Monday, September 2, 2013

2013-2014 Preseason Grades for Pitt Football

Quarterbacks:  Just because of the nature of the position Tom Savage is the most important player on the team this season.  He has the prototypical 6'5" 230 pound size, quick release, and cannon for an arm. If he has a successful year he could legitimately be a high NFL draft pick. On the other hand, as all Pitt fans know he has been out of action for years so he is not used to game speed.  How quickly he returns to form will determine both his and Pitt's season.  If Savage gets hurt or flops, the only real option is redshirt freshman Chad Voytik, who is not big at 6'0" and 200 pounds, but he has a strong arm, a very quick release, and has good mobility. His future appears to be bright, but if he had to play for any extended period of time this season, it may be a case of too much, too early. Bottom line: This is the last chance for Savage to live up to his great potential. If he lives up to it then the Panthers can be a surprise this season. If he flops then it could get ugly. Right now since there's no real way to know which way Savage will go, I will put his grade right in the middle, but he has the potential to make this grade an A this season.

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

Running Backs: Paul Chryst's offenses usually have a successful running back but if he can manage to get a 1,000 yard rusher this year it may be the ultimate proof of how good of an offensive coach he is. Junior Isaac Bennett will begin the season as a starter and that is a scary proposition. In his first two seasons, Bennett has only accumulated only 378 in his first two seasons and he's been injury prone, including in fall practice this year. He is a solidly built 5'11" and 205 pounds and has very good straight line speed, but his ability to be the main back is still a very big question mark. Perhaps the back on the roster with the highest upside is 6'2" 230 pound true freshman James Conner. He has good speed and good hands, but he is a between the tackles runner with little wiggle. It remains to be seen if he is good enough as a freshman to make a big impact, but he definitely does have talent.  Two other halfbacks, 5'10" 200 pound Malcolm Postell, and 6'1" 185 pound true freshman Rachid Ibrahim, are in reserve. Neither are considered topnotch talents though Ibrahim has surprised with his quickness. When the Panthers need a fullback, big, strong 6'2" 230 pound junior Mark Giubilato returns, as does 6'0" 235 pound adam Lazenga. True freshman Jaymar Parrish, 6'2" 230 pounds, is too good to redshirt so he could force the staff to play him, either at fullback or H-Back. Bottom line- On paper it doesn't look like the Panthers have a lot here, but Chryst's offenses usually can run the ball. Somebody has to get the most yards, but right now it's anybody's guess who that will be.

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

Wide Receivers:  After Mike Shanahan graduated and Ronald Jones was suspended for the season, this group was looking suspect. It still has some questions but at least the starters are pretty good. Senior Devin Street is obviously the go to guy here and he's coming off a 73 catch, 975 yard season. At 6'4" 190 pounds he has the size to go along with very good speed. If he has a big year he could be a high NFL draft pick so he has a lot to play for. On the other side true freshman Tyler Boyd is on his way to living up to his massive reputation. At 6'2" and 185 pounds Boyd has excellent speed, athleticism, and hands. Expect to see him used in many ways.  The top reserves are 6'2" 190 pound senior Ed Tinker, 5'10" junior Kevin Weatherspoon, and 6'2" 205 pound redshirt freshman Chris Wuestner. If the jump to major college football proves to be too much for Boyd, Tinker is the most likely to become the starter.  Bottom line-  Street and Boyd should be fine as the starters, and it's likely that a reserve will step forward to add addition production. If he stays healthy that will probably be Tinker. Because one of the starters has to yet to play a down and none of the reserves have accomplished much I'm going to be conservative with the grade for now, but the potential is there to do much better.

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

Tight Ends:  We finally have a definite strength. Both Chryst and right hand man Joe Rudolph had great success with tight ends at Wisconsin, and it didn't take long to make this unit the best on the team. The starter will be 6'4" 245 pound sophomore J.P. Holtz, who played well as a true freshman. He is tough, runs well, and has very good hands. He should make a big leap in his second season. Wisconsin transfer Manasseh Garner, a 6'2" 220 pound junior, is built like a bull and has good hands and speed. I wouldn't be surprised if he led the team in receptions this season. True freshman Scott Orndoff has great 6'5" 245 pound size and he runs like a deer. He may prove to be too good to keep off the field as he gets accustomed to the college game. The aforementioned Parrish will also be used as an H-Back so if Garner goes down with an injury he may be the replacement.  Bottom line- A lot of talent and a lot of depth. what's not to like?

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

Offensive Line: This unit has been a disaster for the past few years and hasn't been an actual force in forever. They won't be a force this season either but at least it should be better than last season and that's a start. At the important left tackle spot the Panthers are going with 6'6" 300 pound redshirt freshman Adam Bisnowaty. He's still slightly undersized and doesn't have any game experience so he has to be considered a question mark at this time, but he has the talent to make a positive impact this season. If he does well out of the gate then the unit will make huge strides. Next to him at left guard is 6'6" 325 pound Cory King, who has struggled in the past. Now that King is a fifth year senior and in the position that is best for him, he may at least prove to be solid. At center 6'2" 300 pound redshirt sophomore Artie Rowell has surprised some by beating out 6'5" 300 pound redshirt freshman Gabe Roberts, who has had trouble with snaps. This appears to be the weak link on the line. At right guard, giant 6'6" 345 pound redshirt junior right guard Matt Rotheram, like King, is back on the inside where he belongs where he has the potential to excel. At right tackle, 6'6" 300 pound redshirt junior T.J. Clemmings has moved to right tackle from defensive end. Clemmings has a great build and moves well but his skills did not translate on defense.  However, the early results on the offensive line are encouraging.  The top reserves other than Roberts at center are 6'5" 330 pound redshirt senior Juantez Hollins and 6'5" 290 pound elite freshman prospect Dorian Johnson, and experienced 6'5" 330 pound redshirt senior Ryan Schlieper at guard. Bottom line: Could there finally be signs of improvement? Players like King, Rotheram, Schlieper, and Hollins should be better merely because of experience and Bisnowaty, Clemmings, and Johnson all have great potential.

Last Season's Posteason Grade: D
This Season's Preseason Grade: C+

Defensive Line: In the recent past this unit usually had one very good player and a bunch of scrappers. The result is that usually it's a pretty good unit.  This season is no different.  Of course the leader is 6'0" 285 senior Aaron Donald, an All-American candidate.  Not much has to be said about Donald other than he is the best player on the team.  Next to him is fellow senior Tyrone Ezell, a 6'4" 300 pound wall of muscle who has turned into a solid player.  The starters at end are 6'3" 255 pound redshirt junior Bryan Murphy, and 6'1" 245 pound redshirt junior David Durham.  Murphy was once a prized recruit with great promise, and after a slow start last season he finally started playing better.  Durham was a fullback at Ohio State before transferring, and while not flashy, he should at least be solid.  It looks like there could be a drop off when it comes to reserves, however, at least initially.  Undersized redshirt sophomore Ejuan Price is just 6'0" and 235 pounds but he has natural pass rush skills. Murphy and Durham pay not provide much pass rush so if Price can adapt for his lack of size, that would be huge.  Others expected to see time at end include 6'3" 230 pound true freshman Shakir Soto, 6'4" 280 pound redshirt senior Jack Lippert, and 6'4" redshirt sophomore Devin Cook.  Soto has promise but he needs to gain more strength and size. Lippert has not had a successful career yet so one can't expect too much from him.  Cook played well last year in limited time but he clearly doesn't practice as well as he plays. Inside is even more suspect with only 6'2" 270 pound sophomore Darryl Render and 6'2" 255 pound junior LaQuentin Smith.  Render has potential to have a solid career but Smith was once a promising linebacker who washed and was moved to the line where he is very undersized.  Bottom line: If Donald gets hurt this unit may be mediocre at best, but if he stays healthy he will make the rest of them better.

