September 10, 2015

Know Your Enemy: Akron Zips

Filed under: Uncategorized — Justin @ 4:54 am

Redemption Tour 2015 resumes this Saturday when Pitt travels to Akron (WTF Steve Pederson???) to take on the Zips. Last year’s game against Akron was the low point of Pitt’s 2014 season and unfortunately the factors that were in play that caused the upset last season are still in place. Last year, Akron ran the ball well with Conor Hundley (19 carries for 148 yards) and stifled James Conner to one of his worst games of the season.

This year looks a lot like last year for the Zips. Conor Hundley returns for his senior year and the Akron run defense held Oklahoma to a mere 3.0 yards per carry. That includes a poor game from RB Samaje Perine (11 carries for 33 yards) who had 1713 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2014. Oklahoma struggled early but picked it up once Baker Mayfield and the passing game got it together en route to a 41-3 victory.

Make no mistake, Akron is a mediocre team. Unfortunately they’re a mediocre team that matches up well with Pitt. Pitt had two Achilles heels last season that appear to still exist in 2015: struggle if the running game isn’t working on offense and a defense susceptible to big plays. Last year Akron had plays of 42 and 52 on its touchdown drives and with Pitt’s offense unable to run the ball they couldn’t respond. Against Youngstown State, when the running game struggled, the offense sputtered and the defense gave up two back-breaking plays that could’ve cost them the game.

Oklahoma had the talent on offense to overcome an experienced front seven for Akron. Does Pitt? Let’s break down Akron’s offense and defense. (more…)

September 5, 2015

The Blather’s Pre-Game Watering Hole

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 4:13 am

Guys, we’ll meet at Bettis’ Grille before the Pitt win.

I’m leaving home now (5:00 am) and will get to Red 1 parking at about 10:30. One stop at another tailgate and I’ll be at Bettis’ by 11:30… I think.  Again, I’m 6’6″ tall, longer hair and I’m wearing a blue polo shirt with script “Blather” in gold on the front.  Scan heads and mine is the one sticking up.

This will be a good day all around I think.  I can’t wait to meet everyone and I think we’ll come out with a win… Hey, no matter the score any win is a good one right?

Hail to Pitt!


August 25, 2015

Pitt LiveWire Practice #15

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 8:52 am

(From the Pitt LiveWire Practice #15 Press Release)

MULTIMEDIA: Pitt Live Wire Blog

VIDEO: Coach Pat Narduzzi

VIDEO: Defensive Line Coach Tom Sims

VIDEO: Defensive Tackle Tyrique Jarrett

VIDEO: Defensive Tackle Khaynin Mosley-Smith

Coach Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement:

“Saturday we had a nice scrimmage. We stayed pretty healthy getting through that, which is obviously always a main concern. You still hit, but you try to stay healthy. We had some big hits out there as well, but it was a good scrimmage. We got a lot done and we’ll just try to get three percent better today.”

On balancing keeping players healthy while getting them ready for the season:

“There’s some guys you need to see and there’s some guys who’ve made an impact already. You try to protect those guys, and there’s some guys who need work. There’s a fine line, but you have to go out and work. It’s just like the pros in preseason games. I mean, the guys are going to go out and you have to play. I didn’t watch the [Steelers] game, but I’m sure Ben [Roethlisberger] didn’t play the whole time. So you’re getting the guys that need to get reps and find out who your two-deep is going to be as you look at the season.”


August 13, 2015

(to follow on from this article’s Part 1.  If you haven’t read that please do so now and this piece will make more sense.)

I did grab James Conner after a while and had a nice talk with him.  I started out by asking him if he was going to let any of the other running backs get carries this season and he said “I hope so, they are real good”.  But what I really stopped him for was to let him know I just had a long conversation with his ‘step’ father Mike Gallagher and it was so obvious that Mike was proud of everything Conner has done since he was a kid.

There really was more to the conversation with Mike Gallagher, who has a strange back story himself, than just his pride in his surrogate son.  Mike is dealing with a serious case of diabetes and will need a kidney transplant sooner than later. I mentioned to him that I was all set for surgery last year for transplanting my kidney to my next door neighbor friend.  That conversation between Mike and I happened at around 9:30 am.

When I got home from Pittsburgh I found out that a kidney had become available for my friend and the hospital’s transplant team called him to tell him at 9:30 – the same time Mike and I were talking about it.  That surgery went well and my friend’s on his way to normal times.

