“It’s good that you (reporters) don’t know,” Narduzzi said when asked if there was any separation in the quarterback competition. “It means we have no leaks in the office.”
No leaks and no fake news about the play of those vying to replace Nathan Peterman: redshirt sophomore Ben DiNucci, redshirt freshman Thomas MacVittie, freshman early enrollee Kenny Pickett and senior graduate transfer Max Browne.
“We have four very functional quarterbacks,” Narduzzi said.
While Head Coach Pat Narduzzi isn’t going to tip his hand, his offensive coordinator at least hints at the top-two.
The first two years for Pitt under Head Coach Pat Narduzzi, have been mostly positive. The defensive-minded coach, though, has had to rely on the offense to be the side doing the heavy lifting.
The lack of depth and overall talent on the defense has been glaring — especially with the type of defense Narduzzi utilizes. Bringing pressure constantly without going all-out blitz. It relies on overall speed, depth to bring fresh bodies, and individual talents. All things missing from the defense.
Perfect time to start catching up on spring practices from the weekend and yesterday. Let’s look at a couple of the things regarding the O-line and running backs.
I have to admit. It still feels odd to be positive about the offensive line. It has been ingrained in me for the past 15 + years to worry about the holes. Changes. Depth. Yet, this is the second straight year where the O-line has me feeling good about things.
Atlanta, GA – December 8, 2016 – College Football Hall of Fame: Portrait of College Football Awards winner of the Disney Spirit Award, James Conner of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)
The news hit me twice in about thirty seconds. When James Conner announced to the world a little over a year ago that he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I had the unfortunate pleasure of learning twice. Pitt put up a feed online for fans to watch but there was a lag. So while I scrolled on twitter waiting for the press conference to begin, I saw it.
“James Conner announces he has been diagnosed with cancer.”
He earned his latest award by compiling a career-high 257 all-purpose yards against the Orange, averaging an incredible 21.4 yards per touch.
Henderson averaged 18.7 yards on three punt returns (56 yards), 24.5 on four kickoffs (98 yards) and an incredible 20.6 on five rushes (103 yards). He had a 66-yard touchdown burst off a jet sweep to give Pitt a 49-21 lead in the third quarter.
Henderson’s (Wilmington, Del./Alexis I. du Pont) performance helped the Panthers achieve their highest single-game point total since 1977. His five Specialist of the Week awards are the most by an ACC player this season. He was previously honored for his performances in the Penn State, Virginia, Miami and Duke contests.
A highly viable All-America candidate, Henderson has four returns for touchdowns this season, including a nation-leading three on kickoffs. He ranks second in the country in combined kick return yards (1,121), fifth in kickoff return average (31.1) and 11th in all-purpose yards per game (159.75).
I’m assuming the ACC has a Specialist of the Year honor, which Henderson is a shoe-in to get. Along with 1st Team All-ACC recognition.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope you are enjoying it with friends, family and those who make you happy. I have been doing little things in preparation for the full-blown day of cooking (and maybe a bit to drink). The way things work out this time of year, we can’t travel to be with the entire family, so it is just the wife and kids. Which is much more peaceful, but we do miss out on the fun (usually) chaos of a house full of family.
There’s a game on Saturday, and I’m taking my son to it. He went with me to the spring game and had a great time. It just hasn’t worked out most of the season, but I promised him his first game this year so it is do or die time. On that note, does anyone have a couple extra tickets they aren’t using? Dragging him to the pressbox doesn’t seem like a good idea. I don’t think I can sell him as my intern. That means I have to pick a couple up. I know it won’t be hard to get a couple, but I might as well ask here first.
The line on this game started at Pit -23.5. It has since risen to -24.5. I wonder how much of it is confidence in Pitt versus a lack of confidence in Syracuse.
Normally the Syracuse-Pitt “rivalry” game is a time for us to make fun of the ACC for declaring this the rivalry game. Point out how neither side really views the other with deep hate in football. That the series tends to shift one-sidedly for quite a while — and right now it is on Pitt’s side.
That’s still all true. But, at least the ACC went and moved it to the end of the season when there is a chance the game could means something in terms of wins and losses.