Last Season's Postseason Grade: B-
This Season's Preseason Grade: B-

Linebackers:  This has been a sore spot for a few years now as the Panthers just haven't been able to develop a lot of talented linebackers.  And this year's bunch looks like it has no stars either.  The leader in the middle is 6'1" 220 pound redshirt senior Shane Gordon. He's flashed enough potential that if he stays healthy, he could have a big year.  On the outside, 6'3" 225 pound Anthony Gonzalez may finally have a chance to come into his own after being signed out of high school as a big time hotshot quarterback.  He's had his problems both on and off the court but he has persevered.  He has added size while keeping his good quickness.  On the other side, 6'2" 230 pound redshirt freshman Bam Bradley surprised everybody by claiming the starting job.  The top reserve on the outside is mercurial 6'2" 220 pound redshirt junior Todd Thomas, who has all-star potential but has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. Nobody would be surprised if he regained a starting spot and made all-conference, but he has to work hard to get back in the good graces of the staff.  The other outside reserve is 6'1 220 pound redshirt sophomore Nicholas Grigsby.  Backing up Gordon in the middle is 6'0" 220 pound redshirt freshman Mike Caprara, and 6'2" 220 pound true freshman Matt Galambos.  Both are fan favorites because of their scrappiness.  Bottom line:  This is an interesting bunch and it could go both ways with them. None stand out as true stars, but all could be pretty good.

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

Defensive Backs:  Along with the tight ends this is the best unit on the team heading into the season, at least the starters.  At corner, both 5'10" 190 senior K'Waun Williams, and 5'11" 180 redshirt sophomore Lafayette Pitts, are all-conference prospects. Neither have blazing feed, but both have good quickness and smarts.  At free safety, 6'0" 190 pound redshirt senior Jason Hendricks is an all-star after having an excellent season last year.  At strong safety the weak point is 5'10" 190 redshirt junior Ray Vinopal who did not have a great season last year after beginning the season as the starter. Depth is an issue entering the season.  Backing up Vinopal is 6'0" 195 pound redshirt junior Cullen Christian, a former Michigan transfer who has yet to live up this lofty stature coming out of high school.  Also at safety is 5'11" 170 pound true freshman Terrish Webb, and 5'11" 205 pound redshirt freshman Javonte Pitts. Both may be good someday but they probably shouldn't be playing so early in their careers. Backing up at the corners are 6'3" 165 pound redshirt freshman Trenton Coles, and 6'1" 180 pound true freshman.  Like Webb and Pitts this may be too early in their careers to do much, though Coles will probably play often and has blazing speed.  Bottom line:  Three of the starters are very good, but after that there are an awful lot of question marks.

Last Season's Postseason Grade: B
This Seasons's Preseason Grade: B

Special Teams:  Redshirt senior punter Matt Yoklic has all-star potential but he has to be more consistent. The placekicker duties are going to fall to true freshman Chris Blewitt.  While true freshman kickers often do very well it's still anxiety producing until you really see if he has the mental makeup to be successful.  The return guys to start the season are head scratchers.  Returning punts will be K'Waun Williams and returning kicks is Lafayette Pitts. While Pitts is excellent at the job, and both may be the best options on paper, with a secondary short on experience an injury to either could be devastating to the defense. Bottom line: If Blewitt lives up to his potential and neither Williams or Pitts gets hurt, it could be a very good unit. But if the opposite happens it will be a disaster.

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

Coaching:  It's year two of the Chryst regime and the jury is still out. He and the staff do things differently than a lot of people. If it works he will be a genius and a Godsend. If it doesn't then people will wonder why nobody stopped his tactics sooner.

Last Season's Postseason Grade: C+
This Season's Preseason Grade: C

REGULAR SEASON PREDICTION: 7-5

129 comments:

  1. Grades seem gracious for DL and LB's.
    Aside from Donald, the DL is weak.

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  2. Pittsburgh had been overtaken by FSU fans. Hope stadium is better.

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  3. Pitt may have defensive talent; they may not.

    One thing is potentially showing itself, though: Matt House as defensive coordinator has the early appearances of being a complete disaster. Three month search, only to promote a completely unproven guy from within....just sad, but not surprising.

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  4. Pitt may have defensive talent; they may not.

    One thing is potentially showing itself, though: Matt House as defensive coordinator has the early appearances of being a complete disaster. Three month search, only to promote a completely unproven guy from within....just sad, but not surprising.

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    1. FSU's third TD drive was pathetic...ran the same 8 yd pass 3 times in a row...no adjustment...if you're going to lose, at least lose aggressively..

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  5. It's also pretty telling that a true freshman playing in his first ever game appears to be more mentally capable than a guy in Savage who should know better.

    If this is how the QB position is going to be, play Voytik, the future. Let him get his feet wet now, for a hopefully improved future....especially since, with this defense, this is going to be a LONG year.

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  6. This is a disaster. The defense is horrendous. The missed tackles are on every play. It looks like the defense is out of position on every play. The offense not much better. Some old Pitt, year after year. Hope this team pulls out at least one win but at this point, who knows......

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  7. I think we all knew House as DC was going to be a disaster.

    Welcome to the ACC Pitt... getting a spanking.

    Guess what will happen next year with all those Mac/Patriot league recruits!!!

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    1. Calm down a little, Joe. It's not like they got their heads handed to them by Duke, FSU is a NC contender, Pitt hasn't had the talent to compete at that level for 30 years.

      Mike W.

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  8. Slow.....slow.....and more slow. This is proof that speed kills.

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    1. Your speaking to the choir there fella.

      ACC speed and athleticism.
      Big 10 slow, stodgy isn't going to cut it and neither will House.

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    2. FSU is most likely a top ten team...that said, the promotion of house was pathetic...no adjustments all night...I just hope they don't scare the WPIAL stars away...

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  9. Fire Matt House....can't stand watching this.

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  10. I guess we have three more years to put up with this crap until we start all over again.

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  11. So far 500 yds total offense FSU. 356 passing by freshman QB....

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    1. The frustrating part, no adjustments made... let's hope House improves with the team...I have more hope the team than in House....

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    2. Isn't he a redshirt freshmen? He is definitely the difference in the game. A lot of Pitt true freshmen played good too.

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  12. The Hire of House is a disaster and I think any fan with an ounce of football smarts knew that from the get go.. We have essentially the same D as last year and we have regressed. The schemes were terrible and they were out of position on every play.. On the positive side... Conner and Boyd look good and if Savege can avoid the bonehead plays I do think the O could be pretty descent this year.

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  13. Did Aaron Donald have a tackle?

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    1. Donald had his hands on Winston multiple times, only to be shrugged off. I think it speaks more to Winston's strength and athleticism than anything. Donald was beating the Oline, Winston just looked like Roethlisburger out there.

