Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pittsburgh 62 Delaware 0

Well, that was nice to see.  Yes, it's Delaware, but Pitt has struggled with these teams in the past. Not only did Pitt crush them but they played a perfect game. And a perfect game against anybody is a good sign for the future. Some highlights:

1. I've loved James Conner since I've first seem him and I sometimes felt like I'm the only one that thought he could be a superstar. Yes, it's inferior competition but he was still sick with 145 yards on just 13 carries.  He also ran for 4 touchdowns. He looked quick, tough, and good.

2. Tyler Boyd was great on punt returns averaging 11.5 yards a return. He also caught 3 passes for 20 yards, and a touchdown, and ran for 17 yards on 2 carries.  of course the downside is that he dislocated his finger on a punt return and didn't return to the game. It's unknown as of now if it will cost him any time. On a related note, I don't understand why Boyd was returning punts in a 28-0 game over a team that clearly wasn't coming back. Kevin Weatherspoon fumbled a punt previously, but I'd rather him fumble again, or put in Ronald Jones, then to risk Boyd's injury in a meaningless situation.

3. Chad Voytik wasn't called on to do much but he was poised and productive when called upon. The redshirt sophomore ended up going 12-15 for 92 yards, 2 TDs, and no interceptions. he also ran twice for 10 yards.

4. The offensive line looked excellent and Jaryd Jones-Smith saw time at LT throughout the game. That may be something to keep an eye on as the games started getting more serious.

5. Chris James is very impressive. He's very short, which is good for a running back, and he's so quick darting through the hole that he seems to teleport from one spot on the field to the next. For the game he had 14 carries for 78 yards, and 2 TDs.

6.  Rachid Ibrahim was his usual slippery self and contributed 92 yards on 14 carries.

7.  I didn't agree with Paul Chryst putting in backup QB Trey Anderson in at his own 1-yard line with the game still 21-0.  A fumbled snap or bad handful there and all of a sudden it's 21-7. So what happens? Pitt went on a 99-yard drive without throwing a pass.

8.  The defense was excellent.  Delaware has a couple of NFL prospects so they're not exactly duds, but the Panthers gave them no room to breathe at all.

9. The Panthers defense held the Blue Hens to 40 yards rushing on 32 carries, and 71 total yards.

10. The Panthers rushed for 407 yards and had 506 total yards.

11. Pitt's defense was notably more aggressive and had 3 interceptions (Thomas, Webb, Galambos)

12. This was Pitt's first shutout since 2005.

31 comments:

  1. Extremely impressive win today. I realize you have to factor in the competition, but what a totally dominating performance in all phases. It looked like men against boys.

    I was at the YSU game two years ago, and vividly remember what a horrible night that was. What Pitt did today is what good programs do to lesser opponents, so hopefully we're seeing growth with both Chryst and the program.

    I figured Pitt would win, but I in no way thought it be such a lopsided win. Let's hope Pitt can build from this, and carry over the momentum to next week and beyond.

    Congratulations to the coaches and players on a good old fashioned butt whipping!

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    1. That's why I'm so encouraged by today's performance. Because this is what GOOD teams do, and it's what Pitt has failed to do in the past.

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  2. Three thoughts. 1. I was wrong about Conner, I have been skeptical of him, and I was wrong. I know he's heavier but he actually looks thinner to me this year. What a runner. 2. Average teams play to their competition, good teams bring it now matter what. This is the first time in 5+ years we brought it. 3. Boyd cannot be allowed to play special teams anymore. Period. Spoon has to be replaced too. 2 bobbled catches in this game says all we need to know. Time to go back Pitts, or Maddox or Ronald Jones.

    Bonus thought. UVA is not going to be a push over, you can't recruit that we'll and be awful forever. Even though they lost to UCLA they're gonna be tough.

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    1. Anonymous 4:05 - I say BS to holding Boyd out of special teams.

      He's our best player and the more touches he gets, the better chance of us succeeding.

      Get him the damn ball period - I'll take the chance. If the game is out of hand then yes, yank him

      But, we haven't had a guy like Boyd returning punts that could break a game open in forever.

