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September 4, 2015

Alright, alright, alright… the time is now for us to put down our thoughts and predictions about our opening game against the Youngstown State University Penguins.  A lot of newcomers have joined this blog since the end of last season so thanks to you guys for coming onboard and please don’t hesitate to join in.

Onto the main stage event.  As I write this it’s 30 hours to game time and maybe 27 hours or so to meet up with old friends and make new ones while we talk about the present, past and future of the football program and in particular this 2015 team.

We all know about the rather dramatic changes the program and the athletic department have gone through since Dec 17th when Paul Chryst left for Wisconsin and when our new Beloved Leader, Chancellor Mark Gallagher, dropped the ax on the neck of AD Steve Pederson’s tenure at Pitt.

That has discussed over and over and now it’s time to move on to real football.  With that, here is your chance to give the sporting world your Pitt vs. YSU game predictions.  Please add on your thoughts on why you feel your prediction will come true and, if you feel like it, throw in some individual player’s work that you think will help make it happen.

I’m asking for your thoughts so I’ll start off with mine…

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September 3, 2015

The Pitt Media Dept. has been sending out some press information that most Pitt fans don’t get to see firsthand, so here are some interesting links, info and videos that you might enjoy.

First off, The ACC media guys made public a booklet you may want to keep handy when we are discussing Pitt, our ACC opponents and our chances of a conference championship this season.

It is the 2015 ACC Football Media Guide and is available as linked.  Pitt’s information is on pages 77 – 80 and all the teams are covered very extensively. It is an excellent piece of work from the ACC and covers everything imaginable.

Here are some other important and interesting links sent out by Mike Finn, who is the Associate Commissioner for ACC Football Communications.

Here are the Week One tailored press releases:

Total (Press)Release:  http://theacc.co/FB15release

Full Releasehttp://theacc.co/FB15release-pdf

Standings & Schedules, Noteshttp://theacc.co/FB15release-schedules

Game Previewshttp://theacc.co/FB15release-previews

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September 2, 2015

It never fails. It happens every time I see “redemption” in a title somewhere. I end up with “Redemption Song” stuck in my head the rest of the day. Sometimes it’s some version from Bob Marley. Other times, Joe Strummer.

It starts with Head Coach Pat Narduzzi. His debut game with the big headset. He sets out to prove that he is not simply one of the best defensive coordinators. That the time it tood to become a head coach was because of waiting for the right opportunity, not because he was passed over at other jobs.

He can chalk up the nerves to the way it is for players and all coaches every game, but this one is different. You can talk about all the preparations, the waiting for the moment. It is still something new. It is the first time.

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Redemption Tour 2015

Filed under: Football,Narduzzi,Opponent(s) — Justin @ 4:00 am

Pitt begins a bit of a redemption tour this Saturday when Youngstown State comes to Heinz.  This is the first of three games against opponents that embarrassed Pitt during the post-Wannstedt era of mediocrity. First up is the aforementioned YSU squad that defeated Chryst in his first ever game as a head coach. Next up is Akron, whose defeat of Pitt last year is far and away the most confusing loss since Bowling Green in 2008. Last but not least is Iowa, a team with two fourth quarter comebacks in their last two games against Pitt. (more…)

September 1, 2015

It’s Tuesday and we have to get off our collective asses and figure out where we are going to meet so we can put faces to internet handles/names…. and for you guys to buy me many drinks.

Here is what I see our options are:

Our prospective waitstaff

Our prospective waitstaff

Tilted Kilt

353 N SHORE DR
PITTSBURGH, PA 15212

 Northshore RiverPros: Women servers almost unclothed (see above); close to Heinz

Cons: Small side area to overflow into – but it is covered in case of rain.

Tilted Kilt Bar

Tilted Kilt Bar

Bettis Bar and Grill

393 N SHORE DR
PITTSBURGH, PA 15212
(412) 224-6287

Pros: Has a big outdoor area that we can all meet in if the main bar is too crowded; short walk to Heinz.

Cons; Gets very crowded

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The Peripherals

Filed under: Athletic Department,Football,Honors — Chas @ 7:00 am

Great. Now all my gear is retro/throwback and my throwbacks are now modern. So, the script is officially going to come back for all Pitt athletics.

The goal is to have a roll-out for new apparel this spring, and have all of Pitt’s athletic teams in new script uniforms for the 2016-17 school year. The school’s colors will remain navy blue and gold.

“When that Pitt script is showing, we want people all over the country to understand that’s the University of Pittsburgh,” Barnes said.

Barnes admitted that this rebranding process was a bit different than the one he undertook as athletic director at Utah State in 2012, which was a 15-month effort that involved countless meetings and focus groups. Because the script logo was added back to the helmets last season, Barnes had to work a bit quicker and more anecdotally here, but he thought the answer was pretty obvious.

“That brand is a no-brainer, I would say, to our alumni base and our constituent base,” Barnes said. “It didn’t take long at all because I heard it every day in emails and on Twitter.”

