September 17, 2015

Know Your Enemy: Hawkeyes

Filed under: Football,Narduzzi,Opponent(s) — Justin @ 4:17 am

To quote Pat Narduzzi: the preseason is over. With wins over YSU and Akron, Pitt overcame some of the demons of the Chryst era with one last hurdle: beating Iowa. To be more specific, don’t blow a fourth quarter lead against Iowa, something both Paul Chryst and Fraud Graham did. Unfortunately, Iowa is already well-versed in the art of a fourth quarter comeback as the Hawkeyes broke a 17-17 tie late in the fourth quarter against Iowa State last week.

Let’s breakdown the Hawkeyes to see if they have another fourth quarter comeback in them. (more…)

September 16, 2015

(This is a long look at the current QB situation so far this season)

Pitt is in the midst of something we haven’t had in a very long time and that is a genuine quarterback competition being played out in real time and for the world to see.  We have been told there were competitions in the past but those were lip service to the media. This season however we are being treated to something this new staff feels is of uppermost priority, finding the QB which is the best overall for the team.  Here is background on the issue and some Q & As that may help to enlighten our fans as to what is and has been transpiring in this interesting development.

How did Pitt get the two principal QBs, Chad Voytik and Nate Peterman, on the roster?

For that we have to go back to 2011 when both Voytik and Peterman were in their senior years in high school.  Both players were star high school QBs and one left his hometown state of Tennessee to go to Pitt and the other kid left Florida to go to play his college ball in Tennessee.

In high school Chad Voytik was a 6’0” 192 lb running QB and played for the Cleveland Blue Raiders, located in Cleveland, TN, a small town of 42,000 located 30 miles northeast of Chattanooga and in the western foothill of the southern Great Smokey Mountains.

Voytik had a very good career there being named both an All-State player and a high school All-American.  He was a dual threat QB at Cleveland, passing for over 5,000 yards in his three years starting and was also a prolific runner.

Voytik was a four star (4*) player who was also ranked 4th nationally among senior QBs and the #1 player at any position in TN. Twelve other D1 schools wanted Voytik as a recruit including PSU, Clemson, Virginia, Syracuse and Louisville.  Those are all good football schools and play in competitive Power Five conferences.


September 15, 2015

September 14, 2015

Iowa Week

 PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Narduzzi Iowa Preview


Opening Remarks:

“We had a great win. Anytime you get a win, it’s a great one. It’s always good to win on the road. Akron was a good football team and I thought they were exceptional on the front seven—and that turned out to be true. There was some nasty weather, it was sloppy. Our kids had a great attitude they were [positive] going into it and played with it.

“I really thought our kids were locked in on the trip. It was a great job by both teams holding onto the ball, but we ended up being plus-one there which we needed. We always have to win the turnover ratio and we won the time possession as well. We had four drives of eight plays or more for our offense. Eight being the lowest, I believe we had a couple 10 or 13-play drives and that’s huge. That’s how you win the time possession and that’s what we lacked the week before. We kept making these explosive gains but we didn’t have that time possession. We would like to have both.

Here is the Akron game Play-by-Play so you can see those drives he’s talking about.


September 14, 2015


September 19, 2015 • 8 p.m., ET

Kinnick Stadium (70,585/FieldTurf) • Iowa City, Iowa

Big Ten Network • Pitt IMG Sports Radio Network • @GoPittFootball • #PITTvsIOWA

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (Iowa) – Fans, these are the in-depth game notes (Pitt two-deep, bios, etc…) and if you are watching the game they are a great thing to have in your hand for quick reference.  Here are some notable things going into the game. Note the shake up in the starters listed (CAPS is the 1st string):

Quarterback:  4 NATE PETERMAN JR*, 6’2”, 225 or 16 CHAD VOYTIK (JR*, 6-1, 215)

Tailback:  37 QADREE OLLISON FR*, 6’2”, 230; 5 Chris James (SO, 5-11, 210) or 22 Darrin Hall (FR, 5-11, 215)

Right Tackle:  70 BRIAN O’NEILL (FR*, 6-6, 290) OR 78 ALEX BOOKSER (FR*, 6-6, 310);  72 Carson Baker (SO*, 6-5, 325)

