October 6, 2015

Now to Avoid the Letdown

Filed under: Fans,Football — Chas @ 9:40 am

Virginia is not a good football program. They were a unanimous pick in every publication, in every every preseason poll — coaches and media — to finish last. Not simply in the Coastal division, but the ACC as a whole.

They are a mess. Mike London is a dead coach walking. They are 1-3. That one win coming against the 1-AA William & Mary Fightin’ Jon Stewarts. And even then, they had to hold on for that win.

And yet…


October 5, 2015

Here is a three week late start for the Pitt Blather’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” series.  There was so much going on with the new staff and the QB competition and rotation through the first three games I forgot to start writing these.  If you remember the MMQB format is three points of Positives, three Negatives and then Notes.) Here goes.

(This is the first article in a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then. It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.) 

A few things stuck with me Saturday afternoon as I left a Blather friend’s house after watching Pitt’s 17-13 win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.  First was that it is very nice to get a conference win any way we can get it, and that is just what we did.  Second is that no matter how a game turns out, good, bad, or middling, Pitt fans find things to worry and complain about.  Check out the Game Thread posts if you don’t believe that.

I say this because I watched the game with three new friends who are long time (suffering) Pitt fans who, to a man, are convinced we’ll be a 8-10 win team this season… yet they were also sure, down to Pitt’s victory formation out of the huddle, that we were going to lose that game.  Imagine that, Reed, who predicted 6-6 season and a close Pitt loss against VT calming those guys down off the ledge in the 4th quarter and assuring them we were going to come out with a win.  Life is strange, eh?  Of course, watching our balls to the wall defense kick the Hokies’ collective asses at every turn help my confidence we’d win a bit also.  Which leads us to…


1.  We may be seeing a rising and complete 180 degree reversal from the 2014 team in that we are currently relying on our defense to win games for us and that is what they are doing… with an excellent shut down effort on Saturday.


October 4, 2015

Brief Rundown in the Afterglow

Filed under: Football,Media — Chas @ 10:21 am

Feels good. As much as Pitt has dominated VT in wins in this and the previous decade, Pitt last won in Lane Stadium back in 2002 — or half-a-dozen non-interim coaches ago.

Pitt won the game with defense and just enough offense. An energized and enthusiastic defense that had former players looking on with envy.

Ejuan Price had the kind of game that made him a highly sought recruit several years and injuries ago. Hopefully he can stay healthy this year. He deserves it after everything — and boy, does he help make that defense more dangerous up front.


October 3, 2015

Open Thread: Pitt-VT Goes Soggy

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:50 am

It’s cold and wet all over the East and into the midwest. A noon start to go with it. So, so grateful that this is a road game. At least that keeps us from being treated to pictures of a mostly empty Heinz Field. It will be curious to see just how full Lane Stadium is, given the weather, the start time and the malaise hitting the fans following a loss to ECU.

Pitt should come out ready to go for this one. The bye week after a tough loss. It feels weird typing that. Normally, I would be expecting Pitt to be somewhat flat. Especially under the numerous other former head coaches. But with Pat Narduzzi and this staff, I just think the energy is going to be higher. As if the whole team has been chomping at the bit to get back out on the field.

Of course, I could just be projecting.

If you are in the Pittsburgh area, the game is on Root. It can be found on a lot of sports channels today, and ESPN3.

October 2, 2015

Know Your Enemy: Hokies

Filed under: ACC,Football,Opponent(s) — Justin @ 4:09 am

As Adam Bisnowaty pointed out, Pitt has won five of the past six against Virginia Tech (although the last loss to the Hokies was in their house in 2013). With Pitt traveling to Hokieland this Saturday, the time is ripe for Pitt to join the conversation for ACC Coastal division contenders. The Hokies are coming off of another loss to East Carolina, will be missing their best player on defense, and has an offense struggling to run the ball. As I mentioned Tuesday, this is a game Pitt must win if the goal is to be Coastal contenders.