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  14. I really didn't expect Pitt to win, but I was hoping they wouldn't get embarrassed. So much for that.

    I know the QB was a highy touted recruit, but 25-27 for a guy in his first college game? How can you allow a QB to complete 93% of his passes?

    Is Matt House out of his league, or was this just a horrendous start to his stint as DC? He definitely needs to teach better tackling technique.

    Some of the freshmen played well, which was one of the few bright spots.

    FSU obviously has better athletes. Pitt has a long way to go before they compete consistently with the elite programs. The jury's still out if they ever will.

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  15. Matt House plays a prevent defense as his base defense? Great hire Chryst


    I heard Walt Harris got a nice ovation during Fitz ceremony. Can't believe I'm saying this but I long for the Walt years.

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  16. I think that the hiring of House is one of the main reasons people will point to as to why Chryst will be fired after the 2014 season.

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    1. House definitely looks like he's going to be an issue. But it's still way, waaay, premature to be talking about Chryst being fired after 2014

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    2. BC,
      If Chryst wants to save his job in 2014, he has to make wholesale changes with the defensive coaches. House, Breckerfield, Haering need to be replaced. Palmero is the only one worth keeping at this point.

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    3. Hard to argue. I will say that even though the results aren't great and there's not a lot to like, we're only two games into the Matt House DC era.

      It would be an excuse to say those two games were against an up and coming Ole Miss team and a national championship contending FSU team. And the lack of adjustments and passiveness of his defensive is questionable at best.

      Breckerfield and Haering were questionable from the start, but that's just so much egg on Chryst's face to have to replace the entire defensive staff already. Especially when they are all his guys (although I wonder if House was really his first choice for DC).

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  17. Top Negatives:

    - The early showing confirms that House is in over his head. Believe Pitt has some talent on D but they looked confused getting set-up and the plan to play soft was a disaster. I get the concept (think Steelers) don't allow the big play, wait for the front seven to get pressure on the QB who will make a mistake. That's great if you have an elite front 7 but Pitt doesn't.

    - With PC strength being the offense, he should have hired an experienced D-coordinator to run the show.

    - I feel the missed tackles were due to two things, Pitt players being out of position and FSU players being better athletes.

    - Savage locks onto his receiver early and doesn't come off. He should have had 5 picks last night and the FSU safeties picked up on his act early.

    Top Positives:

    - Overall, the O-line was excellent. This looks to be a strength for them going forward.

    - James Conner is Pitt's best RB and should be starting.

    - The skill positions overall (WR, RB, TE) have talent and can be effective.

    - Tyler Boyd looks like the next great WR. He put on a show last night.

    Overall:

    - I didn't see a huge talent difference between the teams. Believe the bad scheme used by the D made it too easy for FSU's O. And the picks by Savage took the flow out of the O.

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    1. If you didn't see a huge talent difference between the teams then everything you just said can be thrown out the window because you have no idea what you're talking about and are absolutely clueless.

      FSU recruits the finest athletes the south has to offer and the results have been top 10 classes every year going back to 2008. That means speed, and talent, and depth, and competition at every position. That means when you lose 11 guys to the NFL in one off season, there are another 11 ready to step in and fill that void immediately. That means when your QB goes in the first round of the draft, you can plug in a freshman with zero experience and watch him light up the scoreboard for 5 TDs. That means when you play a less talented team like Pitt, you lay the wood like the varsity would on the scout team.

      SMH.... Unbelievable what some people claim to be rational thoughts..."I didn't see a huge talent difference..."

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    2. Boy, you took that to heart, maybe you're on the o Pitt staff as well. Excuses are for losers and Pitt definitely lost

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    3. You didn't see a huge talent difference.
      Oh my God. smh
      FSU's 2nd team stopped Pitt from scoring in the 4th Qtr.
      Anony 9:49 is spot on. Now you understand why you need 4/5 star recruits and the Wisky strategy of 2stars isn't going to work in the ACC.

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    4. Who's making excuses? The better team... you know, the one with more talent... won the game.

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    5. Yes the better team won, but Pitt came to the boxing ring and didn't throw a punch. The defensive played a prevent.

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    6. Agree Pitt got beat bad. The discussion is what was the primary causes of the loss?

      According to me it's based on poorly designed schemes and Turnovers. I guess (since you didn't really say anything of value) you feel if Pitt had more talent they would have won playing the same schemes and with the TO's.

      Playing to the strengths of your players and making adjustments are the key to winning teams. The weakest part of the D is the LB's so designing and using a scheme that forces them to win the passing game for you is stupid and to make no adjustments whenever it's easy to see the plan isn't working is crazy. Thus my comments on House.

      Talent has little to do with it when the scheme allows the other teams WR to have freedom to run clean routes while keeping your DB's 10-12 yards away. Add to that no blitzing to increase pressure on the QB and you get 41 points put on you.

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    7. Kent,
      The reason they ran the scheme they did last night is because Pitt didn't have the talent to matchup. The DB's were playing prevent Defense all night!

      Everyone knew Pitt would lose but not in the manner that it happen last night.
      The defense lacks team speed and talent. But, had they schemed better, the game would have been closer. That is on HOUSE.

      The weakest part of the defense is the DE's. You can't put converted LB's and call them DE at 235# who lack speed and strength going against 300# OLineman.
      The next weakest part is the LB's.
      The DB's are just ok but don't have the speed as a unit to keep up with ACC speed.

      The offense will be fine as they have good coaching on that side of the ball. The defense lacks coaching all around and Chryst is an offensive mind. This is where he screwed up in promoting House instead of bringing in an experienced DC.

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    8. Yes, House could have, and should have, game planned better. And he absolutely should have made adjustments at some point. But they never came.

      Yes, Chryst should have found a way to get Boyd some more touches. He could have run a couple screens to take advantage of an aggressive FSU front 7, or done something.

      But the scheme isn't going to erase a 28 point deficit. Talent is easily the biggest reason Pitt lost that game. Don't try to complicate the situation.

      Pitt needs better players. More guys like Boyd and Bisnowaty (and Dravon Henry, and Shai Mckenzie, Montae Nickelson, and Jamil Kamara). Less guys like Vinapol, Weatherspoon, and Jeremiah Taleni.

      Scheming and coaching matter, but a crap sandwich isn't much better than a pile of crap. Gotta bring in more talent.

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    9. JoeD - I don't think we disagree much on the topic.

      I agree with your thoughts on the Offense.

      As for D weakest areas, you feel DL, LB, then DB. I feel LB, DL, DB.

      For the game, I actually thought the DL played pretty good. With no real help they got some pretty consistent penetration into the backfield and got 3 sacks against a senior FSU line. They missed too many tackles but so did the entire D.

      I also disagree with you that the DB's couldn't cover FSU's WR. We'll never know the real answer since House played prevent all game. But the DB's showed enough talent last year to beat VT and keep them in it against ND. Both schools that have traditionally had higher recruiting classes.

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    10. Anony (12:38) - Talent is not the biggest reason Pitt lost the game. Giving an opposing team's O the freedom to pass at will to their outside receivers is the reason they lost the game.

      Does Pitt need more talent, Yes. But I'm guessing every college fan in the country (including Alabama) is saying that.

