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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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April 23, 2016

Trib reports on James “Mr Everything” Conner’s visit on the Ellen DeGeneres Show – in case you missed it please watch the video posted below…

Shortly after a video of the segment appeared on DeGeneres’ website and on TribLive.com, Conner began receiving interview requests through Erie videographer and family friend Mike Gallagher. Reporters called from Kansas City, Denver and Jacksonville, Gallagher said.

“I had one message from a guy who wants to pitch him to Campbell’s Soup,” Gallagher said. “I responded I need him to beat Penn State first.”  The NCAA does not permit college athletes to do endorsements.

DeGeneres’ producers taped an interview with Conner in Pittsburgh several days before his appearance in which he said doctors told him the cure rate for his disease is 85 to 90 percent.

“That’s more than enough for me,” he told DeGeneres. “I’d be good if you said 2 percent. It’s on. Let’s go.”

Here is the video, have a handkerchief handy for the tears…

The Pitt News cover the show also.

“If you think you’re having a bad day, and then you see him at practice with one of those masks on, it’s amazing,” Galambos said.

DeGeneres and Conner discussed the limitations chemotherapy puts on his training, as well as his future plans for the upcoming football season.

“The only thing I can’t do is — I have a port in my chest — so I can’t really get tackled,” Connor said.  “Good for you, you can’t get tackled. That’s a great thing,” DeGeneres responded, laughing.

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April 22, 2016

Chad  Voytikex-Panther and our 2104 starting QB Chad Voytik is Eastern Kentucky bound. The Football Championship Series (FCS) “Colonels” play in the Ohio Valley Conference  and, if you care to, you can follow Mr. Voytik’s progress on the internet via their “Live Audio” links at this website.

He’s not going to have an easy time of it there if he wants to grab that starting position right off the bat but it appears to be a better situation for him to get playing time than had he stayed at Pitt.

I wrote two weeks ago about the Colonels (Colonel = Eagle; get it?) and their returning starting QB Bennie Coney who has played well there.  However, it wasn’t such great play that he can’t be sat down (we heard that before on here) , but also isn’t a situation where Voytik is going to waltz in and automatically get the starting job handed to him as if there was no incumbent in that position at all.

Coney had decent stats at E. Kentucky with 225 completions in 367 attempts (61.3%) for 2471 yards.  He also had a very good 23 TDs to 8 INTs ratio that showed he didn’t turn the ball over a lot.  That’s about a 10:1 Completion to TD ratio and is very good.  His overall QB rating was 134 and that’s OK too.

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April 20, 2016

One thing not talked about much from Saturday’s game was that the Gold offense ran a Todd Graham-like hurry-up offense run a bit.  Please tell me that we aren’t going to a speeded up offense this season.  Yes, we saw a great run by Henderson on a quick snap, but let’s get a decent offense in place first before we start the trickeration.  Just wanted to get that out of the way.

To follow on a continual theme on here and elsewhere, Jerry DiPaola’s 24:19 minute podcast (below) starts out with the comment “If Nate Peterman gets hurt the season is over…

That’s an exaggeration hopefully but it is now a very public concern.  We saw how Bertke and DiNucci played Saturday and I didn’t see one bit of progression in Bertke from when I watched him on a more regular basis in past practices and scrimmages.  DiNucci, in my opinion, just doesn’t have D1 talent.  So for all intents and purposes it will be up to Manny Stocker to step up if Peterman goes down with and injury or if his playing goes into the crapper.

There is one very important thing to remember about the difference between spring and fall camps.  Tryouts are basically over when fall camp comes around.  Narduzzi and Canada will go with Peterman and Stocker as QB1 and QB2 respectively from Day One and Stocker will get all the snaps not given to Peterman.  He’ll get more one-on-one coaching and be the secondary guy in film sessions and unit meetings.  That will mean he’ll be sharper and more in command of the offense by the time the opener rolls around.

Now, if we can get him to grow three inches before then….

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April 18, 2016

If anyone can actually tell me what Conner is saying I’ll buy them a beer.  I got “great weather“, “opportunity” and “LA” …I think this is what wbb commented on yesterday.  That will be a great venue for Mr Conner to get his message across though.

“He will travel to Burbank, Calif., on Tuesday to tape a segment of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that will air at 4 p.m. Thursday on WTAE-4. His message to cancer victims: “Keep fighting.”

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April 17, 2016

Well, you know the players had fun out there.  I think the fans did too – as long as you kept the realization that is was a glorified scrimmage foremost in your mind.

As we talked about on here earlier, the way the Captains conducted the draft we fans were never going to see a full 1st team out there so neither the Blue team nor the Gold team was anything like what we’ll see going into or coming out of fall camp.

But it was a beautiful day for Pitt football and I have to say to anyone who professes to be a big fan and then decides that there are “better things to do than watch a glorified scrimmage” then too bad for you as you missed out on a great Saturday afternoon of football and having a blast with other Pitt fans.

Watch this and then we’ll address some points that I took away from the scrimmage…

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April 15, 2016

As we have been stating on here for sometime it looks like it is shaping up for Manny Stocker to be the QB2 going into fall camp… no, actually that’s a done deal now.

Still, one of Narduzzi’s goals this off-season is to find a backup quarterback to replace Chad Voytik, who is transferring.

Voytik, a starter in 2014, would have been a nice safety net to in case of an injury to starting quarterback Nate Peterman. Instead, senior walk-on Manny Stocker has taken the early lead over sophomore Adam Bertke and redshirt freshman Ben DiNucci.

“Right now, I’d say he’s the guy,” Narduzzi said of Stocker, “but we’ve still got a lot of football to play. We still have all summer for those guys to go out and throw together.”

