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July 6, 2015

Yesterday we looked at the four of the last ten QB recruits we have landed and it wasn’t that pretty.  Today we’ll look at the last six QBs and because they are more recent, less Pat Bostick in ’07, we’ll probably remember more of what they did or failed to do for the team.

Remember we are looking at recruits and not transfers or walk-ons and the scores awarded are based on what they did as QBs here at PITT and not how they may have contributed in other way such as playing defense as in Gonzalez’s case.

Anthony Gonzalez, 2010 – This kid was loved by the PA HS football fans and PITT made a hard push to get him onboard beating out other schools like PSU, FSU, Oregon, Clemson and  Maryland for his services.  After taking a redshirt his first year Gonzalez played a lot on special teams and sparingly at QB. In line with his dual-threat reputation coming out of HS DW had him run the Wildcat a few times as a rsFR.

Of course, as is the inevitable fate of PITT QB recruits it seems, he ended up on defense in 2012 where he found a home and played well for us at the strong side linebacker position. Here is what Gonzalez thought about all the moving around from QB to H-Back to Safety to SLB.

Guess being suspended twice from the team didn’t hurt his playing chances much.  The first time was for a drug bust and second for being a bad boy.  I wonder if that is the first time a PITT player has been suspended by two different head coaches as this involved both Graham and Chryst.  Maybe he’ll make it into our record books based on that.  I don’t think even Elijah Fields pulled that trick off.

SCORE: C

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July 5, 2015

(Folks, this is a two part very large article that I split up to make more manageable. Part 1 now and Part 2 tomorrow).

While I was driving around with my wife today I mentioned the dig Chas gave me about recruiting and ‘stars’ being a favorite topic of mine in his last post.  About five minutes later she turned to me and said “Then why don’t you write an article about the last ten quarterbacks PITT recruited and see how they stack up?”

So here they are in full glory. The last ten HS QB we recruited to play at PITT, not the last ten QB to have actually done it. I didn’t include transfers like Peterman and Savage not actually recruited or ’14 class recruit Bertke whom we haven’t seen play yet. The recruiting class is listed first. Read ‘em and weep….

‘13   Tra’von Chapman     4*    12th     PC;  Dismissed from team ;

‘12   Chad Voytik               4*    4th      TG;  Currently starting QB

’11   None, Nil, Zilch, Nada, No Way, No How

’10   Mark Myers               4*    11th     DW; Now at Div III John Carroll

’10   Anthony Gonzalez     3*    12th     DW; Rushed 8/36 & 1 TD ; LB

’09   Kolby Grey                3*    28th     DW; Played defense, C&W Singer

’08   Tino Sunseri             3*    24th     DW;  PITT’s 3rd leading passer

’08   Greg Cross               3*    NR       DW; No passes; 5 runs for -3 yards

’07   Pat Bostick                4*    6th      DW; FR starter, spot work after

’06 – Kevan Smith           2*    NR     DW; 37/67 for 419 yards and 1 TD

’06 – Dexter Davidson     3*    32nd    DW; Redshirt ’06; gone in ’07, no PT

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July 2, 2015

Bits & Pieces; 7/2/15

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players,Recruiting — Reed @ 8:26 am

Time to catch up on some media articles and podcasts about PITT football that have gone public over the last few days:

First off AD Scott Barnes has been doing some rounds of pretty detailed interviews with media outlets.  Good, that is exactly what we need at this point in time leading our upcoming season.

Here is a great piece by the University’s Pitt News who apparently got a nice chunk of Barnes’ time to answer a bunch of pertinent questions.

Of course two topics jump out.  One is timely and the other is timeless:

TPN: In light of Tyler Boyd’s recent incident, how high of a standard do you think college athletes in general should be held off the field?

ADSB: We will hold our student athletes to a higher expectation due to the front porch they sit on, and that’s more of in terms how they conduct themselves publicly, obviously, and the quality of people they are and the quality of people we recruit… 

Hmmm, that sounds familiar.  We talked about that on here the day after Boyd’s arrest. There is this interesting Q&A also.