      What last night confirmed was House shouldn't have been hired as DC. That's the biggest issue facing Pitt going forward. Their HC is an offensive guy and it looks like he blew it on the DC hire. Can House turn it around, sure, but he's got two weeks to do it. If he's incompetent, then Pitt won't be able to get 2* to come play for the D. Next off-season PC would have to fire him and hire to top DC or risk losing his job.

      Can scheme make up for 28 points? USF lost by 31 points to McNeese St. The same USF that's full of FL based 2, 3, 4* recruits. You tell me?

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  18. Todd Thomas presence was felt every time he was in the game, it's about time that guy got put back into the starting lineup. Did anyone else notice how often Tyler Boyd got open but how our quarterback only threw to Devin Street? Why doesn't Manesson Gardner get more playing time? How many times have I read on here that Pitt's DB's are the strength of the team, that was truly a lie. Some of you may understand what I'm talking about but it's pretty obvious that coach House teaches the DB to zone turn against every route, that'll explain why some of the touchdowns had no one covering the FSU receivers

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  19. There's another Malcolm Postell on the roster? Other than the one that played in the early 2000s?

    http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=54764&draftyear=2005&genpos=OLB

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  20. Based on what was witnessed last night, the prognosis is not good.

    The bad news is Savage will continue to be susceptible to interceptions and sacks.

    Worse than that, Chryst’s choice to run the defense Matt House will risk losing the confidence of his players as he continues to prove himself unqualified in comparison to Dave Huxtable now doing his thing at NC State (See the Wolfback’s 40 to 14 win against Louisian Tech).

    As to what comes next…

    Look for Voytik to get his chance in the next couple of weeks. My concerns with his ability or lack thereof to pass the football suggest this will not be a panacea. However, Chad will get a deserved opptortunity to show whether he is a winner.

    As for House, what can be done? Chryst mitht come to realize his mistake and practically if not officially involve John Palermo more and more in governing the defense as the season goes on. Unfortunately, while Palermo might help make things better, he too will show himself incapable of scheming defenses and motivating players along the lines of what could be expected from a seasoned proven Defensive Coordinator like the aforementioned Hustable.

    There is good news...

    James Conner is already a BETTER COLLEGE running back with more upside than Rushell Shell.

    Tyler Boyd is really good at running the ball.

    And Blewitt will continue to MAKE-IT.

    PittofDreams

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  21. hey doke, how do your grades change after last night?

    How about an F for defensive coaching running a High school defense all night and never adjusting... Huge problem.

    Other than Chryst doing a good job scripting the first 15 plays, the offensive coaching and Savage's execution were not good. Boyd could have been more of a weapon with more touches and could have been a better decoy than just faking the jet sweep to him... How about inserting Ibrahim in the 3rd series after Conner was playing well. what was that? the kid Ibrahim was coming in cold in what I saw as a critical series to continue what was working with conner to wear FSU down.

    On a side note and if there are any football coaches out there, seems Bennett can tip off his running plays by turning or leaning slightly to where he is going and was also seeing Conner being taught to take one step back prior to moving forward to get handoff which seemed weird unless he needed to do this so that a pulling guard or tackle could get to a spot?

    doke BTW - how do I access your tweets if I do not have a twitter account? I keep getting a "cannot access this page".

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    1. I don't know now that works but joining twitter is easy. I recommend it for Pitt fans because you can follow all the Pitt writers.

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  22. Old subject I know, but does anyone really know why Dave Huxtable left in the first place? I figured from his prior reputation, he was too hard on the kids. In light of what's happened with Todd Thomas, that doesn't seem to be case.

    Was there anymore to that story? Or just he wanted to be elsewhere?

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    1. It was Pitt's decision and they replaced him with House. I think that's all you need to know about their decisions of late.

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    2. Cheap Cheap Cheap PITT.

      BE Media Rights $4M Annually
      ACC Media Rights $22M Annually.
      (please correct me if I am wrong)

      Pitt wont open the checkbook for the guy(s) he wanted, just a damn shame.

      Complete amateur hour.

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  23. I will say I'm disappointed in last night's game, specifically on the defensive side. I went into this game (and season) believing that Matt House was going to deliver a 4-3/3-4'sy defense (a la NE Patriots). Instead it was very passive, and it seemed to lack dimension at all. I'm convinced now, more than ever, that a 4 man front is useless against the spread.

    I understand FSU had a great O-line and fast receivers, but a spy on Winston would have done wonders, as would immediate stacked blitzes. The high completion percentages demostrate he had too much time back there. Losing conservatively or losing by going for the throat is still losing. Pitt's D should have attempted to establish the tempo the same way their offense did. That's the only way that you upset a highly rated rival, you can't let them play their game and expect to beat them at it.

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  24. The problem was both a lack of talent and coaching. There's a big difference in talent but if that's all thats needed then the talented team would always win. But less talented teams all the time and that's because the coaches in those games have great strategy and inspire their players. Pitt doesn't have great players or great coaches at this time.

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    1. @Chris DokishSeptember 3, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      "Pitt doesn't have great players or great coaches at this time"

      It doesn't help when all of the good coaches are on one side of the ball. I think both Chryst and Rudolph are good, and Engram and Bollinger are heading in the right direction.

      But there's a problem on the other side of the ball, where the Dline coach couldn't keep a job before Pitt and required that a mentor be hired in the offseason so he wouldn't screw things up too much. The linebackers are being coached by a high school coach, and the guy running the show is one of the least qualified DCs in the the FBS.

      Delete
    2. Chris,

      I love this blog...in your opinion, is it Chryst using extremely poor judgment in hiring House or is it more the administration wouldn't pay for a qualified candidate? I didn't know that about the D-line coach...what's going on??

      Delete
    3. I think it's both. The administration always wants to go cheap. While past Pitt head coaches fought it Chryst is okay with it because he just goes with who is familiar and easy anyway.

      Delete
    4. Does Pitt never learn? To attract and keep top coaching talent, you've got to open the purse strings. If memory serves, didn't Jackie Sherrill leave over money issues? Pitt has been at best mediocre since his departure.

      Also, Chryst had better realize that you can't just go with who is familiar and easy. He's got to bring in (or at least try) the best possible coaches. If he doesn't, his tenure won't be a long one.

      This administration seems willing to accept a mediocre football program. I think unless Chryst performs a miracle, that's what we can expect for now.

      Delete
    5. Mike : While I don't have first-hand memory of the situation, it's to my knowledge that Texas A&M offered Sherrill what was by far the richest coaching contract in all of football.

      I've also heard there were concerns that Pitt could have been going along the roads of an SMU death sentence. So, while obviously the wrong move in hindsight, I can at least understand why Pitt handled that situation the way they did.

      Chris : Thanks at least for your opinion on this. Would love to know the definitive answer though. Of course it's still early but the Matt House experiment is not off to a good start, and if this is mostly Chryst's idea, then his leash gets a lot shorter IMO.

      While I usually defend the admin, if this was mostly their idea, then they need to be called out on this and the fans made aware.

      Delete
  25. Chris, do you see the defense getting any better this year? Do you see any potential in Coach House?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure it will get better but time will tell with House.

      Delete
  26. Well that was not good! So things can only get better, right? Believe it or not, I think they will. After four games we will be 3-1. Then we can all start discussing the team with some clarity and less emotion. One thing for sure is that the defense must be more aggressive and the linebackers need to improve. For now though I am still in the "wait and see" mode for the season as a whole.

