Friday, September 5, 2014

Pittsburgh 30 Boston College 20

Two games, two very impressive wins. Some thoughts:

1. James Conner. What more can you say? He had 36 carries for 214 yards and a touchdown. He is looking like a legitimate Heisman candidate after two games. But I am worried that he ran 36 games against Boston College. It's a long season and there will be games where he's needed even more.

2.  Chad Voytik was shaky at first, despite one nice long run in the first quarter. But after two poor passes in a row in the second quarter, including an interception, he was better. Many inexperienced players like him could fold in that situation but he actually was better. He still has along way to go and must get a lot better if Pitt is going to have a truly special season, but as he gets more confidence he could reach higher levels. On the game he was 10-20 for 111, 2 TDs, and an interception. He also ran for 47 yards on 6 carries.

3.  Tyler Boyd is going to be hampered somewhat this season because of Voytik but he still makes it count when he gets the ball. He came down with 5 catches for 72 yards, and 2 TDs.  He also had 2 rushes for 23 yards.

4.  The offensive line was a bit shaky at first, and still isn't great in pass protection, but in the run game they have been outstanding. Injuries to Artie Rowell and T.J. Clemmings are worrisome, though, because the reserves are inexperienced.

5.  Chris James had 5 carries for 20 yards, and he had one particularly nice 3-yard run on a 3rd and 3.

6.  The defense was excellent for the most part, especially the linebackers.  Matt Galambos, Todd Thomas, and Anthony Gonzalez all played very well, especially Thomas.  The line was also very good both against the run and in the pass rush, though Pitt's best pass rush came on the blitz.  Nicholas Grigsby can really get into the backfield in a hurry.

7.  Three of the defensive backs may be solid in Ray Vinopal, Terrish Webb, and Reggie Mitchell, but Lafayette Pitts continues to struggle. Vinopal and Webb had the two interceptions while the ball rarely went Mitchell's way.

8. Chris Blewitt may be an all-star placekicker. The program hasn't had great kickers over the years, but Blewitt may be one. He was 3-3 on FGs, with all of them over 40 yards.

9. Ryan Winslow also looks like a pretty decent punter thus far, unlike last year when the ball was kicked 70 yards or 20 yards.

10.  Paul Chryst couldn't be happy with the effort at the end of the game. Young teams need to learn to win by closing out a game. They did that, but then got lazy in the last few minutes.

11.  The Panthers ran for 303 yards and they may just be the top rushing team in the country at the end of the weekend.

12.  Pitt had 414 yards to Boston College's 276, but to be honest a lot of the Eagles' yards came after the game was over. And a lot more of it came on a long run early in the game. Other than that Pitt's defense was stifling. It helped that Tyler Murphy is a terrible passing quarterback.

84 comments:

  1. Ibrahim and Jones any idea why they did not play?

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    Replies
    1. That was the first game in his career at Pitt Ibrahim didn't play in, I believe. Pitts has been awful, and the backfield is only getting more crowded. Time to make the move to DB Rashid.

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  2. Impressive win indeed! The program is improving under Chryst. If most of his under recruited players turn out to be as good as Conner, Pitt may just have a golden run which they have not seen since the days of Major and Sherill.

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  3. It is very very early and against two teams that Pitt should handle very well, but here are some important things to take from it.

    1. Everyone knew the strength of this team was going to be the running game and it has exceeded even the most expectations. The line is impressive and thankfully pretty deep. Gabe Roberts did a great job when Rowell went down. We will need more than just 5 good lineman this season and it looks like we have quite a few.

    2. Because of the running game, the trickle down effect has been just what some have hoped. We arent depending on Voytik to wins us the game and we can bring him along slowly. He had times when he looked awful and times when he looked pretty darn good. His throw to Garner was as good as his pick was bad. Having Boyd to bail him out all season is also huge.

    3. Also because of the running game, the defense stays off the field and is more effective since they are rested. The secondary that everyone was worried about to start the season has looked like a strength. Granted they have yet to be tested, but they have given everyone reason to believe they might just be ok. The gang tackling has been outstanding. For all the grief that House has gotten, he has done a pretty decent job coaching these kids so far to not give up on the play and to play through the whistle. This could all change when tested with some big time speed and talent, but so far the ney sayers have been hushed.

