Thursday, September 24, 2015

Iowa 27 Pitt 24

First of all, sorry for not posting more. One, I've been busy. Two, I put a lot of info on twitter and I forget that many people don't use twitter. Three, it was the summer so things were relatively slow in the Pitt world.  But I'm going to try to post more. For those that follow me on twitter it may be a lot of the info you already saw, but I will try to put different things on.  Anyway, my thoughts on the loss.

1.  The Panthers may finally have their quarterback. It's still too early to know for sure, but other than two early interceptions. Nathan Peterman showed signs that he can help Pitt in the passing game more than Chad Voytik can. At least it looks like that now. Truthfully, we can't expect either quarterback to be a star this year, but if one can at least be competent, that will be huge for the season.

2.  I thought the running back trio of Quadree Ollison, Chris James, and Darrin Hall could, together, make up at least some of the production lost by James Conner. The just is still out, however. The Panthers run the ball 27 times for 55 yards. That's obviously not good. But, on the other hand, Iowa is currently No. 5 nationally in rush defense so we'll not talking about a bunch of bums the Panthers tried to run against.

3.  Hall started and ran for 38 yards on 14 carries. He appears to me to have the highest upside so I liked seeing him start. Ollison ran for 17 yards on 14 carries, and James ran twice for no yards. Ollison runs hard, and he's tough, but he seems somewhat limited. To me, his talent level is reminiscent of Isaac Bennett in that he could be a solid contributor but may be limited as the main guy. And James has battled injuries, while also not having the full trust of the staff to do what's expected of him.  James does have a lot of talent, tough, so hopefully it all comes together for him.

4. Tyler Boyd hasn't missed a beat, and in fact, he leads the ACC in receiving despite missing a game. Against Iowa he had 10 catches for 131 yards, and the game tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

5.  Voytik locks on to Boyd way too often, both last year and this year, but Peterman spread it around more. J.P. Holtz, Dontez Ford, Scott Orndoff, George Aston, Ollison, and Hall combined for 13 catches.

6.  The kickers still don't inspire confidence.  Chris Blewitt made a 48-yarder and all three extra points, but he still seems shaky.  Ryan Winslow has not had a good season.

7.  The defense is looking very good. The motto for the defense is "Run and Hit", and that's exactly what they are doing.  Cornerback Lafayette Pitts is still the weak link, and in fact he had three horrible plays in a row. But on the other side, sophomore Avonte Maddox has been exceptional. At the safeties, Terrish Webb had a huge interception, and was all over the field. And what can you say about a player that had 16 tackles in just his third college game? That's what Jordan Whitehead did. I always said he will be a first round draft pick some day, and that's looking like a good prediction right now. He's special.

8.  The defensive line was solid against the run again, and the Hawkeyes ran for just 105 yards on 29 carries. But the pass rush was weak. Not only did starting defensive ends Rori Blair and Ejuan Price not have a sack, but they also didn't have a tackle. Shakir Soto had two tackles when he took over after Price got injured. Three ends with two tackles is not going to cut it.

9.  The linebackers were a little better. After having 10 tackles in the opener, and looking like a future All-American, Nicolas Grigsby had just 3 tackles for the second straight game. Bam Bradley took over for Mike Caprara, and even though he had just 4 tackles, the difference in speed and athleticism was quite evident. Caprara chipped in 3 tackles. Middle linebacker Matt Galambos had the lone sack, and it was a vicious one, but a 4-3 MLB needs to make more than 6 tackles in a game. His backup, Quintin Wirginis, had 3 tackles, including an impressive shoestring tackle. Personally, I'd like to see Wirginis playing over Galambos, because he seems like a real playmaker, but the staff prefers the intelligence and experience of Galambos.

10.  The offense, especially the passing of Peterman, gave the Panthers a chance in the second half, but it was the defense and special teams that was the best units of the game. The out block of Ryan Lewis was a welcome sight. It was the second huge play that the special teams came up with through the first three games.

11. Narduzzi got criticism for not going for it on a crucial fourth quarter drive, and it was well deserved. Even legendary coaches make bad decisions so it's not the end of the world, but Narduzzi relied too much on a good, but not great defense to bail him out, when all he had to do was make one foot.

12.  At the end of the day, Pitt was a 5 point underdog, I picked them to lose by 3, and they lost by 3. So a close loss is hardly a surprise. But Iowa looks to be a pretty good team this year and they had to hit a 57 yard field goal to win the game at home. A loss is still a loss, but there are definite signs that the Narduzzi resurrection project is on course.

