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October 8, 2014

Serious Troll Move

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s),Schedule — Chas @ 6:25 am

I may be in the minority on at least wanting the Backyard Brawl on some sort of rotation for the football non-con (good hate is so hard to find), so a home-and-(delayed)-home with Marshall isn’t exactly the same. But given Marshall’s relationship with WVU, and the outrage it is generating south of Pittsburgh. Well, I have to respect a scheduling troll move like that.

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October 6, 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.)

These MMQB articles are getting harder and harder to write given the inconsistencies of our coaching staff’s decisions, our team’s efforts and our individual player’s success’ and failures, even from play to play sometimes.  I’m still not sure exactly what caliber of PITT football team we have this season.   I’ll put down some more personal opinions at the end of this article.

POSITIVES

1.  Todd Thomas’ play at OLB on defense. He came rigged to play last night and ended up with 12 total tackles; seven unassisted, five assisted with one tackle for loss, most of which seemed to come in crucial situations. He was all over the field and at least two of his tackles stopped important 3rd down conversion attempts.  There is a lot of fan discussion this morning about how DC House is substituting for Thomas in certain situations, most specifically passing downs and against the spread formations we have seen in some past games.

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October 4, 2014

Very underrated part of this season — at least from my perspective –no games landing right on a high holy day. I am reasonably certain that one home game every year landed on one of those three days. Got past Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur ends at sundown — 30 minutes before the game today. Granted that means I will start drinking after no food or drink for 24 hours, but what could go wrong?

Hate to say it is a must win for Pitt, but it may well be. The idea of riding a 3-game losing streak into a bye week and then facing VT on Thursday night to try and snap out of it. That should give Coach Paul Chryst night terrors.

Pitt somehow needs the O-line to step up huge tonight for the offense to have a chance. James Conner can’t run if there’s no room, and Chad Voytik won’t even have a chance to upset fans if he is constantly blitzed and pressured.

Then there is a defense that has faded so badly in the second half of two straight games. I don’t expect a wild crowd from Virginia. Even in the best of times, the folks in Charlottesville aren’t exactly the rowdiest.

 

Link Run Before Hoos

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 11:35 am

Open Thread will be tossed up a little closer to game time. 7:30 on Root Sports if you want the early reminder.

The glow from the good news of Jordan Whitehead’s verbal is still there, but it is giving way to the reality of this game.

Starting with the bad news, the O-line is going to be down another starter for the game. Left Tackle Adam Bisnowaty has been suspended for the game for violation of team rules. It is a one game suspension, and no other information as to the why is being given.

Jarryd Jones-Smith will be starting in his place. Jones-Smith has seen a good amount of playing time this year at that position. He has been rotated in there with Bisnowaty moved to guard and Dorian Johnson coming out of the game.

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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.

Passing the Time On Friday

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 7:44 am

Man, a livestream of Jordan Whitehead’s announcement today at 2:30. You know, because those livestream announcements have gone so well for Pitt fans. I don’t know what the kid will do. He has played it close to the vest. He hasn’t tried to mess with the fan bases. He has his choices narrowed. I hope it is Pitt, but I won’t wish him ill if he doesn’t.

That said, man o man does Pitt and Chryst need him. And they really need to get some talent for the defense.

In the meantime…

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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…)

October 1, 2014

Slouching Towards Basketball

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 1:46 pm

That’s right basketball practices start to get underway. On Friday, it’s the annual Oakland Zoo Scrimmage. It actually appears to be a really fun thing for the students (and fans that can make it).

Pitt fans and the Oakland Zoo student cheering section will get their first glimpse of the 2014-15 Pitt Basketball team when the program hosts its annual Oakland Zoo Scrimmage on Friday, Oct. 3 at the Petersen Events Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the scrimmage begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Parking is available for $5.00 in the OC Lot.

All Oakland Zoo members are encouraged to arrive early due to pre-scrimmage festivities. Oakland Zoo tee-shirts with the new logo will be on sale in the Team Store. All students in the arena by 6 p.m. will have the opportunity to take a photo with the Pitt Basketball team for the 2014-15 team poster and pre-game intro video. Zoo members must have their tee-shirts on and be in their seats at 6 p.m. Oakland Zoo members will receive loyalty points for attendance and will have the opportunity to be a guest coach on the benches with the team.

The scrimmage will tipoff at 7 p.m. The Panthers will likely play two 16 minute halves.

Immediately following the scrimmage, the Pitt Basketball team will hold its annual pizza party and meet and greet for the Oakland Zoo on the floor.

Pitt’s media day is the day before. Thursday. The full schedule is now complete — including times and TV/Internet broadcast schedule. I’m a little relieved that the there is no internet or TV broadcast for the Hawaii game. Midnight (East Coast) start time on Thursday/Friday would be rough to stay awake and watch. Let alone function at work that day.

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Past PITT QBs’ Ground Games

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s),Players — Reed @ 3:00 am

(Note: “Fun with Stats!” again – there maybe some small math errors and lapses in info from RR’s years but this is a pretty accurate take on this subject.)

We have spent a good amount of time discussing Chad Voytik’s short career as a starter with both articles and hundreds of reader’s comments. We have talked about his past, his time since coming to PITT, his winning the starting job and his performance in that position through the first five games of this 2014 season.

What has been one common thread in those discussions is Voytik’s ability to move well with the football.  That includes called rollouts on passing plays, called running plays where he is the primary ball carrier and scrambles away from the defensive line pressure.