    One last thought about last night, the FSU team was one right out of the early 80s FSU teams, the Pitt team could not hold a candle to one of those Pitt teams from the late 70s or early 80s. It will take us a while to get there from here.

    ReplyDelete
  27. As long as this admin. Is in place, Pitt will be average at best. Maybe every now and then we win eight games or so. It's about time we struggling Pitt fans simply accept this and move on.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hey Chris, any backlash from recruits that was there last night not wanting to come to Pitt now?

    ReplyDelete
  29. No backlash. They loved the atmosphere and saw a chance to play with a good team. Except for Dravon Henry. He didn't like what they asked the CBs to do. Join the club.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats because Henry has had chats with Revis and his DC coach Short on what it takes to be a CB in the NFL.
      Revis is successful because he primarily plays 1 on 1 and plays agressive off the line. Obviousily Henry didn't see that in Pitt defense.
      Any elite player feels he can be a starter by 2nd year at any school. Immediate Playing time at Pitt is not a determining factor in their choice. Getting to the NFL is the goal. Need I remind yall about Rob Foster.

      Delete
    2. Joe, feeling you can be a starter and actually being one are 2 different things. The best way to the NFL is by performing on the field. Even elite players can get lost on the depth chart at a school loaded with talent.

      Delete
    3. Trying telling that to a 17 year old hotshot football recruit. They are being told by the coach recruiting that they will start and make nfl.

      Delete
    4. That doesn't matter when they are signing their LOI.
      After 2 years, they can transfer out. Why do you think Alabama is constantly getting 25 players a year?
      Cream rises to the top.
      Players out of Alabama will get more looks for the pros than those coming out of Pitt these days. Note, nobody got drafted out of Pitt last year, even those who were 3 year starters!

      Do you want players who aspire to be in the NFL or do you want players who want to be engineers?

      Delete
    5. Once you see that kid play, you will understand what Joe is talking about. Last Saturday was my first time watching him play live in "The Pit". He touched the ball 5 times: an 85 yard punt return for a TD, a 50 something yard TD run, a 20 yard TD run, and he came from outta nowhere like Batman and almost had an interception, he even soared through the air like Superman to block an extra point. His presence on the field made the opposing team be aware of where he is at all times offensively, defensively, and on special teams. We need him here at Pitt. H2P

      Delete
    6. Correction Joe D,
      No one got drafted out of Pitt the last two years

      Delete

  30. Disagree that "lack of talent" was the problem with the horrible defenese witnessed Monday.

    On defense, this team is either the same or improved at teach position from a year ago... the same team that took Notre Dame to three over-times in South Bend.

    Yes, Pitt lacks studs on the defensive line, Donald being the exception when he is on his game which obviously was not Monday.

    Thre responsibility lies entirely with the lack of preparation and a game plan... and this places the blame squarely on House.

    I incorrectly thought Florida State's running game was going to be the biggest problem for Pitt. But that was assuming we would seem some semblence of the defense from a year ago.

    No schemes or blitzes to put pressure on the quarterback... forcing the strength of the defense, the seconday, to play afraid as though in constant PREVENT.

    No, it was not lack of talent. It was totatlly lack of coaching... and that includes Chryst for putting House in charge.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The defense doesn't have a single high draft pick on it so I would say that counts as a lack of talent. They have overcome a lot of that over the years with coaching and smart, scrappy players. They still have the smart, scrappy players so there is hope for the defense, but their lack of talent will still get them buried against teams like FSU who truly does have a lot more talent.

      Delete
    2. Wait, talented highly rated recruits matter? Who knew?

      Delete

    3. What's a "high" draft pick with NFL's seven rounds? First, second... maybe third?

      No Pitt does not have a high draft pick. But those are rare.

      Hendricks though is a draft pick. Pitts has the size, speed and aggressiveness to be one. Although you wouldn't have known it Monday due to how he was coached out of his game.

      Pitt was plenty talented on defense to put up enough fight to give the offense a chance to keep Pitt in the game. The problem was that House had them playing scared.

      The players looked lost and were, according to reports.

      It was so bad that reportedly Chryst is now stepping in to help with defense. A bad sign.

      PittofDreams

      Delete

  31. Chris, the point was that a lack of talent wasn't what made the difference Monday.

    Last year, the Defense was both less talented and less experienced and less than NFL draft material.

    Yet, Huxtable showed an ability to inspire and/or intimidate and scheme the defense to success to triple over-time in South Bend.

    I posted before Monday that I would have a lot more confidence going into Florida State with a proven grisly veteran like Huxtable at the helm instead of House.

    That was a huge difference in the outcome.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete

  32. Regading the offense...

    A couple of weeks ago I posted that all the signs point to Pitt having a quarterback problem.

    The conslusion was based on Savage’s play at Rutgers where he was susceptible to interceptinos and sacks due to a tendency to become oblivious to roamng defensive backs and blitzing linebackers.

    That’s exactly what we saw Monday. And the bad news is this is likely not to change.

    Adding to that, another cause for concern was Savage’s 7.2 Yards per Pass Attempt.

    Yes, it was Florida State. But also a Florida State playing a prevent defense the entire second half as a result of the big lead at halftime.

    The fact is you don’t win many games with a 7.2 YPA. Last year, Tino Sunseri was better than that... way better… with an 8.37 YPA. Not to mention the total of three interceptions.

    The secret is out at least as far as other teams are concerned. Pitt indeed has a quarterback problem.

    It is also no secret that here and elsewhere I have been more than a little critical of chad Voytik when it comes to throwing the football. It's not hard to tell that Voytik lacks the ability to consistently “spin” the football and be accurate with his throws, even short ones. This was evident in the Pitt Spring game despite his gaudy numbers against a predictable second-string defense.

    Like Savage’s tendency, this is also not likely to change.

    However, Voytik is smart and a strong athlete with a definite ability to run the football.

    Short of a complete renaissance on the part of a Savage and Pitt wins prior to the Open Date in early October, my guess is that the pressure will build for Chryst to make a change at quarterback.

    It won’t be a panacea, but Voytik deserves his chance to show if he’s a winner.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
  33. Chris,
    I saw about 6 kids from Gateway, 6 from Clairton, and 7 from Aliquippa, that's 19 kids between those 3 schools. My question is who are the 2015 & 2016 kids from those schools that Pitt are after and are they legit?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Must agree with Chris about the relative level of talent on Pitt's D. No one on the DL line has a motor and some are slow. Most of the LBs are slightly above the line college players. The tackling was about the worst I've seen. That will improve I hope, unless Pitt is really a poor tackling team this season. Bryan Murphy never stopped but he is not talented or fast enough to make plays against good or better teams (applies to all DE). Ezell has size but can't make a play against quick teams. This is the slowest Pitt D since the early Wanny years when WVU would paste 400+ rushing yards. And yes scheme matters and if it can't or won't change then we are in for a long season. We could have played better against FSU even being overmatched.

    There is hope on the OL. Pass blocking was enouraging most of the time and a big improvement from last season. But Rotheram is as bad at guard as he was last season at tackle. If any one still has the tape look at the first play from scrimmage. He literally blocks his own center in the back a few yards downfield. I guess you could say he improved during the game by not hitting his own teammates but he was still whiffing on FSU linemen. Hopefully he gets better each game (and the other linemen too) and for the first time in many years we can have a line filled with good college linemen from tackle to tackle.

