyler Boyd and his chances to win the Biletnikoff award.  As we saw in Part I of this article this award has a more narrow criteria for voters than does the Heisman.  It is dedicated to the ‘outstanding’ college receiver of the current season and is announced at a banquet and ceremony in early December.  As described “The Biletnikoff Award is presented annually to the nation’s outstanding college football receiver (the award defines receiver as any player who catches a pass) by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc.”  That said, the only winners have been Wide Receivers; Tight Ends, H-Backs and RBs have not truly been considered.  As a matter of fact I can’t find any players other than WRs who finished in the top of the voting for any year.

Why did the Club choose receivers to be honored?

Receiver has become the glamor position and focus in college football, as high-octane passing schemes have become the equalizer and college football team rosters are filled with significant numbers of exceptional athletes who play receiver. The 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch List, the longest in its history, reflected this talent abundance and the 2013 play of the watch list members merited their designation as the finest receivers in college football.

So that makes more sense in the voting mandates then just having a popularity contest among good players. Here are the actual criteria for the award voting and you can see that the fans’ choice for #1 gets the equivalent of one vote in the final tally.

1. The Biletnikoff Award candidate must be an active collegiate football receiver (any player who receives a thrown pass regardless of position) at an NCAA Division 1 (FBS) institution.
2. The candidate, to remain a candidate, must not have been declared ineligible to participate in Division l (FBS) football by the NCAA at the time of any vote of the Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee.
3. The candidate, to remain a candidate, must not have been declared ineligible to participate in Division l (FBS) football by the candidate’s institution at the time of any vote of the Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee.
4. An ineligible player cannot be placed on the watch list and cannot remain on the watch list during that ineligibility; he can be added to or reestablished to the watch list based on proper conduct and on-field performance when his eligibility is restored at the discretion of the Foundation.
5. The candidate must display leadership and self-discipline; and he must have a significant, positive impact on his team’s success.
6. The candidate must display a commitment to be the best player he can be.

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February 3, 2015

This is a long post but since there isn’t a PITT basketball game for a few days it’s something for us to read,listen to and discuss.

At first I wasn’t that excited about listening to the interview but once I realized how in-depth Paul Zeise was getting I re-started the interview and took four full pages of notes. I had to paraphrase some of the info below but these are Paul Zeise’s thoughts (not mine). I added some background and italicized some of the more interesting info.

Linked below is a interesting and detailed interview with the P-G’s Paul Zeise conducted by the Wisconsin Football Blog Buckaround.com which is much like The PITT Blather is to PITT football. The interview is Episode 63 titled “Paul Chryst: PITT Head Coach with Paul Zeise The podcast is about 50 minutes long and I urge all of us PITT fans to take the time to listen to it.  Zeise doesn’t pull any punches when discussing the recent history of PITT football and has some very  interesting ‘inside info’ .

It is a pretty hard hitting and very insightful discussion by someone who was right in the middle of everything as a PITT beat writer working with PITT’s football program from 2014 on back. With the recent, welcomed changes in the football program and how the administration is unfolding and the fruits of that happening, it is inevitable that when discussing PITT football we’ll cast back to the last three HCs we had before Narduzzi and their impacts on the program.

Something to remember about Paul Zeise is that just because he was taken off the P-G PITT football beat prior last season he still was very involved and privy to the inner-working of the football program, especially with his family’s’ experience with the recruiting process, but he wasn’t writing about it due to a conflict of interest. (more…)

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