January 28, 2015

We have been talking a lot about recruiting lately because, well – because that is what is going on right now and we like what we see. I think it’s been made pretty clear that we Blatherites feel what Narduzzi is doing is exciting and really pro-active as seen in the post  “They Hit the Ground Running”. I really do like what I see happening and I think that is echoed through PITT football fandom.

But at the risk of being a contrarian, and that is just what I’m going to do here, all this talk of Chryst not recruiting defensive players is pretty much either hogwash or selective memory. Here is what he did according to (which I think is the stingiest recruit grading website). Note that the 2012 and 2015 recruits listed are the kids who committed while he was the HC. I also included the “ATH” recruits if they ended up on defense:

2012 – seven total recruits – five on defense w/ four 3*s

2013 - 27 total recruits – nine on defense w/ six 3*s

2014 – 23 total recruits – 12 on defense w/ 10 3*s

2015 – nine total recruits – four on defense w/ one 4* and two 3*s

As stated I like what Narduzzi is doing but looking through the burgeoning hype it does look like he’s pretty much in line with what Chryst did while he was here… so far. 2016’s recruiting class will most probably be a whole different story as far as a new HC’s  2nd year recruiting goes (always better than the 1st fractured class) and I think we’ll see Narduzzi bring in some top shelf guys, depending on how the ’15 season plays out of course.


January 27, 2015

Sorry about the paucity of posts. Been a bit under the weather for the last week. Not enough to call off sick, but enough to be low on energy and not nearly enough of a clear head for coherent thoughts to make it to a post.

In the meantime, there have been several more verbals, one that will wait until signing day. And a flip away from Pitt.

Guess I’ll get the flip of TE Nick Bowers from Pitt to Penn State. Sucks to lose a talented TE, even more so to PSU. And with the WR corps thinned out a bit, not having additional depth at TE is a bit of a worry. Still, Pitt has good depth at TE/FB, and that’s not a particularly big loss. Only reason it seems bigger is where he flipped to, not that he flipped.


They Hit the Ground Running

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Recruiting — Reed @ 11:40 am

We need a new thread as the last one was getting confusing between basketball, football and bar hopping… or was that the one before the last? At any rate we fans are kicking it with hundreds of comments regarding the changes in PITT football over the last month.

So, of all the issues that have been addressed by Narduzzi and staff what do you think is most important and what do you think will have the most actual impact once the regular season’s games start?  Do you feel we are in a better place (duh!)? Do you see these changes resulting in immediate impact on the field or are we a season or two away from a nice w/L record?

Which one singular thing has Narduzzi done to make you feel better about the future of PITT football?

Looking forward to your thoughts… and discussing any and all issues you want to talk about.

P/S: I’ll be at the PITT LOI Day festivities on Feb 4th. The gate opens at 5:00 pm and the show starts at  6:00 pm. I’ll be the very tall guy with longer brown hair and earring and a moustache (in honor of my idol, Dave Wannstedt). Hope to see you guys there and we can lose all our money at the casino afterward…

P/SS: Since the movie American Sniper came out everyone I meet seems to have been in the Special Forces as a sniper.  I swear to God, three guys said that to me in different places yesterday – two in Vietnam and one in  Iraq.

January 22, 2015

Recruits To the Defense

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 12:36 pm

It makes all the sense that the first two “official” verbals are both defensive players. That is the side that is in need of an influx of talent and depth. And, of course, Head Coach Pat Narduzzi is a defensive guy.

The first two verbals from last night are Jay or Jazzee Stocker and Shawn Curtis. The former from Coatsville, PA and the other from Doral Florida.


January 21, 2015

Now that the football coaching staff is in place, the fans are excited and recruiting is in full bloom let’s take a very early preview of who we may see playing ball out there on the field as starters for us in 2015. Paul Chryst left Pat Narduzzi with a very young roster and a younger but experienced two-deep rotation.  Most of the starters on the 2014 team were FR and SOs and sometimes the lack of experience showed up in pretty dramatic ways.

Here is who we either fielded as starters last season or I assume will fill a starting role in ’15. This is my take on it, we’ll know some more after Spring practices (not too far away) and, of course, it will be firmed up over Fall camp:


QB Chad Voytik rsJR 1
RB James Conner JR 2
H-Back Jamar Parrish JR 2
WR Tyler Boyd JR 2
WR Dontez Ford (?) rsJR 0
TE J.P. Holtz SR 2
LT Adam Bisnowaty rsJR 1
LG Dorian Johnson JR 1
C Artie Rowell rsSR 1
RG Alex Officer rsSO 1
RT Alex Bookster SO 1


That setup is probably pretty much etched in stone with the exception of the WR2 spot, rsSO Jester Weah could get in there for speed and maybe the OL will mix it up a little. We scored 32 PPG last year so the skill positions will be held fast. Our new OC, Jim Chaney, won’t have a rebuilding task ahead of him, but my fear is that he won’t see what is right in front of his face and try to get fancy when non-fancy did just fine for us on offense.


January 20, 2015

WR Coach, New Offers, and More!