TPN: How much do you think Pitt’s struggles to fill up Heinz Field for football games are part of the nature of having an off-campus stadium? How much of that do you think can be improved with improved amenities and fan environment at the games?

…and crickets on the stadium part of the question.  Nothing.  I think the Chancellor stated what he stated about never seeing an on-campus stadium in his tenure at PITT so this administration steers clear of the issue. Barnes spoke a whole lot on the new Fan Committee however.

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June 28, 2015

The Chicken or the Egg?

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players,Recruiting — Reed @ 6:34 pm

After getting two more recruits;  4* WR Ruben Flowers and unranked as yet ATH Marcus Ffrench, we have had a lot of follow up discussions about past and present recruiting on here.  Well, here are another couple of thoughts about recruiting we can chew on over the weekend.

I think we all agree that Paul Chryst had some pretty specific strengths and weaknesses when it came to his recruiting.  He seemed to have been right on target with his offensive scouting and then getting commitments from kids who have helped us move the ball and score points over the last two years:

RBs Conner, James, Ollison, Hall and Parrish at FB;  WRs Boyd, Jennings (good get, too bad) and Zeise along with Holtz and Orndoff at TE. His recruiting what looks to be like the complete OL two deep this season is a great job also (fingers crossed).

So, on that side of the ball he’s leaving Pat Narduzzi with a well stocked cupboard with good players he and his staff recruited.

Where the weakness has been, or where we perceive it to have been (more on that in a second), is in his lack of ability to recruitment of talented defensive players and, given the way the defense faltered in key moments last year, that sure seems to be the case.

But wait a second! Let’s discuss the age-old football question of “Do you win ballgame with Xs & Os or Jimmies & Joes?

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June 26, 2015

We are now at the time when PITT’s recruit starts to take off so we should review the different Recruiting Sites and see how they compare in their ranking systems.

As you can see below, each one is different in some aspects.  Sometimes we see that difference writ large with a single player as happened with QB Mark Myers when he was graded out by these services.  Here is Myers’ scores and stars along with our seven 2016 recruits already onboard. Note that ESPN does most of their rankings later in the game.

RECRUIT

247 ESPN RIVALS

SCOUT

Mark Myers ‘10 86  3*  23rd 74  2*  103rd 5.8  4*  11th 3*  32nd
Butler 89  3* 5.6  3* 35th  3*
Ffrench NR NR NR
Ford 82  3* 76  3* 5.5  3* 63rd  3*
Garner 88  3* 5.4  2* 42nd  3*
Macvitte 89  3* 78  3* 5.5  3* 57th  3*
Moss 84  3* 5.5  3* 56th  3*
Pine 86  3* 5.6  3* 77th  3*

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June 25, 2015

I knew Pitt had a lot of players getting some off-season surgery, but I didn’t know it was this many.

[Pitt Coach Jamie] Dixon, who has three players out with surgeries and at least five others recovering from previous surgeries or nagging injuries, said the changes to NCAA rules also played a part in the decision.

“The rules have changed to where you could only have two players from one college team on each of the summer league teams,” Dixon said. “That sort of made it difficult with only so many Division I players available to have the kind of competitive league you are looking for.

“Hopefully, it is something we can revisit for next year, but, for this year, it just didn’t seem like it was going to be able to work out.”

Josh Newkirk earlier followed by James Robinson and incoming transfer, Sterling Smith, recently had off-season surgies.

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It is a slow week for PITT football with the two exceptions in recruiting that Chas covered earlier.  To update that a bit here is the Post-Gazette’s Sam Werner’s article about the last three pick-ups and in his Red Shirt Diaries blog Werner lists all the recruits vitals with links to their highlights:

Bricen Garner
Safety, Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Rivals: 2*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 80 S
Offers: Army, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, UMass, Miami (OH), Navy, Old Dominion, Temple, Toledo
HIGHLIGHTS

Chawntez Moss
Running Back, Bedford HS (Bedford, Ohio)
Rivals: 3*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 56 RB
Offers: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Kent State, Marshall, Miami (OH), Ohio, Old Dominion, Toledo, Western Michigan
HIGHLIGHTS