      Play him on special teams and if we need Conner to play some D-end - do that too.

      We need to have a breakout year and we're not going to get it by being cautious.

      Go for it!

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    2. Zatiti,
      Fully agree!

      It's always puzzling to read comments that ignore the importance of field position. Boyd has innate skills that make him a threat every time he fields a punt.

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    3. Boyd wont consistently do things special teams that Pitts, Jones, and Maddox can't. If we lose him to injury we lose games in the plural. If we use someone else to return kicks we lose 5 or 6 yards. Totally unequal risk versus reward.

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    4. I’m with Zatiti on this one. Send Boyd out there to return every punt. He doesn’t just have reliable hands catching the ball, he has blazing speed. And, more importantly, he’s instinctively elusive and has a knack for picking the correct route through the kick coverage. That can’t be coached — or at least Pitt hasn’t done a good job coaching it.

      What good is having speed, as some of Boyd’s replacements might possess, if they don’t pick the right lanes. For years we’ve been told how fast a Pitt punt returner is only to see him bobble the ball, or run right into a wall of defenders, or run too close to the sideline and get knocked out of bounds before it can break big.

      Having “plus” special teams is a hallmark of all good teams, and is often a big difference-maker. Nothing sucks the energy out of an opponent that thinks it can hang with you like a big return. Nothing puts a little bit of worry into a superior opponent like a big return. And with a new QB, we need all the good field position we can get.

      Yes, Boyd is, by far, the best wideout we’ve had since Fitz. Watching him is like watching the kind of player SEC teams have three on each squad. He needs to touch the ball as much as possible — which is something Chryst believes in, since he designs a few running plays a game for him, as well as putting him out for punts.

      You can’t save Boyd from injury. It can happen on any play, even without contact. But let’s put his injury in perspective: He dislocated a finger, for crying out loud. It will be swollen for a week or two, and he won’t miss a snap.

      Hail to Pitt.

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  3. Pitt looked faster then they have in Chryst's first seasons. Especially on defense. Durham even looked ok and much improved, although the unsportsmanship flag on his sack made me go crazy. The first play he makes in 13 games and he blows it.

    It looked like Jone-Smith move to LT and Biz to LG made them more dominant on the left side.

    It was nice to see totally dominate an opponent that on a bad day Pitt should be able to beat by a couple scores. There is plenty of low hanging fruit on their schedule so if they can put together four quarters in most games they should be able to win many games.

    Nice progress. Keep it up.

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  4. I would say keep Boyd on Special team half the time and why not put Jones there the other half. Gotta have Boyd on ST. No brainer in my opinion

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  5. This was very nice to see. It's been so long since Pitt dominated an inferior team. Pitt is not a run and gun team. So for them to win 62-0, it means they totally outmanned the other team. The only downside is that they have a short week to come back from this high and get prepared for a better opponent.

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  6. I have no problem with Boyd playing special teams ... unless we're winning 28-0.

    Conner is impressive but he has always been dominant against the poor defensive teams thus far. The next step, which I do think he will take with the help of an improved OL, is to become more consistent against bad and good teams,

    bill

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    1. Connor definitely has the physical skills to be a special RB. And he also has that special "something" — toughness, desire, cockiness, and he runs with anger.

      If the line is as improved as it looked today — and they are certainly beefy enough — Connor has a chance to be a classic, bruising back in a Wisconsin/Chryst offense. That's the way Pitt can win consistently. BC will be a good test.

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    2. Absolutely Bill. Loved Conner's game today and in the past, but he hasn't put up more than 40 yards against a good defense yet. Though a RB is really only as good as his O-line, so we'll see.

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    3. He had 173 against Duke and 103 against UNC. What else do you want as a freshman?

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    4. Exactly, Doke. It's not as if this was Conner's first game. He almost single-handedly (on both sides of the ball) won Pitt's bowl game against Bowling Green — which is not a team in a "major" conference, but is no slouch ... and is certainly better than Delaware, but can give a good game to Duke and UNC.

