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July 27, 2014

Reading over the last two posts Chas wrote about the 2014 PITT football team I’ve been having a great time with the over 200 comments you guys left on them.  They show just how very ready we all are for PITT training camp to open next week and for the season to start soon afterward.  I’m just as anxious to get the ‘real life’ stuff happening and to jump in with both feet as anyone.

I’ve waited on writing another piece until the 2014 PITT Football Media Guide came out so that I at least can provide some truthful info to go with my opinions that I’ll lay out in this post, and please  remember they are my opinions unless I preface an item with “This is a no bullshit…”.  I’ll try to mix and match both though.

As to the comments on those two last articles; there are pretty detailed reasons we fans have for why we’ll probably either suck or be great – but no one seems to explain why we’ll probably be 7-6 again, or maybe 8-5 with a good bounce or two.   That’s pretty much where I am at this point of the offseason without having had my ‘boots on the ground’ as I will soon at a couple of the camp practices coming up.  Now, that projection can change either way once I see how the kids are doing during practices so nothing here is etched in stone.

Here are some of my thoughts on the offensive side of the ball going into the season.

I’m not as high on the expectation for quarterback Chad Voytik as some of us are. Yes, he did well in the bowl game and that showed me that at least he isn’t a deer in the headlights.  But beyond that I’m not convinced that he’ll match the level of play our last two QBs gave us in 2012 & 2013.  That’s right, I’m including Sunseri’s productive season of 2012 – what are you going to do about it?  That said I’m also not as panicky as some are in case Voytik gets hurt out there.

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July 17, 2014

Regardless of the ability to help Pitt, can we at least agree that the best thing in the long-term for Joseph Uchebo was coming to Pitt and getting better medical help for rehabbing his knee.

In moments like these, it’s easy to forget Uchebo is still recovering from a devastating knee injury that put his basketball career on hold for almost two years.

But then he runs up the court with a noticeable hitch in his step, a clear reminder that his battle to get back to full health is not over.

“It still hurts,” said Uchebo, a native of Nigeria. “Sometimes when I’m running I feel the pain, but not like it used to be.”

The pain was so bad in the weeks after Uchebo collided knees with an opponent while playing for Chipola Community College in Marianna, Fla., that he could barely sleep at night.

But Uchebo said he continued to play for about two more weeks on the recommendation of team doctors.

“They told me it wasn’t that bad and I was happy to hear it wasn’t that bad,” he said. “But it was that bad; they just wanted me to play.

“As time goes, the truth starts coming out. You know, I was so [angry]. Like, is my basketball career going to end just like that? I was thinking about that every day, every night.”

Uchebo had to go through two microfracture knee surgeries. As fast as players come back from ACL tears, microfracture surgery is a far different animal. It is a much slower process, and a lot more time is involved. And there is no doubt that misdagnosing it back at the community college made it that much harder now to heal.

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July 16, 2014

I’m sure you all know, but to repeat the news from this afternoon. Defensive End Ejuan Price has suffered a torn pectoral muscle and will require surgery. This will keep him out for the entire 2014 season. To say Price has had some issues with injuries is putting it kindly.

2012: Missed entire season with torn right pectoral muscle.

2013: Missed 7 out of 13 games with back problems.

2014 Will miss entire season with torn left pectoral muscle.

In a normal career, Price would be heading into his senior year. As it stands, he is looking at earning a rare 6th year for 2016. That’s about the only good news from a Pitt fan perspective. (more…)

June 25, 2014

Isn’t it great that when all else fails we revert right back to discussing the apparently seminal topic of what wins college football games.  Of course it is the recruiting season, and recruiting season means star gazing, so let’s have at it.

Back in the spring of 2012 I did a three piece series on here about how recruiting stars equated to peer production – that is how many stars did leading college producers have and what the 1st and 2nd string All-Conference (BE and ACC) players had when they entered their respective college programs.  Just for fun, and especially if you are bored, here they are in sequence… remember to read the comments also as there was some spirited discussions back then too.   They are a bit lengthy but you guys can handle it.

So here they are:   Hitch Your Wagon to a Star,   Hitch Your Wagon II and Hitch Your Star III – ACC .  I don’t have the time or inclination to do all that research again to update to the 2013 results but I have a feeling the findings might not be that much different now and probably aren’t year to year.  Why?  Because unless you are running a huge, heavily financed football program such as the perennial Top Ten finishers do then your recruiting is going to look much like those posted results we see from two years ago.

To me there are two requirements as important as recruiting to building a winning football program. First and foremost you have to have a Head Coach and his chosen staff who get the best possible production out of the players on his roster, regardless of the players’ star factor.

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April 14, 2014

It seems assistant basketball coach Barry Rohrssen has been the rumored target to replace Orlando Antigua on John Calipari’s Kentucky bench. Granted it has been a slow week-long rumble, but everyone is presuming it will happen (and thank you KSR comment kids for demonstrating that Kentucky fans have little basketball knowledge outside their own team).

