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January 25, 2016

Digging a bit into my Kinks library for that one.

Last night Amir Watts a 3- or 4-star DT/DE from Chicago tweeted out that he was done with recruiting.

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January 24, 2016

Pitt got a nice commit to improve depth long-term at the linebacker spot. Elias Reynolds verbaled to Pitt last night as expected. The ILB had been committed to Rutgers, but reopened following the turmoil in Piscataway. He’s the third flip from Rutgers to Pitt.

He’s not a high-star recruit, but he has potential. After decommitting from Rutgers, the Brooklyn, NY native had offers from Cuse, Wake Forest, Maryland and Illinois. He narrowed it down to Pitt and the Illini.

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January 23, 2016

Open Thread: Pitt-FSU

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 12:03 pm

Time to see how the team really responds to a bad home loss. They said the right things about needing to get out and play from the opening tip. To playing better defense. There’s more than just hints about changing things in the backcourt.

Not sure how much of the last part will actually be seen today. Pitt plays a FSU team that needs to lean more on its backcourt. Damon Wilson has shown much promise, but he is also prone to committing a lot of fouls in short bursts of time.

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January 20, 2016

 It is getting close to crunch time.

The all-important recruiting Letter of Intent Day (LOI Day) is fast approaching; February 3rd is the date this year with April 1st as the last day the National Letter of Intent (NLI) can be signed for players to qualify for the 2016 recruiting class and football season.

Pitt is pushing hard for verbals from Central Catholic’s 4* Safety Damar Hamlin, a and Khaleke Hudson a 3* Athlete from McKeesport.  Both are local guys who Narduzzi very much wants to land for several reason, not the least of which is that they are local kids and both are being recruited by Penn State and other top name programs like OSU and Michigan and have many other prime offers.  If Narduzzi lands these two guys other recruits will sit up and take notice for their future choices.

On the other side of this is the angst we have about kids who are already committed to Pitt being actively recruited by other programs up to and sometimes including LOI Day. Such as highly sought after 3* Henry Miller of Kissimmee, FL. He’s a CB who will serve us well in two ways: first he’s a good play and we need CBs but secondly, he’s a Florida recruit and if you want your program to grow into a solid winning one those Florida kids with their speed are good ones to land.

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Smacked About

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:01 am

Pitt football recruiting target Damar Hamlin was there and even ventured into the Oakland Zoo to mingle in the second half. So that was good.

After that…

I’ll leave it to the players and coach to sum it up.

Panthers forward Jamel Artis said containing Barber was tough, but he explained that the larger issue was how the Wolfpack pushed them around and did whatever they wanted inside.

“They were tougher than us,” Artis said.

“They hit us first from the start of the first five or six minutes, and it is tough to come back from 25 points. We let ourselves down, we gave the game up. This was a lack of toughness. This is a sad loss.”

And,

“We got what we deserved,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “Disappointing, bad loss for us.”

By the time the Panthers recovered and fought back, it was too late.

“We didn’t do anything well,” Dixon said.

Nope.

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January 19, 2016

Open Thread: NC State-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 5:27 pm

8pm start time. The game is syndicated by the ACC Network or ESPN3. Coverage kind of sucks for this one.

This is Pitt’s third game in less than a week. Could be kind of ragged.

NC State is still winless in the ACC. Mind-blowing with the talent on the roster, but that’s what you get with Mark Gottfried. Recruits like he’s at UCLA. Coaches like it’s DePaul.

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January 18, 2016

FB Bits & Pieces – 1.18.16

Filed under: Football,Media,Players,Recruiting — Reed @ 11:12 am

Huh, maybe those continuing phone calls from other schools to Tom Macvitte are getting answered.  Mike Vukovcan of KDKA reports this:

“**Source tells me that Pat Narduzzi and OC Matt Canada have an in home visit tonight with QB Thomas MacVittie. I think it’s becoming quite clear that MacVittie is a HUGE priority in this recruiting class.

**The offer yesterday to 2017 QB Matt McKay (Raleigh, NC) is an interesting one. McKay is the ultimate dual-threat quarterback as evidenced by his 46 combined touchdowns this past season.

Here are the HUDL highlights of McKay’s JR season in HS.  You can skip the ad after a few seconds.

Vukovcan is full of interesting stuff, here is a bit of speculation on his part:

**Here’s a name to keep your eye on: Derrick Green. He’s a former 5-star running back for Michigan. However, he’s graduating this spring and announced he’s going to be a graduate transfer.

I received a message from Green last night and he told me that he’s interested in looking at Pitt and making a visit. I’m hoping to do an in-depth interview with Green later today.

Green played sparingly last season for first year coach Jim Harbaugh. In 9 games this season, Green rushed for 158 yards on 47 carries and scored 2 touchdowns. For his career, Green has totaled 898 yards on 212 carries and 7 touchdowns.

At 5’11 and 240 pounds he’s be the hammer in the backfield… maybe we bring back the Fullback a bit more?