But, even a wounded VT squad is dangerous. There’s too much pride on the line for the Hokies to lie down. Let’s look at what Beamerball’s squad has to offer. (more…)

October 1, 2015

When last we checked in with our friends at The Key Play, the defense was expected to be terrifying, Mike Brewer was going to be toughing it out as QB, and the running back situation was unclear except that it would be a group effort that needed to be sorted. Well, here we are a little more than two months later and one of those things is still true.

Pierson and I have had another exchange of pleasantries. You can find my answers to his inquiries over at The Key Play. His responses follow:


September 30, 2015

A Second Bye?

Filed under: ACC,Conference,Football — Chas @ 7:34 pm

This weekend may get a little more boring for Pitt fans — assuming you don’t live on the East Coast, especially Virginia.

Hurricane Joaquin continues to strengthen northeast of the Bahamas. As of 8 p.m. Joaquin has sustained winds of 105 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane. It continues to move southwest at 7 mph.

Gov. McAuliffe declared a state of emergency for Virginia Wednesday afternoon, followed by the City of Norfolk also declaring a state of emergency.

Hurricane Joaquin will likely drift west over the next few days before being picked up by a cold front. At the same time, a developing coastal low will try to strengthen over the area this weekend.

The latest track strengthens the storm into a major hurricane, a category 3 storm. The center of the storm in this latest update would make landfall somewhere along the Outer Banks Sunday afternoon.

Joaquin is just one part of a complex weather pattern that is setting up for the end of the week.

If the state of emergency lasts into the weekend the Pit-VT game in Blacksburg is assuredly cancelled.

This creates a real issue for the ACC. Pitt has already had it’s bye week. It is slated to play 8 straight weeks. There is no open date for Pitt.

There have been instances of non-con games not being made up, but I can’t recall an instance in recent years where a conference game has not been played or made up at some point.

The ACC may be forced to schedule the game on a Monday or some other awkward day if the game is postponed this Saturday.

Here is Pitt HC Pat Narduzzi’s mid-week press conference for our game against VT this weekend in Blacksburg, VA, tarted up a bit for your reading pleasure..  It is a noon start on Saturday and looks to be a rainy day.

Official Virginia Tech Week Game Notes issued by the Pitt Media Dept.

PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Narduzzi Virginia Tech Preview


 Opening Statement:

“We had a couple practices last week to focus on ourselves and become a better football team. We’re cranked up. It’s always rough on a Saturday to watch all of those games and not being able to go out and play. I think our kids are anxious to get back on the field. We’re getting ready for a great football team down at Virginia Tech.


September 28, 2015

Here are the Pitt Media Game Notes for the visiting Panthers and the Virginia Tech Hokies.

LINK (PDF): Where to Watch Pitt-VT (RSN stations)

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (VT) – These are the multi-page, in-depth notes on the game.


Pitt opens Atlantic Coast Conference play this Saturday when it travels to Virginia Tech. The 2-1 Panthers are coming off an open week. The Hokies played at East Carolina and dropped a 35-28 decision to fall to 2-2.

Pitt and Virginia Tech meet annually as members of the Coastal Division. The series, however, dates back to 1993 when both schools were in the Big East. The Hokies lead the series, 8-6, but Pitt has won five of the last six encounters, including 21-16 at Heinz Field last year.

There has been a distinct home field advantage in the series. Pitt is 4-0 against Virginia Tech at Heinz Field but just 1-5 in games played in Blacksburg.

The Panthers’ lone win at Virginia Tech occurred in 2002, a 28-21 victory sparked by Larry Fitzgerald’s three touchdown catches. In its last visit to Lane Stadium, Pitt dropped a 19-9 decision in 2013.


So You Wanna Win the Coastal…

Filed under: ACC,Football,Narduzzi — Justin @ 2:13 pm

Like every year since Pitt joined the ACC, the Coastal division appears wide open. In 2013, Duke had their best season in most of our lifetimes and won the division with a 10-2 regular season (6-2 in the ACC). In 2014, a 10-2 (6-2 in ACC) Georgia Tech had a season for the ages which culminated in an Orange Bowl victory over a top 10 SEC team (Mississippi State). Each season had a 5-3 team in second place (2013 had three), so there was no wiggle room; they had to win six for the outright title. (more…)

September 27, 2015

Nine Months In…

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Media,Opponent(s) — Reed @ 1:43 pm

Well, it has been nine months since Paul Chryst left for northern pastures and Pitt hired Pat Narduzzi in his place and this may be a good time to review what has happened since then.