His box score with ‘ball in hand’ is as follows:

Opponent Rush Attempts Yards YPC Long TDs
Delaware 2 11 5.5 7 0
BC 6 47 7.8 23 0
FIU 12 144 9.5 40 1
Iowa 5 6 1.2 15 0
Akron 8 7 0.9 15 0

So on the season, adding back the sack yardage (-38 yards) which comes off the top of his rushing totals, he’s has 33 carries for 253 yards at a 7.66 ypc clip with a long of 40 and one TD.

QB Games Played Rush Attempts Yards YPC YPG TDs
Voytik 5 28 253 9.0 50.6 1

Now that is his production when he has the ball in his hand and makes a positive move to pick up yards on the ground, and is what I consider a basis when talking about a QBs running ability His stats in this are very good.  He accounts for almost 20% of PITT’s 1,347 yards rushing total to date.

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September 30, 2014

The Flaccid Response

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 5:58 am

Don’t think there will be much more concern that the players are starting to believe their own clippings — at least as far as being a sneaky, good team.

Of the many things that Pitt did wrong on Saturday, the thing that still has me most upset — as opposed to bothered, worried, angsting, etc. — it was just how unconcerned the team was the entire game. Whether it was the flat way the team came out and stayed for the entire first half. The lack of urgency as the team kept slipping further behind in the second half.

It almost seemed as if the team was just waiting for Akron to collapse for them. That they didn’t have to bring any effort to beat the Zips. Even as they were shooting themselves in the foot with bad penalties, poor execution and bad game plans. There didn’t even seem to be frustration on the sidelines. Plenty in the stands, but the sideline was a little too stoic in the face of humiliation.

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September 29, 2014

Quicksand

Filed under: ACC,Athletic Department,Chryst,Embarrassing,Football — Justin @ 9:44 am

There’s a scene in Oscar-snubbed film “The Replacements” where Coach McGinty (played by Gene Hackman) asks his NFL replacement players what they’re most afraid of. After some typical responses, QB Shane Falco (played by the enigmatic Keanu Reeves) hits the nail on the head:

Quicksand (more…)

September 28, 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.)

I tried to tell myself to wait until Monday to do this edition of this series but for a few personal (travel) reasons I just can’t put it off.  This will be short but not sweet as there aren’t many positives to talk about at all. We had our asses handed to us by the freakin’ Akron Zips of the MAC conference! That says it all really.   I’ll put down some more personal opinions at the end of this article.

POSITIVES

1.  Our kicking game continues to do well. Punter Ryan Winslow was tasked with punting seven times due to the ineptitude of our offense and had a 42.1 ypp average. His longest was 49 yards; he put two punts inside Akron’s 20 yard line, had one touchback and two fair catches.  That leaves another positive in that two of his punts were returned for a total of 10 yards, which means our Punting Team covered well.  Our own punt return team didn’t fare so well and looked like the Two Stooges at one point.  This one play is burned forever into my eyeballs.

Chris Blewitt stayed his good kicking self as he went 1/1 on a 34 yard FG and kicked off three times for three touchbacks. When a kicker can limit the opponent’s starting field position to their own 25 yards line that’s playing well.  So far on the season Blewitt is 7/7 for 21 points and has completed 19 of 20 PATs for a total of 40 points.

2.  Hmmm, let’s see.  Ok – RB Rachid Ibrahim continues to shine in his very limited role. He had three catches out of the backfield for 40 yards, a 13 yarder which was and a 26 yarder, both for 1st downs and all YAC, and one rushing attempt for 10 yards.  His abilities to run with the ball are as good as Boyd’s so use Ibrahim more and don’t rely on Conner up the middle so much.

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Looking For Something Positive

Filed under: Basketball,Injury,Players — Chas @ 9:48 am

Maybe there’s some good news from Pitt basketball.

Senior guard Cameron Wright, Pitt’s leading returning scorer, had surgery Friday after breaking his left foot a week before the team’s first practice, a team source said.

Wright, who broke his foot Thursday, is expected to miss 10 weeks.

The Panthers’ first practice is scheduled for Friday.

/sigh

September 27, 2014

Open Thread: Akron-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 5:56 am

Have to throw this up early. Beyond the usual need to hit the road before sunrise, I am abandoning the press box for regular seats so my daughter and I can attend the game. That means some actual time to tailgate with friends, walk around the family-friendly activities and no laptop. I’ll still be tweeting in-game, but it will be nice to wear Pitt gear to the game and cheer out loud today.

Akron has struggled to stop the run. That happens to be what Pitt does really well on offense. James Conner should have a good day, and hopefully the rest of the running backs get some work. I know he has been a workhorse, but with seven conference games to play there is still the concern of wearing down.

Defensively, Akron does play a spread-style offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some early struggles by the Pitt defense — just like with FIU — before really clamping down on the Zips. Not to mention their running backs battling injuries. Their offense hasn’t done much since their opening game against Howard.

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September 25, 2014

Looking To The Zips

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 7:39 am

My film watching of Akron consists of rooting for them in the 2d and 3d quarter of their game against Penn State. Otherwise, not much else. From the brief watch it looked like a decent enough defense with a weak to scattershot offense.

This is the second home game with Akron in a 2-for-1 deal. Next year at Infocision Stadium — which I’m kind of looking forward to attending. I think that will be the last 2-for-1 series Pitt has to complete that was leftover from the budgetary constrained Big East era.

Akron is coached by Terry Bowden. The former Auburn coach and son of the legendary Bobby Bowden. Terry Bowden also played at West Virginia so there is extra hateablility.

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