    4. Need some work on the hands team, but other than that the special teams has looked pretty good. They will need this to be a strength when taking on more talented teams.

    5. Pretty amazing that a coach that has been knocked for not being able to recruit has a team that is so young and talented.

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  4. I wasn't able to see the game, but obviously a great win on the road.

    James Conner is ridiculous. Thank you Rushel Shell for leaving Pitt.

    Maybe the best thing about Pitt winning is it's the best way to shut Joe D up.

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    Replies
    1. Dude, don't rip on shell for leaving. Be classy.

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    2. Dude, I wasn't ripping him. It was a tongue-in-cheek comment that his leaving actually helped the program. Lighten up bro

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    3. I'd be willing to bet the guy defending Shell is the same clown who does nothing on here but rip Pitt.

      Defend malcontent who left program, and do nothing but be negative about Pitt. It's laughable what a joke you are.

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    4. Look out tough guy lol Just be happy Pitt looks good and is winning. Is that to much to ask?

      You are being negative. So he and other players left. No point to comment and you were being smart. Players leave all the time.

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    5. I am glad Pitt is winning. You're making a mountain out of a mole hill. It was an inocuous comment, that you're making way too much of. Relax my friend.

      It's laughable coming from you about being negative. Maybe you should look in the mirror.

      Delete
  5. Wow 2-0 is a lot better than past season starts

    Last year when I went to navy game I said they didn't play Conner enough but I agree when the game is out if hand he needs to sit. I guess this is a learning curve for hcpc because it's been so long that pitt has been so far ahead at the end of a meaningful game

    Boyd second coming of Larry? Great game will get better when chad can find him

    Great composure by chad I have to admit when interception happened I thought it was doom and gloom time
    He has lots to learn but upside is definitely there and he is s leader

    Lafayette where for art thou? Anyone have any thoughts on this spiral from freshman season or is it learning new system

    Pitt is in a position to go 3-0 need to not read press clippings and watch espn pundits needs to be all business for fiu and take care of business. Hopefully injuries to oline can be healed up by Iowa game
    H2p

    Gary from cleveland

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  6. Way tooo many carries for Conner.
    Pitt has great depth at RB and that needs to be utilized or Conner won't make it to the end of the season when the schedule is tougher.

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  7. Very happy with the win. I don't understand why Boyd is fielding punts in the 4th quarter, not a smart move. Also, why have Connor run so many times in this game? Pitt is pretty deep at RB, why risk injury to either one? Neither Boyd or Connor should've seen the field after Pitt made it 30-14 in the 4th.

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  8. I like Chad passing the ball only 20 times a game. With more experience if he can get up around the 15-completion level that'd help move the sticks. He took too many hits last night, so the O-line needs to step up in pass protection.

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  9. Boyd and Connor shouldn't be on the field when the score was 30-14??? Why in the world wouldn't they be? The team is young and still learning to win. We didn't finish the game well with them, who knows how we would have finished without them.

    Midway through the 4th when BC was completely selling out to stop Connor I was hoping for a bootleg. No complaints, just thought it was wide open.

    I like what Grigsby and Bradley bring on D. Did Maclean play?

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  10. Chris, watched game with brother in law who is a scout with the falcons. Said conner is a 3rd or 4th rounder unless he runs a fast 40.
    Doesn't break long runs like McCoy did, not much catching out of backfield, and running over ppl doesn't work in nfl.

    Thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. I think that's why Atlanta was 4-12 last year.

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    2. Well he came from new england with dimitroff.

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    3. RBs often fall in the draft but Bettis ran over people and Conner is faster than him. So I don't agree with his logic.

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    4. I think the scout might have you on this one. How many RBs were taken in the first round this year? Also, if I remember correctly McCoy was a 2nd round pick as was Eddie Lacy. A ton of backs in the NFL are late round picks. Alfred Morris and Andre Ellington come to mind.

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    5. Has me on what? I said RBs drop. I disputed that, one, you can't run over people in the NFL, and, two, that's all that Conner does.

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  11. Chris,
    How do you feel about House def play calling so far?

