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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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May 20, 2015

Uni Watch: MS Paint Edition

Filed under: Football,Marketing — Chas @ 7:18 am

Oh, come on people. It isn’t even Memorial Day and we have already cycled through Pitt-PSU should play every year talk. Casually dismissed the Backyard Brawl. There is no more issue about bringing back the script Pitt. Expansiopocolypse is a dead subject. And now we are going to push through uniform alterations? Not having the usual tropes to make it through the summer doldrums are not useful for content.

I can’t — I can’t do this. I won’t be a party to trying to see how we can really squeeze two months worth of babble on the fictional concept of getting an on-stadium campus.

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May 19, 2015

Don’t get me wrong, last night was great and this is a good cause if you have some extra Jack to spread around. One thing I feel is that if we donate the money will be well used.  As said before, he’s working it and has been since his hire.  The links are nice also.  A piece about our own Center Alex Officer and the Rimington list is at the end of this article.

Dear Reed,Thank you for joining us at the “On the Prowl” Tour. It was an incredible experience for me to meet so many people who love Pitt. Check out the photos from last night. Since becoming head football coach in December, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous passion, energy, and dedication of the Pitt family.  With the enthusiastic support of fans like you, I am confident that our outstanding momentum will continue. During the event, we mentioned a few ways that you can directly support Pitt and our football program:

  • GET INVOLVED – Pitt Alumni Clubs, which are active throughout the country, give Panther fans many great opportunities to network with one another. LEARN MORE
  • COME HOME – Come back to Pittsburgh, visit campus, and help us fill Heinz Field. BUY GAME TICKETS
  • CELEBRATE HOMECOMING – We are offering a $10 discount for the Homecoming game against ACC rival Virginia on Saturday, October 10, 2015.GET DISCOUNT
  • MAKE PITT STRONGER – We are currently upgrading our locker room, team rooms, and constructing a new student-athlete lounge in the Duratz Athletic Complex so that we can provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes and ensure we are able to attract top recruits. Please consider supporting this project. GIVE NOW

We appreciate your continued support, and we hope to see you this fall at Heinz Field. Together, we will show the entire country why PITT IS IT!

Hail to Pitt!

Pat Narduzzi
Head Football Coach

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You have to say one thing about our new Head Coach; he knows how to work a room.

PITT hosted a Pat Narduzzi Alumni Meet and Greet evening in Washington DC last night and approximately 220 PITT Alumni and fans showed up for the festivities.

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(Note: here is a late addition of all the photos taken by the PITT media department of the event – pretty interesting and try to play “Where’s Reed”  Hint: I’m taller than everyone else.  Look at photos #26, 46, 55 and 56.

It was a nice evening and was intended as an avenue for PITT to re-awaken the alumni – athletic department connections. There is really no telling how well that went over, I’m sure PITT will contact the attendees later to further the money side of the equation. It was very well produced, people were happy to be there, and Narduzzi used his oversized image and personality to get a good and excited feeling going with everyone to take home when they left at 8:00.

The plan was set up like this.  Schedule the evening in late May when DC is starting to really heat up so that in addition to the high temperatures you also get the springtime mugginess that permeates DC.  Then, arrange to have most of the event outdoors; the check-in line (with a five minute wait),  two  tables with PITT advertisements and information publications, a table of PITT shirts and hats for sale and two other tables with the ‘light appetizers’ which were actually substantial and well presented.

The only thing missing was the Red Cross station where one could get intravenously re-hydrated due to sweating every drop of water out of your body. A lot of the attendees parked outside of DC and took the Metro in and that four block walk on hot concrete was a killer.  It was nice later in the evening though and no matter how talented Narduzzi is he really can’t control the weather.

But honestly, the place was well arranged and attractive and because PITT rented out a smaller conference room at the most famous and expensive hotel in DC, The Willard, space was at a premium so they adapted well to the size allotted.

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May 16, 2015

PITT’S 2015 SEASON-OPENING GAME WITH YSU TO KICK OFF AT 1 P.M.
The Panthers are already slated for two ESPN national telecasts.

PITTSBURGH—Pat Narduzzi will make his Pitt head coaching debut when the Panthers host Youngstown State on Sept. 5 at 1 p.m.

The opening kickoff time was announced by the Pitt Athletic Department today. The 2015 season marks the 126th in school history.

Narduzzi has multiple ties to YSU and the city of Youngstown. His father, the late Bill Narduzzi, was the Penguins’ head coach from 1975-85 and was inducted into the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Pat was an all-state performer at Youngstown’s Ursuline High School, leading the Irish to the Steel Valley championship and Ohio state playoffs as a senior in 1984. He was a starting linebacker under his father as a freshman at Youngstown State in 1985 before transferring to Rhode Island, where he was a three-year starter for the Rams from 1987-89.

Youngstown State will also have a new coach on the sideline when it visits Heinz Field. Bo Pelini, who spent the past seven years as head coach at Nebraska, was named head coach of the Penguins in December.

