Monday, November 28, 2011

Defending Todd Graham (Again)

First, let me be very clear that I am not saying that Todd Graham will definitely be a success as the Panthers head coach because I can't see into the future.  And I'm not saying he was perfect in his first season.  But I am here to tell you that he's done a much better job than some people think.

Let's look at the facts.  The Panthers are favored to win their last game, at home against Syracuse.  If they win that game, the Panthers are 6-6 and may end up in a minor bowl.  They could conceivably end the season 7-6.  Last season the Panthers ended the season 8-5 after finishing the regular season 7-5.  In other words, Graham's first year could be one game worse.  Of course, if one has an agenda, or applies lazy thinking, it can be argued that former coach Dave Wannstedt was fired and replaced by a coach who did worse.  But it's not that simple.

Graham was left a team with just one playmaker amongst the skill positions.  Ray Graham is a wonderful player, and there's no denying that.  The rest of the skilled players, however, are simply incapable of making plays on a consistent basis.  The two main receivers, Mike Shanahan and Devin Street, shows no game breaking ability, and behind Graham there were no experienced quality backs.  At quarterback, Tino Sunseri is clearly not a player who can win games by himself.

The real truth is that if Wannstedt was coaching this season, this team would be just as mediocre as it was this season.  After peaking with a 10-3 season in 2009, Wannstedt's program appeared to be in sharp decline.  Following up an 8-5 season with a team that's offense starts Sunseri, Shanahan, Street, and a poor offensive line was a recipe for disaster for any coach.  With Wannstedt at the helm the team may have won a game or two more since the players fit his more conservative, pro style system, but the results would have been illusionary.  Continually finishing barely above .500 in a poor conference and no real chance for excellence is no way to run a program.

What few people seem to remember is that Pitt had the No. 72 offense in the country last season.  And that was with a first round wide receiver in Jon Baldwin, a running back, Dion Lewis, that ran for over 2,800 yards the last two seasons, and an offensive lineman, Jason Pinkston, that is starting for the Cleveland Browns this season as a rookie.  This season Pitt is two yards per game less in total offense with a vastly different system, poor skill players, and injuries to Ray Graham, Chris Jacobson, and for a half a season, Lucas Nix.

None of these facts are meant to turn this into yet another Graham vs. Wannstedt debate.  Anybody who still clamors for Wannstedt is not worth debating at this point.  But what it does show is that Graham truly was not left with a whole lot.  Yes, there are some good young players.  But there are holes- giant holes.

Of course there are many, especially in the media, who complain that Graham should not have promised "high octane" and a Big East championship if he was left with so little.  But what would be better?  How would it have gone over if Graham walked up to the podium and said, "Look, I'm not going to lie.  I looked at the tape.  Sunseri is uncoachable and the rest of the quarterbacks are even worse than him.  The offensive line is a sieve.  The receivers are so slow that it's kinda scary.  The veteran linebackers, believe it or not, are even slower.  It will take a miracle to get this team to 6-6."  God forbid that he was positive and believed in his abilities to make something out of nothing.

And the truth is, he almost did make something out of nothing.  He will probably end up the regular season at 6-6, while losing his All-American caliber running back who had to be replaced by a career journeyman and a true freshman, and while losing his two only experienced and talented offensive linemen, a starting receiver, and a starting safety.  Oh, and did I mention that he has a quarterback that is totally lacking instincts, some of the slowest linebackers known to man, and a punter that makes a 7-yard punt from his own end zone?

A lot of critics will also say that Graham did not make adjustments as the season went on but that's simply not true.  Yes, Graham did make mistakes early on by not milking the clock, by making the offense too difficult, and by trying too many unnecessarily complicated plays.  But the reason he did that is because at his previous coaching jobs, he did the same thing and at the midseason point of his first season, his teams did get past the tipping point and started to play as Graham envisioned.  There was no reason to think it would be different at Pitt.  But it was.  The offensive line was just too bad and/or inexperienced to let the offense work properly, the receivers never showed speed or heart, and Sunseri still has no idea what he's doing.  None of that is Graham's fault.  Like I said, every place Graham coached, his team got it in the first five or six games.  When he realized that this group was not going to get it, he did dumb down the offense, he did slow down the offense, and he did cut down on trick plays. He did adjust to help his team.  And they still can't get it.