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    Replies
    1. It's hard to say against those two poor offenses. I think against a good passing team Pitt could be in trouble.

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    2. That first test may come against Iowa. Jake Rudock seems decent ... 134.7 rating, has completed 69% with about 286 ypg. However, to date, these guys haven't really faced tough competition (No. Iowa and Ball State) - but it took a last minute score to beat Ball State. Also, they seem one dimensional .. leading rusher has 53 yards.

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  12. Doke

    Please let me correct post above...

    My brother's sister cousin is a whiz at Madden Football. He also does well with fantasy football. I went over to his mother's basement to watch the game with him and he reports that Connor rushing for 595 yards over 3 games with 6 TDs while breaking Dorsett's bowl record and running the most ever against BC is mediocre at best.

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  13. Please wake me up when PITT loses so I can complain

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  14. I know its early in the season, Sagarin has Pitt ranked 45th after 2 games.
    4th in Coastal.

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    Replies
    1. Seems about right. Pitt has looked good (very good at times), but not great. And the competition has been a decent I-AA team and an average I-A team.

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  15. Pitt looks really good. Haven't faced a great offense but they won't really play any this year. They could go undefeated till acc title game.

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    Replies
    1. They may not face a great offense this year but a good one will give this defense problems. BC had a pitiful passing attack and still made it closer than it should've been.

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  16. Rowell out for year. Torn ACL.

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  17. First Aliquippa, now Woodland Hills? Are we losing our pipeline schools?
    2016 Safety Jeremiah Jones just committed to WVU

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    Replies
    1. Start winning and recruiting will take care of its self. Doesn't matter where players come from, as long as they are good...Pitt is off to a good start so let's see what happens.

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    2. It's not a problem to lose kids we don't offer. We didnt offer Jones, and Chryst would have no interest in a QB like him. I wish him well, but seriously people. Just because a kid is local and goes to a power 5 conference doesn't mean anything. At all.

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  18. OMG, the Penn State ban got lifted immediately

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  19. Just because someone from a school that we get alot of recruit from goes elsewhere doesnt mean that the "pipeline" is gone. And Im an alum and still live in the district. Some kids just want to get away. Its 2 guys. Its not the end of the world. There are plenty of talented players on WH. Especially the DL

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    Replies
    1. The Quip pipeline to Pitt is gone!!

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    2. Who cares! Can we start an Erie-McDowell pipeline? At least their players are producing for us... The Quip kids can go some where else. No one cares. Is there even one Quip on these team? Pitt dominated the local scene for 30 years and news flash, we sucked. If Pitt wins with 4 stars from TN, IL, NJ, and OH I don't care. The point is we win games. Act you like you've been here before.

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    3. McDowell hasn't been relevant in over 10 years.

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    4. 1 player out of McDowell to do well but not a 1st round pick.
      6 - 1st Round NFL picks out of Quippa.

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    5. McDowell did absolutely nothing in the WPIAL. If you're gonna talk bad about a school, you should choose a little more wisely. Aliquippa was not a good choice my friend.

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    6. Lets see, James Conner is better than anyone on Pitt's roster from "quippa" from a long, long time, so I didn't pick wrong at all. What a high school team does in a high school playoff is so irrelevant to college success that it actually proves my point. I don't give a damn what school a kid comes from. Name a "quip" on the roster. All you homers are the problem. You care more about the passed-by-WPIAL than getting players who can actually produce at the college level at Pitt.

      But by all means, continue to talk about the past, all those long-gone, once-great, players are doing jack for Pitt now.

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    7. 103 guys on the roster at Pitt. Not a single one from Aliquippa and yet, we're winning. I just can't figure out how we're doing it with such a great high school team. I mean, they're so good in local high school playoffs, that has to count for something ...