Former athletic director Steve Pederson returned the beloved Pitt script logo to the football team’s helmets in October, but the roll-out was hurried and poorly executed.

The script logo was on the helmets, but the rest of the signage, apparel and media had the old arching block “Pitt,” the athletic department’s primary logo since 2005. The plan at the time was to keep the script logo for football, but maintain the block logo for all other sports.

“If you could ever be half-pregnant, we were,” Barnes said.

As if Barnes couldn’t endear himself to the Pitt fans early, an extra shot at former AD Peterson to boot.

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August 31, 2015

PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Narduzzi YSU Preview

Opening Statement:

“It’s game week finally. It feels like it, I can tell you that. Had to go out and see Rob [Blanc, Pitt’s athletic trainer] yesterday and get some Tums. That’s normal game week for a football coach, get Tums to make yourself feel good. We obviously have a great team coming to Pittsburgh to play us, Youngstown State. We have a lot of history with them, as you guys know. Not only a great football team, but a great coach in Bo Pelini who’s been around and coached great football teams, been to the last eight bowl games with nine-win seasons for a bunch. He’s probably one of the top coaches in the country with a great staff. From the top down, just like us with Chancellor Gallagher. A great football team, with great talent.

“When you look at it, you’re going to have some Division One transfers [at YSU], some pop-ups, some guys on the rosters that we didn’t have on the two-deep, some [Power Five] transfers. You’re going to play a good football team that’s going to be amped up, ready to go without question. You get twelve [game] opportunities. They don’t give those back. We have to be prepared—great on offense, great on defense. We need to be special on special teams to come out with a victory.

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Here is the shortened version of the official Pitt vs Youngstown State University game that will be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Saturday, September 5th.  The game begins at 1:00 pm.

Here is the full .pdf of the same game notes put out by the Pitt Athletic Media  Department.  There is a ton of info here and it has been helpful to me to have a copy by my side as I watch/listen to the games.

GAME STORYLINES

PITT OPENS ITS 126TH SEASON OF INTERCOLLEGIATE FOOTBALL—AND THE PAT NARDUZZI COACHING ERA—WHEN THE PANTHERS HOST YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT HEINZ FIELD.

NARDUZZI MAKES HIS PITT DEBUT FOLLOWING AN ACCOMPLISHED EIGHT-YEAR TENURE AT MICHIGAN STATE (2007-14) AS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR. UNDER HIS DIRECTION, THE SPARTANS WERE THE ONLY TEAM TO RANK IN THE NATION’S TOP 10 IN TOTAL DEFENSE AND RUSHING DEFENSE EACH SEASON FROM 2011-14.

NARDUZZI HAS DEEP TIES TO YOUNGSTOWN AND YSU. HIS FATHER, THE LATE BILL NARDUZZI, WAS THE PENGUINS’ HEAD COACH FROM 1975-85, LEADING THEM TO TWO NCAA DIVISION II PLAYOFF APPEARANCES, INCLUDING THE 1979 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.

PAT NARDUZZI WAS A STARTING LINEBACKER FOR HIS FATHER IN 1985, LEADING THE OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE (OVC) IN TACKLES AS A FRESHMAN AT YSU.

YSU WILL ALSO HAVE A NEW HEAD COACH ON ITS SIDELINE IN BO PELINI, WHO SPENT THE PAST SEVEN SEASONS LEADING NEBRASKA. LIKE NARDUZZI, PELINI IS ALSO A YOUNGSTOWN NATIVE.

NARDUZZI (URSULINE) AND PELINI (CARDINAL MOONEY) STARRED AT RIVAL YOUNGSTOWN HIGH SCHOOLS. IN THEIR LAST MEETING AGAINST EACH OTHER, URSULINE ROUTED MOONEY, 35-0, IN A GAME THAT DECIDED THE 1984 STEEL VALLEY CONFERENCE TITLE.

PITT’S ADDITIONAL YOUNGSTOWN TIES INCLUDE DEFENSIVE LINE COACH TOM SIMS, WHO COACHED AT YSU FROM 2010-14.

GRADUATE ASSISTANT PHIL DECAPITO, A FORMER PENGUINS G.A. FROM 2012-14; AND FRESHMAN TAILBACK DARRIN HALL, WHO STARRED AT NEARBY AUSTINTOWN FITCH HIGH SCHOOL.

THIS WILL BE THE FOURTH ALL-TIME MEETING BETWEEN PITT AND YSU. THE PANTHERS WILL LOOK TO AVENGE A 2012 SEASON-OPENING LOSS (31-17) TO THE PENGUINS.

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Coleman Brings the Class to Ten

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 6:20 am

Sorry, despite being a Sunday night I was out for offline activities and couldn’t do this last night.

I won’t lie. That Therran Coleman had West Virginia, Wisconsin and Arizona State among his final five choices makes his decision to come to Pitt just a little more sweeter to me.

Coleman made the announcement on local Pittsburgh TV. Not too much drama to it.