Chase Pine
Linebacker, Lafayette HS (Williamsburg, Va.)
Rivals: 3*, NR
Scout: 3*, No. 86 OLB
Offers: Buffalo, California, Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia, Marshall, North Carolina, N.C. State, Old Dominion, Syracuse, Toledo, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia
HIGHLIGHTS

Here are a few interesting items for you all to look at during lunch…

First, I heard back from EJ Borghetti and the PITT Fall Training Camp begins on Monday, August 10th.  That gives the Narduzzi Power and Light Company 26 days to get ready for the season opener against the Youngstown State Penguins.

As we know this opponent has given us problems before when Chryst opened his time at PITT with an embarrassing 31-17 loss.  That game needs to be looked at again given the circumstances that will be surrounding our ’15 PITT team.

For one we’ll be starting a season with a shiny new head coach again, this time trotting out Pat Narduzzi in his new PITT gear for all to see. We are all looking forward to seeing that because, I believe, PITT fans across the board are happy with Narduzzi’s hiring.

One of the reasons for happiness is that it is entirely possible that PITT’s defense will be better and more effective right out of the gate as this is Narduzzi’s successful background that he made his name in.  Looking at the specifics of that past YSU game we need that.

YSU basically ran all over us that day with 202 yards on the ground. Rushing the ball 46 times wore us down… even when PITT knew the run was coming we were almost powerless to stop it as they gained 4.4 ypc.

To complement that YSU used their passing game for surgical strikes that resulted in three TDs.  It is worth noting that those three TDs came on only 14 completions for 177 yards in 24 passing attempts;  a 58% completion rate with 12.6 yards per completion which is very good.

If we allow YSU to replicate that this year I’m pulling Narduzzi’s contract.

But, truth be told, it is entirely possibly the YSU might be a stronger team this season than it was in ’12. They are coming of 8-4 and 7-5 seasons so the team knows how to win games.

But the big stroke YSU made over the offseason was hiring Mark Anthony Pelini who, in addition to being Cleopatra’s third husband and losing the whole Roman naval fleet in a sea battle against Octavian, used to be the HC at Nebraska.  “Snarling Bo” as he is called these days knows how to fire up a football team, so we can expect the Penguins to come out fighting.

Another similarity to the ’12 game is that we’ll most probably start off the season with a suspension impacting the PITT team.  Back then we had six players suddenly suspended the morning of the game, two being starters.  Whether or not you feel that had any influence on the loss, we may well be replicating that is a short form depending on what sort of discipline Tyler Boyd gets awarded by Narduzzi.

Speaking of which in one of Cardiac Hill’s Poll of the Week series they asked the fans about what punishment Boyd should get.  You can see that most favor a one game suspension which fits my view and I think the majority of guys on this blog also.

What would you do with Tyler Boyd?

  • 7%No on-field punishment(79 votes)
  • 18%Not start him in the season opener, but let him play(199 votes)
  • 42%One-game suspension(460 votes)
  • 23%Two-game suspension(251 votes)
  • 10%Suspension of three or more games(107 votes)

That is a breakdown of a total of 1096 votes as of this morning.  That is a pretty big sample for a blog to gather especially when you count the 107 PSU fans who pretty much wants Boyd’s shot at a NFL career to end by suspending Boyd “three or more games”.  It is interesting to read the 50+ comments the poll and associated article generated.

Also as something I didn’t know existed here is a Cardiac Hill’s open thread “The Pitt Stop” that they do on a regular basis.  Linked is the June 2015 edition.

As wbb mentioned in his comment yesterday PITT is reaching out to various groups to form a Panther Fans Experience Committee to solicit feedback on how to enrich the PITT athletics game day experience.  It is a good thing to do I think and something we wouldn’t have seen with our dearly departed AD.

There is a short form to fill out then a section for text where you are asked to provide your Fan Resume.  Be aware that you are limited to 750 words to describe how you would be a great fit for this committee.  Stating that you are too much of a perfectionist gets your season tickets revoked though.

