Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Preseason grades for Pitt football

Quarterbacks:  Obviously this was a disaster last season, and unfortunately most of the unit is the same. Once again Tino Sunseri will start.  He's a senior and it's his third year as a starter so that fact alone should make one believe that he'll at least improve.  Paul Chryst's quarterback expertise will be put to the test this year and I think enough improvements will be made that Sunseri should at least have an adequate season.  The backup is once again undersized former walk-on Trey Anderson, a sophomore.  While Anderson is far from horrible, a 5'9" walk-on as a backup is hardly ideal.  Third string will be incoming prized freshman Chad Voytik.  Don't think he's a guaranteed redshirt, though.  He has more talent than either player ahead of him and by mid-season, if Sunseri is not playing well, I can see Voytik progressing enough to take over the starting position. I'm not saying that will happen, but just because Voytik isn't ready now, that does not mean he won't be ready six weeks from now. Bottom line:  Chryst raises it a half of a grade and has the ability to raise it even a little more by the end of the year.

Last Season's Final Grade:  D
This Season's Preseason Grade:  C-

Running backs:  For much of the season, this was the best unit on the team, mostly because of the wonderful Ray Graham.  Graham was obviously hurt towards the end of the season and is still recovering.  The uncertainty of just how well he returns lowers the grade on this position, but the depth this year is even better.  Sophomore Isaac Bennett is a tough straight line runner with good speed and he looks to be much improved this year after being forced into action unexpectedly last season.  Elite freshman Rushel Shell also came on strong towards the end of the preseason and it will be interesting to see how well he progresses as the season develops.  At fullback, converted high school quarterback, and walk-on, Mark Giubilato, is now up to a rock solid 230 pounds, and he'll start.  Another walk-on, Adam Lazenga, is the backup.  Bottom line:  All three of the top halfbacks are capable of having huge seasons, but Bennett and Shell haven't done it yet and Graham is coming off a major injury.  By the end of the year, those answers could very well be answered, but right now there are at least some questions.

Last Season's Final Grade:  A
This Season's Preseason Grade:  B+

Wide receivers:  This was one of the more disappointing units last season, mainly because starters Devin Street and Michael Shanahan never bought into Todd Graham's offense, and it resulted in both not having their heart in it.  That should be much different this season as Chryst's offense will play to both of their strengths.  The 6'4" Street underachieved at the beginning of the season but came on at the end of the year. If the junior comes to play this year he could be playing his last season as a Panther because talented 6'4" receivers tend to go to the NFL early.  That incentive should be enough for him to come up big.  The 6'5" Shanahan has been battling injuries in the preseason but he should also be better this season.  After them there is a big difference with the second string consisting of 5'7" senior Cameron Saddler and 5'8" sophomore Ronald Jones.  Both have quickness, especially Jones, but their lack of size is obviously a problem.  Bottom line:  The position is in flux and Street has to come up big, plus somebody other than him has to come on for this position to improve greatly.

Last Season's Final Grade:  D
This Season's Preseason Grade:  C-

Tight ends:  Todd Graham did not feature the tight end a lot in his offense, and the unit was still pretty good.  The good news is that the unit could be even better this season, especially since Chryst loves to utilize the position.  Former transfer Hubie Graham is my pick for most improved on offense this year.  He could come up with a good number of catches. Sophomores Drew Carswell and Brendan Carozzoni, and incoming freshman J.P. Holtz, are all very good in their own right.  Any of the three are more than capable of contributing also.  Bottom line:  Talented and deep, there's nothing not to like.