We’ve seen some big changes surrounding the Pitt football program as Narduzzi hired a new staff and Pitt hired a new Athletic Director who came with a fatter checkbook.  We’ve gone back to the ‘Script on the helmets and our season ticket sales and fundraising numbers have both gone up.  You have to attribute those last items to Narduzzi and the energy he’s brought to the program so far.


September 25, 2015

Bits & Pieces 9/25/15

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Media,Players — Reed @ 10:12 am

Here are some links and such.

The Trib’s article on Peterman:

At the outset of his Pitt career, Nathan Peterman faced the daunting task of wrestling the starting job from an incumbent quarterback who has the support of his teammates.It took him no longer than one training camp and the first two weeks of the season to get it done.

Then, in his first start, he encountered a large, hostile crowd in Iowa and was asked to save the game by driving the offense 75 yards to a game-tying touchdown. With 52 seconds to spare — too much time, as it turned out — he did it.

“He definitely shows poise in the moment,” tight end J.P. Holtz said. “He doesn’t get scared.”


September 23, 2015

Bye Week Goals

Filed under: Football,Narduzzi,Players — Justin @ 11:00 am

Pitt lost to Iowa in dramatic fashion. This feels like the norm, but it was different this year. First off, it was Pitt that came back in the fourth quarter after a rough start. Second, Pitt is still finding its footing without James Conner. Third, the defense, while not perfect, forced Iowa to earn every single point. There were no gimmes, no luck other than the 57 yards FG, and it ended up a hard fought contest between two good football teams.

I can live with that. There was no choke or horrific mistake. Sometimes you play a good football team and you lose. Instead of looking back, I want to look forward. What can Pitt do during the bye week to prepare for a tough road game against Virginia Tech? Here’s my list. (more…)

September 22, 2015

Here are the latest Team and Individual statistics for Pitt through the Iowa Game.

Pitt Team Stats – 09/19/2015
Statistic National Rank  Stat Value
Total Offense 107 349.0
Rushing Offense 83 169.0
Passing Offense 102 180.0
Team Passing Efficiency 64 135.89
Scoring Offense T-63 31.0
Total Defense 22 293.3
Rushing Defense 18 93.7
Passing Yards Allowed 55 199.7
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 23 103.55
Scoring Defense T-64 23.7
Turnover Margin 106 -1.00
3rd Down Conversion Pct 81 0.381
4th Down Conversion Pct T-55 0.500
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 27 0.286
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense T-1 0.000
Red Zone Offense T-72 0.833
Red Zone Defense T-111 1.000
Net Punting 73 36.67
Punt Returns 29 15.00
Kickoff Returns 23 26.56
First Downs Offense T-99 52
First Downs Defense T-28 46
Fewest Penalties Per Game T-9 4.00
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 3 29.33
Time of Possession 49  31:30
View Complete Ranking Summary


Individual Leaders

Stat Player Value
APY  (All-Purpose Yards) Qadree Ollison 315
FGM  (Field Goals Made) Chris Blewitt 3
Interceptions Terrish Webb 1
Passing Efficiency Nate Peterman 147.70
Points Chris Blewitt 21
Punt Avg Ryan Winslow 119.1
Punt Return Yards Pat Amara Jr 28
Receiving Tyler Boyd 21
Receiving Yards Tyler Boyd 226
Rushing Net Yards Qadree Ollison 305
Sacks Nicholas Grigsby 2.0
Tackles Jordan Whitehead 24
Total Offense Nate Peterman 433
September 21, 2015

We had a close loss yesterday to a Big Ten Iowa team in their hometown Kinnick Field.  The final score was 27-24 and was determined by a last second 57 yard field goal Iowa’s placekicker.

To keep all the game links in one place here they are… then we’ll move on to background issues later in the article:

Fittipaldo’s report Post-Gazette 9/20; and  DiPaloa’s Trib after game article.

There were missed opportunities to win this game, or at the very least actions could have been taken that would have given us a better shot at a win.


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