If any of Pitt's major problems did not exist, they easily match last year's win total- at least.  If Graham does not get hurt, Pitt wins 8 games.  If the Nix and Jacobson didn't get hurt, Pitt wins 8 games.  If Sunseri develops into just a normal quarterback, Pitt wins 8 games.  If all of those things happen, Pitt wins 9 games and Graham is hailed as a savior.

Yes, it's the job for the head coach to find solutions, but Graham can only do so much.  How do you compensate for having your only two good offensive linemen lose most of the season to injury?  How do you compensate for lack of depth and slowness at receiver or at inside linebacker?  How do you compensate for losing your All-American running back when your backups are a former fourth stringer and lightly recruited freshman?  And how do you compensate for a roster full of horrible quarterbacks?

What Graham did do was bring in some young and talented players like Isaac Bennett, Juan Price, Lloyd Carrington, Ronald Jones, Nicholas Grigsby, Roderick Ryles, and LaQuentin Smith.  He brought in transfers like Cullen Christian, Ray Vinopal, and Tom Ricketts who all could start next season.  He brought in graduate transfer Zach Brown for a much needed backup to Ray Graham.  He developed young linemen like Ryan Schlieper, Cory King, Ryan Turnley, and Matt Rotheram.  He developed burgeoning stars in Aaron Donald, K'Waun Williams, and Todd Thomas.  In recruiting, he's bringing in possible future stars Chad Voytik, Rushel Shell, Dakota Conwell, Darryl Render, and Adam Bisnowaty, with more to come before signing day.  He's developed great relationships with the two best juniors in PA, wide receiver Robert Foster and offensive guard Patrick Kugler.  And he's also expanded his recruiting area far beyond Pitt's usual haunts, offering players from places like Colorado, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, and Indiana.

Bottom line, we will see in Graham's next two or three years just high he can take Pitt.  Only in rare instances does a new head coach have a lot of success, and in those cases it's because the previous coach left a loaded roster.  In Vince Lombardi's first season at Green Bay he was 7-5.  He came back and coached the Redskins for one year and went 7-5-2.  Bill Belichick's first season at Cleveland was 6-10.  His first season at New England was 5-11.  Jim Tressel's first season at Ohio State was 7-5.  Nick Saban started 6-5-1 at Michigan State, 8-4 at LSU, and 7-6 at Alabama.  Mike Gundy was 4-7 at Oklahoma State.  Bobby Petrino was 4-7 at Arkansas.  Pete Carroll was 6-6 at USC.  Mack Brown's two stops before Texas were at Tulane and North Carolina and the first season at both stops resulted in 1-10 records.  There are many more examples but you get the point.  Even amongst great coaches, the first year is almost always for making a painful transition.

In year two, Graham will have a different team.  The running game has the potential to be excellent.  The offensive line has the chance to be much better.  And I have no doubts that there will finally be a different quarterback.  In year three, this program will be loaded with excellent young talent.  In year four that excellent young talent becomes veterans.  That's the goal.  That's the goal for every new coach. The good ones accomplish it.  And so far, despite lazy thinking of some media, and despite some fans who simply love to be miserable, I think Graham has proven that he's a good one.

41 comments:

  1. I agree with all you've said, but what makes you so confident that Tino won't be the starting QB next year? And, who do you think will be the starter if not Tino?

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  2. I think Graham is smart enough to know that anybody is better than Sunseri at this point. Even if Sunseri improves. The players have to believe and I think it's obvious they don't believe in Sunseri.