In addition to the season-opening start time, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced that Pitt’s Oct. 29 home game with North Carolina will be an ESPN Thursday night national telecast and kick off at 7 p.m. The Panthers’ Nov. 27 game with Miami at Heinz Field has been earmarked for either an ABC or ESPN telecast. The kickoff time for the game with the Hurricanes is TBA.

Narduzzi enters his first season at Pitt with 17 returning starters at his disposal, including All-America running back James Conner, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, and dynamic wide receiver Tyler Boyd.

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May 15, 2015

Closer to the Script?

Filed under: Admin,Football,Media — Reed @ 8:46 am

Here is a chance to vote on which “Football Shirt” you want to see for 2015. I guess this means which shirt they will give away at the home games or something.

PITT T-Shirt

But in the spirit of our recent discussions about logos and branding I thought you all might like to do this:

Football Shirt Poll Site

 

May 12, 2015

(Taken from the original as linked, see endnote.)

All-Draft teams for five top college football programs

By Mike Huguenin

After breaking down how conferences and major college programs have fared in recent NFL drafts, CFB 24/7 set out to answer a more hypothetical question: Which five schools would field the best 22-player starting lineups using only draft picks from the past?

A few ground rules for this top five:

1.  To make the list, a player had to have entered the NFL as a draft pick — no undrafted free agents or guys who played in the NFL before the draft began. (We bent the rules a bit on three guys who began their careers in the AFL.)

2.  All things being equal, we gave more value to a middle- or late-round pick who hit it big. It’s possible that a fourth-round pick, for instance, shows up on our list instead of a first-rounder. First-rounders are supposedto pan out, whereas teams hope a fourth-rounder produces. But don’t fret: The majority of players who made our list were indeed first-rounders.

3.  We picked an actual starting 22, which means some Hall of Famers did not make our list.

Four of the five teams we’ve selected probably won’t be a surprise. Three of the five are long-time powers, and one is a relative newcomer to the scene (17 of the 22 players selected were drafted in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s). The other, while it hasn’t been nationally relevant in a while, has pumped out numerous stud players, and definitely belongs.

A lot of big-name programs didn’t make the cut. We discuss them at the end; for the most part, they fell short — frankly, way, way short — at one key position.

Here is our top five.  Feel free to disagree — and we know you will.

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May 9, 2015

PITT vs Iowa @ 8:00 PM

Filed under: Football,Media,Opponent(s) — Reed @ 7:58 am

The Iowa game mentioned below is the second of three consecutive away games in the months of September and early October.  The teams in the first two of those three games; Akron (5-7 in ’14), Iowa (7-6) and then  Virginia Tech (7-6)  accounted for two of our seven losses last season.  This will be, to me anyway, a benchmark for Narduzzi.  If he isn’t 3-1 or at the very least 2-2 after the first four games it will be very disappointing… even if three of those games are away.

Narduzzi is working with 17 returning starters, less any starter changes he makes in fall camp, so that has to work in his favor. Plus he is the best defensive mind ever to coach in college football.

PITT’S GAME AT IOWA TO KICK AT 8 P.M.

    PITTSBURGH—The Pitt football team’s Sept. 19 game at Iowa will kick off at 8 p.m. (ET), and be televised by the Big Ten Network, it was announced today.

This is the first kickoff time announced for the Panthers’ 2015 schedule. Additional start times will be announced once television arrangements have been confirmed.  Pitt and Iowa have played six prior times and the series is tied, 3-3. The Hawkeyes rallied for a 24-20 win at Heinz Field last year.

Season tickets and mini-plans for the 2015 Pitt football season are now on sale. Call the Pitt Ticket Office at (800) 643-PITT (7488) or log on to PittsburghPanthers.com. First-year head coach Pat Narduzzi will have 17 returning starters at his disposal this fall, including All-America running back James Conner, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, and dynamic wide receiver Tyler Boyd.

For the latest Pitt football news, follow the Panthers on Twitter and Instagram at @GoPittFootball.

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May 7, 2015

Let’s Go See Narduzzi in DC

Filed under: Alumni,Coaches,Fans,Football — Reed @ 9:19 am

My fellow PITT Fans,

I just registered for a spot at this Washington, DC ‘meet up’ with Narduzzi and staff in DC.  Who else would you like to go, drink beer and ask the hard questions?  Should be a blast and it is free.  This should be a great time and maybe small enough that we can actually bullshit with some PITT people who we can get drunk and pry secrets out of about the program.  Here is the detailed info:

WASHINGTON, DC

Monday, May 18 – (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.)

Occidental Grill & Seafood – The Willard Atrium & Courtyard, 1475 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 2000045

Metro Rail Line: Blue, Orange, Red, Silver Lines to ” Metro Center Station”.

It is on a Monday night so parking in that area might not be too bad – here are some local garages.  It may be easier is to drive to a Metro Station and take the rail line to “Metro Center Metro Station” and walk the three blocks to the Willard Hotel.  The easiest for us MD PITT fans in the eastern side of MD is to drive to the New Carrollton Station and take the Orange Line straight into Metro Center.

The Occidental Grill and Seafood is one of the nicest restaurant/Bar in DC so business casual or PITT gear is required I guess.

