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February 11, 2015

It blows my mind that a conference game that involves a top-10 team gets this kind of regional distribution (not simply Pittsburgh, but all over the country). 8pm on a Wednesday, and this is it? The game is also on ESPN3.com (subject to blackout) and on the ESPN FullCourt package.

This is the kind of coverage that makes it imperative that the ACC gets its own channel in the next five years. Still, it could be worse. It could be the Big East on FoxSports 1.

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Say this for Chancellor Gallagher. He knows football still drives everything. Pitt announced its search committee for a new Athletic Director. There are 14 members and a search firm to boot.

Members of the search committee are:

Randy Juhl: Search Committee Chairperson; Vice Chancellor; Acting Athletic Director; Distinguished Service Professor of Pharmacy

Dave DeJong:   Vice Provost, Academic Planning and Resources Management; Senate Athletics Committee; Chair, Student Athletes Admissions Advisory Committee; Professor of Economics

Al Novak: Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

Jay Irrgang: Co-Chair, Senate Athletics Committee; Professor of Orthopedic Surgery

Susan Albrecht: Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR); Student-Athletes Admissions Advisory Committee member; Associate Professor of Nursing

Wendy Meyers: Executive Associate Athletic Director and Athletics Chief Financial Officer

Justin Acierno: Assistant Athletic Director, Ticket Sales and Operations; former Pitt football student-athlete

Jen Tuscano: Assistant Director of Academic Support Services, Academic Counselor

Artie Rowell: President, Pitt Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC); Pitt football student-athlete

Lindsay Offutt: Pitt Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Officer; Pitt gymnastics student-athlete

Alonzo Webb: Pitt Track and Field/Cross Country Head Coach

Suzie McConnell-Serio: Pitt Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Bryant Salter:   Pitt Board of Trustees; former Pitt football student-athlete

James Covert:  Pitt Board of Trustees; former Pitt football student-athlete

There are three former and one present member of the football team.

The search firm that will help the committee is DHR International. Specifically, Glenn Sugiyama, Global Head of Sports, and Pat Richter, Executive Vice President, Education and Sports Practice.

Artie Rowell is just building one hell of a resume even before he leaves Pitt.

Neither Jamie Dixon or Pat Narduzzi are on the search committee. I’m sure they will have input and their opinions will be solicited, but not direct influence on the search.

Reports are that Pitt has had as slew of applicants with the majority being sitting ADs.

I really don’t expect them to have a new AD in place until at least June.

February 10, 2015

Slim.

 

 

Oh, you want more detail?

Mostly slim.

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February 9, 2015

I’m not going to put much up this evening but want to direct your attention to some excellent pieces that Chris Dokish is posting up his on Blog Panther’s Prey.

He’s now looking at and writing about the Panther’s offensive positions going into the fall camp, not spring practices, because he includes some recruits in the 2015 class.  At the end of each piece he rates the TALENT and the DEPTH of the position.  His rating system is “Excellent”, “Very Good”, “Good”, “Average”, and “Poor”.  Which is kind of strange as “Average” falls below the mid-point, but it works with his reasoning.

He starts off three days ago with “A Look Ahead” at the current QB situation.  I agree with almost everything he has written about Voytik especially. Considering the other two QBs on the roster at this moment are unproven in a PITT uniform the spotlight is directed toward Voytik and that is as it should be with a returning starter.  He will most probably be given token competition in fall camp but let’s bet that he’s the starter and transfer SR Nathan Peterman from Tennessee will be his backup. Those fans hoping we’ll see a change at QB with either Peterman or Bertke should realize that if it happens at all it will be because of injury or if Voytik turns into an interception machine.

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February 7, 2015

Yes, it’s a “blackout.” For which, Jamie Dixon speaks for all of us older curmudgeons.

“Everything’s about gimmicks and promotions nowadays,” Dixon said. “Fans are excited. Our players are excited. You’ve got to do things that excite the players, excite the fans. I wouldn’t notice the difference, I guess, until it got pointed out.”

Preach it!

Rebuttal:

“I’m excited,” sophomore Jamel Artis said. “They’re great uniforms.”

“The jerseys are dope,” senior Cameron Wright said. “The student section will be popping.”

So, opinions vary.

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February 6, 2015

LOI Day Event Recap

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players,Recruiting — Reed @ 8:59 am

A friend and I attended the PITT LOI Day Event last night at Heinz Field and all I can really say is “Wow, that was short”. The presentations, as they were, lasted 40 minutes total with Bill Hillgrove taking five minutes to open and close the event..