    Plus, I don't think Pederson will allow it. Normally I wouldn't think than an AD would interfere but this is a special case. Ticket sales will be nil if Sunseri starts again next year.

    I think Voytik starts or somebody who isn't on the roster. A fifth year transfer who could play immediately would be ideal. I think that's a real possibility.

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  3. You should also note that Pitt is playing better as the season goes on -- unlike the Wanny teams which just stagnated. The defense has improved and the O-line has done better (if only Tino would take tips from Trey Anderson on the art of throwing it away).

    Pitt was only a play away from winning against a much more talented WVU team playing at home. You can say the same thing about the Cincy game. Take each of those games, have Tino throw the ball away 3x and you might have a couple of wins and a BCS berth.

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  4. I think it's also worth pointing out how well the defense has played as the season has progressed -- especially with the noted deficiencies at linebacker. Many of the Graham naysayers were critical of his hire because of the defensive performances at Tulsa. Defense now appears to be a strength on the team. Granted, Wanny left the cupboard a little less bare, especially with regard to the d-line, but the performance has been nonetheless impressive.

    It will also be interesting to see how the recruiting differences play out. Wanny was an uneven recruiter at best, and many of his big gets -- Shayne Hale, Pat Bostick, TJ Clemmings -- have been disappointments. Of course, he's found some great diamonds in the rough, but look at what Graham found in just one class with a couple weeks to recruit.

    Count me excited about the Graham era of Pitt football.

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  5. I didn't mention the defense because the defense was solid last year and it was solid this season, at least in the second half of the season. I was concentrating mostly on the offense because that's where most of the problems seem to be this season. But there is no doubt that the defense has done pretty good, especially the pass rush and the corners.

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  6. Chris,
    Well reasoned, well said argument. I think there will be big strides in the offense next season, but only if anybody but Sunseri is the QB. The offensive line can't possibly be as bad.

    Is there a JC or 5th year transfer that could provide immediate help assuming Voytik is not ready?

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  7. I don't think there is a JC that would make a difference but a 5th year transfer may be the way to go. I know Ryan Katz of Oregon State is looking. He has a cannon for an arm and decent mobility. He started last season and completed 60% of his passes for 2,401 yards, with 17 TDs and 11 interceptions. He's not an excellent QB but if he's just solid he would be a huge addition. I have no idea if he's interested in Pitt and vice versa. And there will be others, too, that will be possibilities.

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  8. "despite some fans who simply love to be miserable"


    ...and here I thought I was anonymous on here.

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  9. And by the way, if somebody doesn't believe in Graham because they just aren't feeling it from him then that's fine. I can't tell anybody how to feel. I just made the mistake of perusing other Pitt message boards today, and holy moly there are some miserable people out there. People had a right to be miserable with the whole Haywood fiasco, but really there is no darkness here yet, and there may never be. I think fans should be excited to watch the program go and see what Graham can do. They just may be pleasantly surprised.

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  10. I agree with most of your points, Chris. I do believe that you give Graham an unfair "free pass" for stubbornly (I'd go as far to say, Wannstatean) refusing to adjust his HOO for the talent (or lack there of) earlier in the season.

    Had Graham realized that his players were not suited from day 1, and came out with more realistic expectations like "I got pro-style players, I'm going to work my HOO as I can, but I gotta dance with we have" ala Brady Hoke in MI who said, and I quote, "If I run my pro-offense with these yopung men, we don't win one game. So, I got a play maker in Denard Robinson and I'm going to run some spread this year. We will change over time." Graham would have more Pitt supporters. Instead, he came in with his Texas Drawl, George W impersonation---sold everyone that his system works and I can MAKE it work, bull crap... and now, he's back peddling. Over sold, under delivered.

    We're willing to give him time to see the "linear progression" that many claim happens with guys running these systems...but let's not give him a complete pass for stubbornly not adjusting his system and overselling us...