Life is surely inexplicable sometimes, isn’t it?  I mention all that because I told Conner that his work with the kidney foundation is going to pay off big time soon.  I think Conner had expected another stock interview and was pretty happy to have an honest man to man conversation instead.  He’s lost weigh and looks fantastic.


July 3, 2015

Heading out this afternoon to see family. Unless something big happens, I’m not going to be getting back on the computer until Tuesday.

Going to pull a few tabs I’ve been meaning to hit (two for quite a while).


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.




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*


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.

May 11, 2015

They Keep Rolling In

Filed under: Coaches,Players,Uncategorized — Reed @ 9:01 am

There is a palatable sense of excitement surrounding the hire of Narduzzi and his staff and with the way Narduzzi and the PITT admin have used the social media, new technology and good old fashioned flesh pressing to make that happen. This is making the ramp-up to August and the beginning of fall camp where personnel issues will shake out and then onto the actual season, a time when our collective hopes and wishes may start to come true.  However…

Maybe it is because we have not much else to talk about or maybe it is because this staff keeps adding players we don’t expect to see onto the roster but there has been a lot of talk about Narduzzi’s ‘recruiting expertise’ and his ‘desire’ on here and the message boards.

The things I’m hear most often are that “this staff knows talent” and “this staff wants to win right away.” I get the win right away concept with him, although someone has yet to show me a HC who didn’t want to win right away. But I’m shaky on those other attributes we are attributing to him.

The real kicker is this. How do we know that “this staff knows talent” when every kid they have brought on board the roster by themselves so far has either been listed as 3*s or below or are regurgitations from others teams?


April 30, 2015

Pitt and the NFL Draft

Filed under: Draft,Football,Uncategorized — Justin @ 5:00 am

Two years ago I upset a few people when I declared no Pitt players would be drafted. It was difficult to admit that Ray Graham’s knee severely hindered his draft prospects but it was reality. Graham went undrafted and has struggled to stick in the NFL. This year that won’t be an issue thanks to TJ Clemmings. The question is whether or not a second player will be drafted.  (more…)

April 17, 2015

Spring Game Meeting Plan & Other Notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 4:00 pm

It looks like the “Gathering of the Blathering” will be a post-game soiree at Bar Louie’s with a stop at the Sheraton bar along the way.

Here is the address for Bar Louie’s in Station Square.

240 W Station Square Dr
Pittsburgh, PA
(412) 394-0500

From the map it looks like it is about two blocks east of the eastern parking lots of Riverhound stadium; in walking you would pass The Gateway Clipper Fleet entrance (owned by which PITT LB’s Father?), then past the Sheraton Hotel where we will refuel, then one more block to Bar Louie’s. It looks to be on the waterfront and hard to miss.

I probably won’t hang out on the field after the game for the interview so I think if we all meet at the corner of West Station Square Dr. and the entrance to the Gateway Clipper place (where the sidewalks looks to be red brick) right after the game ends then we’ll muster and go from there.

Again, here is the Google Map of where we will be after the game.

Looking forward to see you all…

Last Southside Practice Notes:

The P-G has an article on what has been the main topic of spring practice when it comes to future position battles. Yes, Bradley and Caprara again.  Here is an interesting quote on two points; first what he says about ‘others’ and second about the simplification of the read/react responsibilities under Narduzzi and Conklin:

He played in just four games last year and had five tackles. With a new staff in place, Caprara is taking advantage of the clean slate.

“I’m just seizing my opportunity,” he said. “I feel like in the past it was kind of unstable, people were bouncing around left and right and I think some people were looking out for themselves more than others. That’s how it was. But now I think I have a better situation than I did last year.” He also added that Narduzzi’s defense is simpler than systems he ran in the past.

“Last year, we had five or six alignments for each linebacker position,” Caprara said. “This year, it’s maybe two.”

Switch over to the Tribune-Reviews article on the last practice and we read about, not surprisingly, Nick Grigsby working at the Strongside Linebacker spot.  In following what is a nice storyline this spring, that being forgotten players by the old staff being worked as starting contenders now, DiPaola has this to say:

One of the highlights of the spring has been coaches giving several players, ignored by the previous staff, daily opportunities.

They include three juniors and a senior:

• Mike Caprara at money linebacker, where he is flipping on and off the first team with junior Bam Bradley.