    The difference in arm strength between Savage and Tino is obvious and there is great hope there. But let's hope Savage is not just a big gun who can't make a big play when we need it. I'm thinking a Jeff George or Anthony Morelli.

    The bottom line is that there is enough decent talent to win more conference games then they lose but that might be hard to do if schematic changes are not made.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Chris,

    You are saying that there was a huge difference in talent between FSU and Pitt. That is clearly the case. However, if you look at the star ratings of some of the kids on the field for Pitt, you will see that based on that, the difference should not have been as great as it appeared on Monday night.

    The following are players who played on Monday night and had a 4 star rating coming out of H.S. from either Scout or Rivals:
    Donald, Ezell, Price, Thomas, Pitts, Holtz, Boyd, Bisnowaty. Clemmings, Murphy and Savage.

    The following were rated 3 star players by both Rivals & Scout coming out of H.S.

    Durham, Bradley, Gordon, Williams, Garner, Orndoff, King, Rotheram.

    I know that is no match for FSU’s across the board 5 star players, but the difference in athleticism and speed were stark. It shouldn’t have looked that easy. The only player that belonged on the field with FSU was Boyd. I believe Boyd is the best player out of the WPIAL in years, even better than Pryor.

    You can draw a few conclusions. Here are mine:

    - I believe the higher rated WPIAL players are slightly overhyped. There is no comparison between a 4 star player from the WPIAL and a 4 star player from Florida. A 4 star player from Florida is generally playing tougher completion against many other Division 1 players.

    - I believe that most of the kids from NJ are overrated as well. Only Ray Graham has lived up to his hype. Clemmings & Murphy are nowhere near 4 star players.

    - We need to concentrate on getting players from the southeast.

    ReplyDelete
  36. To be honest even though Pitt got stumped. I think Pitt will definitely be better. I still think they go 9-3. Savage looked uncomfortable, but I predict that he will get better. A loss like this at the beginning of the season is not as bad as it seems. Yea that got embarrassed on National Tv. I liked some things I saw on the field. Tyler Boyd will be a stud, if we get 2 or 3 more playmakers down the road will be fine. After watching Va tech, UNC, and Miami. Pitt can win there side of the division.

    ReplyDelete
  37. ATL....9-3... - are you serious?

    Why not just go for it and say we'll win the rest of our games and play Alabama for the title?

    9-3...w/ the Milkman as head coach? Yeah, OK

    Do you realize that not one single Pitt player would be 2nd string on Florida State?

    Think about every single one of our players - Tyler Boyd and Pitts - our two best players WOULD NOT CRACK FSU'S TWO DEEP - if you think otherwise, you're delusional.

    You realize "how" we had our "signature" win last year beating Va. Tech?

    Here's how - Logan Thomas couldn't distinguish between maroon and blue and threw the ball right to us.

    Remember Ole 'Miss? - 9th in the SEC and thundered us.

    "2 or 3 more playmakers down the road and we'll be fine"....God help ya bro.

    The same delusional fans who thought that FSU would be walking into a hornet's nest at Heinz - oh yes, they could handle Death Valley in Clempson and the Swamp at Florida but, would freak out in Heinz....probably by seeing Pitt fans sitting on their hands.

    Pederson dealt the final death blow to the Pitt FB program firing Wannstedt - he never would have gone anywhere and as Chris likes to mention and he's absolutely correct, Pitt is ultra cheap and Wannstedt took less $ than he should have just because of Pitt.

    He had the local H/S coaches eating out of his hands - had a great recruiting class coming in.... and look where we are now.

    Haymaker, the Fraud and now the Milkman - ever compare how Chryst (Milkman) talks as compared to Jimbo Fisher?

    Wonder why we get 2 and 3 star recruits?...The Milkman but oh God, there's those diamonds in the rough in those 2 and 3 star recruits - oh yea.

    As Chris says, we're stuck with this guy and his zero coaches for a few more years until, they start all over again w/ the Milkman part 2.

    Sry, 30 years of frustration has finally caught up w/ me....again.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 7 games in will see where your so called frustration is. I know football, and I'm not a disgruntled fan. Pitt played a far superior team in the first game of the season. But I seen some things that I like, and the things they didnt do well can be corrected. So your comments mean nothing to me, but your disgruntled and I understand that. Isaac Bennett probably won't carry the ball that much going forward, Conner can truly be a workhorse. Boyd should have been returning kicks from the beginning, Garner needs to touch the ball a lot more. Contrary to belief Pitt could move the ball on offense, the defense was horrific.

      Delete
    2. Wow you sound like me.
      If there was a "Like" button on your post, I would hit it!!
      I just realize why you refer to Chryst as the "milkman"... due to Wisky dairy farms! lol
      Good one.

      Delete

    3. Wannstedt stunk.

      In fact, Wanny would not have lasted as long as he did if it weren't for LeSean McCoy being the difference in Big Wins such as the upset in Morgantown.

      You blow your credibility as a poster when you come out in support of Wannstedt being anything other than a nice guy and great Pitt Alum who was completely lost as a Head Football Coach.

      Delete
    4. Zaiti - The FSU game is over so why worry now about how Pitt players would or wouldn't fit into their two deep. What matters is the schedule ahead:

      New Mexico, Duke, Virginia, VT, Old Dominion, Navy, GT, ND, NC, Cuse, Miami.

      I don't see this team winning 9 games but I do feel it has plenty of talent. Especially after watching the other ACC games last weekend and considering Miami would have won the division with a 7-5 record.

      So it's not like we're in the SEC.

      Delete
  38. Chris - love your blog and read it religiously. I was at the game and don't regret driving from NOVA at all. I think Pitt can still finish 7-5, b/c they will get better and it's a long season. But one thing I know from my own days of coaching small college football, is that Freshman and RS Freshman, no matter how many stars, will always get beat by a team mostly made up of JRs and SRs (with an occasional sensational RS FR QB). Bottom line, Pitt got whipped but this is HCPC's second season, first full recruiting class, and is playing a lot of FR. Given time, he can get it done.

    When these FR and RSFR are RS JR and SRs then judge HCPC's body of work.

    Also - I can only assume that DC House decided to play base b/c his D was so young and he wanted them to master the D/play fast but that won't work and didn't work against a team like FSU. Do you think the D will play more aggressive in the future?

    H2P!

    Jason

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the defense returned 7 or 8 starters.
      Only 3 Frosh/RSFrosh are starters (out of 22)

      Delete
  39. Chris I am surprised you didn't have a post game article. Were you depressed they lost?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just wrote this article and before the game was over people were already commenting on the game in here so I left it. I figured everybody saw the same thing so I just let people comment on this article.

      Delete
  40. Pitt was outclassed and lost handily to a better team. We knew that going in. No need to cry about it. I know it is hard to do, but focus on the positives. I still think Pitt is a 6-7 win team, but I am hopeful for the future.

