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May 23, 2016

Conner Completes Crushing Cancer

Filed under: Football,Injury,Players — Chas @ 5:31 pm

Treatments finished. Cancer, beaten.

Statement from Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi.

“Over the past six months, James Conner fought cancer the same way he plays football: relentlessly and without surrender. He has inspired and touched so many people in how he has handled this challenge. James is an incredibly special person, and I’m not even thinking about his football ability when I say that. Everyone at Pitt feels blessed to know him and we are tremendously thankful for the wonderful news he received today.”

Don’t care how crappy work was. It is a good day.

After you have watched that take a look at this slideshow Pitt put out – you get to see the details of the uniforms up close and personal.

We have been talking a lot on here lately about Pitt’s history when it comes to our football programs and our past teams.  We have certainly climbed to the top of the heap with our 1976 championship, but we also have walked in the Death Valleys of college football.  Nothing every seems to come easy for Pitt when it comes to our football program.

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May 21, 2016

Here is the Peak’s PantherLair podcast on the Trib’s website – he talks about the uniform roll-out and other things.  But specifically about what a ringing success the whole day was for Pitt athletics – from social media to returning players to the event itself in the evening.  He also talks about how the Pirates don’t give a crap about Pitt at all… as we read in Chas’ piece earlier.

He also addresses the current facilities improvements and what was done by previous FB HCs.  I like the fact that this administration is dedicated to long range upgrades and it’s starting to come to fruition.

(By the way – remember what Peak says here about Narduzzi’s using comparisons to other football programs when asking fans and boosters for $$$ to renovate the facility’s meeting rooms, weight rooms, etc… Pitt football does not exist in a vacuum and we have to play catch up to keep up with programs that have forged ahead of where we are now when you read the last part of this article.)

Chris Logue of Pitt Nation Sports always has interesting articles and is a damn good wordsmith. Here he writes about the QBs, or not, of the future for Pitt.

“Despite the success from a Pittsburgh standout and the myriad of congratulations the star (Phil Jurkovec) received after his commitment, it seemed like a dumpster-fire moment on Twitter from “Pitt-faithful.” Oddly enough, mostly aimed at Pat Narduzzi’s immediate “inability to recruit” after an incredible wrap to his 2016 class and the praises that sealed that envelope. Phil Jurkovec

The story that remains in the middle of the announcement, for myself at least, is everyone seems to have forgotten about Thomas MacVittie, a prized steal for Narduzzi last season.

To state that MacVittie did not produce the same attention through his senior season as Jurkovec had through just his sophomore season is excruciatingly obvious. But, the two may be more similar on the field than you may think.

Its a good read and should bring some of us back from the brink.

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May 19, 2016

Since we all don’t agree here on The Blather and we do throw down point/counter point often, I’ll chime in on this timely football uniform change subject.  Chas likes it, Justine likes it, but…

Color me unimpressed.

I don’t actually hate what I saw.  I mean I’m not literally gagging each time I look at the football uniforms – but I’m shaking my head and drinking heavily over what I see as a lack of courage on Pitt’s part to create for us an attractive, whole and strong identity.  I’m very disappointed at the bumbling Pitt did with the football uniforms more than anything else.  More on that…

Last night Pitt put on a visually and aurally dramatic “unveiling” show to introduce the Pitt athletic department’s new logos and uniforms. I am led to understand that it was a well received show and everyone seemed to have a good time.  I didn’t drive up for it so I don’t really know, but from the video below it looks well staged I suppose.

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May 18, 2016

The new uniform roll-out is in about four hours from now and I’d like to give you guys a reference point on what our old uniforms have looked like.  Reviewing these iterations of the changes and what we have seen over the past 40 years is it any wonder that Pitt has no “brand” whatsoever.

We have to do this the right way, hopefully tonight,and stick with it even if it means getting less money from the apparel companies.

Before we go any father here is another great article from the Pitt News about the return of the script.

(Sorry, I couldn’t bring myself to post the ‘white on white’ uniforms.  They make me a bit sick to my stomach when I see them.)

PRESENT

2013 Pittsburgh Panthers football uniform

2010 Nike Pro Combat Unis

2010 Pittsburgh Panthers football uniform

2009-2012 White on Blue Uniform

2009 - 2012 Pittsburgh Panthers football uniform

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Tonight is the night of the new uniforms for the Pitt sports teams. Yeah us!! We’ll see the old script back at the team identifier…

“A rebranding process that effectively started 19 months ago finally will reach its conclusion tonight, as Pitt formally unveils its “new” script logo, as well as updated uniforms for its 19 varsity sports.

The return of the beloved script logo, which served as the school’s primary athletic mark from 1973-1996, will be celebrated with a public fashion show at 6:30 p.m. today in the Petersen Events Center lobby. On Tuesday, ahead of the unveiling, the university announced the renaming of its Twitter and Instagram accounts.