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  11. I disagree. His system DID work at Rice and Tulsa in the first year. He had every right to think the same would happen. And without injuries and a bad QB they really would have won the league.

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  12. Pitt's home attendance this year will average between 40,000 - 50,000 because Pederson can count tickets sold. Big problem next season, though...how many season ticket holders will renew? And with Sunseri starting this week and a bowl game if we're invited, that won't do much for the turnstile.

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  13. Couldn't agree more with your assessment Chris. I've seen Graham turn around Rice and people don't realize what a monumental job that was. He will win at Pitt and win big. The naysayers will be crying and screaming when Graham wins a BCS game and leaves for a better opportunity.

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  14. Let's also keep in mind that 5 of the 6 losses came by a combined 19 points. An extra TD a game or one TD instead settling for FG's would have turned the tide...a few of them could have been won or tied on end of the game FG's. A darn good job if you ask me, especially given everything you pointed out that he was up against. here's hoping Tina transfers to a D-II school in Alabama next year.

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  15. Once again, you are the voice of reason in a sea of insanity. I actually feel very good about the future after watching the WVU game, even though we lost by a point. I also came away thinking Graham is a better coach than Holgy. He didn't look like an idiot and only lost by 1 on the road with a much more talented team who fits DH's system, with injuries to just about every good player on the roster, and without a QB.

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  16. Well written. I really do not like to single out single players but have you ever seen a D1 QB fall apart like Sunseri did in the second half of the WV game. He was terrified to release the ball. And the last time he did throw the ball there was no Pitt player within 20 yards he was flagged for intentional grounding. It looked like he completely forgot how to play football. I am surprised he didn't kick the ball.

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  17. Slightly off topic but do you think we have a shot at Kugler and Foster? Any inside info on that?

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  18. There's no inside info since they are still very early in their recruitment, but I think Pitt has an excellent chance of landing both. In fact, I think they are Pitt's to lose until I hear otherwise.

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  19. Does Urban to Ohio State open Rushel's recruitment again or is he coming to the Panthers?

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  20. Interesting... I could agree on Foster but not sure on Kugler. His dad is OL coach for the Steelers, yes, but no loyalty to the area. His brother went to Purdue.

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  21. Chris I agree with everything you said. One thing that probably surprised Coach Graham the most along with doing him the most harm was the situation at quarterback. I do not know how many quarterbacks he and Coach Dodge have trained in this system, but I would guess that none has done as bad as Sunseri. What is really surprising is that he is a coach's son. Usually they are easier to teach.

    One thing I have to keep disagreeing with you about is Voytik. I do not want him to be the starting quarterback at the beginning of next season because of the possible long term harm that could be done to his confidence. Remember that he will not be going through spring practice and everything will be all new to him. By that I mean not only athletics but also all the other typical college freshman problems. I believe Pitt messed up big time with Pat Bostick by pushing him too quickly at the beginning. The fifth year senior quarterback route is a new twist to a possible solution. If that does not workout, I still think either Gonzalez or Anderson would be "good enough" to run the team provided Ray Graham is healthy. If Voytik is a quick study then they can work him in slowly during the season several series at a time.

    As for the Syracuse game, do you think Coach Graham will try to split time at quarterback with someone beside Sunseri? Who is the scout team quarterback?

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  22. If the games ended at halftime, Pitt would be 9-2 this year. Their second half performances, specifically the fourth quarter have been bad.

    What does that mean? Well, it could mean a couple things. One, Graham isn't making the proper in-game adjustments, especially when teams begin to air in out late in the game (Pitt's downfall through the first half of the season). Two, it could mean the players themselves can't adjust: Sunseri can't adjust to different blitz packages. Three, it could mean that the defense is on the field too much due to the quicker offensive possessions and is literally worn out in the latter stages of the game.