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January 16, 2016

2pm at the Pete.

ESPN3 or plenty of RSN options including Root Sports Pittsburgh, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports North, YES and NESN.

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January 15, 2016

While the 2016 basketball season is underway and through the football off season I’ll try to chip in with some historical Pitt football stories once a week, or more if I can, via audio podcasts on The Blather…. hence “BlatherCasts”.  Most will be read from already published books, articles in magazines and yearbooks and old newspapers’ coverage of the football program, team, personnel and the University itself.

Pitt Man and author Sam Sciullo Jr.,  has written four excellent books on Pitt athletics.  His most well know work was in putting together the University of Pittsburgh Football Vault: The History of the Panthers (“The Pitt Vault”) which is a great fun look at just what the title describes.

The Pitt VaultHe also has written Tales from the Pitt Panthers, my favorite of his, which is a compendium of anecdotes about the football and basketball programs.   I truly love how this book is being described in the linked Goodreads page… it starts:

“The Pitt Panthers or the Pittsburgh Panthers? Even their name evokes an argument, a touch of controversy. For anyone who has followed the football and basketball fortunes of the University of Pittsburgh, however, controversy is just one of many facets of Pitt’s programs throughout the institution’s very long history.”

Man, ain’t that the truth and it has just multiplied over the time since the book was published in 2004.  Hey, had he waited 10 years he would have been able to include Wannstedt, Graham and Chryst!

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Burn the Tape

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:33 am

That was an amazingly bad performance by Pitt last night. A real team effort to be that bad as a team. Last time I can recall such a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad performance by a ranked team? Well, Michigan State ranked #6 losing to a sub-.500 Iowa 43-36 in 2008 is still my lodestone in such things.

Every facet of the game saw Pitt stink. 12-20 on free throws? 60-friggin’-%? 1-11 on 3s. 13-38 anywhere else. Nothing inside. Nothing out. Just the occasional mid-range jumper.

Players were afraid to shoot. Sheldon Jeter and Sterling Smith played 47 minutes and only took 3 shots (all misses). Ryan Luther somehow took five shots in 10 minutes. The box score is a monument to a miserably played game.

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January 14, 2016

9:05 pm (or so) on ESPN. Karl Ravech and Seth Greenberg have the call.

One of the nice things about Jamie Dixon being at Pitt this long, is that he has actually relaxed and come close to being comfortable with the media. He’s never going to have the charm and ease of a Rick Pitino, John Calipari or Bruce Pearl; nor is he cantankerously amusing like a Jim Boeheim.

But he is more relaxed these days. He seems to have his tongue planted firmly in his cheek for half his responses to questions.

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January 11, 2016

It’s the end of the college football season. Pitt isn’t a participant, but Head Coach Pat Narduzzi will be taking part in the Film Room telecast of the game on ESPN2 starting at 8:30.

Feel free to comment on his brilliant insight and how recruits should be beating a path to Oakland if they are paying attention.

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January 10, 2016

Peak Offensive Efficiency Over ND

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 1:46 pm

You knew it couldn’t be sustained. You knew ND would throw counter-punches. That it wouldn’t stay a blowout. But man, the ride was something and ultimately satisfying way to spend some time.

Here’s the thing about this game. This was not an up and down the court game. This was actually one of Pitt’s slowest games with only 65 possessions and adjusted Tempo for this game was 63 ($ wall), Pitt, per KenPom is about 68.0 in adjusted tempo (possessions/pace per 40 minutes). Notre Dame is an even slower tempo team than Pitt. And like Pitt, they operate at high efficiency on offense. This game was almost an absurdist example of offensive efficiency.

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January 9, 2016

I don’t really get that worked up about whether Pitt has played a true road game to this point or not. Syracuse has done this for years, and has managed to keep their head above water. After all these years, there are still no numbers supporting or disputing whether playing a tough schedule or more road games helps or hurts a team. It just comes down to the team itself.

This game isn’t getting much in the way of national buzz, as ND has been slightly disappointing to this point. They are a good team, but they have lost to teams like Alabama and Monmouth.

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January 8, 2016

Annexing Canada

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:51 pm

I had no choice. I tried to type something simple, like, “Matt Canada Hired as New OC.” But it went through the Mandatory Wordplay Headline Generator  and came out as “Pitt Fans Prepping to Blame Canada.” Another simple explanatory headline on his joining the coaching staff came out as, “Canada Invades Pitt.” So, embrace the bad wordplay and all it entails.

Almost as soon as the surprising announcement of Matt Canada being fired from NC State less than a week ago, the possibility of Canada becoming Pitt’s OC made a lot of sense. There was some prior history between Canada and Head Coach Pat Narduzzi on the Northern Illinois University staff for a couple of years. Canada has a solid rep as an OC, and his offensive style meshes with what Narduzzi wants. Add in the fact that Canada was not just a power 5 OC, but one within the ACC.

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