750 words might not be enough for some of you guys because when you start telling ‘Big Fish’ stories about how you are such a better fan than the next guy you go on and on and on.

The commitment is for quarterly meetings at PITT for a two year term. In other words eight times where you get to bitch and someone is actually listening.  Anyway, I suggest that you all apply for it – we definitely have some great ideas on here the PITT administration should be made aware of.

I am in the process now and it will be interesting to see the final makeup when the committee is selected.  Here is the Trib article on it.

For those PITT BB fans who are wondering what is happening the P-G’s Paul Zeise, our old P-G PITT football beat writer friend, has a rather detailed ‘catch-up’ about that program. It seems to me that the main news is that former PITT BB player Ontario Lett is joining the BB staff as a Grad assistant.

Just for something else to look at and because we talked about actually playing a football game in September here are the details and stats of PITT’s 2014 season.

 

June 20, 2015

With the commitment we just received from Safety Bricen Garner of local Central Catholic High School ( Garner is listed as a 3* on two sites and unranked on the other two) we now have a total of four recruits with most being 3* kids.

Looking at that verbal and thinking about the recruiting game in general made me recall that I’ve always thought of the makeup of a school’s successful football program, and its recruiting, as much like a human body.

The skeleton, the frame on which the whole thing depends to stay upright, is the university’s administration and the support system those it gives to the rest of the football body. That support is both financial and administrative and if the program is getting a strong frame from the University, one that is healthy with no cracks or injuries to it, then building on those bones is made that much easier.

I see the internal organs of the program to be the athletic department’s administrative and support systems for the program and the players. There are a lot of separate parts which have to work together as a whole to make and keeps the program’s body functioning. For instance our last AD Steve Pederson was the Urinary Bladder because each time he came to PITT he tried to piss all over the program. Think Torch-Cut and DinoCat for starters.

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June 18, 2015

(Note: I am drafting a series that look at the leading players on each of the positions PITT will field this season.  I am doing the RBs now but as I was writing I got side tracked by the referenced article on James Conner’s good works.  Here is a compendium look at what he’s done in that area since he’s been at PITT.)

The Trib has a June 18th article by Jerry DiPaola regarding James Conner and his relationship with an ill six year old with Klippel-Feil Syndrome which necessitates multiple open heart surgeries….

Before the game, Conner told Roman Pfister, who was recovering from his third open heart surgery, that he would score a touchdown for him.

Conner — like Roman, a resident of Erie — did score, tying Tony Dorsett’s all-time Pitt record. Then, after getting hurt, he sent an autographed football and his game-worn gloves to the Heinz Field box where Roman was watching the game with two of Conner’s injured teammates, Artie Rowell and Adam Bisnowaty.

“He wanted Roman to know these are special hands for securing the football,” Roman’s mother Tiffani Wasiela said. “He wanted him to know that he cared about him. Roman went home and fell asleep with those gloves on, holding that football.”

An interesting bit in that article involves Conner and a hand baked cake…

Wasiela (Roman’s mother), who owns a pastry shop in Erie, baked a cake for the occasion. Conner declined, sticking to his offseason diet that has helped him lose about 15 pounds to 235. “I was very thankful for it,” Conner said, “but I didn’t have any.” Said Wasiela: “When he is ready to eat some cake, we are going to get him some cake.”  

Dammit’ to Hell!! Get that man some pastries!!  Apparently Conner can have his cake and eat it too at a later date. Here is one from that bakery James might like.

Conner Cake

So, he’s dropping 15 pounds for the 2015 season.  What the Hell?  He wasn’t effective enough last year at 250 pounds when he gained 1765 yards, scored 26 TDs and sent multiple opponents back to their bench crying their eyes out? Is this what Chaney means by tweaking the offense?

It is a good article and it lays out just one in a long line of selfless things Conner has done since he’s became a Panther back in 2012.