      If the OL can give Conner room, he will dominate games with north of 150 yards rushing. And he can run all day. We have to see how he will do against a front that is stout. I trust his ability, even with fewer opportunies than you'll see against lesser opponents.

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  7. For the record, I tweeted a week or two ago that I would use Boyd on punt returns, without question. I didn't like him returning them in a game that was out of hand, but definitely any other time.

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  8. IMO, Pitt over BC by a score of 31-17.

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  9. As Zeise said on his radio show, "'High Octane' never scored 62. In fact, he never scored 50." I liked hearing that.

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  10. We've waited a long time for Pitt to hammer somebody by an obscene score. Amazing that neither Walt, nor Wanny ever had a team score 60+, considering both played I-AA teams during their tenures. Recruiting aside, I love Chryst's approach in building this team. Intelligent, hard-working players that don't beat themselves, strength in the lines, and consistent, EFFICIENT offense to control the tempo of games.

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    1. I agree. I think Chryst's strength is as a teacher. He isn't the most dynamic guy, but he knows what he wants from his players, and it looks like with some time, is able to instill that in them.

      That's why he's willing to let malcontents leave, because he's building a team and program that needs a certain type of player. I really liked what I saw today, and if this team can continue to improve and grow, this could be a really fun program to watch.

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  11. We'll need to throw the ball a little better next week, I know we didn't do it much, but even when we did it wasn't too sharp. They'll stack the box with 9 guys and make Voytik beat them with his arm. Boyd will help, and so will the TEs but I hope we see Jones and hopefully Jennings getting in to the action. We can pass even a little, our RBs will really have a day.

    What do you guys think is more impressive - the 62 points by the offense or the zero by the defense? Personally, I'll take the zero.

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    1. agreed. We didn't get to see much of the passing game but several throws were a little errant. Perhaps it was a little opening day rust and this will improve with more in-game experience. Not sure BC has a very good passing game but we aren't going to outweigh their OL by 50 lbs either. Hail to Pitt!

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  12. The early line is Pitt-BC is a toss-up. This may bring some of us down to earth, as these oddsmakers usually know their stuff ... and don't drink the blue-gold kool-aid.

    While I certainly will be disappointed if we lose, I have seen way too many times when a team that had much too easy of a time one week, can really struggle the next.

    bill

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    1. I don't think anyone is drinking kool-aid. It was a nice win for Pitt, but we recognize the competition will get tougher. In the past, this has been the kind of game Pitt has either struggled to win or outright lost, so people are encouraged by such a lopsided win.

      We'll get a better idea of how good this team actually is in the coming weeks. I think cautious optimism is what people are feeling at the moment.

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    2. Early line quickly moved to Pitt by about 3.

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    3. It started even or BC -1. Now it's Pitt -4.5.

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    4. That seems to mean more money is being bet on Pitt than BC.. The initial line set by the "smart money" odds makers is usually closer to reality.

      However, this early in the season when neither team has played anyone good, they are less likely to have initial lines correct as they will a few games in to the season. Sagarin's ratings are often very close to what the Vegas odds makers set. In this case it is also true. Sagarin's pre season ratings have Pitt vs BC a "tossup" with Pitt being better than BC by about 3 on a neutral field. The home field advantage for BC puts it into tossup territory.

      That being said, I think the fact that Pitt totally dominated its 1AA opponent while BC struggled a little more with a similar level 1AA opponent suggests that BC is about where Sagarin has them pre-season while Pitt "appears" stronger than where Sagarin has them rated pre-season...

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  13. It's Conner not ConnOr...get it right...

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  14. Hi Doke -- enjoy your blog.

    I live out of town and was hoping you might comment on the crowd and atmosphere at Heinz Field yesterday.

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  15. Talked to a former coach of Jaquan Davidson and was told he hasn't been cleared by NCAA Clearinghouse and isn't enrolled now.

    Can anyone confirm?

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    1. FWIW--According to the Pitt Official Athletic Site Davidson is on the Roster with a number assigned and his bio says he is enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences. Link to his Pitt bio--

      http://www.pittsburghpanthers.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/jaquaun_davidson_908279.html

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