“We are excited to make the full transition back to the script logo,” athletic director Scott Barnes said in a statement. “Not only will this move help unify our branding efforts, it also gives us an opportunity to celebrate the amazing history of Pitt Athletics. Wednesday’s event will give Panther fans an opportunity to see some impressive Pitt apparel as well as some of the other exciting improvements we currently have underway.”

This in itself isn’t isn’t really big news – Pitt started doing this willy-nilly back in 2014.  It took two years to get Nike onboard with all the teams’ gear.  Again, the colors will not change but the graphic design of the uniforms will. The public roll-out will be done formally this evening, along with a silent auction of memorabilia and will, I’m sure, make the Internets right away.

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May 11, 2016

Not to make a shabby pun but the issue of concussions in football has reared its ugly head again.

There was an initial and prompt backlash toward Pat Narduzzi for what seemed to be a cavalier attitude towards the enormous problem of the effects of concussions on football players.

However, there was also the correct rollback by the media once the actual quotes, and Narduzzi’s intent, became clear.  There are a lot of media pieces about this but I think Craig Meyer (Werner’s sub) in his P-G Red Shirt Diaries lays it out the best.  Maybe that is because he was the reporter who asked Narduzzi the actual questions about the meeting’s discussions about the subject:

From Meyer: “I followed up by asking what the concussion discussion centered around and what kind of things they talked about. Were they talking about how to handle concussed players? Or how to possibly spot and diagnose whether a player has one?

Narduzzi’s response at that question was at first worrisome – mostly because readers and the pundits didn’t take the time to really cipher what he actual said.  Here is the quote:

“Hopefully coaches aren’t doing that. We’ve got a major problem in college football if coaches are diagnosing. There was a neurosurgeon who came in and explained some of the data and how they need to get more data so they can make decisions. I think when you look at all the results and all the talk, I think it’s media hyped. They’re talking about how they need to get more data and feedback on really what it is that’s causing these injuries.”

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May 9, 2016

(When I say lighter I mean from the last FB article)

Here is Chris Peak’s latest podcast from the Trib-Review that he recorded last night and posted today.  There is always something interesting in these podcasts and I find myself constantly rewinding to make sure I get exactly what he’s saying.

Here he (tries to) list his Top five players on the Pitt roster going into the fall camp.  He mentions how some players work out right away; SO S Jordan Whitehead for example, and some others take a year or two to develop.

Surprisingly he mentions 3* recruit WR Aaron Matthews as someone who was overlooked by fan’s expectations of who will make an early impact this season as a true FR… then says Matthews may not play this year (??).  That reference is in context to  WR Juwann Winfree bagging out at the last moment. Remember the Winfree of the  suspension at Maryland, then over to CC, then pledged to Pitt, then off to Colorado?

Here’s a past article to jog your memory on that Matthews/Winfree subject.

But Peak feels that true FR WRs Flowers and Ffrench (sounds like good ’cause and effect’ on a date, eh?) are more likely to see playing time this season than any other FR WRs. He also mentions (now) SO WRs Quadree Henderson and Tre Tipton getting some PT early on last season and, in Henderson’s case at least, doing pretty well through the year.  Even though Henderson contributed mostly on Special Teams he showed the speed and talent which could push him up the depth chart at WR.

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May 7, 2016

Listen In…

Filed under: Football,Players,Recruiting — Reed @ 7:53 am

Well, if Dan Marino demands it then it should happen.  He wants the Pitt-PSU series to resume (from the Trib):

“Why wouldn’t Penn State want to play us?” Marino said Wednesday. “To me, it would make sense.”

Pitt and Penn State will renew their storied rivalry over the next four seasons, starting Sept. 10 at Heinz Field. Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes said last year that Penn State officials have shown no willingness to extend the series beyond 2019. The teams haven’t met since 2000.

But Marino knows a way to put the series in serious jeopardy.

“We just have to beat them the next four years, and they definitely won’t renew it,” Marino said.

OK then.

Here are two podcasts by Chris Peak of Rivals.

The first which was recorded on May 5th is about Twitter and Tweets and how they can bite people in the ass.

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May 6, 2016

Sorry to have to do this on a Friday morning when you are looking forward to the weekend but it never ends with these guys, does it?

Like the non-believers in the OJ Simpson case and Holocaust deniers,  the only people who believe in Paterno’s innocence is a constricting circle whose members may be less in number every year but become more crazy at every issuance of more damning evidence. Sadly today that might not be the most troubling news out of Happy Valley.

The Penn Live newspaper’s website has a ‘bombshell’ (!!) story on the fact that newly released court papers show that Joe Paterno was told, by a young boy in a face to face conversation, that the boy had been abused by Jerry Sandusky…  back in 1976.  This came to light of day because of an ongoing court battle between the insurance company that covered PSU’s liability issues (We ain’t paying you jack shit!”) and PSU.

“The civil case is, initially filed in November 2013, is still grinding toward trial in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas.

