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April 17, 2016

Some Spring Game Pics

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 10:18 am

A perfect day. Almost blindingly sunny. Especially after all the gray in the past weeks. Got to go to the Spring Game as a fan and dad. Really great day topped off with some Aiello’s pizza and Dave & Andy’s ice cream.

Did get to snap off a few shots of the game.

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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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No Bostick In Booth

Filed under: Football,Media,Radio — Chas @ 7:18 am

Well, this is a surprise. Pat Bostick won’t be filling the analyst role on the Pitt football radio broadcasts this year. He’s going to focus on his other job as the Director of Development for the Panther Club. More with the fundraising aspect.

Coming back to the booth is Billy Osborn.

Osborn has been highly active in broadcasting over the past dozen years. He called college football games for the Comcast Network and also did color for the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul. Osborn is co-host of the “OZZIE and KRAUSEY SHOW,” which can be heard on ESPN 610 AM Sports Radio in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area.

A four-year football letterman at Pitt (1985-88), Osborn was a quarterback and defensive back before settling in as a three-year starting wide receiver. He finished his collegiate career with 77 receptions for 1,104 yards (14.3 avg.) and nine touchdowns. In addition to football, he also lettered in baseball and basketball, becoming the first Pitt student-athlete to letter in three varsity sports since Mike Ditka.

Osborn previously served as the analyst for Pitt football from 1995-2003.

More from Pat Bostick.

Bostick, the former Pitt quarterback, served as color analyst the past five seasons. He joined the Panther Club staff in 2011 and has continued to assume elevated roles for Pitt’s official athletics fundraising office.

“It has been an honor to call Pitt football games alongside the legendary Bill Hillgrove,” Bostick said. “I will forever owe a debt a gratitude to Bill for his friendship, professionalism and introducing me to broadcasting. While I’ll miss being in the booth, I’m very excited about taking the next step in my professional journey. I want to welcome Billy Osborn back to the broadcast team and thank our athletic director Scott Barnes and the entire Pitt family for giving me the opportunity to continue serving the great University of Pittsburgh.”

Bostick did a fantastic job in the booth. A little disappointed that he won’t keep doing it.

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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In case you missed it, Donald Trump endorsed necromancy, Lynn Swann is the AD of USC, and Tubby Smith is going to Memphis after Pastner went to GT. All boggle the mind in different ways.

In the realm of sanity, the coaching staff for Kevin Stallings looks pretty damn good with the final hire.

University of Pittsburgh head coach Kevin Stallings announced the addition of Kevin Sutton to his staff Wednesday afternoon. Sutton joins Tom Richardson and Jeremy Ballard as an assistant coach for the Panthers after spending the previous three seasons at Georgetown.

“I got to know Kevin in 2007-08 when we were recruiting one of his players out of Montverde Academy,” said Stallings. “He has a wealth of experience and is an excellent teacher and mentor. Kevin is well connected in the recruiting world particularly at the prep school level and within the ACC footprint. When you ask people in the profession about Kevin the feedback is extremely positive and flattering. I am very excited to have him on our staff.”

Sutton, a coaching veteran with 27 years of experience, joined the Georgetown staff in 2013. He helped the Hoyas to a 55-44 record with a pair of postseason appearances. In his second year with the program, Sutton saw the Hoyas go 22-11 overall and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Sutton arrived at Georgetown following two seasons as an assistant coach under Mike Lonergan at George Washington. He also had a pair of two-year stints as an assistant coach at both James Madison and Old Dominion.

In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Sutton coached at five nationally-ranked high school programs – Flint Hill Prep, Harker Prep, St. John’s Prospect Hall, Montrose Christian and Montverde Academy – amassing a 489-102 record and winning two national championships. In 1998, he was the associate head coach on the USA Today Super 25 National Championship team and in 2007, he was the head coach of the Montverde Academy Hoops.com National Championship team. He also coached Montrose Christian and Montverde to second place finishes in national championship tournaments.

Sutton has also been selected as a coach for USA Basketball on three different occasions.

Given where he was an assistant and the prep schools he coached, Sutton will be a strong presence for Pitt in the Baltimore-DC area.

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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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Spring Game A Few Days Away

Filed under: Fans,Football,Practice — Chas @ 7:41 am

Reed has killed it for football coverage this spring. Much, much appreciation.

I’ll be making my first Blue-Gold game in far too long. Going as a fan/parent (bringing the boy with me) for this one. Hopefully I’ll be able to convince the kid to let me stop by for at least one drink before all the other activities.

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April 12, 2016

Don’t Turn Out the Lights

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 9:18 pm

Sleep well, tonight.

ManyMascots

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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April 9, 2016

The local media and we here on the Blather have been in some serious discussions about our current QB corps.  The reason for that is that coming out of spring practices there is some real trepidation about who will be the back-up QB in case starter Nate Peterman goes down with an injury.

The main questions seem to be “Can Pitt recruit good quarterbacks?” and the answer is… it depends.

That’s a loaded question and really has two ways to be answered; first is can we land highly rated QB recruits and second, can we get our recruited QBs to play at the expected level or even exceed that?

These discussions led me to want to review the last 15 years of our QBs, both those we recruited and those we placed on the roster via transferring in from another program.  So, I did some digging and came up with the table below.

Before you get too deep into it here are some notes on it. The ‘Year” is the recruiting class.  The numbers in parentheses are the highest national recruit ranking for the QB position the player received – I used the higher of two if the player was ranked by both Rivals and Scouts.

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April 7, 2016

Spring Practice #11

Filed under: Football,Media,Players — Reed @ 9:15 pm

Before we get into this next video let’s review which numbers our five QBs are wearing:

#3 – Ben DiNucci;   #4 – Nate Peterman;   #7 – Adam Bertke;   #8 – Manny Stocker;  and #15- Ryan Adzima.  That’s our Murder’s Row going coming out of spring practices in a week.  I post those because Pitt has a nice 2+ minute video highlighting our new OC Matt Canada working with the QBs and WRs.

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Well, it isn’t just The Pitt Blather talking about Manny Stocker rise through the ranks.  The Post-Gazette’s Craig Myer has a nice article on him also.  Check this part closely:

 After an experiment at wide receiver in 2015, his first with the Panthers, Stocker once again is playing quarterback, the position he has played virtually his entire career. He also has been reunited with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, with whom he spent one season at North Carolina State in 2013.

It’s a strange return to normalcy in some ways, but there’s also a certain solace for Stocker as he works to make an impact in a quarterbacks group that, outside of starter Nate Peterman, largely lacks experience.

The reason I clipped that quote is that we have seen Pat Narduzzi not hesitate to look at his roster and make decisions based on the talent at hand.  It is one thing when a phenom like Jordan Whitehead, a highly rated and sought after recruit, walks into camp and claims a starting job.  Many other coaches do that in allowing true FR to start playing right away. But Narduzzi sat down an established starting QB in his first year in a HC position.

Showing of course that every position on the team is truly up for grabs.

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April 6, 2016

Some movement on Kevin Stallings coaching staff. The only sure things were that Stallings was bringing his longtime assistant Tom Richardson with him. And that none of the old Pitt assistants would be on the staff. There is now some debate on the nature of what Brandin Knight was offered to be an assistant.

Stallings said discussions with longtime Panthers assistant and former player Brandin Knight included a “sizeable pay raise” and touched on changing his title to associate head coach, but Knight declined to pursue other options.

Prior to Stallings statement, it was assumed that Richardson was going to be associate head coach (top assistant) as he was at Vandy.

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