Focus of today. Primarily some pieces on tackles and the secondary.
Stories today looked at the position changes for Brian O’Neill and Shakir Soto. In no small part owing to their game against Georgia Tech. Both have been thriving all season, but they really shined this past weekend.
Basketball Head Coach Kevin Stallings is a disciple of UNC Coach Roy Williams. So it is no surprise that Stallings wants his teams to be playing at a faster pace. That has long been a hallmark of Williams’ teams at Kansas and UNC.
Less than 24 hours until I hit the road to Pittsburgh. The familiar giddiness is building. A smile creeps over my face as I think about it. I’ve missed this.
Think the Pitt coaches are hammering home to the players about what nearly happened to Tennessee against Appalachian State last night? The risk of taking a team likely, simply because they are FCS? Without any doubt.
At some point I will have to do a post on Big XII expansion, simply because it has not failed to amuse me this entire spring and summer. It is just so perfect, though, that a conference named for 12 with only 10 members would announce “6 to 8 finalists.” Yet, the list actually goes to 10, 12 or even 13.
The year was 1998. My first year as a season ticket holder. I wasn’t unrealistic. I knew it was going to be a struggle that year. 1997 was loaded with seniors and 1998. Well, 1998 was bad. We got an idea in that first game as Pitt struggled to beat Villanova 48-41. One of two wins that year and 0-7 in the Big East.
The two topics covered in the news regarding Pitt.
This has to be one of the best parts of being a head coach. Getting to reward walk-ons with scholarships. These are kids that either took a chance on themselves or needed to be at the school because of family or some deep desire for that particular school. They earned the scholarship for the work they have done since coming into the program.
PA won the annual Big 33 football game yesterday – forgive the PSU slant with the link but apparently this is the best coverage I can find… (neither of the two major PGH papers had a word on it at the time I wrote this)… even though it looks like Pitt recruits contributed also. But with three TDs (in only 67 yards) he gets the lion’s share of the publicity.
Our DB Damar Hamlin did well also. Pitt had six on the roster compared to PSU’s two.
At first, Jo-El Shaw almost balked at the opportunity to represent Pennsylvania in the annual Big 33 Football Classic. It was at the first team-wide practice in April and the Pennsylvania coaches figured Shaw would play fullback since that’s how he’s listed on the roster.
“I told them I was going to go home,” said Shaw, now a Woodland Hills High School alumnus. “I told them, ‘You can go find somebody else, because I ain’t playing fullback.’ ”
Here is a detailed and in-depth look at the Panther football program under Pat Narduzzi. It was written yesterday by Bill Connelly of SB Nation and is a wealth of historical and present (and future) info about where we have been and the direction he thinks we are going into the 2016 season.
Here is an opening salvo to get your attention:
As fans, we have plenty of funny tendencies. If you raise the stature of our program just enough to break our heart with high-stakes losses, we will resent you for it.
It’s funny (if you’re not a Pitt fan, at least) to look back to the end of the last decade.
Under Dave Wannstedt, Pitt pulled off one of its most significant upsets, in 2007 (taking down WVU in Morgantown to prevent the Mountaineers from advancing to the BCS title game), then went 9-4 and 10-3 over the next two seasons. The Panthers went 8-5 in 2010, giving them 27 wins over a three-year period for the first time since 1981-83.
And Wannstedt resigned under pressure, hated by a large portion of Pitt fans.
But I’ll disagree – unless he thinks I am the only Pitt fan whose opinion matters I don’t think Pitt fans hated Wannstedt at all. It was more like they were so disappointed with all the crap that went on back in 2010 and his inability to outright win a BCS bowl bid in his six years as head coach that any sort of a change was a relief.
But let’s not put binders on as this writer has – there were a hell of a lot of Pitt fans that didn’t want to see DW go at all.
Aside from that this is a fantastic read. It is a breath of fresh air to read someone state the true comparisons between Chryst’s time at Pitt and Pat Narduzzi’s first year. We fans are infused with a lot of Narduzzi’s energy and exuberance so we look at last season with an overly positive view.