• Nose guard Tyrique Jarrett, who is sharing time with senior K.K. Mosley Smith.

• Strong safety Jevonte Pitts, who makes his mark with physicality. For the moment, he has stepped ahead of sophomore Patrick Amara, who is out with an illness, but both players plan on the competition resuming this summer.

• Ejuan Price, a senior previously plagued by injury who could help ease a depth crisis at defensive end.

One common thread is that Caprara, Mosley-Smith, Pitts and Price went to Woodland Hills, but the other is all of them give the defense hope.

I’ve been waiting for Jarrett and Caprara to get decent chances since they were recruited.  I am also pulling for Taleni to get in there somehow because of the sentimental Hawai’i connection I have but he’s been virtually invisible.

Here is an older but good read from the Indiana Gazette on the plans for Conner to be more active with other aspects of the game.  The writer forgot to list the possibility of Conner switching to the Nose Tackle position now that we’ve seen the DE position come out of extremis:

Pitt junior running back James Conner is a workhorse. In his sophomore year, he reset the record books with 26 rushing touchdowns, and his 1,765 yards rushing were the fourth-highest total in school history.  Yet for all of Conner’s heavy workload — he averaged nearly 23 carries a game — there was something missing. The reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year had only five catches for 70 receiving yards. It’s a stat Conner and first-year offensive coordinator Jim Chaney would like to improve in 2015.

“It was obvious when I came out of the game what was going to happen,” Conner said. “I will still get my fair share of carries. I need to just try to expand my game.”  Conner said he didn’t have extensive knowledge of the passing offense a year ago. Conner figured his main job was to ground and pound his way through any defense that was thrown at him. He is working to fix that during spring drills.

“I had a little trouble learning the playbook,” Conner said. “My role was to be successful running the ball. It is exciting. I haven’t had a receiving touchdown since I have been here, so hopefully I will get one this year.”

Here is what I’ll be closely looking at the on Saturday; who looks good for that WR2 and WR3 position, how does Bertke look in his first ‘starting’ role, Who is separating themselves at the DE spot and how good is our special teams play.

OK… Off to PGH for construction duty for a friend then the ball game on Saturday.  Hope to see anyone who can get down to Riverhound stadium for the scrimmage and let’s keep our fingers crossed for no injuries.

April 7, 2015

Huh, He’s Not Fooling Me!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 3:29 pm

Spring Game anyone?

January 24, 2015

Binge Link Clearance Time

Filed under: Football,Uncategorized — Chas @ 9:48 pm

The links have piled up something fierce. Time to dump some.

First up. Social media. If you are doing the twitter thing, here’s the list of follows for Pitt football. The coaches, the support staff, etc.


January 12, 2015

Open Thread: CFB Championship Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 6:15 pm

Thankfully my son hasn’t asked for any Buckeye gear. I was legitimately worried about that living in Ohio and the lead-in to to tonight. I think the saving grace was school being cancelled from Wednesday to Friday last week. Meant not having any of the perfidious peer pressure brought to bear for the whole week. Instead, just one day back and the game tonight.

Have to break out the ladder and clean the satellite tonight. The snow today, seems to have disrupted the signal. Usually it hasn’t been a problem, but of course tonight there is an issue.

Presumably most of us will be watching the game on ESPN2 so we can hear Pat Narduzzi talk about the game with some other coach whose agent tried to use the Pitt job for leverage in another job. Along with Chris Speilman and and Tom Luginbill.

I still want Narduzzi to use the time to announce another coach he’s hired. Just for fun.

October 16, 2014

Virginia Tech Predictions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 5:11 am

PITT vs Va Tech – at Heinz Field, under the lights and in front of 345 screaming fans…

What do you think happens?

I think we lose a close one – 23-17

October 2, 2014

ACC Previews

Filed under: Uncategorized — Justin @ 11:00 am

This Saturday is the first big weekend for ACC in-conference games. As of right now, only Miami has played more than one ACC opponent in the Coastal and somehow only three of seven teams have no losses. After the Pitt-UVA game, that number will be no more than two. In fact, UVA or Pitt could be standing alone at the top of the division if Miami defeats Georgia Tech on the road, a reasonable conclusion. Let’s take a look at the other ACC Coastal matchups as well as future opponent Syracuse. (more…)

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