I had been to an earlier one back when DW was the HC and it was more extensive and detail oriented than Wednesday’s was but what the fans and season ticket holders got the other night were very short staff introductions, small (very) bits on the recruits with a joke or two thrown it.  But, to give the staff credit the reason it was short and not super detailed was most probably because every one of those coaches have been travelling around the country for a month busting ass to get the kids to sign on with PITT and that evening was the first time they could completely relax and be with their families in a long time.

To set the scene it was held in the East Club area of Heinz Field with a small stage, hundreds of chairs lined up 12 to a row and HDTVs situated about every 30 feet around the room. PITT got a fantastic turnout with what I’d estimate to be over 600 people there, maybe even a bunch more. So it was very well attended.

Here is a recap from my notes:

Bill Hillgrove came on stage first and without much preamble introduced Pat Narduzzi to a standing ovation, then Narduzzi introduced Chancellor Gallagher and he got one from the attendees also. Narduzzi while energetic and fun to listen to has to be on speed because his mind literally overruns his mouth sometimes. He was so jittery that he couldn’t keep his body still and couldn’t finish some of his sentences because his words were jumbled up and spilling out.  But even with that it was 180 degrees different than Paul Chryst’s public speaking and 100% more enjoyable to watch and listen to.

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February 5, 2015

Post-Signing Day Hangover

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 7:10 pm

Okay, Pitt didn’t exactly set things ablaze with the 2015 signing class in national perception. Even before the coaching change this was going to be a small and not considered stellar recruiting class. Size matters in the calculations of class rankings. It is just a question of by how much.

Why does size matter? Because the bigger the class size, the bigger the impact on the team. Even if the class isn’t loaded with 4 and 5-star talent. The more players, the more likely — just based on quantity — there will be players that matter.

As each recruiting site weighs size differently, the impact is more noticeable. And obviously disagreements in the value of individual recruits.

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February 4, 2015

A lot has changed in the way Signing Day goes down. It used to be the paper work was faxed to the school and no one would officially know anything until the school released the list later that day. Instead, fans would rely on the recruiting sites to report (thanks to coaches and the kids themselves) when the paper work was received/sent.

Now, the programs themselves happily let us know. All the reports come in via Twitter, and it goes a lot faster. QUICK EDIT/NOTE: It looks like the first news on Twitter for the receiving of NLIs is coming from HC Pat Narduzzi‘s twitter account.

Pitt has a small class. It was always going to be that way, regardless of who the head coach was. Just the way the numbers break for this year. I would say, that worked out to be a good thing in what has turned out to be a transition year. No scrambling to fill lots of spots. No overwhelming number of defections and flips.

15 14, maybe 16 15 kids will be part of this class.

The fun officially kicks off at 7 am Eastern.

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February 3, 2015

Day Before NLI Day Drama

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 2:21 pm

Okay, let’s get it out of the way. Pitt appears to have had a second member of the 2015 signing class flip to PSU. Last week it was TE Nick Bowers, today LB Kevin Givens. Penn State  has closed strong. In addition to flipping 2 verbals, they beat out Pitt for Shareef Miller and John Petrishen.

It’s frustrating, and it adds an extra level of annoyance because of to where they flipped. And if it happens next year, I might muster some real anger. Not this year. Not after a coaching change.

At the end of the day, this is not atypical after a coaching change. It’s flux. Guys who seemed sure and stable to commit have to rethink things. New coaches that have come in and may be able to make most of the players feel good about things, but it won’t be that way for all of them. It’s why coaches for other teams will still “touch base” and check in on players even after they commit. You never know.

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This is a long post but since there isn’t a PITT basketball game for a few days it’s something for us to read,listen to and discuss.

At first I wasn’t that excited about listening to the interview but once I realized how in-depth Paul Zeise was getting I re-started the interview and took four full pages of notes. I had to paraphrase some of the info below but these are Paul Zeise’s thoughts (not mine). I added some background and italicized some of the more interesting info.

Linked below is a interesting and detailed interview with the P-G’s Paul Zeise conducted by the Wisconsin Football Blog Buckaround.com which is much like The PITT Blather is to PITT football. The interview is Episode 63 titled “Paul Chryst: PITT Head Coach with Paul Zeise The podcast is about 50 minutes long and I urge all of us PITT fans to take the time to listen to it.  Zeise doesn’t pull any punches when discussing the recent history of PITT football and has some very  interesting ‘inside info’ .