Strong Safety:  9 JORDAN WHITEHEAD FR, 5’11, 185 OR 25 PAT AMARA JR. SO, 6’2”;  195 26 Jevonte Pitts (JR*, 5-11, 200)

Defensive End: 92 RORI BLAIR SO, 6’4”, 240;  52 Shakir Soto (JR, 6-3, 265);  48 Zach Poker (SO*, 6-4, 235)


September 13, 2015


(Here is something to get the blood flowing a bit; The highlights from ESPN3’s coverage of Pitt win against Akron )

On Saturday night in the cold and rainy rubber capital of the world, Akron, Ohio our Pitt Panthers won a non-conference  game against the Mid-America Conference Akron Zips. The final score was 24-7 and helped to erase the lingering bad taste in fans’ mouths from the loss we suffered last season when the Zips handily beat us in our home stadium 21-10.

We played this game much better than that one.

Aside from the win itself, which brings new Head Coach Pat Narduzzi’s team to a 2-0 record, a dramatic story line developed that may be more important in the long run than the actual victory.  That would be the blooming competition between Chad Voytik and Nate Peterman to determine who is going to be the starting QB after we finish the Iowa game (next Saturday in Iowa at 8:00 pm broadcast on the Big Ten Network) and move on to our ACC conference opponents.


September 12, 2015

Pitt doesn’t kick off until 6pm. That seemed good up until last night when the rains came and temperatures plummeted. Now it looks to be raining on-and-off all day and into game time. Temperatures in the 50s. That’s what it will be like — at best — for most of Pitt’s home games that are back-loaded into November. So excited to get an early preview.

Still looking forward to heading down for the game. Much shorter drive than going to Pittsburgh. Not much for tailgating, but it is Akron. Hardly a destination city. Probably still better than being in the Muni lots for a Browns game.



September 11, 2015

Health and Clearance

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Injury — Chas @ 12:32 pm

Somewhere this week, a bit of basketball had to be posted. Between Conner’s injury news at the beginning and the Backyard Brawl at the end, there was always something a little more breaking to post. Now, here we are a little more than 24 hours to a football game and you are looking at a basketball post.

Starting with the news yesterday that Damon Wilson was academically cleared by the NCAA. The news was initially tweeted out by Jeff Goodman of But there could be more.


The day before the game is a good time to sit back in your chair and take a long look at all your scribbled notes you have been jotting down, when you should have been working, about what you have read, seen and heard about the upcoming Pitt vs. Akron game.   It’s time to look at what you know and feel and start thinking hard about what you believe we’ll see come out of Zips hometown of Akron, Ohio on Saturday night.

To recap: Justin did a great piece on Thursday with his “Know Your Enemy: Akron Zips” article.  It succinctly covered Zips offense and their defense and then he adds his thoughts about the game in closing.  Justin’s prediction is this

Pitt wins an ugly one 24-13 thanks to a few turnovers from the defense and a smart yet boring day from the offense which avoids any big mistakes. Tyler Boyd turns something into nothing once or twice to open it up for the running game to be just good enough to control the game.”

Here is a little something to help you in recapping the YSU win but remember that this shows only Pitt’s highlight and none of the lowlights as they say.


September 10, 2015

Backyard Brawl Back

Filed under: Football,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 2:07 pm

Good hate is so hard to find. Playing Penn State is important. In the grand scheme of things, they remain Pitt’s primary object of hate. But there is room in my heart to hate more than one team. And a chance to see that hate expressed against the Hoopies on the field once more is a good thing.

It was just a matter of time, and honestly having both schools changing ADs helped this happen. There was more than a little acrimony on that front as well.

Pitt and WVU will play a 4-game home-and home. Pitt hosts in 2022 and 2024. Travels to the godforsaken land of Morgantown in 2023 and 2025.


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 9, 2015

James Conner’s Decisions

Filed under: Football,Players — Reed @ 4:35 pm

His Eligibility:

I just want to clarify  some misconceptions Pitt fans may have regarding our star running back James Conner’s eligibility if he sits out the rest of the year due to his knee injury and subsequent surgery.  We have been reading comment questions about whether or not James Conner can use this season as an automatic “injury redshirt“.  Here are a few things to understand as this term is misleading.

There really is no such thing as a ‘injury redshirt” per se… there are just regular redshirt seasons with a possible medical waiver at the end of his four years – once that is granted that additional year is called a “Medical Waiver year”.  What can and does happen sometimes is that a player can petition the NCAA for a 5th year if in one of his four years (not counting his redshirt year) he gets hurt before the team played 30% of its regular season.