    To note:
    -Boyd has speed and is a playmaker. He and Street will make a good combination.
    -It's so nice to see a Pitt QB throw downfield. Every time Savage dropped back, I automatically focused on the RB, because I've been conditioned to believe that's where the ball was going. But Savage threw the ball downfield, and his receivers made some plays. Chryst will find a way to maximize Savage's skill set.
    -It was also nice to see Pitt have a good opening drive. Too many times last year, they came out flat.
    -Lastly, I know I'm in the minority, but give House a chance. Last year, Pitt's defense was awful in the first two games. But by year end, it was their strength. This was the fastest team Pitt will play all year. Things will get easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was and still am skeptical of the House promotion, but I'll add this:

      Raise your hand if had any faith in the defense after the Iowa game in 2011.....thought so. And yet, from the next game forward, the defense did become the strength of the team, even though Todd Graham and Keith Patterson weren't hailed as defensive geniuses.

      So yes, it can happen. Here's hoping the article today in the Trib is more than just talk.

      Delete
    2. Tha also occurred when Paul Rhoads was DC... cannot remember the year.

      Delete
    3. Probably 2007, as the D was putrid during a three game stretch against UConn, Virginia, and Navy. After the Navy game, they actually adjusted and finished strong through the 2nd half of the season, culminating with 13-9 over WVU.

      2004 kind of fits the bill too as the D was awful for 2/3rds of the Furman game. They seemed to also tighten up after that game, being decent against the run but real spotty against the pass.

      Delete
  41. In addition, who had any faith in the defense after Youngstown State put up 31 points in the opener ...(let me repeat for emphasis: Youngstown State put up 31 points…that’s only ten less than the 10th ranked team in the country scored the other night)... followed by Cincinnati shredding the D on the way to scoring 34 and yet I haven't heard anyone complaining about coach Huxtable’s defense from last season.

    MC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. huxtable had past results/experience . house is a big question mark. pitt may get better or not, no one knows.

      Delete

    2. At the start of the season last year, Huxtable and Chryst both admitted to being mislead by a couple of players who proved themselves to be much better on the practice field than in a game. Vinopal was one that immediately comes to mind.

      Maybe you remember that after Youngstown, Huxtable benched Vinopal and retooled a lot of the D-Line.

      The beatdowns that came later against VaTech, Rutgers and Temple and the close one at Notre Dame were attributable in large part to Huxtable's defenses.

      We will see if House is capable of similarly turning things around. Based on what was witnessed Monday, I have my doubts.

      Can't remember the last time I saw a defense coached to play so soft and so incapable of making adjustments in the face of failure.

      PittofDreams

      Delete

    3. And you have to wonder if House has possibly changed his philosophy about working late at the office as was reported last spring in a story by the Tribune Review.

      ********
      As defensive coordinator, House replaced Dave Huxtable, who threw a sleeping blanket on the floor of his office last summer and often slept there.

      His priorities in order, House promises he won't do the same.

      “I got married for a reason,” he said. “Every successful head coach I've seen, they are pretty balanced. I don't think a lot of good decisions are made after 10 o'clock.”

      ********
      Must be nice to know it all.

      PittofDreams

      Delete
    4. MC - I think the difference is Huxtable had a history of success that one could look at and say he knows what he's doing. I was thrilled with the hire, especially since PC is an offensive guy and basically serves as the OC.

      But to hire House, who's not qualified for the job is insulting to may and plays to the theme of Pitt's not good enough for "good" coaches to come here. Maybe he'll turn out to be the next great DC in football, and I hope he does, but there had to be 100's of other more experienced/qualified candidates.

      The leaving of Hux and the hiring of House feels more like PC wanting to be the smartest man in the room vs. putting together the best staff.

      Delete
  42. Why doesn't Pitt recruit Florida or any southern state anymore? WVU gets kids from down there all the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If a recruit doesn't go to:

      Florida
      Florida St.
      Central Florida
      USF
      Fla. Atlantic
      Florida International
      Florida Biscayne Blvd Community College

      Or any of the surrounding states or prominent FB programs in the country.

      Must mean he's no good I would think right?

      Then why would WE want him?

      I know - what about Shane Gordon!?!?, H.B Blades!?!? and Greg Romeus!?!?

      I know - we got LUCKY w/ them and because Wannstedt sold them. No Milkman would ever be able to get those 2 or 3 star guys.

      Not w/ our recent history and not w/ his ultra dynamic recruiting skills.

      Even IF we got any ultra Florida cast-offs - wtf would this pathetic coaching staff do w/them?

      Plus, why would any even decent recruit from Florida even remotely WANT to come to Pitt?

      Seriously, ask yourself that question?

      Breckterfeld or whatever his name is offered Eddie Vanderdoes from California and spent a ton of time in Georgia recruiting.

      Seriously? WTF.

      Chryst ok's that and promotes Matt House to the DC position - about says it all.

      The ONLY reason this might get published is because Chris is about as disgusted w/ this program as I am and has just thrown up his hands at this point and says - F It.

      This program is teetering on oblivion and complete irrelevancy right now much like it was before Harris got here and that makes me very sad.


      Delete
    2. Moody..
      Like, Like, Like..

      Its primarily about recruiting talent in college football. I've said, its 65% recruiting and 35% coaching.
      Chryst can't land the elite players out of PA or within a tank of gas.

      Look how everyone is raving about Boyd.
      He is who we thought he was... a 5star player.
      Where are all those koolaid drinkers that say stars don't matter??

      Delete
    3. ZM, you are spot on. The admin is in denial or they simply don't care. I think the only way for the disgust to sink in is to stop going to games.

      Delete
    4. Pitt obviously needs more elite prospects but it's one game.

      Delete
    5. Chris, I was told today by the same person who told me that House was going to be DC that House is being paid 215k. I saw that DCs from other major programs are getting two and three times that much. Is it truly all about the money. Pitt Is hoping that House can learn on the job?

      Delete
    6. I don't know what exactly he makes but he doesn't have a lot iof experience and I assume there isn't a lot of other programs, so he definitely is making way less than average. If Pitt gets an experienced DC it would cost more like 500k.

      Delete
    7. Joe D; Boyd was probably the best player in state and WPA or at least an elite recruit from PA, so what is your point that we can't and don't land these guys?

      Delete
    8. We don't land enough 4/5stars within a tank of gas.
      That is FACT.
      Regarding Boyd, I expected him to play as he did.
      The issue is all the koolaid drinkers who think 2stars are going to become "boyd-like".
      Ain't going to happen.

      The 4/5stars out of wpa last year:
      Boyd, Foster, Johnson, Terry, Kugler.

      Johnson initially committed to PSU. So, in reality, we got 1 of top 5 from wpa.
      I can add from PA: Anzalone, Williams, Breneman, Fuller, McGlinchy

      Delete
  43. Chris,

    I am interested in your comments on Twitter today. Are the recruits interested in Pitt because of the environment or is it the opportunity to play early? Chryst is willing to play talent regardless of class.

    Thanks,

    Big Fish

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's definitely both but from what I was told the recruits really loved the atmosphere. That's what they mentioned the most. But I'm sure seeing a lot of young guys play early definitely helps Pitt's situation.

      Delete
  44. Chris,

    Can you provide any insight into the Mostella situation? I've been clinging to the hope that no news is good news, but with the deadline to add/drop classes being upon us, I'm guessing he's not coming.

    Thanks,

    Mar-Q

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He wasn't eligible when he committed, Oklahoma State gave up on him, and Pitt is offering a lot of guards for next year. All of those were red flags.