Last Season's Final Grade:  B
This Seasons's Preseason Grade:  A 

Offensive line:  What a disaster this unit was last year, but the good news is, I think it was more that the linemen were not a good fit in the offense, than the linemen were horrible.  Chris Jacobson returning to guard is a major plus.  He never became the star that was predicted of him but if he stays healthy his addition will help immensely.  Center Ryan Turnley went from a non-factor to a leader in one season and will pair with Jacobson to give a solid, veteran inside tandem.  The other guard is Ryan Schlieper who was forced into action last year but should be much improved.  The same can be said for Cory King who has been moved from guard to tackle after the yearlong suspension of Juantez Hollins.  The other tackle is Matt Rotheram who was looking good in limited action last season until an injury ended it.  The size of most of the starters are well over 300 pounds and all are capable of being at least solid starters.  It's the depth that's the problem.  True freshman Adam Bisnowaty, along with rarely used Zenel Demhasaj, Shane Johnson, Arthur Doakes, and Artie Rowell are even more untested, but they are all second team at the moment.  Bottom line:  The starters may not bad if they stay healthy, but that's rarely the case in football.  And Jacobson and Turnley had a lot of injuries last season and it's asking a lot for them to make it through this season.  I took some heat last season for giving the unit a C-, since a lot of people thought I was being generous.  But I did it because they played courageously and actually were very good at run blocking.  If there's something to get out of this bunch then Chryst, Joe Rudolph, and Jim Hueber will get it, but it's going to be tough if there is a significant injury.  The starters are a solid C but the lack of depth lowers the grade.

Last Season's Final Grade:  C-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  C-

Defensive line:  By the end of last season, the Pitt defensive line was excellent.  Unfortunately, most of the players responsible for that are gone.  Luckily, the one starter who is coming back is Aaron Donald who has All-American potential.  That's a great start.  But after him there are questions.  Donald will be joined on the inside by 300 pound bull Tyrone Ezell, who was highly rated coming out of high school but so far has underachieved.  At end, there is another underachiever in 6'6" 290 pound T.J. Clemmings, but he's got amazing size and athleticism so there's hope that he can turn into something special.  At the other end is Jack Lippert, who was lost in the shuffle so far in his career, but now has his chance.  Behind Clemmings is Bryan Murphy who scouts and coaches have been telling me for two years could be a star so it's interesting that he is now a backup.  We will find soon enough if it was the right choice.  Behind Lippert is senior Shayne Hale, a once highly recruited player who is down to his last chance.  Behind Ezell is Khaynin Mosley-Smith, another talented player who has not lived up to his potential yet.  Behind Donald is true freshman Darryl Render, who is there more by default than because he is ready to contribute a lot.  Bottom line-  Other than Donald it's a new cast of characters, but the talent is there.

Last Season's Final Grade:  A-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  B-

Linebacker:  The unit was not good last season, mostly because many of the players were very slow. Most of those players are gone and that's a good thing.  Two of the most talented players on the unit are Dan Mason and Ejuan Price, but Mason doesn't look to be a factor because of his badly injured leg, and Price will miss the season because of an injury.  Todd Thomas is also very talented but a bad injury will cost him some time at the beginning of the season.  In the meantime, fast redshirt freshman Nicholas Grigsby will man his outside spot.  On the other end will be redshirt sophomore Eric Williams.  In the middle is Shane Gordon, who finally gets his chance to show what he has on a full-time basis.  All three have not done much yet, and the three are in the 215-220 pound range, so there are plenty of questions.  The depth is even more questionable at the moment with the likes of Manny Williams and Joe Trebitz. True freshman Bam Bradley and Deaysean Rippy may be the future and could eventually work themselves into the mix.  Bottom line- For years the program has struggled to have a high level linebacking unit and while some of these younger guys are promising, I don't see them making a lot of damage this season.

Last Season's Final Grade:  C-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  B-

Defensive back:  This unit was not bad last season and looks to return a good measure of talent and depth, though some young unheralded true freshman have slipped into the mix.  The best of the group last season was cornerback K'waun Williams, but he's starting off this season with an injury. As long as he regains his health there's no reason to think he won't be good again.  On the other side, redshirt freshman Lafayette Pitts and sophomore Michigan transfer Cullen Christian battle it out, and both have a lot of talent.  At safety, last year's starters Jason Hendricks and Jared Holley are battling another Michigan transfer, Ray Vinopal, and the always exciting playmaker Andrew Taglianetti.  Not many programs have four good safeties like that.  The two unheralded freshman I mentioned previously, Ryan Lewis and Jamahl Pardner may also see some time at corner.  Bottom line:  Even with Lloyd Carrington transferring, this unit should be very good, barring injury.