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Recruiting — Justin @ 12:12 pm

First thing’s first: Narduzzi’s coaching staff is finally complete with the addition of WR Coach Kevin Sherman. Sherman is currently the WR coach for Purude and prior to that held the same position at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Sherman is known to recruit the DMV region, which makes him a valuable addition to compete with the rest of the ACC for east coast targets. Here’s a list of all the commits Sherman earned over the years and you’ll see a few guys currently in the NFL like Kendall Fuller and Jarrett Boykin. (more…)

January 15, 2015

3…2…1… RECRUIT!

Filed under: Coaches,Players,Recruiting — Justin @ 10:06 am

The recruiting dead period is over and coaches can now visit players in person. That makes today the day for Narduzzi and company to start earning their paychecks. As Chas mentioned, recruiting was a huge emphasis when hires were made and hopefully this decision will bear fruit soon. Chancellor Gallagher gave Narduzzi a much larger budget than Paul Chryst to hire assistants and the next several weeks will should justify that.


January 1, 2015

As seems to happen regularly with PITT football this last year was one that was neither very satisfying or particularly exciting until the last days of the last week of the last month when the personnel changes began happening. Then things started to roll into developments that we can sink our teeth into on here. Some good, some undecided but that still excites fans.

Let’s start from the New Year of 2014 and look back at the most interesting thing that happened in each month. This will be Part 1 and will encompass January until the end of September and the four games played to that date.

Jan 6th:  Tyler Boyd was named as a Freshman All-American Wide Receiver for the ’13 season. That made sense considering he broke the big receiving records that a past PITT star, Larry Fitzgerald (that never gets old), had set back in 2002. Boyd racked up 85 receptions for 1174 yards and seven TDs in his rookie year, all from the arm of transfer SR QB Tom Savage. Not too many people in Western PA were surprised that Boyd did this since he had been a star at undefeated Clariton HS for the past four years. If you remember, the first thing PITT had to do after Boyd signed his Letter of Intent back in 2013 to was enroll Boyd in a Personal Therapy program to teach him how to accept losing football games. He had six chances to show that he was OK in that area. That was a good thing as in this, his second year, Boyd was a fine all-around player and teammate and has built on that to be a stalwart of the future Panther teams.

Feb 5th: LOI day came and went without any real surprises. We signed almost the expected full class with the exception of QB Wade Freebeck who bagged on us for the Vanderbilt Robber Barons. That left us with one QB in the class in Adam Bertke who looked good in the fall camp. As has been Chryst’s plan, a lot of these true FR saw playing time. On offense the FR who contributed most was RB Chris James who played in all 12 games, had 82 carries for 406 yards (4.9 ypc!) and 4 TDs which is a great first year especially considering he was playing behind our star RB Conner. WR Adonis Jennings got in some games in the 2nd half of the season, held back because of limited time in camp practices due to an injury, and had 6 catches for 55 yards (9.2 ypc). Both those guys, including the redshirted RB Qadree Ollison, who at 6’2” & 220 could fill the FB role later or more likely be the thunder to James’ lightning, will be the nucleus of the skill positions in the future.

But it was on defense where we saw the most impact from this recruiting class. DB Avonte Maddox , a future star for us, played in all 12 games eventually starting five in the latter part of the season. He had 27 total tackles. DB Pat Amara played in nine games starting two and had 18 tackles;. LB Quentin Wirginis played in all the games, mainly on special teams coverage squads and had five tackles. Wirginis has a ton of potential and is a ‘tough kid’ as stated by the staff. I don’t doubt that as I know his father from my professional life (he owns the Gateway Clipper Fleet) and he’s no pushover either. (more…)

December 28, 2014

From Now Onward

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players,Recruiting — Reed @ 9:58 am

Alright, we have dissected, diagnosed and disagreed for the past week on Paul Chryst’s tenure as the HC at PITT over the last three years.  We’ll keep doing so I’m sure but the last thread was 400 comments and trying to keep a decent conversation we can all follow with that many is impossible.

So, here is a new thread and what I’d like to see is our opinions and hopes about what Pat Narduzzi will bring to the PITT table given what we know about him, his track record as the DC at MSU and what he is stepping into in a few day at PITT.  What is he getting in terms of player’s talent, experience and potential, perhaps the most important of all considering he’ll almost surely be here at least three years, and what he can do on the recruiting trail from now until LOI Day?

Is the lack of a new AD for perhaps months, maybe even into the spring, going to impact his start here?  Will we really put out the big money for staff?

What do you see our play like in 2015 given our returning starters, our opponents and the fact that we’ll have a new coaching staff (I still think Rudolph goes to Wisconsin after the bowl game).

This will be fun and remember that we save all these comments so when Narduzzi departs in three years to be the DC at YSU we’ll have our opinions to look back on.

December 25, 2014

Our new Head Coach has been hired after what was a short and poorly kept secret search.  The PITT Search Committee floated some misdirection out by leaks here and there but since late last week it was narrowed down to Pat Narduzzi, the ex-defensive Coordinator for Big Ten’s Michigan State and basically no one else.