    In summary, I think Graham should GREAT promise in his first year, as evidence by being in every game, actually in a position to win over 80% of the games, and really tweaking the system to fit Sunseri (the QB he tied his fate to). But, I think he has also showed significant errors in judgement that should not occur for a the coach of a major program: inability to make superior in-game adjustments, inability to understand the importance of game and clock management, and showing a disappointingly predictability on offense (his playbook would become just ridiculously simple as the game progressed).

    Lastly, his worst error was cementing his fate to Sunseri. I could have told you going into the same how bad Sunseri would be, and you can't say Graham didn't have options (he had Sunseri, Myers, Gonzalez, Jones). This is especially true considering Graham would often put the game in Sunseri's hands with options, passes, etc.

    Sunseri will doom the Panthers if he starts next year, but one can only hope Graham makes better calls at key positions and makes better in-game adjustments.

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  23. Jones and Gonzalez can't pass. With a poor OL there's no way that the Pitt offense would get anywhere with even less of a passing threat that they have now. And I've seen Myers try to play QB. You wouldn't think somebody could be worse than Sunseri but you would be wrong. He is worse.

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  24. John, for the record I really don't want Voytik starting next season either. But if it's between him and the Sunseri of this year, I will take Voytik. But hopefully it doesn't come to that. But I do want Voytik to see a good bit of snaps, though, if possible. The experience would be a huge benefit. But if he has to redshirt because the QB is solid enough that he won't have to play, I'd be happy with that too.


    And, by the way, for the person who asked about Shell, he will be at Pitt next year for sure.

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  25. IF PITT could have had better kick-off coverage they could have played in back to back BCS games(CINCY and UCONN games). 2012 is going to be another write-off year. Better start thinking about 2013. I hope that I am WRONG and you are right Chris

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  26. Chris - thanks for the well reasoned articles you have posted over the last few weeks. I have to agree with you that some PITT fans just need to see doom and gloom in every situation.

    I've felt all along, and have written about it also, that Graham has played 2011 with a strong eye toward who he'll be able to field in 2012 when he has more of his own players and everyone on the roster has a year of experience with him as coach.

    That last point can't be overestimated. It was a huge change for the returning PITT players when Wannstedt was fired and Graham, and his systems, took that place.

    By my count Graham has played 11 true freshman this season - those you listed were the standouts. He won't be afraid to play freshmen next season either. The fact that those 'lightly recruited' kids have produced this season is a very good sign and it shows that if you opt in with the coach's way of business then you'll get a good look.

    There are miserable PITT fans all over the place and I think that is due to 1) the tradition of PITT fans being miserable and 2) them not wanting the "PITT Guy" Wannstedt to be gone.

    I'm very much looking forward to Graham's next two years and I've felt that until I see Graham go sub-.500 5-7 in his third season, as both Harris and Wannstedt did, I'll back him as HC. That won't happen though

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  27. Chris: I understand your points on the o-line, but I'm confused at your comments re: Jones and Gonzalez can't pass. The TD pass that Jones threw this year was better (release, accuracy, and velocity) than any pass that Sunseri has thrown all year. Gonzalez was praised as a good running and throwing QB out of eastern PA. And Myers, his arm, release, and decision-making that I've seen in every piece from HS makes him look like Drew Brees compared to Sunseri.

    How can all these guys be worse than Sunseri? He can't even throw a deep ball (looks like he has the accuracy of Tim Tebow).

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  28. I can honestly tell you that everybody I've talked to, both at Pitt and the media that follows Pitt, thinks Jones, Gonzalez, or Myers would not be better than Sunseri this year. Believe me, the Pitt staff is desperate to find somebody to put out there instead of Sunseri, but there is nobody. The coaches want somebody different, the fans want somebody different, and I want somebody different but it's just not there this season. Now, next season is a different story. If Sunseri is starting next year and stinks again then Graham deserves a lot of criticism. I just don't see any chance at all now that that will happen.

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  29. Chris...