      Delete
    2. So Mostella is out for this year but possible next?? Is he at a prep school?

      Delete
    3. So that means Pitt has 11 scholarship players.

      4 scholarships to give for this year. Now I understand why they are pursuing all those guards.

      Delete

  45. Corey Clement debut against UMASS... 16 carries… 101 yards… TD… Fumble

    The caveat… Clement averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Whereas Wisconsin’s two starters averaged 11 and 13.

    Runningbacks Coach Thomas Hammock...

    “(Clement) is more of your meat and potatoes grind it out type back... He can certainly be a guy that can carry the ball 30 times a game and get stronger as the game goes along.”

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
  46. If Mostella doesn't enroll for the spring semester then I'd give his scholarship to Jeter and move on. Pitt is now in the mix for guard Isaiah Whitehead in 2014.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He had all spring and summer to get his academics in order knowing he had clearinghouse problems.
      He didn't.
      Doubtful we will see him in a Pitt uniform.

      Now, if he went to Alabama... they would have cleared him by now. He is from Alabama I believe.

      Delete
  47. I've read about the most recent 20 comments. Although I agree with most the the D was horrible, the biggest complaint I have is that Pitt made ZERO defensive adjustments. ZERO. At one point FSU ran the same pass play three times Ina row all successfully. Put some pressure on Winston. Play tighter coverage on The WRs. Something. I get the idea of respecting their speed but playing afraid is another thing. My biggest problem with Walt Harris was that he rarely made halftime adjustments. When you are getting scorched by the FSU offense and do nothing is unacceptable in my book.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Chris - saw your comments tonight on Twitter about Jordan Whitehead. As someone who lives in the district and talks often to members of the coaching staff, I can tell you that Pitt is lagging greatly and it's once again their own fault. Pitt doesn't call more than once a month or so, doesn't come to visit the coaches, doesn't show much effort at all. Penn State is on him hard and is constantly calling. Likewise with Ohio State. Supposedly Michigan is dropping his recruitment as of now but I can't believe they will not change their mind.

    There are quiet periods but other schools are at least calling the coaches, wishing the team good luck each week, etc. Pitt doesn't do those little things. If Pitt was more aggressive, then they might be able to get some of these kids, like Foster and Whitehead. However, their passive approach doesn't impress those in influential positions at CV and therefore I highly doubt Jordan goes to Pitt, even with the family tie-in of Revis being related to Jordan's mom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're preaching to the choir.

      Delete
    2. I have a feeling that if HCPC doesn't adjust his approach to recruiting, it will eventually lead to his exit.

      In other words, he won't get fired due to a lack of Xs&Os knowledge, he's fine in that department.

      It'll be because of lackadaisical recruiting, lack of any apparent passion (who knows what color he bleeds inside...), and maybe questionable hires. All of which combine to result in 6-6 (or worse) seasons.

      I hope I'm proven wrong. But if Chryst has no passion for recruiting (and he's certainly not alone if he doesn't), maybe he's better suited for coaching the NFL.

      Delete
    3. I'm going to go with the assumption that Pitt indeed did not do those little things you mentioned with Robert Foster.

      Robert Foster had Pitt at #2, behind Alabama. And by most accounts, he was telling friends the night before his press conference that he was going to Pitt.

      If those little things earlier in the recruitment process make such a difference, it's hard for me to believe that Pitt would have come so close to landing him, and that the lack of those little things caused him to change his mind that morning and go to the #1 program in the country.

      Delete
    4. Engram was recruiting Foster.
      Engram, WR coach, is Pitt's best recruiter.
      He may not be responsible for recruiting Whitehead. Probably House's responsibility or Haering since Whitehead is DB.

      Also keep in mind, Pitt named Robinson (RB coach) recruiting coordinator recently. Probably a cluster-F the past 20-months in recruiting and they still don't get it.

      Delete

  49. For whatever reasons, is it possible that Pitt is convinced they will never be able to land Whitehead? Or that he does not fit into the template Chryst has for recruits?

    I got it. Whitehead is a player. That goes back two years ago with his interception return in the ESPN game between Central Valley and Hopewell.

    This is not to defend Pitt's recruiting tactics. It's just an assessment of what the reality might be.

    Besides, unless Pitt starts showing up in big games like the one Monday night... it won't matter how many phone calls are made to four and five star recruits. They won't be answering.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete

  50. Washington's McKenize eclipsed the total yards by Brian Davis last night.

    Still not sold on McKenzie as a running back at the next level. Looks like a middle backer toting the rock.

    That aside... not sure what his per carry average is for his career. Do know that Davis was near 9 yards a carry for each of his three years, first as a fullback then tailback.

    Any clue to McKenzie's total carries?

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Post Gazette has online stats which started 2 years ago so don't know his Frosh stats.

      Soph - 189 carries for 1203 yds. 6.4 Average
      Junior - 232 carries for 2689 yds. 11.6 Average
      Senior - 21 carries for 234 yds. 11.1 Average (Does not include last night.

      One can argue that wpial has declined in 30 years so not an apples and oranges comparison of YPC.

      Delete

  51. Thanks Joe.

    Post Gazette reports McKenzie was 9 carries for 218 and 5 TDs. Not sure if the carries are right since others had him 11 carries for 46 at halftime.

    Either way, no doubt this is getting the attention of recruiters.

    Don't see Pitt getting him. Too bad, because he's going to make somebody a real good linebacker someday.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pitt is the favorite. And he'll be a RB.

      Delete
    2. Is that a recent change? I had read in a few places that he's currently enamored with VT.

      Delete
    3. "Is that a recent change? I had read in a few places that he's currently enamored with VT."


      Yes...

      Delete
  52. Chris- What are your thoughts on Pitt possibly offering Joey DeFloria from Hempfield if some of their other running back targets commit elsewhere? I know his stats aren't amazing but he has been injured the past few seasons. He has got excellent speed, runs hard and can is a threat to take any play to the house. I have seen the kid in person and he is a legit D-1 prospect. It could be a good low risk move for the coaching staff.

    ReplyDelete

  53. Qadree Ollison scheduled to make his verbal Monday afternoon.

    A lot has been said about the positive reviews recruits had following FSU despite the loss. This is going to be a good test to see if that was true.

    Ollison averaged 8.7 yards per carry for a total of 2877 for his four years of varsity. Looks like an athletic back on tape for a kid 6-1 225.

    Would fit nicely into Chryst power running attack.

    We’ll see how impressed he was at Heinz.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's official, Qadree Ollison is a Panther

      H2P

      Delete
  54. I saw today that Texas fired their DC after the defense allowed 500 plus yards. Pitt's bowl game and first game allowed a total of almost 1000 yards and our DC according to Chryst is not in any jeopardy. Thus the difference between and elite program and a mediocre one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Manny Diaz also coached more than 2 games. Their D was pretty bad last year also.

      It's also a sign that Mack Brown is on the hot seat at a program, with all the resources it has, should never win less than 10 games a year.

      Again, I'm skeptical of the House hire, but what good does a statement like do after the first game of the season, against an opponent that most viewed as far superior anyways? A statement like that makes a little more sense if Pitt gives up 500 yards to a crappy New Mexico team this Saturday, but even at that, who'd you hire to replace him in mid September?

      Delete