Back in March DiPaola also wrote this early account of Conner’s helping others. After finding the father of his best friend fallen ill with the results of kidney disease and helping the man to the hospital, Conner has since devoted his time and energy to the National Kidney Foundation and to those who suffer from that disease.  From the Trib again:

When James Conner and his best friend Sean Gallagher walked into Gallagher’s house one day, they were horrified by what they saw.

Gallagher’s father Michael, who suffers from kidney disease, was laying on the floor, bleeding from his mouth and nose.  The Erie McDowell football players fought the urge to panic, gathered Michael in their arms and carried him to the car. With Sean behind the wheel, they drove his father to a hospital emergency room.

The boys were 15.

He had been close to that family for a long time and when the Gallagher’s daughter, Megan was afflicted with the same illness he kept on serving:

Conner has shown support for Gallagher’s daughter, Meghan, another kidney patient. When Meghan was hospitalized, he visited her frequently, once carrying Meghan to a window so she could see the sun set over Lake Erie.

“He has seen all that and been around all that, but he hasn’t wavered,” Gallagher said. “He could have said this family is a little too nutty for me, but he never did.”

All these good works, and the many more I’m sure James did in the past and that we have never hear about, led up to his being awarded the prestigious National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF)  “Gift of Life” award. Talk about being in rarified air; take a look at who his fellow awardees are for that award:

On March 7, 2015 the National Kidney Foundation Celebrated Life at the 2015 Kidney Gift of Life “All that Glitters is Gold” Gala at Heinz Field’s West Club Lounge!  This year’s Gala featured live entertainment by Protégé as well as a VIP reception, open bar, sit down dinner, and silent and live auctions.

The night featured a VIP Reception to honor our 2015 Gift of Life Awardees. This year’s Gift of Life Awardees were: 

2015-Gift-of-Life-Awardees

Mark Costanzo, President, Renal Therapies Group of Fresenius Medical Care; 

Dr. David Levenson, Section Chief, Renal Division and Vice-Chair of Medicine, UPMC Shadyside; Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Medical Director, DaVita Pittsburgh Dialysis Unit; and, Partner, Partners in Nephrology and Endocrinology (PINE); 

Dr. Richard L. Simmons, Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery, Chairman Emeritus, Department of Surgery, Medical Director, UPMC; and 

James Conner, University of Pittsburgh Sophomore Running Back. The awardees epitomize the profound commitment that is essential in providing the best quality of life for those affected by chronic kidney disease.

Hmmm, let’s see, a President of a Medical Group and two highly distinguished doctors from the renal Division of UPMC… and star PITT running back James Conner.  That’s a hell of a starter resume’ for James right there.

You can listen for yourself how the NFK appreciates Conner’s work with the organization in this podcast clip (listen to it all for Conner’s first impressions of Narduzzi). The clip is at the bottom of the page.

Back in December of ’14 John Dudley wrote an article about Conner being the Erie Times-News Sportsman of the Year and how Conner is remembered very fondly by his Erie friends. Here is a piece that shows where Conner’s head is after receiving all the accolades he has garnered in his two years at PITT.

While posing for photos with students and teachers, Conner filled the doorway at his old school — figuratively, if not literally, a larger-than-life presence for young athletes who will grow up recognizing him as a household name. 

The legacy he’s contributing to in his hometown and the Erie region — one fed over the years by a string of football stars like Mike McCoy, Fred Biletnikoff, Mark Stepnoski and Bob Sanders — isn’t lost on him.

He’s well aware of what he represents, and the obligation that comes with it.  “With having success and having younger kids look up to me comes a lot of responsibility,” Conner said. “You have to do the right things at all times because people are always watching. But I enjoy that, being a role model to the younger kids, and showing them that dreams do come true.”

Conner Running

That last part is something that we all hope every PITT player embraces as much as James Conner does.

BTW – in doing research for this I stumbled on this RotoWorld NBC Sports website that lists info on Conner and links all the latest national articles written about him.  Here is that site’s Tyler Boyd page and Chad Voytik’s also.