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    8. Maybe you don't realize ed Hinkle and Bob Sanders never thought about coming to Pitt and never played a down at McDowell. Greg Garmon wasn't a Pitt guy either. So thos one player that you speak of doesn't trump the history Aliquippa has at Pitt. Mike Ditka- college football hall of fame, Tony Dorsett, Heisman Winner & college football hall of fame & 1976 national title winner, Dan "Peep" Short 3 Year starter, all conference and member of the 79,80,& 81 teams that went 11-1, Sean Gilbert, 3rd player taken in the draft. Darrelle Revis, 14th player taken in the draft, member of the ONLY Pitt team to go to a BCS Bowl Game & future HOFer.
      Conner and whoever else from Erie McDowell has lots of work to do before you place your school in front of Aliquippa when it comes to the mark you leave on Pitt football.

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    9. All those long gone players that you say are doing jack for Pitt are the same players that's on all the mail to recruits. They're on the great teams that any good future Pitt team will be compared to. I'd advise you to stop because your argument is quite baseless.

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    10. First of all, my "school" is not in PA, I'm not a homer which is why I can see this for what it is. I chose McDowell solely because of Conner. And my point is that freaking out about "pipeline" high schools is beyond irrelevant when that school no longer produces the talent Pitt is looking for. There are 103 guys Christ deems good enough to play on his team and not a single one is from this allegedly dominant high school.

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    11. Maybe you school is just as irrelevant as McDowell.
      Maybe you need to read Doke's "Top Player of 2016" post.
      Maybe you'll see Aliquippa's Kaezon Pugh on the list at #8 and described as the most intriguing player in the state because he plays RB, S, ILB, & OLB
      Maybe you'll see that we're still very relevant and producing some of the top talent in the state on a year to year basis.

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  20. The 2016 class has talent. Im not panicking but I'm saying that both of WVU's 2016 recruits are from the WPIAL and both are on the defensive side of the ball. When recruiting pipeline schools, getting the little sometimes helps get the big guy.

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    Replies
    1. Neither kid was even offered by Pitt and Jones was recruited to play QB - which Chryst would have zero interest in. Good luck to them both, but lets focus on kids we actually offer.

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    2. Jones is playing LB

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    3. WVU doesn't seem to think so: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/high-school-football/2014/09/09/Woodland-Hills-QBJones-picks-West-Virginia/stories/201409090153

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    4. Don't believe everything the post Gazette says. Direct quote from lead recruiter and DC Tony Gibson says he's playing linebacker


      The Charleston Gazette | WVU recruiting: Mountaineers get 2016 commitment from WPIAL star
      http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140909/GZ02/140909176/1143

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    5. Jones was not a big priority for Pitt. Probably wouldn't have offered.

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  21. BIG on T.J. Clemmings going back to early last season. I was alone calling him Pitt's MOST CONSISTENT O-Lineman last year..

    This year, the secret is out for the Future NFL Draft Pick.

    From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette...
    ********
    Clemmings, a redshirt senior, was named the league's offensive lineman of the week as he led an offensive line that paved the way for 303 rushing yards and did not allow a sack against Boston College.

    ********

    PittofDreams

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  22. In case you missed it... Shae McKenzie (#22) getting carries at VaTech.

    Looking at this highlight of his long run against William and Mary... STILL SAY McKenzie is a far better LINEBACKER than Running Back.

    If you didn't know better, you'd say that's Ray Lewis from his High School Days when he use to play RUNNING BACK.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/video/chris-pauls-top-10-plays-185552195.html

    PittofDreams

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  23. Oops... here's the right link for McKenzie's run.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/video/virginia-techs-shai-mckenzie-shows-230400982.html

    PittofDreams

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    Replies
    1. McKenzie is water under the bridge. Let it go.

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    2. Wow, he didn't look very agile in that. He essentially ran a straight line. I'd rather have Conner/James. Still worried about recruiting the defense and QB.

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    3. Also, it shows how strong the WPIAL is right now. We are seeing true freshman like McKenzie and Henry starting just as Boyd did last year. Hopefully that trend continues.

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    4. Anonymous 11:17... here's a clue for you.

      Never thought McKenzie was that great at Runningback. Basically, just a BRUTE against smaller, slower High School players.

      Despite other expert opinions, always said he "ran like a Linebacker"... and that's where he belongs. His upside is on the Defensive side of the Ball.

      If you've been reading this Blog for a couple of years, you'd know I've always been strongly in Conner's corner as the choice at Runningback... over McKenzie and over "the next Tony Dorsett" now playing in Morgantown.