    I was quite excited when Graham was named Pitt's new head coach and I still believe he may have what it takes to make them a BCS caliber team... but... there are several things that have troubled me this season about the guy (some of which I've posted earlier in the year).

    For starters, he continues to believe a QB that can't even do the simple things asked of him week after week (with the exception of two games) still gives his team the best chance of winning. To borrow from SNL's reoccurring Seth Meyers popular Weekend Update segment... "Really?"

    Chris. You say of coach Graham,"...oh, and did I mention that he has a quarterback that is totally lacking instincts."

    What you didn't mention though is that the coach too is lacking instincts this season, especially with his choice of QB. In his own words:

    "We didn't play very well at the quarterback position"

    "It was disappointing because it was obviously not what we were trying to execute."

    "You can't take sacks"

    "Tino is still the guy that gives us the best chance at winning."

    "We just need to get better."

    (Repeat after every loss)

    Forgive me for losing a little confidence when the new and improved coach repeats the same tired and obvious statements each week that his old, clueless predecessor would make... "We just need to get better." Really!!!? Gee, You think? Actually coach what you need to do is have better instincts by starting a QB who might actually give you a chance to win and stop stating "We need to get better."

    Need I remind him that the definition of INSANITY... Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Chris... You say, "Jones and Gonzalez can't pass."

    I have been saying (and I believe you were in agreement at the time) that those two players could not possibly be any worse than Tino on game day-and both have a bigger upside. I posted earlier in the season that I felt it was a mistake for Graham to move Gonzalez to another position instead of developing him as a QB (you said you agreed). He may not have been the most accurate passer but neither is Tino and with Gonzalez's superior scrambling ability and speed you would have a tough time convincing me that Pitt would not have won more games with him under center this year instead of Sunseri.

    Again... bad instinct on Graham's part in my opinion. So, while the coach may not have had the best hand dealt to him this year in terms of QBs, HE chose to discard the Gonzalez card-gambling that the Tino card was the sure bet- How's that working for you this season coach!

    He's going to need better instincts in the years to come if he plans on getting Pitt in a BCS bowl game.

    For the record Chris... I realize you were not a Tino fan and it seems clear now that everyone (save the coach) believes no one could possibly play worse. Yet there are still those who (like the coach) say Tino "still gives us the best chance to win". To those people I say...

    Really!!?

    Our best chance to win...

    9 TDs in 11 games... Really!!?

    The same number of TDs as INTs... Really!!?

    Most sacked QB in Div. 1 (51 according to ESPN)... Really!!?

    17 more than the 3rd most sacked QB... Really!!?

    "Tino...gives us the best chance at winning."
    Really coach Graham?

    My instincts tell me otherwise.

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  30. And next year it'll be "well we have a freshman QB" or "if this guys stayed healthy" or "if only we made a play at the LB position" or "if we didn't both a FG"....

    If we can't be miserable about medicority for 30 years (and I get why you always deflect this negativity)....then you have to stop apologizing and making excuses.

    You are what your record says you are...

    And we are right where Walt and Wanny left us...mediocrity.

    Graham has two more years.

    After that, he is on the short list. This time, Smiley Steve goes with him...

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  31. Myers was a great high school quarterback in a pro-style offense. There is no question he is ill suited for the spread. But a good coach will not try to fit a round peg into a square hole. Graham could have used Myers with a different look to the offense.

    Graham all season demonstrated a chaotic sideline. Pitt was always calling timeouts early in each half and never had enough at the end of the game when they needed them (witness Notre Dame).

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  32. Chris,
    Love the blog, wish I'dda found it sooner.

    I agree with you, with one caveat: for Pitt to improve, they MUST upgrade at QB -- starting NEXT year. Sunseri is an uncoachable, stubborn or dense (or both) scatter-arm. He's probably maxed out in his development, and everyone agrees it isn't pretty.