 

June 17, 2015

Boyd’s first court appearance will be August 5th. PITT’s Fall Camp will start soon after that.  That timing probably doesn’t help anybody with this incident.  Lets hope Narduzzi makes his decision way before then.

An interesting thing;  I checked the Patriot-News “Pennlive” newspaper online and didn’t see any reference to Boyd’s troubles at all.  That is newsworthy because the Pennlive is smack in the middle of PSU country.  But for a smile check this article out.

Here is today’s article in the Trib on the latest Narduzzi Meet & Greet held at the Cheswick. This part is interesting…

“The Panther Prowl was Narduzzi’s idea from the outset. He initially brought up the idea to Jeff Gleim, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor for alumni relations, while at the Armed Forces Bowl in January. His plans for a $3.5 million renovation of the team’s practice facility also made it prudent to invite fans and donors. Gleim said the tour attracted more than 1,000 people to five previous sites — Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.”

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June 16, 2015

PITT’s Media Response

Filed under: Football,Media,Players,Uncategorized — Reed @ 9:25 am

PITT has done the smart thing and released a few pieces of media items to counter all the press Tyler Boyd has generated with his arrest the other night.  It is never a bad idea to try to get a bit ahead of the curve on things like this.  Here is the original press release with HC Narduzzi’s statement on the situation:

“Tyler’s situation is both serious and disappointing,” Narduzzi said. “We have high expectations for the young men in our program, on and off the field. Tyler understands that and knows he must be responsible for his actions. Certainly he will be held accountable to our internal standards of discipline and behavior.”

Here are some items that are pertinent to this issue:

* WR coach Kevin Sherman on coaching the receivers and working with #23 Boyd. (PITT released today)

Here are some other news article that speak to the impact Boyd has had on the football team and program since coming to PITT. These articles mention his great play on the field but were written to emphasize his strong leadership traits as an underclassman and how that affects others.

*Chryst’s view on Boyd calling out poor efforts by teammates

* Boyd being in a leadership position as a sophomore.

* Boyd taking on his role as one of the leaders on the team.

We’ll find out today the severity of the charges the Alleghany County DA will levy on Boyd and we can expect them to be pretty severe I think.

Something I’ve researched with a check of the Pennsylvania Docket Records show no previous charges for anything at all for Tyler Boyd.  That will help Boyd in all these proceedings.

June 15, 2015

Well, here is Coach Narduzzi’s first personnel discipline test… or at least the first that we know of.  Chas posted the basics, this article will look at the issue from the administrative side.

Old news by now but reports came out stating that on early Saturday morning at 2:35 a.m. our 20 year old star WR Tyler Boyd was stopped while driving and placed under arrest.  Here is the quoted Borough of Jefferson Hills affidavit on the case as researched and posted by Dean Kovacevic on his sports blog:

Your affiant, Sergeant John O’Leary, is a police officer employed by the Borough of Jefferson Hills. On June 12, 2015, at approximately 0235 hours, affiant was traveling north on SR885 in a marked patrol unit and observed a dark green black Ford Fusion bearing PA registration (I’m redacting this) traveling south on SR885 enter the northbound lane of travel and pass the vehicle ahead of it as that vehicle was turning right onto Wray Large Road. The lane change was made within an intersection immediately after the crest of a hill and the operator of the Fusion did not signal the lane change.

Affiant effectuated a traffic stop in the 100 block of SR885 and identified the operator as Tyler Boyd per his PA photo driver’s license. In conversation with Boyd regarding the violations, affiant smelled the moderate odor of an alcoholic beverage about Boyd and asked how much alcohol he had consumed this evening. Boyd said he had “two shots” but did not start drinking until after the NBA Finals game he was watching on television ended. He estimated this time to be approximately 0100 hours.

Affiant determined Boyd to be only (note: I’m guessing he said “20 years old” here) and administered a PBT that was positive for alcohol. Boyd was placed under arrest for DUI (Minor) having been deemed to be under the influence of alcohol to a degree he was unfit to safely operate a motor vehicle.

That is the nuts and bolts of it. It is pretty basic really.