      PittofDreams

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    5. I don't disagree. I would take Conner over him also. We'll see what happens when Va Tech visits in Oct. But he's not a Pitt Panther so he's irrelevant to me.

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    6. Mackenize is really good but he was injured and no way of knowing how he would recover; plus Pitt had verbals from 2 pretty good prospects as well as Conner and Ibrahim already in the fold. Pitt is well stocked at RB now and for the next couple of years, and there are too many other positions that Piutt needs to focus on

      bill

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    7. Lost in all of this is that McKenzie had 7 carries for 7 yards against Ohio State.

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    8. Let's focus on complaining about recruiting positions that we arent so stacked with talent we cant figure our how to get the mall the field for a bit eh fellas? I'm glad he's recovered from his injury but 2 games in it's hard to think he'd be better than Chris James has been.

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  24. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but assistants Joe Rudolph and Chris Haering are from the South Hills and Mon Valley. And the majority of local recruits seem to be from that general area. There are exceptions -- Wirginis (Fox Chapel) Holtz (Shaler), etc, but it seems the focus (or maybe it to do with their connections.)
    What troubles me is the perceived lack of focus on recruiting the Beaver Valley which traditionally has been talent-rich and very good to Pitt.

    bill

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  25. On Voytik people are failing to realize he is converting sacks into incompletions with his feet. At least 5 of his incompletions at BC were near sacks were he threw it close to a receivers feet where no one could get it to avoid the sack and resulting lost yardage. He's got a long ways to go before he's a QB who can win games with his arm, but he really feels the pressure well. Zero sacks and 1 interception through 2 games with 20 of 33 (60.6%) passing and 4 passing touchdowns is not bad at all - not great - but not bad. He's getting better every snap which is all you can ask for.

    I hope we rest our guys after the first quarter. I dont care at all what the score is as long we we avoid injuries, rest our starters, and win the game this Saturday. If Conner touches the ball more than 10 times it'll be a coaching failure.

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  26. This is Chad Voytik's weakness among his several strengths...

    According to Sam Werner of the Post Gazette, "His (Voytik's) deep ball accuracy has always been a bit of a concern, and that showed again"...

    I couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, I pretty much did.

    Interesting.

    PittofDreams

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    Replies
    1. Love when Pitt Of Dreams shows up to pat himself on the back. Or maybe he is telling us that he is actually Sam Werner!! ;-)

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    2. POD has great hind sight, doesn't he?

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    3. POD has been saying that about Voytik since Voytik committed to Pitt from watching his film. Started some 2 years ago.

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  27. Thanks Anonymous 9:21. Appreciate it.

    PittofDreams



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  28. Chris,

    I've seen some rumors/rumblings that Robert Foster is considering transferring to either Pitt or WVU. Have you heard anything?

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    Replies
    1. Baloney. But if true, he would go to wherever Whitehead goes.

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    2. If Foster goes WVU, Pitt can kiss the entire Beaver County good bye.
      I'm sure Foster seeing Henry and Shell starting at WVU v Alabama game made the difference and I'm sure they are recruiting Foster to WVU.

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    3. I heard the same thing last year, from someone purported to be his cousin no less...

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    4. WVU is not recruiting Foster, nor is anybody else. He's under scholarship.

      And right now it's purely rumour.

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  29. Shell, Foster, Henry, Whitehead. Those are the last 4 top guys to come out of Beaver County in their respective year and one could argue, the state of Pennsylvania. With what Pitt and WVU has coming back next year, a combination of Foster and Whitehead would be quite dangerous and important for that loaded class of 2016.

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  30. A little levity... thanks to those CRAZY College Kids who call Oakland home like we did not so long ago.

    SHAKE IT OFF!

    (Let's just hope this doesn’t apply to the aftermath of tomorrow’s game.)

    http://www.pittsburghpanthers.com/blog/2014/09/video-shake-it-off—pitt-athletics.html

    PittofDreams

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  31. Same old Chryst. Not having Pitt ready.

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    Replies
    1. Somewhere, JoeD is laughing.

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    2. Somewhere? He's on this blog 24 hours a day.

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