Here is what Conner is looking at right now.  If he sits out this season 2015 (this year) it will be treated as a regular year of eligibility used because he played in a regular season game.  Since he also played games in 2013 & ’14 and this season if he chooses to come back in 2016 he will be a Senior. This cannot be a redshirt year at all.


Familiar names on the Zips team. No, not just Tra’von Chapman. One of their wide receivers has a very familiar name and has made an impression.

Passing wasn’t going to come easy to the Zips offense against the Sooners.

However, what little bit of promise displayed in that area came from the performance of Jerome Lane Jr. The former Firestone High School standout, caught three passes for 57 yards, including a long reception of 42 yards. However, coach Terry Bowden pumped the brakes on praising Lane just yet.

“If Jerome Lane would stay focused and learn his assignments and do the little things, he could be good at any one position on either side of the ball,” Bowden said.

It might also help if the coaching staff settled on where they want to use him. Last year, Lane was playing linebacker for the Zips. It doesn’t seem likely he will go back to the defense given the issues for Akron in the passing game. Akron quarterbacks completed only 6 passes for 88 yards the entire game (Chapman was 0-8).


September 8, 2015

Here is the Pitt media release info doctored up with some additional graphics and information…

First off here is HC Pat Narduzzi’s Monday afternoon press conference.


"You lookin' at me?"

“You lookin’ at me?”

September 12, 2015 • 6 p.m., ET

InfoCision Stadium (30,000/ProGrass) • Akron, Ohio
ESPN3 • Pitt IMG Sports Radio Network • @GoPittFootball • #PITTvsAkron

PDF LINK: Complete Pitt Game Notes (Akron)


With the fine work by Justin and Reed, there isn’t much left for me to do at this point.

The pall cast over things with James Conner’s injury is noticeable. He’s having surgery, and because of the very cautious approach, he will not be coming back this season.

But Narduzzi said he had no problem coming to the conclusion that Conner needs to get the torn medial collateral ligament repaired immediately, regardless of the ramifications to the team.

Surgery is scheduled this week and will be performed by Dr. Volker Musahl, medical director at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine. Musahl also performed knee surgery last year on Pitt center Artie Rowell.

MCL injuries typically heal between one to two weeks and four to six weeks, Charleston, S.C., sports medicine specialist and knee surgeon Dr. David Geier said.

That timetable would allow the MCL to heal nonsurgically and give Conner, the reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year, a chance to return before the end of the season.

Narduzzi, however, said such a plan wasn’t considered.

“There are different ways to deal with it,” he said. “When you look at it for his sake and his health, doctors make that call. Ultimately, James makes that call. Certainly, it’s not a coach making that call.

“As a coach and a father, (for) his best interests and his future, he needs to get it repaired now.

“They could brace it up for five or six weeks and see how it works, and (Pitt could) lose him for half a season, but I don’t think that’s right for him, as a player and his future. He’s a guy who wants to play. If he could tape it up and go, he would.”

Narduzzi added, “There’s no question what the right thing to do was.”

Geier, who has no first-hand knowledge of Conner’s situation, said surgery “makes sense for a running back” because of the cutting and lateral motion required of players at that position.

Often, linemen who suffer such injuries are able to return in the same season.

As Narduzzi points out, this is about his future. First and foremost. If he were to try and just rest and rehab it, he could comeback this season, but that greatly puts his future in question and risks re-injuring it.


September 7, 2015

Conner Out for the Year

Filed under: Football,Injury — Chas @ 11:11 am

Sorry to pop this over Reed’s new piece, but this is big, bad news.

Pat Narduzzi’s 12:30 pres conference dropped a bombshell.

Jame’s Conner’s “minor” knee injury that held him out of the rest of the YSU game as a precaution, turned out to be anything but.

It is an MCL injury to his right knee that will have him out for the rest of the year.

Horrible break for the kid. Not good for Pitt, but minor by comparison.

Odds are that first half against Youngstown State was the last we will get to see of James Conner on the field wearing Pitt. Next time he plays, it will almost certainly be in the NFL.

Here’s hoping for a full and successful recovery.

Powered by WordPress ©

Site Meter