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August 30, 2015

Pre-Official Two-Deep

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Opponent(s),Players — Reed @ 5:02 pm

Coach Narduzzi is going to post the official Youngstown State game two-deep roster tomorrow.  Here is what I guess, from reading other media reports, who we’ll see listed going into Saturday’s game

OFFENSE

Quarterback – Chad Voytik, Nate Peterman

Running back – James Conner, Chris James

Tight end – JP Holtz, Scott Orndoff, 

Wide receiver – Dontez Ford, Quadree Henderson (Slot Receiver)

Wide Receiver – Elijah Zeise, Zach Challingsworth

Left tackle – Adam Bisnowaty, Aaron Reese

Left guard – Dorian Johnson, John Guy

Center – Alex Officer, Gabe Roberts

Right guard – Alex Bookser, Alex Officer,

Right tackle – Brian O’Neill, ??

I’m a self-professed idiot when it comes to the OL but Rowell hasn’t practiced at all as far as I can tell so he may not go against YSU. His replacement, Alex Officer, sliding over to Center will create a starting role for newly baptized ex-TE OL rsFR Brian O’Neill.  Great! Someone who has never played on the OL in his entire football career starting in this Saturday’s game.

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August 28, 2015

This is a very long one folks; enjoy it for your weekend reading pleasure.

As we all know that in any Pitt pre-season there is nothing even remotely negative written about the team, players and the coaching staff by the local media, especially with a brand new head coach such as we now have. The only straight opinions you’ll get will be from some local bloggers and maybe a recruiting website that follows the Panthers. Keep that in mind while you read this article please and realize there is certainly some good about this team to go along with the not-so good…  like the ‘good news’ media has been feeding us all preseason.

We all have thoughts about what’s positive with Pitt in 2015; here are my thoughts about what I see and feel. Earlier in the pre-season we mentioned that we would hold off on a season W/L projection until fall camp had ended.  Now is that time and here’s mine.

We are a week until the start of the 2015 season and the real beginning of year one of ‘The Narduzzi Experiment’.  We’ve been getting camp reports, scrimmage stats, leaks about this and news about that and we have all been doing what fans always do at this point. We are wondering just how good or how bad the team in going to be this year.

Every season is a blank slate to start anew, especially with a shiny new Head Coach and his eager staff coaches. Those new additions add another layer of mystery and excitement for us when looking at what will happen over the next 12 weeks.  What it does also is add a new layer of concern, and to some fans, worry because of the unknowns with the staff.

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August 27, 2015

Fall Camp – Practice #17

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 11:01 am

(Read Chas’ piece posted this morning before this one please)

It has come at last, today is the final day of the 2015 Fall Training Camp.  We’ll have one final press release regarding the practice and then we’ll get some interviews like always.  After that “Cry Havoc and let loose the dogs of speculation

What have we learned?  I have an in-depth article in draft that will address that question.  But for now here is the latest from Pitt on Wednesday’s work the team put in (after the videos and Kickoff info).

As Chas mentioned in his latest piece, last night was the annual PITT Fan Fest held at Heinz Field.  Here are the players and Pitt families with their kids interacting on a nice Pittsburgh almost-football weather evening.

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Mostly Unrelated Items

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:08 am

I don’t know how I had myself convinced that college football began this evening, but I did. Way too much wishful thinking. I am very sad. No, wait. I blame it on some medication mixed with alcohol. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Justin asked a very good question regarding negative recruiting.

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August 26, 2015

Fan Fest was last night, which signals the end of training camp. Practices now, are ostensibly about getting ready for the first opponent. While most of college football begins this weekend. Pitt has an extra week.

In a way this is good. As eager as I am for Pitt’s season to start. To make the trips to Pittsburgh and see my friends. It is the end of summer, and this extra weekend allowed me to avoid major screw-ups because I forgot when Pitt’s season begins and scheduled other things. For example, I don’t have to disappoint my daughter by cancelling at the last minute on a nighttime 5K we are doing this Saturday (only downside is watching college football all day without drinking).

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August 24, 2015

Pitt had its final scrimmage of camp Saturday and Rivals.com compiled the stats for that matchup between our Offense and Defense.  This is from a free article on their website and I thank them.  I also would like to remind all Pitt fans that Rivals.com does a superb job of following the team and the program, especially on its subscription service.  So, I give them credit and thanks for this type of detailed info.

No great surprises during the play really, it was a practice scrimmage with the ‘star’ players held out for the most part.  This last week of camp is for winnowing down the players until a two-deep lineup presents itself.  I think Narduzzi will announce that later this week.  Here are the stats from Saturday:

RUSHING

Qadree Ollison – 21 carries, 58 yards
George Aston – 6 carries, 19 yards
Stephen Ezekoye – 4 carries, 7 yards
Rachid Ibrahim – 1 carry, 0 yards
Nate Peterman – 3 carries, 7 yards
Chad Voytik – 2 carries, 6 yards
Darrin Hall – 1 carry, 3 yards

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