And in preliminary work on that case, Judge Gary Glazer this week filed a ruling that attempted to clear the decks of some of the issues that could be resolved based on the pleadings to date.

What was unexpected Thursday, was Glazer’s reference to four cases between 1976 and 1988 in which PMA Insurance attorneys have presented allegations that “PSU agents allegedly learned of Sandusky’s abusive acts.”

One of the PMA allegations was that “in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Football Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky.”

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May 3, 2016

Basketball Notes, 5/3

Filed under: Basketball,Players,Prognostications — Chas @ 7:45 am

It’s the time for recruiting. Coach Kevin Stallings have put out plenty of offers. For transfers, grad transfers, still deciding kids in the 2016 class, and especially kids for the 2017 recruiting class.  Big men, guards, shooters, forwards. They have been all over the place. Nothing close to concrete. Makes it kind of difficult to get a handle on what they are looking for — other than players. Now it just comes down to landing some.

On media related news, Paul Zeise is leaving the Pitt basketball beat for the Post-Gazette. He’s been moved up to sports columnist/opinionator. Zeise was a very good beat writer first for Pitt football and then basketball. He’s been grinding for years on that side and has raised his profile on the general sports side for the last few years via radio work. It’s a well-earned promotion.

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April 30, 2016

Boyd is a Bengal – 2nd round

Filed under: Football,Players — Reed @ 6:56 am

This is what most Blather readers figured, some even picked the Bengals specifically.  He was the 55th player drafted and went just about where he should of.

Here is the Trib’s take on this:

“I felt like I should have been (drafted) earlier, but it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Just take advantage of the opportunity.”

Boyd said he is eager to join Bengals star receiver A.J Green.   “We can definitely be the top duo in the country,” he said.

Going to play for one of the Steelers’ AFC North rivals didn’t bother him. He said his supporters, many of whom spent Thursday and Friday night with him at the Omni, won’t desert him.

“At the end of the day, they are going to be on my side because they love me and care about me,” he said. “Everyone here who came to celebrate can come up there and watch me continue my legacy.”

Here is a bit of a blast from the past – a podcast by Kevin Gorman (who used to cover Pitt football along with Jerry DiPaola) of the Trib – he talks a bit about the draft.

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April 29, 2016

Well, last night went about the way it was expected to for Tyler Boyd:

Tyler Boyd wasn’t selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, but he went to sleep Thursday comfortable and confident his NFL career will get started Friday.

Boyd was joined by family, friends and teammates in a crowded suite at the Omni William Penn, Downtown. Among those seated with him while he watched the draft was former Clairton coach Tom Nola, ex-Pitt teammates Terrish Webb and Titus Howard, and Pitt running back James Conner.

When Boyd’s name wasn’t called among the 31 picks in the first round, he took the disappointment with a quiet shrug.

“It doesn’t matter what team picks me or what round I go,” he said. “I just know I’m going to take full advantage of the opportunity. I just want the opportunity to see my name come across that screen.

“I’m just trying to stay as calm as possible. I have anxiety in me, believe it or not. If not today, I’m going to do the same thing (Friday).”

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April 27, 2016

Let’s hope we see a scene similar to this tomorrow night with Tyler Boyd being the subject:

The Post-Gazette’s Sam Werner weighs in with an article asking if Boyd could be the only Pitt player drafted this year.  Here is the depressing part:

Beyond Boyd, tight end J.P. Holtz and cornerback Lafayette Pitts figure to be the next most likely candidates to hear their names called this weekend, though it’s likely one or both will have to wait to try to catch on with a team as an undrafted free agent.

Holtz played in all 52 games over his four-year career, starting 48. He said NFL teams have approached him about possibly switching to fullback and he has no objections.

“I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to make a team,” he said after pro day.

Pitts also didn’t miss a game the past four years and started 51. According to Brandt, he clocked in at 4.44 seconds at Pitt’s pro day and should have plenty of offers from teams after this weekend if he isn’t selected.

If Boyd is the only Panthers player chosen, it would mark the second consecutive year Pitt had just one player chosen. Offensive lineman T.J. Clemmings was the only one to go a year ago. Pitt had three players chosen in 2014, which broke a three-year streak of having no draftees.

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April 25, 2016

Well, to start off… due to popular demand we have started a “The Pitt Blather” Facebook page.  Here is the link for that.  I did it on a whim. Actually that isn’t true, I did it because we had talked bout it six months ago and I figured “How hard can it be?”

Honestly, you won’t see any more content on there than you do on here.  I set it up sp that it is more of an advertisement for new readers so the can become commenters and we can then cut some of the commenters on here that are pissing us writers off.  You know who you are and start packing up your laptop and get ready to move on.

Just kidding I think. What I’ll do is when we have posted a piece up on here I’ll copy the link and post it for the Facebook readers to use to come over here to read it.

I also asked that if any readers want to comment on and discuss the offense then to please do it on the Blather site itself.

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