Last Season's Final Grade:  B-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  B+

Special teams:  This is yet one more unit that was infuriating last season.  Both kicker Kevin Harper and punter Matt Yoklic have talent which makes their up and down performance last year so frustrating.  The return game was pretty much a non-factor.  Bottom line:  It's hard to say what will happen here because it's pretty much the same bunch, but the two kickers at least have a lot of potential.

Last season's Final Grade:  C-
This Season's Preseason Grade:  C

Coaching:  Obviously this is impossible to call because Chryst hasn't coached one game yet.  Will he be somebody like Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon, who Pitt fans were blase about, but who became great coaches?  Or will he be like Foge Fazio and Paul Hackett, two highly thought of coordinators who bombed when they became the head man?  So far Chryst is ahead of the game because he hasn't beaten anybody up and he hasn't made everybody hate him.  So he's got that going for him.  His style is very low key, which will be great if he wins.  If he doesn't win, his low key attitude will make it easier for people to pile on.  His offensive mind is an obvious plus.  It's not an exaggeration to say that it's one of the best in football.  But that's what makes him a great coordinator.  As everybody knows, that doesn't mean he'll be a great head coach, too.  One often does not lead to the other.  Since there's no way in knowing which way it will go, consider him to have a C grade until we do know.

Season prediction:  The schedule may not look good, but that's only if you think the Pitt is an excellent team, which they definitely aren't.  Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and South Florida are all equal or better than the Panthers and away games at Syracuse and UConn, and at home against Temple, aren't exactly gimmes either.

When all is said and done, it doesn't seem likely that this team will go worse than 6-6, and I would be very surprised if they went any better than 8-4.  I'll split it down the middle and say 7-5.


  1. I'm think 6-6 due to lack of depth...
    You know there are going to be injuries... and the 2nd string at most positions is scary.

  2. Chris,

    Agree with much of your assessments.

    As far as quarterback goes, I think you continue to be a little overly enamored with Voytik based purely upon how highly rated he was coming out of high school.

    He is obviously an athlete who physically appears to be more like a fifth-year senior than he does a freshman.

    But so far Voytik has apparently not shown the ability to throw the ball or do some of the other things you would expect from an Elite 11 quarterback, even as a freshman.

    In fact, the junior QB who replacd Voytik at Cleveland High is already putting up better numbers than Voytik did as a senior on a team that is now 0 and 2.

    I sincerely hope that Voytik does eventually live up to his billing and can be counted on to run Chryst's offense this year if called upon, especially given Anderson's continued problems with tendonitis.

    But it seems there are doubts among many of those who have seen Voytik perform in practice.

    Curious if you've had the chance to observe Voytik in person this fall?


    1. Doesn’t sound like there are many doubts about Voytik coming from the PG sports writer covering Pitt football.

      “Please, I beg of you, don't overreact to what I'm about to tell you. Freshman quarterback Chad Voytik has looked very, very impressive in his last two practices. If it looked like a light switch went on last night, it stayed on today. He had a beautiful over the shoulder throw to Drew Carswell during the skeleton drill, and wrapped up the practice with a diving touchdown run in the rain. When Voytik understands the play, which, like any freshman, is not always the case, he can make things happen. We've also seen his mobility the last few days. He can make some plays with his feet (like a 20-yard run last night) but also seems to have pretty good throwing mechanics while he's on the run.”

      Reports from the Trib and PG stated that towards the end of camp, Voytik looked like the best QB on the field. Not bad for a kid that was cleaning out his high school locker just a couple of months ago.


    2. The reports of Voytik's improvement were quickly followed by reports saying Voytik's improved play was temporary and he immediately went back to performing more on par with what he showed the majority of camp.

      My point is, I think most would agree that more would be expected from Voytik given his obvious maturity physically and all the accolades regarding his ability to throw a football and Elite 11 staus.

      Still waiting to hear if Dokish actually had a chance himself to observe Voytik in person and if so what he saw or didn't see.


    3. Yea, i never saw those reports that said he was average again and i check about every pitt site there is every day. And i still dont get why youre harping on his replacement in high school.

    4. pk

      It's pretty simple.

