October 8, 2015

Hoo’s Your Enemy

Filed under: ACC,Football,Narduzzi,Opponent(s) — Justin @ 10:12 am

This column will be shorter than usual as I’ve been under the weather all week. I’m also quite busy at work so that’s eating up a lot of my weakened energy. So, please forgive more typos and errors than usual. Long story short, Pitt is a better team than Virginia at almost every facet. Chaney’s offense is still a work in progress without James Conner, but I’m willing to give him a mulligan on last week. This week, however, the offense needs to produce and get things going as this defense is not good enough to win on its own against the likes of Georgia Tech and UNC like it did against VT.

The Cavaliers opened up the season with back to back games against highly ranked out of conference opponents (UCLA and Notre Dame). The Notre Dame game was a respectable loss, with the Fighting Irish needing last second heroics to pull off the win but UCLA was never really a contest. Since then, they struggled to beat FCS foe William & Mary and got whooped by Boise State. I respect UVA for the tough out of conference schedule, but in order to build the program you need actual wins, not moral victories. (more…)

October 6, 2015

Oct. 5, 2015

PITT vs. VIRGINIA Game Notes

October 10, 2015 • 12:30 p.m., ET

Heinz Field (68,400/Natural Grass) • Pittsburgh, Pa.
ACC Network • Pitt IMG Sports Radio Network • @GoPittFootball • #UVAvsPITT
LINK: Where to Watch Pitt-UVA

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (UVA)

*  Pitt looks to build on its 3-1 start when it hosts ACC Coastal Division foe Virginia this Saturday. The Panthers are back at Heinz Field following three consecutive away games. Pitt completed its road swing with a 17-13 victory over Virginia Tech in its ACC opener.

*  The Cavaliers visit Heinz Field with a 1-3 mark. However, their three losses are to teams with a combined 12-3 record (UCLA, Notre Dame and Boise State). Virginia defeated Pitt last year, 24-19.


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 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

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.


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 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.


September 19, 2015

Here is the official game thread for the game tonight. The predictions are in the record book and we start in about one hour.

There are a lot of things to look for but for me two things are key; how do the QBs play and can our CBs stay in man one-on-one coverage against a better passing attack and hold their own?

Let’s hear your thoughts….

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (Iowa)


  • Pitt continues non-conference play this week when it travels to face Big Ten foe Iowa at Kinnick Stadium. The Panthers and Hawkeyes are both 2-0 and looking to continue their early season momentum. Pitt is coming off a 24-7 victory at Akron, while Iowa defeated rival Iowa State, 31-17.
  • Close calls and fourth-quarter drama have ruled recent Pitt-Iowa series history. In the past three meetings, the average margin of victory has been three points. The Hawkeyes rallied from double-digit deficits to win each of the past two games, 31-27 in 2011 and 24-20 in 2014. The Panthers won in 2008, 21-20.
  • The Panthers are seeking a 3-0 start for the second consecutive year and fourth time since 2000. Pitt previously opened a season with three victories in 2000, 2009 and 2014. Those quick starts ultimately resulted in bowl invitations in each of those years.
  • Although only two games into the season, Pitt’s play on defense has been very encouraging. The Panthers boast national top 25 rankings in quarterback sacks (fourth, 4.50 sacks/game), third-down defense (10th, 19%), total defense (20th, 258.5 yds./game) and rush defense (22nd, 88.0 yards/game).
  • The Panthers have nine sacks in two games. Last year Pitt had only 19 sacks in 13 games.
  • With All-America tailback James Conner out for the year due to injury, Pitt is relying on a youthful backfield to carry the running game.
  • Redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison and true frosh Darrin Hall combined for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries in the Akron victory. A week prior, Ollison rushed for 207 yards in just two quarters of play against Youngstown State.



September 18, 2015

I’m sorry to be so late with this piece.

Here is where your log your official Pitt vs Iowa game predictions… winner, score and if you feel like it why.

Here’s mine….

I think this is the game Peterman cements the starting role going into the ACC season. He throws for two TD and our run game kicks in for two more.

Pitt 27 – Iowa 24

Have relatives in town and off to DC for touristy stuff, will check in later.