DEADLINE TO REGISTER IS MAY 13;  Call “Sue” at 412-624-4658 ASAP to reserve a spot – you can add one guest name also.

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May 2, 2015

Clemmings Draft Info

Filed under: Football,Players — Reed @ 5:08 pm

CLEMMINGS SELECTED BY MINNESOTA IN NFL DRAFT’S FOURTH ROUND

PITTSBURGH—Pitt offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings was selected in the NFL Draft’s fourth round on Saturday by the Minnesota Vikings.

Clemmings was the 110th overall pick in the draft. Initially projected as a first-round prospect, he fell to the fourth round after being recently diagnosed with a foot stress fracture.

With his selection, Pitt has now had at least one player chosen in 14 of the last 16 drafts. Clemmings is the first Pitt player in 25 years to be drafted by Minnesota. Defensive back Alonzo Hampton was a fourth-round pick of the Vikings in 1990.

A relative newcomer to the game, Clemmings played only two seasons of high school football at New Jersey’s Paterson Catholic. At Pitt, he began his career as a defensive end before moving to offensive tackle prior to his junior season.
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Now that we are starting the “long desert march”, that dry spell we go through every summer until we get to the Fall Camp in the beginning of August, there are a few things on my desk I want to share with you all.

First addressing the question of QB Nathan Peterman’s role in transferring from Tennessee to PITT and why he’s doing it.  Everyone assumes it is just to provide a back up to Chad Voytik because somehow Voytik has a ‘lock’ on the starter’s job.

That isn’t true. There is no doubt that Narduzzi and OC Jim Chaney are bringing Peterman in to compete for the starting job right off the bat.  Chris Peak has written a very good piece with strong quotes about this subject in his April 23rd article.  That article is behind Rivals’ pay wall but here is a taste of what Narduzzi said…

“He’s going to come in here to compete,” Narduzzi said Wednesday. “Chad knows that. Chad’s embraced that, and Chad’s got to look at it as, ‘Hey, this guy is going to make me better.’ I think it’s always good when you can look in that rearview mirror and see that someone’s there on you. I don’t know that Chad had that throughout the spring, to be honest with you.

“So he’ll have that in fall camp, and they’ll learn together, and it will make us a better football team.”

Reading between the lines I think Narduzzi may well have meant that Voytik didn’t have that competition last season either and he wants to make that happen. I get the feeling,  just a feeling only, that Narduzzi isn’t 100% sold on Voytik’s skills at QB.

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April 30, 2015

Pitt and the NFL Draft

Filed under: Draft,Football,Uncategorized — Justin @ 5:00 am

Two years ago I upset a few people when I declared no Pitt players would be drafted. It was difficult to admit that Ray Graham’s knee severely hindered his draft prospects but it was reality. Graham went undrafted and has struggled to stick in the NFL. This year that won’t be an issue thanks to TJ Clemmings. The question is whether or not a second player will be drafted.  (more…)

April 29, 2015

Media Bits & Bytes 4/29/15

Filed under: Football,Media — Reed @ 12:37 pm

The PITT Media Dept. has jumped the gun a bit and changed the scheduling of when they would start posting the individual shows of their Five-Part Spring Practice Series on Root Sports.

The first show is now available on the PittsburghPanthers.com website.  Skip the huge Scott Barnes advertisement and then click on the video of Tyler Boyd pointing at the camera – that’s the show.  It is an almost full 20 minutes of good things to see and hear and is very well done.

Then if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite and you just can’t get enough PITT football, even if it is past history, you will like this PITT Live Wire section on YouTube.   Not only do they have the requisite interviews with the players and coaches through the last spring practices but every once in a while they toss in some interesting productions like these:

PITT Defensive Back History and PITT Linebacker History  with six more videos to cover every position on the field.  It never hurts to know the history of the team you follow in case anyone bets you a bottle of Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit if you can name the best DEs ever.

Then, to make sure UPITTBaseball doesn’t feel left out and starts to go on a rampage at his work they also have put up this video.

According to Chris Peak, Pat Narduzzi tapped into his Michigan State pipeline to add former Spartan Mark Scarpinato to the team. Scarpinato, a 6’3 286 pound DT, is an interesting case. He left MSU after the 2013-14 season to go to med school at Wisconsin. At that point Scarpinato was a redshirt sophomore yet had already graduated, an impressive achievement.

Scarpinato appeared in all 14 games of his sophomore season as part of a four man defensive tackle rotation on the number one defense in the nation. I’ll look into how his eligibility will function in terms of whether or not his year off counts against him. I would assume so and that would mean the former Spartan will only be able to play this upcoming season. At worst, Scarpinato is proven depth at DT and can use his experience to aid his fellow DL in adapting to a new scheme. At best, he could be a starter on a DL that under-performed last season.

Also in recruiting news, a JUCO WR eligible to play this fall could be coming to town. Rafael Araujo-Lopes picked up an offer from Pitt, and it’s a safe bet that with Rob Harley in California today to visit him, the deal could be closed soon.

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