      Last year during Cleveland High's nationally televised ESPN game Voytik struggled just to get a pass off, let alone complete it.

      He showed absolutely no ability to either step up or run away from the rush in order to buy time to pass.

      There were more than a few contributors on this blog and other blogs who were quick to defend Voytik blaming it on everything but him... i.e. the lack of protection, no receivers.

      They failed to notice that when Voytik got benched in the second half, his replacement was somehow immediately able to complete passes to the same receivers who apparently had no hands when Voytik was throwing them the ball.

      That replacement Austin Herink, now a junior, has passed for nearly 600 yards in his first two games as a starter for a team that has yet to win a game.

      The word in Cleveland last year was that despite all of his recognition nationally, Voytik was the second best quarterback on the team.

      That may be a bitter pill to swallow for those who've remained convinced that Voytik is the answer to Pitt's quarterback woes.

      Still waiting for Dokish to chime in on this discussion with what he has seen or hasn't seen based on any personal observations he may have had on the South Side.

      Chris is among those who remain convinced of Voytik's abilities based upon his national recognition as an elite high school quarterback.


    5. This is just ridiculous. His WRs were awful last year and they completely let him down on national TV. He had a ridiculous number of drops, was running for his life half the time, and showed plenty.

    6. Anonymous,

      Let’s accept your premise that Herink is a better QB than Voytik...

      1)How does that change Voytik’s abilities?
      2)How should that change the way Pitt fans feel regarding the potential of Voytik being successful at the college level?

      Your logic seems to go like this:

      Herink>>Voytik = Voytik STINKS = Pitt fans should not expect anything from Voytik at any time over the next 4-5 years.

      Do you I have this right?

    7. RKR,

      No, the logic goes like this.

      Voytik the next great QB at Pitt based on his ranking as a high school quarterback according to Chris Dokish and many of his loyal bloggers.

      Voytik fails to impress not only in Cleveland High nationally televised loss on ESPN and gets replaced in second half by Sophomore quarterback who immediately shows the ability to complete passes where Voytik could not.

      Fans like Crimhead blame lack of blocking and receivers for Voytik's struggles.

      Voytik next appears on national TV during Army All-Star game where he again fails to impress even though he has Five-Star Lineman and Five-Star receivers.

      Fast forward... by most reports Voytik does not immediately show himself to be as good or better than the other two QBs on the roster who themselves leave a lot to be desired... again according to Dokish bloggers.

      Bottom line... Voytik has yet to affirm early expectations that he is the next great Pitt QB or maybe the second coming of Rick Trocano.

      By the way, the fact that Dokish has not chimmed in here to offer his account of Voytik tells me Chris may not have had the opportunity to attend a Pitt practice in person.


    8. Or I was just busy and haven't had time to reply to you. I did see Voytik twice at Pitt this season. Nobody is saying he is the next star QB at Pitt. What I'm saying is that how he will be TWO WEEKS into his first college season when I last saw him, and NINE WEEKS when I said he could eventually be good enough to see time, is a HUGE AMOUNT of time in the life of a college football quarterback. I don't say he is guaranteed be ready then, and maybe won't be ever, but in the middle of the season he's going to be miles ahead of where he is now.

      I don't understand what your angle is in either praising Herink or trashing Voytik. Here's the facts. Last time he was measured, Herink was 6'0" 175 pounds and ran a 5.15. He's not the superstar you are making him out to be. Here's another fact, Voytik already had an offer from Mississippi State by this time. Herink isn't even close to an offer like that. One more fact for you. Voytik ended up in the Elite 11 where he earned praise from former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, a guy who may know a thing or two about being a quarterback.

      I guess this is all my way of saying you have no idea what the hell you are talking about and are clearly trying to cause trouble.

    9. Chris,

      Thanks for responding.

      No, it's not a matter of causing trouble at all.

      Your blog, more than others, puts an incredible emphasis on recruiting and rankings of high school players.

      You do an incredible job of detailing the different aspects of individual players and the Pitt football program as a whole. The vast majority of which I agree with.

      Like many other Pitt fans, I watched Voytik the two times he appeared on national TV. I was expecting and hoping to see a guy who was every bit as good as in real life as he appeared to be in his highlight reel. I also watched him in the ESPN Elite 11 and in the Army All Star game.