    But if Pitt doesn't find someone else, meaning Sackseri plays next year too, that will mean Coach Graham will have flushed the first two years of his "honeymoon" down the toilet on that lost cause QB, and then find himself rushing to develop a RS freshman in Year Three, getting him ready for Pitt's jump to the ACC.

    Point being, TG better be developing anybody but Sackseri next year, or he may not survive to see his 4th year.

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  33. I was talking to a member of the Pitt staff last night and I said "you guys are going to live or die next year with the QB situation" and he said "I agree". So believe me they know that things have to change at the position and they are going to do what they have to do to change it.

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  34. Chris,

    Could you please expound a tad on your following follow-up comment "I've seen Myers try to play QB. You wouldn't think somebody could be worse than Sunseri but you would be wrong. He is worse."

    WADR, how is this possible within the laws of physics? How could he be worse (please cite examples)?

    Admittedly, here I'm talking about Utah Tino not UConn/USF Tino. But Utah-Tino is among the worst-ever (in not the #1 worst) QB playing today at the D1 level. Certainly the worst at Pitt I recall seeing since I started watching as a kid in 1973. Consider the following:

    * Utah-Tino cannot throw with anything on his fastball for more than about 15 yards, tops. He's too short, thus must lob the ball to clear the OL.

    * Utah-Tino disrupts his own throwing mechanics with a terrible case of happy feet. Especially late in games.

    Utah-Tino hits his WRs in the shoes on the bounce, then overthrows them by 20 yards the next play. Then he'll throw the ball 5 yards too far (in front of)(behind) them on alternating plays.

    * Utah-Tino is a sack magnet, he actually turns into oncoming traffic as if national awards were given for most sacks given up.

    Anyhoo, I'd love some examples of how Myers can be worse. With a bigger arm (reportedly), at least that would open up the vertical game, yes?

    Thank you.

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  35. What I mean more specifically is that Myers is worse right now at this moment. He doesn't know the offense well and his strengths and weaknesses are a bad match for this style. Now, next season if Myers dedicates himself and Graham makes a ton of changes to the offense than maybe he could be okay. But, the truth is, Myers is a big guy who a strong arm so the scouting services had him ranked highly. What they didn't take into account, however, is that he's not actually a good player. Maybe in time he will turn into one, but personally I'm not holding my breath on that.

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  36. Doke:

    The mention of Wannstedt provides me with the opportunity to ask a belated question about him. I have read severe criticism of Dave several times for how he bad-mouthed Pitt when Pederson gave him the opportunity to address the media after he was fired. What exactly did Wannstedt say about the university that has received such criticism?

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  37. Regarding Myers' scouting reports... the disagree wildly on his projections for college ball.

    He was ranked 11th, 32ndh and 102th as a QB on a national basis. He got from 4 to 2 stars on those sites also. Basically he was a three star, 48th best, QB who started one year in HS.

    He was not a sure thing by any standard but when PITT fans hear "strong arm" they have visions of Dan Marino.

    I saw Myers in action in a some practice sessions and was underwhelmed by what he showed out there. So, I'm not surprised at all that the staff felt he wasn't ready to play this season.

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  38. Chris, why hasn't anything been mentioned about Demitrious Davis possibly playing QB...he's also listed at 5'10"?

    http://pittsburgh.scout.com/a.z?s=141&p=8&c=1&nid=5211654

    Think this guy can't run & pass?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1_QHSh2lSA&feature=related

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  39. What about Trey Anderson? I'd like to see more when he's healthy.

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  40. Honestly Gonzales would have been a possibility if it weren't for the switch to that "H-Back" position in order to get him on the field. His background out of the lot of QBs we have fit Todd's style the most. Not sure if they'll give him a try in the offseason as an alternative to shooting for a "one-and-done" QB.

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  41. Jackagain - another name would be EJ Banks who has been playing Scout team QB in practices and scrimmages.

    He's a long shot but at this point I'd try everyone that first week of spring practice.

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