Love it or hate it,  in my opinion it smacks as same old, same old for PITT’s run of head coaches.  Not that I disagree or even dislike the choice, I’m OK with it actually, but it runs counter to what  PITT’s stated goal was after Chryst left.  That was to open the purses strings and make a “splash hire” by getting a successful guy who had already held a head coaching position in college and who knew how to handle to rigors of both on and off the field requirements of a large university’s football program.

The only variation, and it is a big one, is that the incoming HC won’t have to deal with the previous AD in Steve Pederson.  That right there gives Narduzzi a bump in the right direction.

But in essence it feels like we replicated almost exactly what we did three years ago when we hired Wisconsin’s Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst, taking the gamble that he’d have a successful transition to the Big Job.  A coordinator turned Head Coach who had stronger loyalties for another school other than PITT as we have just seen. Now we are doing it again with Narduzzi so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that times change as the personnel do and that the last three years are bettered under the new HC.


December 21, 2014

I wanted to let the dust from the recent PITT Football program shakeup settle a bit before I wrote down my thoughts about what transpired.  Since the end of the Miami game I checked out of football and went travelling around for a few weeks so I didn’t get back to looking at anything sports related until last week when I saw that Chryst would (certainly) be the new Wisconsin Head Coach.

Chas has kept up a fantastic running commentary of the breaking news and Justin has done some very interesting opinion pieces so now I’ll send in my two cents.

First off I believe a good thing happened when Chancellor Patrick Gallagher fired Steve Pederson from the Athletic Director position. I’ve said many times on here that it wouldn’t bother me one bit if ‘SP was gone tomorrow’ meaning that I’d probably have a neutral feeling about it.  That isn’t the case now though, it’s a positive feeling and that is due to the circumstances and timing of the events.

I especially like the fact of how the dismissal was timed as it sent a strong message that Gallagher himself would be more involved in the program than his predecessor, Mark Nordenberg, was.


October 29, 2014

That’s right. ACC basketball media day is today. Coach Jamie Dixon, James Robinson and Cameron Wright are down in Charlotte for the day.

The ACC is doing interviews and taking fan questions on Twitter with the hashtag #ACCTakeover . I don’t see any problems when UNC Coach Roy Williams gets his turn. What could go wrong?

There will be coverage on ESPNU and on all day today.


October 18, 2014

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

We met the Virginia Tech Hokies on the turf at Heinz Field on a rare nationally televised Thursday night game and came away with a very satisfying 21-16 win.  It was a close game and one that even to most optimistic of PITT fans had to doubts about as the 4th quarter unfolded.  The win puts us at 4-3 on the season with a 2-1 ACC conference record that is just about what we figured we’d have at this point of the season.  It is safe to say that we needed to start the second half of the season with a conference win if we want to have any chance at a Coastal Division championship.


1.  Our defense, again. When you hold a team, any team, to 26 yards rushing on 21 carries (1.2 ypc) and 2 of 14 on 3rd and 4th down conversion tries you are playing excellent defense.  That is the kind of stout play that results in low scores for the other team (16 points with three FGs) and a win.


October 3, 2014

Pitt Lands Jordan Whitehead

Filed under: Chryst,Football,Recruiting — Justin @ 1:53 pm

Pitt just landed what is at worst the second biggest commitment of the Chryst era in Jordan Whitehead. The four star cornerback from Central Valley (Monaca) chose Pitt over Ohio State, Penn State, and West Virginia. Whitehead is rumored to will be enrolling in January and could push for a starting position as a freshman. Also important is that Whitehead ends the run of bad luck in Beaver County for Pitt.

Celebrate the victory today and hope for another tomorrow, Pitt fans.

*Quick edit, the early enroll isn’t a rumor now, it’s confirmed.

September 23, 2014

(Note:  For some time I’ve been wanting to do a separate piece on Chad Voytik, his recruitment and what he was like in the camps and practices leading up to his winning the starting job.  This is that article and I’ll remind readers that if what I write isn’t a solid fact like a statistic or a direct quote then it is my opinion.   That said, here are Voytik’s current statistics:  He has started all four games and has a 3-1 record; He’s passed 48 completions in 79 attempts (60.8%) for 534 total yards and 133.5 ypg along with 5 TDs & 3 INTs for a 130.83 QB efficiency rating.)

 Now is the time, with four games into the 2014 regular season behind us, that we should take a minute to review the question marks we had going into this year and we all felt that QB play was the biggest of those.  Let’s look at the background and history that brought Voytik to his starting position at PITT and while we do that let’s also remember that Voytik has been in the program for over two years and is a first year starter at QB.

After attending some of the 2012 spring practices, and watching Voytik in practices and scrimmages since then, I’ve paid close attention to his play and skills because it wasn’t too hard to figure out that he would be our starting QB  sooner or later.  Sunseri was going into his last season at PITT back in ’12 and we had Trey Anderson as the only other valid QB on the roster for ’13.  Tom Savage wasn’t on PITT’s radar screen yet so the field was open for Voytik to fleet to being a rsFR starter in ‘13.


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