      You can only get so much from the Elite 11 based upon the fact that the kids are in shorts and the way ESPN edits everything to make it fit a story.

      However, in both the Clevleand High Game and the Army All Star game, Voytik failed to live up to his billing.

      In both games, he showed no ability to either step up in the face of a rush or runaway from it to make a play. Instead, he seemed to resort to retreating from the rush and throwing off his back foot out of desperation. He did not leave you coming away thinking this kid really has it.

      The problem is not athleticism or physical maturity. At 18, he's built more like a fifth-year senior than an incoming freshman.

      But, despite the athleticism, he was outplayed in the Cleveland High game by a sophomore who, despite being slow and not nearly the athlete, somehow found it possible to complete passes and spark the team.

      And in the Army All Star game, Voytik again looked uncomforatable in the face of the rush and unable to get the ball to his receivers. His one shining moment the nice plunge into the endzone.

      My comments about Voytik and the comparisons to Herink are about keeping it real.

      So many of the Tino haters and Anderson bashers on this blog have been so certain that he is the next great Pitt quarterback, they seem totally unable or unwilling to even contemplate the possibility that he is not.

      However, my experience has been that elite players usually have a way of standing out from their competition, despite the shortcomings of their team, not every play but at least some plays during the course of a game.

      While this has not been the case so far with Voytik, hopefully with Chryst's tutelage he will be able to live up to the expectations to Pitt's benefit.

      That's why Chris I was truly interested in hearing your thoughts on what you saw or didn't see in Chad Voytik after observing him n person.

      In your expert opinion, does he have "IT"?


    10. Voytik has a strong arm and a great release. He also is pretty athletic and he is smart. He has a lot of what it takes, but you can't really know if he has the nuances needed that the excellent ones have until he's been in some actual games. I do think he'll at least be a solid quarterback. He won't be a flop, in my opinion. How good is he is yet to be determined. But you are giving too much weight to two times you've seen in play on TV and to be honest that meant little. In the first game he was running for his life and he made a few beautiful passes that were flat out dropped. The backup was doing well because the game was out of reach and he was playing against second teamers. In the Army game he was again running for his life and he actually impressed me in that game.

      Bottom line, there are many high school QBs that throw for tons of yards and that means nothing. Stats in high school, period, don't mean anything. All you have to ask is, does Voytik have a lot of tools that could be turned into something productive, especially with somebody like Chryst mentoring him, and I think the honest answer to that is a resounding yes.

    11. Yeah, I'm not sure how anyone could've watched those games and not come away impressed. His accuracy was remarkable. He led the West team right down the field - albeit while running for his life - and got into the end zone himself. In the ESPN game, just like Doke said, he threw some unreal ball - one in particular must have been 40-45 yards across the field on the run and slightly across his body that the WR just stopped on, partially due to shock that someone could've made that throw. I thought he was actually UNDERRATED if anything. He impressed the heck out of me in both games. Maybe you don't recall how bad the rest of the QBs were with Cyler Miles. Chad surely didn't look any worse than Gunner Kiel.

      It might be possible that YOU don't know what you are talking about, thus YOU weren't impressed. But plenty of others were.

    12. Crimhead

      Thanks for helping me prove my point.


    13. PittofDreams,

      Thanks for answering my post with a nice response. It’s nice to be able to disagree with someone, but still be able to understand their side. So, I can see why you reach your conclusion but there are several points I disagree with.

      1) Dokish is not the person responsible for Voytik’s high school ranking. He was scouted by many “experts” including the group that determines the Elite 11 and found to be a very talented QB. While Chris may be very good at what he does, I don’t think he has the clout the affect the national perception of a QB from Tennessee.

      2) I was expecting a lot more from Voytik on the ESPN game. However, it was very obvious that his team was overmatched. I have to wonder what would have happened if the QB rotation were reversed. What if Herink played against the starters and Voytik was brought in during mop-up time?

      3) Per the posts above, there is no universal evaluation of Voytik’s play in the all-star game. You think he stunk, others think he performed well. I think there were both good and bad, which are picked up by those that want to support or attack Voytik.