September 17, 2015

Know Your Enemy: Hawkeyes

Filed under: Football,Narduzzi,Opponent(s) — Justin @ 4:17 am

To quote Pat Narduzzi: the preseason is over. With wins over YSU and Akron, Pitt overcame some of the demons of the Chryst era with one last hurdle: beating Iowa. To be more specific, don’t blow a fourth quarter lead against Iowa, something both Paul Chryst and Fraud Graham did. Unfortunately, Iowa is already well-versed in the art of a fourth quarter comeback as the Hawkeyes broke a 17-17 tie late in the fourth quarter against Iowa State last week.

Let’s breakdown the Hawkeyes to see if they have another fourth quarter comeback in them. (more…)

September 16, 2015

(This is a long look at the current QB situation so far this season)

Pitt is in the midst of something we haven’t had in a very long time and that is a genuine quarterback competition being played out in real time and for the world to see.  We have been told there were competitions in the past but those were lip service to the media. This season however we are being treated to something this new staff feels is of uppermost priority, finding the QB which is the best overall for the team.  Here is background on the issue and some Q & As that may help to enlighten our fans as to what is and has been transpiring in this interesting development.

How did Pitt get the two principal QBs, Chad Voytik and Nate Peterman, on the roster?

For that we have to go back to 2011 when both Voytik and Peterman were in their senior years in high school.  Both players were star high school QBs and one left his hometown state of Tennessee to go to Pitt and the other kid left Florida to go to play his college ball in Tennessee.

In high school Chad Voytik was a 6’0” 192 lb running QB and played for the Cleveland Blue Raiders, located in Cleveland, TN, a small town of 42,000 located 30 miles northeast of Chattanooga and in the western foothill of the southern Great Smokey Mountains.

Voytik had a very good career there being named both an All-State player and a high school All-American.  He was a dual threat QB at Cleveland, passing for over 5,000 yards in his three years starting and was also a prolific runner.

Voytik was a four star (4*) player who was also ranked 4th nationally among senior QBs and the #1 player at any position in TN. Twelve other D1 schools wanted Voytik as a recruit including PSU, Clemson, Virginia, Syracuse and Louisville.  Those are all good football schools and play in competitive Power Five conferences.


September 15, 2015

September 14, 2015

Iowa Week

 PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Narduzzi Iowa Preview


Opening Remarks:

“We had a great win. Anytime you get a win, it’s a great one. It’s always good to win on the road. Akron was a good football team and I thought they were exceptional on the front seven—and that turned out to be true. There was some nasty weather, it was sloppy. Our kids had a great attitude they were [positive] going into it and played with it.

“I really thought our kids were locked in on the trip. It was a great job by both teams holding onto the ball, but we ended up being plus-one there which we needed. We always have to win the turnover ratio and we won the time possession as well. We had four drives of eight plays or more for our offense. Eight being the lowest, I believe we had a couple 10 or 13-play drives and that’s huge. That’s how you win the time possession and that’s what we lacked the week before. We kept making these explosive gains but we didn’t have that time possession. We would like to have both.

Here is the Akron game Play-by-Play so you can see those drives he’s talking about.


September 14, 2015


September 19, 2015 • 8 p.m., ET

Kinnick Stadium (70,585/FieldTurf) • Iowa City, Iowa

Big Ten Network • Pitt IMG Sports Radio Network • @GoPittFootball • #PITTvsIOWA

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (Iowa) – Fans, these are the in-depth game notes (Pitt two-deep, bios, etc…) and if you are watching the game they are a great thing to have in your hand for quick reference.  Here are some notable things going into the game. Note the shake up in the starters listed (CAPS is the 1st string):

Quarterback:  4 NATE PETERMAN JR*, 6’2”, 225 or 16 CHAD VOYTIK (JR*, 6-1, 215)

Tailback:  37 QADREE OLLISON FR*, 6’2”, 230; 5 Chris James (SO, 5-11, 210) or 22 Darrin Hall (FR, 5-11, 215)

Right Tackle:  70 BRIAN O’NEILL (FR*, 6-6, 290) OR 78 ALEX BOOKSER (FR*, 6-6, 310);  72 Carson Baker (SO*, 6-5, 325)

Strong Safety:  9 JORDAN WHITEHEAD FR, 5’11, 185 OR 25 PAT AMARA JR. SO, 6’2”;  195 26 Jevonte Pitts (JR*, 5-11, 200)

Defensive End: 92 RORI BLAIR SO, 6’4”, 240;  52 Shakir Soto (JR, 6-3, 265);  48 Zach Poker (SO*, 6-4, 235)


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