It is a pretty hard hitting and very insightful discussion by someone who was right in the middle of everything as a PITT beat writer working with PITT’s football program from 2014 on back. With the recent, welcomed changes in the football program and how the administration is unfolding and the fruits of that happening, it is inevitable that when discussing PITT football we’ll cast back to the last three HCs we had before Narduzzi and their impacts on the program.

Something to remember about Paul Zeise is that just because he was taken off the P-G PITT football beat prior last season he still was very involved and privy to the inner-working of the football program, especially with his family’s’ experience with the recruiting process, but he wasn’t writing about it due to a conflict of interest. (more…)

January 31, 2015

Oy.

Aron Nwankwo is out with a torn labrum. Technically it isn’t season ending, but it is probably darn close. That sucks.

Chris Jones will not start. Instead Josh Newkirk will get the start. Maybe switching their places will jump start both of their shooting. Both have been lousy lately. I know, make your own shuffling deck chairs jokes.

This has been a rough season. Everyone’s more than a little salty at this point.

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January 30, 2015

First off, the semi-official brewery of Pitt Blather is opening a new branch this weekend. Voodoo Brewery is opening another brewpub, Voodoo Homestead.

Voodoo Homestead — not a brewery or brewpub, but an unusual satellite pub selling just Voodoo brews — will open in a big chunk of the first floor of the former Homestead municipal building and fire station on East Ninth Avenue at Amity Street. The more-than-a-century-old, three-story building had been vacant for two decades when the borough approved selling it to Voodoo for $8,500 this past summer.

Since that time, the Voodoo crew has worked non-stop filling containers and containers with refuse, with a lot of that hard, dirty work being performed for free by volunteers, some of whom flew from distant cities to chip in.

Others volunteered to help decorate the decrepit but beautifully-boned building, gracing the vaulted ceiling with fanciful chalk artworks and colorfully painting the interior sides of two massive roll-up doors.

That’s why this weekend’s public opening was proceeded by a party for those volunteers, whose names are written in chalk behind the old-metal-barn-roofing-clad, 24-foot-long concrete-topped bar, right next to the chalked list of the beers that will be available to drink on premises or take home in growlers.

The article also gets into some of the lunacy of Pennsylvania liquor laws with the hoops Voodoo has to jump through for this. I realize every state is insane in their own unique ways with liquor laws, but Pennsylvania is a special kind of crazy.

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January 29, 2015

Football Schedule Released

Filed under: ACC,Football,Schedule — Justin @ 10:13 am

The ACC released the 2015 football schedule this morning. While opponents and location have been determined for awhile, the order of ACC games as well as the dates (Thursday vs. Saturday) were not known until today. As I worked through these previews, I realized that several opponents will be better in 2015, notably UNC. The first thing that jumps out to me is that four of the last five games are at home. If Narduzzi and company can get this team playing at a high level, a late season run is possible. (more…)

January 28, 2015

We have been talking a lot about recruiting lately because, well – because that is what is going on right now and we like what we see. I think it’s been made pretty clear that we Blatherites feel what Narduzzi is doing is exciting and really pro-active as seen in the post  “They Hit the Ground Running”. I really do like what I see happening and I think that is echoed through PITT football fandom.

But at the risk of being a contrarian, and that is just what I’m going to do here, all this talk of Chryst not recruiting defensive players is pretty much either hogwash or selective memory. Here is what he did according to Rivals.com (which I think is the stingiest recruit grading website). Note that the 2012 and 2015 recruits listed are the kids who committed while he was the HC. I also included the “ATH” recruits if they ended up on defense:

2012 – seven total recruits – five on defense w/ four 3*s

2013 - 27 total recruits – nine on defense w/ six 3*s

2014 – 23 total recruits – 12 on defense w/ 10 3*s

2015 – nine total recruits – four on defense w/ one 4* and two 3*s

As stated I like what Narduzzi is doing but looking through the burgeoning hype it does look like he’s pretty much in line with what Chryst did while he was here… so far. 2016’s recruiting class will most probably be a whole different story as far as a new HC’s  2nd year recruiting goes (always better than the 1st fractured class) and I think we’ll see Narduzzi bring in some top shelf guys, depending on how the ’15 season plays out of course.

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January 27, 2015

For us anyways. Buzz Williams made the surprising jump to VT last spring. As well as VT making the surprising financial commitment to him. As tough and miserable as his Marquette teams have made Pitt at times, he will always hold a special place in my heart for pissing off WVU fans by dancing a bit to “Country Roads” after knocking off the Hoopies.

7pm on ESPNU. I’m just getting home in time.

Artis and Young have been relatively consistent offensively. Let’s see if more than one guard can help with the offense tonight.

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