      4) Overall, I think it is a bad idea to jump to judgment on the ability of Chad Voytik based on watching TWO high school football games.

      5) The kid struggled during the first two weeks of practice at the college level. That is hardly out of the ordinary for just about anyone. Sure, players like Dorsett come in and dominate. But those are hall of fame type players. I don’t think anyone expect Voytik to be a HOF type.

      6) Fast-forward a couple of weeks and it becomes clear (by all the reports) that Voytik is improving rapidly. He’s not ready for prime time, but there are flashes of the potential that got him the Elite 11 status.

      None of this means he will fail, nor does it mean he’ll be the next superstar. But to jump to the conclusion that Voytik was over-rated and going to be a fail seems a little premature at this point.


    14. Excellent response RKR.

      Agree with a lot of what you wrote.

      The fact is that many on this blog tend to be blind loyalists who buy into all the hoopla about a kid just because he's comming to Pitt.

      In Voytik's case, it's probably gone a little to the extreme in large part because of everyone's desperation over the quarterback position.

      I'm guessing their opinions of Voytik might be a bit more tempered if he were heading somewhere else.

      My position has never been that Voytik will be a bust or that he won't ever start and win games. All I've said is that the kid failed to live up to his billing as a truly "elite" quarterback in his two big games in the national spotlight.

      So what if he doesn't end up being Pitt's version of Drew Brees? What would be wrong with a John Congemi or even a Rick Trocano, a guy who was very similar in size and athleticism to Voytik?

      Either way, Voytik coming to Pitt has been a bonus. The kid also made a great choice for himself by sticking with his commitment.

      With Chryst honing his skills there will be little left for conjecture as to just how good Chad is or isn't and whether all the accolades were on the money.


  3. The old track coachAugust 29, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    I am leaning towards 8-4; Pitt has some players, yes depth is a concern but injuries are part of the game and will come into play with Pitt's players and their opponents players.

    ND and VT have more quality players, say they lose both of these.

    Rutgers, Cincinnati, Louisville and USF, they will split 2-2.

    They will beat YSU, Gardner Webb, Syracuse, Buffalo, Temple and UConn.

  4. Doke,

    Great stuff, per usual.

    However, if you think Pitt's QB staff last year was "only" a D, I wish I'dda had you as an engineering prof at Pitt. You're an easy grader. What more (bad) would they have to do to rate an F?

    The Utah abortion? Rutgers? SMU? The 4th Qtrs (= two key words) against Iowa, Notre Dame, WVU and Cincy? I don't know what grade is worse than F- but that's their (well, Tino's...) true mark.

    I stand on record that Tino Sunseri, with his weak scatter-arm and especially his wet-pants fear once the quarter flips from 3 to 4, is easily Pitt's worst QB since I started following them in 1973. He has no more business QBing in a BCS AQ conference than I do going into manned space flight as a NASA astronaut. He's the reason I didn't renew my season tix this year, I just can't stand the idea of paying to watch him take one more snap.

    That said, I hope to all that is holy that he pulls a Stull-esque senior-year metamorphosis and proves me wrong, goes out on a high note.


    1. If you're going back that far, undoubtedly, Sal Genilla was much, much worse. In fact, the only fortunate part was the his reign of error was shorter.

    2. The Atlanta PantherAugust 30, 2012 at 8:10 AM

      Matt Lytle was pretty bad in the late 90's. Only one season though.

    3. Didn't Matt Lytle play in the NFL for a few years? If I remember correctly it was with the Carolina Panthers. Nick Goings may have been on that team with him...

    4. A quick wikipedia check verifies that Matt Lytle did indeed play for the Carolina Panthers, and even the Seattle Seahawks. That puts him squarely in Rod Rutherford / Pete Gonzalas territory. Perhaps it was the team around him...

    5. Sorry Imma, John Ryan is the all-time worse QB at Pitt. And you can't count the SMU game against Tino, that game was a cluster--- all around due to circumstances beyond their control

    6. Another vote for Sal Genilla. I will never forget one play where they rolled him out... had no one around and a wide open receiver - he literally threw the ball like a girl and it fluttered to the ground about 5 feet in front of him. John Fox was so enraged he threw his headset into the turf.