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June 12, 2015

First off to assuage the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair by PITT fans regarding our ‘late’ recruiting start we need to revisit this issue just like we do every year at this time of the offseason.  Because of that repetition I am going to be stealing some info from earlier Blather articles.

Here is a bit of info that will help to quell your fears. This table shows how PITT has ‘late’ starts every year since Wannstedt was hired back in 2005:

Year  # Before 6/12     Total Class #  Notes:
 
‘05 1 23 Wannstedt’s first partial class
‘06 5 27 DW’s first full class
‘07 2 24  
‘08 2 19  
‘09 1 20  
‘10 2 24  
‘11 2 21 Graham’s first partial class
‘12 0 16 Chryst’s first partial class
‘13 5 27 Chryst’s first full class (after purge)
‘14 1 23  
‘15 3 15 Narduzzi’s first partial class
‘16 1 (3?) TBD Narduzzi’s first full class

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June 1, 2015

PITT’S BOYD AND CONNER NAMED PHIL STEELE ALL-AMERICANS
Five Panthers named to Steele’s preseason All-ACC team.

PITTSBURGH—The Pitt offense will feature two dynamic All-Americans in 2015 according to national college football expert Phil Steele.

Steele released his preseason All-America squads today and Pitt receiver Tyler Boyd (first team) and running back James Conner (second team) were both honored. This is the first of what figures to be many preseason recognitions for the pair of Pitt juniors. Both players enjoyed prolific and decorated seasons in 2014.

Boyd compiled 78 catches for 1,261 yards (16.2 avg.) and eight touchdowns in earning first team All-ACC last season. He became the first player in ACC history to compile 1,000 receiving yards in both his freshman and sophomore years. Boyd also led the ACC in kickoff returns (27.6 avg.).

Conner was selected the ACC Player of the Year after rushing for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. He broke three Pitt season records—rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns (26) and scoring (156 points)—set by the legendary Tony Dorsett during his 1976 Heisman Trophy campaign. Conner was named to seven postseason All-America squads as a sophomore, including first-team honors from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

In addition to its All-America selections, Pitt also had five players named to the Phil Steele All-ACC teams: Boyd (first team receiver and punt returner, fourth team kickoff returner), Conner (first team), junior offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty (first team), junior offensive guard Dorian Johnson (second team) and junior placekicker Chris Blewitt (fourth team).

Season tickets and mini-plans for the 2015 Pitt football season are now on sale. The Panthers will be led by new head coach Pat Narduzzi, who joined Pitt in December after an accomplished tenure as defensive coordinator at Michigan State.

Fans have a new seating option at Heinz Field this fall with the debut of the South Plaza Champions Club. For more information, call the Panthers Ticket Office at (800) 643-PITT (7488) or log on to PittsburghPanthers.com. Click here for the Panthers’ 2015 schedule with announced kickoff times.

In sadder news PITT benefactor John A. Petersen died.  He is well known for his generous donations to the University of Pittsburgh general funds and to help build the Petersen Arena.  People of John and his wife, Gertrude’s, quality are few and far between.  John Petersen didn’t just drop money out of the sky on something but intently researched what areas of both PITT and CMU he wanted to enrich with his endowments toward where it would do the most good.

On a personal note, I was introduced to the Petersens at a dinner party some years ago and was told by Mr. Petersen that he was taught by my father back in 1950 & ’51 before my father fleeted up to Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration.  He also said that he and my Dad had maintained a friendship until my father passed away in 1969 when I was 13. That was a nice thing to be told and it was a somber day yesterday when I heard that he had died.

 

YSU – BoGo and Academics

Filed under: Academics,Coaches,Football,Players — Reed @ 10:03 am

PITT is pulling out all the stops to make sure there is an actual full house at Heinz Field… you know, where there are actual humans sitting in the seats… for the season opener against Youngstown State at 1:00 on September 5th.  Here is their flyer sent out to offer existing PITT fans, and those who want to become PITT fans, for buy one – get one tickets.  You can buy up to ten tickets. and get ten free.

YSU BOGO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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