Here’s some not so good news for the listening audience… Billy Osborne back in the radio booth:

Bill Osborn, who served as the color analyst for Pitt football radio broadcasts from 1995-2003, is returning to the booth this season.

He will replace Pat Bostick, whose duties as director of development in the Panther Club are expanding. Bostick, a former Pitt quarterback, has been the analyst since 2011.

Osborn was a three-sport athlete at Pitt from 1985-88, including a three-year stint as a starting wide receiver. He also played basketball and baseball, becoming the first Pitt athlete to letter in three sports since Mike Ditka.

Longtime play-by-play veteran Bill Hillgrove will remain in the booth for the 47th consecutive season, 43 of them spent doing play-by-play. Larry Richert will return as the sideline reporter.

I’ll state this publicly now and get it out of the way so that you can say you heard it here first – Pat Bostick, Jr. is being groomed for big things at Pitt and I personally wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a Pitt Athletic Director within 10-15 years.

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April 14, 2016

I love what Bookser says at the 1:27 mark “Worse drill of the day… worse drill of the day…”

April 13, 2016

BLUE-GOLD ROSTERS | PHOTO GALLERY

PITTSBURGH – Rosters for the 2016 Spring Game at Heinz Field were finalized on Wednesday morning at the second annual Blue-Gold Draft.

The seniors were drafted on Tuesday by the coaching staff, and those seniors then drafted the remaining players to form Team Cavanaugh (Gold) vs. Team Dorsett (Blue).

Team captains for Gold were: Chris Blewitt, Mike Caprara, John Guy, Tyrique Jarrett, Dorian Johnson, Scott Orndoff, Jaymar Parrish, Nathan Peterman, Terrish Webb and Chris Wuestner.

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April 13, 2016

The Trib weighs in with a couple of things – first is this short video of Narduzzi’s post practice interview:

 The second is Jerry D’s article about the next star on offense Donte’ Ford (my opinion not his).  Ford’s contributions far exceed the chalk boundaries of the football field:

There were days early this spring when Sto-Rox baseball and softball players were forced to share gloves to get through a practice  When the sports returned to the school district after a two-year hiatus due to lack of funds, athletic director Ryan Kacsur thought the girls might have to wear mismatched uniforms.

An even sadder reality: Some players may not get enough to eat before and after games.  “It breaks my heart seeing that,” Kacsur said.

Then, one day, Pitt wide receiver/Sto-Rox graduate Dontez Ford and classmates Jim Fanning and Craig Bittner showed up in his office.  They wanted to help.

For a project in their Advertising and Social Media class, the seniors, with free-of-charge production from professional videographers Ben Petchel and Adam Kunes, decided to create a video and promote it with the aim of raising money and awareness for the baseball and softball teams.

Their initial goal was $4,000 to be split equally between the teams. Some thought they set their sights too high.  “Even our professor was kind of wary,” Fanning said.

But less than week after the video was released Feb. 24 on Facebook, they reached their goal and money kept coming in from 92 donors. So far, they have raised $5,800, Ford said. Two donors gave $500. Donations are still being accepted on the GoFundMe page on Facebook.com/BringitbackPGH.

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April 12, 2016

Here are a couple of podcasts to listen to while working.  First is Jerry DiPaola being interviewed by WTAE’s Junker and the other Guy about the Spring Game… and talks about the closed practices.  He makes a good point (again!) about being able to watch only the calisthenics, then the kicker and the punter punting.  He hates it, every media person hates it, I hate it and some at Pitt even dislike it.

DiPaola’s Guy and Junker Interview 4/11/16

He also talks about how the offense looks unbalanced at this point because of the dearth of receivers with any game experience at all.  Challingsworth and Ford are the only two WRs on the roster who caught passes last season.  He quotes Nate Peterman as saying “Wait and see which WRs we can count on.

DiPaola reiterates that Stocker is slowly cementing the QB2 position.  Stocker is a big QB and is also a good runner – DiPaola mentions “Wildcat” a few times.  The subject of bringing in a FBS transfer QB in (Schneider) and how that signals that the staff isn’t happy with our current #3 and #4 QBs.

What is shaping up is a competition for the 2017 starting job between Schneider and MacVitte.

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April 11, 2016

Spring Football; 4/11/16

Filed under: Football,Players — Reed @ 7:35 am

DiPaola of the Trib has a blog entry about J. P. Holtz waiting for the NFL draft that will be held on April 28-30.

When he’s not hanging out at the E Town Bar and Grille in Etna (I hear the fish sandwich kills), former Pitt tight end J.P. Holtz is getting ready for the NFL.
He has visited with several teams, including the Browns, Chargers, Bears, Bengals and Saints. Other than that, he’s working out almost every day – often with his former Pitt teammates at the South Side facility.

“It gets boring sometimes,” Holtz said Friday during an appearance on TribLive Radio.

“All you do is work out all day. It’s kind of nice, actually.”  Holtz is ranked the 23rd tight end available in the draft, according to NFLDraftScout.com, after catching 81 passes for 931 yards and 11 touchdowns in four years at Pitt where he never missed a game or practice.

In his freshman season, he caught three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown in Pitt’s near-upset at Notre Dame.  At 6-foot-3, 238 pounds, he could morph into a run-blocking fullback with the ability to catch short flips.

“I’m a pretty decent blocker,” he said. “I’ll do whatever a team needs me to do. I can do both. I really doesn’t matter to me. I just want to play football.”

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April 10, 2016

Here are the scrimmage stats from yesterday.

Bertke was 3-3 for 52 yards but Stocker seems to be holding onto the #2 QB slot.

The Trib has a few pieces today.

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