      Just proves - all it takes is one player who really sucks to derail a season.

  5. I concur with most of your analysis Chris. I look for Pitt to be 1-0 after Saturday. YSU does have a few nice players and the match up I don't like for the Panthers are the YSU running backs catching passes against our new/young linebackers. If that happens, we will see if PC gets away from his base defense right away and brings in additional db's (strength), to neutralize the short passing game.

    Receiver scores are a tad high in my opinion. They need to create space quickly and to me Shanahan just can't do that. I expected PC to ask him to put on 20 pounds and use him in a double TE formation as that is his only shot to make it in the nfl. Also, I do not think our WR's block well and for that reason too, I would put their score lower.

    Man, those grades would improve so much if Pitt could land Foster, Boyd and Johnson. Early playing time and with Voytik or Chapman or Kincaide tossing their way would be nice weapons. Bisno and Johnson would be great bookends too. C'mon fellas, pull the string!

    1. Yeah... who is going to stretch the field, Street? He better get consistent like really quick - cause it doesn't help his cause that he sat out training camp.

      You got erratic QB throwing to 2 unproven veteran receivers and a bunch of young guys. The TE's better step-up big time.

  6. I will say 8-4 but hoping for 9-3! Pitt can beat ND @ there place. Call me homer!!

  7. What is this evaluation based on? They haven't played a game yet. Many key contributors have been injured. Camp is for the coaches to get a feel for the players especially with a new staff. There shouldn't be grades based off drills etc. As for voytik he's still a true freshman regardless of his physical stature. He's been working on the mental part if the game which is to be expected.

    1. They are who we thought they were!!!

  8. Chris - great reading and pretty accurate. I'll disagree with your grade on the LBs though. They very well may end up as a "B" but they are completely untested save for two starts by Shane Gordon.

    Otherwise I think you're pretty accurate.

    pk - yes, there were reports on message pay boards and from some blogs about Voytik's play tailing off after that second scrimmage. I saw both scrimmages and was impressed by the difference in his play from one week to the other. That was a result of his being able to take a full four days of QB2 snaps rather than getting them here and there as QB3.

    That said, Voytik is very inconsistent in his play and passing which is totally understandable for a true FR QB. He was inconsistent in that second scrimmage where he'd throw two nice passes then follow up with a wounded duck that made your jaw drop. PITT fans tend to look at only the positives because they want these kids to get in and succeed right away. But that isn't real life. Voytik has good physical attributes but that isn't all that goes into playing college football.

    A telling sign is that even after he had those two (and really only two) great practices not one person on staff or in the media said they thought he should be the starting QB. Every report came with that same caveat that is stated above.

    I do think that it is reasonable that Anderson is listed as the #2 QB but I would also have no problem if, after some more weeks of practice under his belt Voytik fleeted up to that #2 spot.

    Let's not forget that he literally only had three week of camp practices and that is a big reason the staff is being as conservative as they can with him.

    1. Nice report by Chris and you as well rk.

      Thanks very much for both!

  9. For years we had heard that Wandstadt had a "top 25" or "top 10" recruiting class. Any chance that this could be proven out by this coaching staff?

  10. It's a C+ team until Chryst does what I think he's capable of. If Ray Graham is healthy and Chryst can get Tino to avoid mistakes, they can win the Big East.

  11. Pitt 27 Youngstown 10 is what I a predicting - anyone else

  12. The old track coachAugust 31, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Pitt 28 YSU 13, the game is close into the 4th qtr.

  13. I rarely get the feeling that the people on this site root for someone to fail - personally I do not do so very often. HOWEVER, there is one glaring exception - Todd Graham. I am rooting for ASU to lose every game and have him get fired in under 2 years.

    Soooooooo...... ASU comes out and "puts the hammer down" on NA to the tune of 63-6. This has made me ill all day as I try to sort through what this means regarding PITT FB.

    So I ask the board...what (if anything) does this 63-6 victory say about TG?

    What (if anything) does it say about Pitt FB?

    I have my own answers and neither make my anxiousness about Pitt's near and long-term future subside...