For Rohrssen it is almost a no-brainer. Kentucky is a blue-blood job with huge exposure. No, John Calipari assistants haven’t had the greatest success rates, but they get opportunities. Rohrssen obviously wants another crack at being a head coach. His odds increase being on a staff like Kentucky  This may shock some, but the money may have very little to do with it.

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April 1, 2014

Good Runs

Filed under: Football,Players — Chas @ 7:03 am

A year ago the running back position was a mess. Rushel Shell had thrown his tantrum and was in the midst of deciding where he would consider transferring. Pitt only had two backs in Malcolm Crockett and Isaac Bennett.

None of the guys coming in as freshmen seemed like anything close to saviors. Heck, it really seemed the plan was for either if not both James Connor and Rachid Ibrahim were ultimately to be on the defensive side of the ball. Basically the running back position was a complete mess.

A year later it feels like there is real depth and lots of talent at the spot.

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January 16, 2014

Nothing New With “Next Man Up”

Filed under: Basketball,Players — Chas @ 8:34 am

Primary stories on Pitt basketball focus on “character” and “resilience” of the team with Durand Johnson gone for the year.

They are nice stories. Positive stories. And nothing I really disagree with them.

At the same time, this is nothing new with Pitt under Coach Jamie Dixon.

We’ve seen the team handle the loss of Mike Cook and Levance Fields in one season. They weathered early issues when Gil Brown had to sit or Jermaine Dixon.

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January 14, 2014

Ranked, Honored and the Road

Filed under: Basketball,Honors,Players,Polls — Chas @ 8:26 am

Welp, Pitt finally cracks the AP and Coaches Polls. Coming in at #22 and #21 respectively. Huzzah!

Lamar Patterson was named ACC Player of the Week for the second time this season. It oddly feels like his performance is being taken for granted. We acknowledge he is playing really well. That this team would be in big trouble if he hadn’t raised his game — which is really impressive when you think about the steady improvement he has shown in the past three seasons. Each year, getting better. Improving facets of his game and his conditioning. And the improved maturity. And versatility.

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January 12, 2014

No, Durand, No!!!

Filed under: Basketball,Injury,Players — Chas @ 4:17 pm

This sucks. This really sucks.

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January 8, 2014

Morning, everyone. The deep freeze may be coming to an end but a third day of no school for the kids further disrupts life.

Amidst the hoopla for the last BCS Championship game, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) released their Freshman All-American Team.

Tyler Boyd made the squad, so one more accolade for him and this Pitt squad.

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December 13, 2013

Congrats Donald

Filed under: Football,Honors,Players — Chas @ 8:18 am

All The Awards

Amazing.

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December 12, 2013

The Lombardi Is Donald’s

Filed under: Football,Honors,Players — Chas @ 8:37 am

Among some other things.

The Lombardi Award — for best offensive or defensive lineman — went to Aaron Donald as expected. He also had a chance to speak to Pitt’s other Lombardi Award winner, Hugh Green.

Yesterday he was also named to the All-ACC squad (1st team) and named ACC Defensive Player of the Year by the ACC Coaches. The only shock is that at least a couple coaches did not vote him #1 at DT.

Additionally he was named to the USA Today All-American 1st team.

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December 11, 2013

Running late on this, I know.

On Monday Aaron Donald picked up the first of what has an excellent chance at being several more awards for everything he did this past season.

The Pittsburgh senior defensive tackle won the Bronko Nagurski award given to the nation’s top college defensive player.

The 6-foot, 285-pound Donald was presented the award at a ceremony Monday night in Charlotte.

The ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Donald averaged 2.2 tackles for loss per game while ranking 10th in forced fumbles and 13th in sacks per game.

He had 28½ sacks for his career with one game left to play.

“I’m just so excited,” Donald said. “I think it is a great way for my father to celebrate his birthday. And I think it’s huge for the University of Pittsburgh. There were so many people wishing me well.”

Tonight is the presentation for the Lombardi Award — best lineman or linebacker. On Thursday night, it’s the ESPN-centric extravaganza of college sports awards where Donald is up for the Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year) and the Outland Trophy (best offensive or defensive interior lineman).

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December 8, 2013

As expected, Pitt is headed to Detroit, Michigan for the Little Caesars Bowl. Their opponent? MAC Champion Bowling Green.

While obviously this isn’t the most exciting bowl game, it’s a bowl game nonetheless.  (more…)

December 4, 2013

In a shocker to no one, Aaron Donald has been named the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year. Here’s the official announcement:

http://www.theacc.com/#!/news-detail/Florida-State-Winston-Named-ACC-Player-Of-The-Year_12-04-13_suwf6m

Donald received 44 of 65 votes and also recieved four votes for the overall player of the year, which went to Jameis Winston.

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