    What say you...???

    1. Reed

      You are wise beyond your years, TG saw the writing on the wall and bailed.

      Chryst will be terminated after his third season

  14. I agree with you on:

    1) - I want to see Todd Graham fail horribly
    2) - I am concerned about the future of Pitt FB.

    I don't think what ASU did to NA has a thing relevant to Pitt FB.

    Now, if the Fraud beats either USC or Oregon, then I'll probably barf.

    I am very concerned that Chryst's personality is going to hurt this program.

    I'm sure he knows his X's and especially O's but, you MUST get players and the head coach must close the deal.

    You don't want the Graham type of used car salesman but, you do want someone who can aggressively sell this program and I just don't think Chryst has that in him.

    The perfect scenario imho would have been to keep Wannstedt as a figurehead HC to recruit and close the deals but let the Chrysts of the world be the coordinators.

    Recruiting is the lifeblood of a FB program and when Dorian Johnson picked Penn St. of all places when it was down to Pitt and PSU, I lost a lot of confidence in Chryst's ability to close the deal.

    Go get Foster and I'm ok. but, if Urban Meyer wants him badly enough, he'll get him.

    Just my .02

  15. Todd Graham's system will work, to an extent. It definitely would've worked in the Big East just last year with a remotely competent QB, or at least one with the right skillset to look remotely competent. But he's still a dbag and it's still just pure gimmicky. I would also add the linkage with the Steelers and just being in a big city to begin with, a pro style offense is an easier sell and better fit with Pitt. But no matter what type of offense we run, if it's executed well and the play selection is good, we'll be fine with adequate talent. If we can get elite talent in the right places, we'll be much better than that. The right coach can do that at Pitt I still believe, but I can't imagine someone as dull as PC is going to play real well in Western Pa.

  16. What does it matter that TG fails or does well who cares. The biggest positive of him leaving is just that HE LEFT!!

  17. Are these Shell, Ezell, and Hale rumors true?

  18. What rumors are you hearing?

    1. It's mainly on the Scout board, but it's also on Twitter.

      A rumor that all three are suspended, and that Shell wasn't with the team in a hotel last night and got into a fight at McDonald's.

  19. Rumors are true.

    Shell, Ezell, Hale, Jones, Davis, Gonzalez all suspended.

    Stupid is as stupid does - and these guys are all unquestionably STUPID. Especially the upper classmen who REALLY should know better by now - guys like Gonzalez who has effed up before but keeps on getting a pass.

    Isn't it nice to know that dimbulbs like these never have to worry about student loan debts?

  20. Good point regarding loans krit and, Gonzo needs to be

  21. Paul Chryst's defense is embarrassing. Pathetic defensive line, and the supposedly "deep" secondary is getting tortured.

    Gonna be a long season.

  22. Ugly game... for Pitt... turned it off.
    I had pitt at 6-6 this year... now I'm not sure.

    So much for all those who said... Chryst will "coach em up"...
    you need players!!!
    The next 3 years of pitt football will be torture.

    If he can't beat YSU... who can Pitt beat?

  23. It's pretty sad when the best player on the field was Sunseri!!! (ok, maybe not the best but you get my point!)

    The entire defense needs overhauled...
    The offensive line... pushed around by YSU...
    TE's looked good...
    WR's looked good...
    RB's... very dependent upon OLineman..
    QB... looked good..

    They are who we thought they were!!

  24. If the YSU game was suppose to be a preview of Chryst and crew coaching abilities... and coach em up...

    you can say bye bye to the possibility of Johnson, Foster, or Boyd...

    also, should be concerned of keeping Chapman or clement...

    because we all know, chryst personality and salesmanship isn't going to land them or keep them.

  25. Lets give YSU credit they are a good team. The fumble killed us in the first half

  26. This was pathetic. This is the most lethargic I have seen PITT in quite sometime. They looked lost...even more lost than they did last year. Is it me?

    After VaTech we will probably be 0-3. I hoe VT doesn't run up the score...disgusting!

  27. Dokes, you were much too kind on your preseason grades......

  28. Doke,
    Give it to us straight. What the hell just happened and why?