25 comments:

  1. Good summary. Appreciate the new post. I will follow you on Twitter as well.

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  2. I did not realize that Pitt was 5 point favorite. I was at the game and it was loud. I thought Pitt did a great job on handling crowd noise and a lot Iowa fans around was shocked to see Pitt still in it.

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    1. 5 point underdog. I have no idea why I wrote favorite.

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  3. Good stuff as always.

    The difference in the game was C.J. Beatherd. Kid was excellent and took beating after beating, even after almost being decapitated.

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  4. Regarding the QB situation, I believe Peterman has a bigger upside than Voytik. CV has maxed out as a passer. This is as good as he'll be whereas Peterman should improve.

    The Real PittofDreams

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    1. Man, your schtick is getting REALLY old. It's wasting a lot of space on this Blog.

      PittofDreams

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    2. I've noticed this back and forth blogging. Just who is the real one? How do we know?

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  5. Tough, tough loss. Very disappointed that Narduzzi didn't go for it after all the talk of being aggressive in the offseason. I hope he learns from it. Second biggest worry is the O-line. Coaching and recruiting at the position are well below the line. The JJ-S injury was huge, but that's no excuse. The left side isn't dominating and the center is struggling and the guard should be where he excelled last season.

    The bye week came at a good time. Get the team ready for a must-win game.

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    1. The OL is still pretty good. None of these RBs are at a high level yet and Iowa has a very strong defense. When Pitt had a bad OL they would have run for about 20 yards in this game.

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    2. Please save the "must-win" talk for true must-win games.

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    3. The offensive only gave up two sacks. I thought they played great and gave Peterman plenty of time to throw.

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  6. The defensive line should be pretty good next season with Hendrix, Jarrett, Taleni and Edwards. Folston and Moody as the top two backups. Definitely need a JuCo tackle and hopefully Zach Gilbert. I wouldn't be shocked if the staff tries to find another grad transfer at tackle. The staff seems to have a lot of contacts.

    More linebackers are needed. A Rutgers verbal from eastern PA has a Pitt offer and if there is a change there then he might be back in play. Amazingly, I think most kids will stick due to the Big Ten prestige.

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  7. Good write-up...measure of recruiting will be higher quality LBs (Galambos stinks)...like Chaney so far though the (sideways) passes to backs are painful to watch and add very little...all 'n' all coming back from down at half and down late on the road against a jumping stadium bodes well...thanks

    Largie Condios

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  8. I was encouraged by this loss. Pitt came back at the end and tied the game in a very hostile environment. Only an excellent kick prevented overtime. Peterman does seem to be our best bet at quarterback. Chaney needs to work on settling him down at the start of the game when he tries to do too much. Hopefully him being named the starter will help alleviate this tendency.

    Narduzzi was wrong to not go on the fourth down and a foot but he is also a rookie head coach so we will give him a mulligan on that decision. Hopefully he will learn from his mistakes.

    Lafeyette Pitts should be made to run sprints for an hour with his head turned back toward the passer. Apparently he does not have the simple ability to run forward with his head turned toward the back. Thankfully he is a senior. Hopefully there will be someone better to take his place next year.

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    1. People need to realize that first-year coaches have so much rope to work with that not going for that first down was pretty much unacceptable. I have no beef with the head coach if he goes for it on fourth down and it fails. It's on the OC and the players to get the first down. Chryst rightfully took heat in the Carolina game in 2013 at the end when he had to go for it on fourth and 1 and called a play that everyone knew was coming, hence the 22 players all boxed in a small part of the field. In the Iowa game Peterman just had to snap it and fall forward.

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  9. It was a tough loss but I saw some positive things ... Coach N is really enthusiastic and has positive energy .. the team is starting to show the face of Narduzzi. I think we will get better each game and once Narduzzi gets the overall team talent beefed up over the next couple of years ... look out. We consistently will be a ranked team and will rise to the top of the ACC. H2P !!

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  10. All in all I'm optimistic. But I do have concern over the 4th down call as a sign of the future. Narduzzi's defensive orientation really came thru there. It reminded me of Wanny, with Pitt in lead early, punted twice from the Bowling Green 34 yard line. Pitt was ready for the kill and Wanny took his team's foot off their neck and BG drives for touchdowns and ends up beating Pitt. I'll give 'Duz benefit of the doubt on this one and it does look as though he has made a schematic difference on defense. But he can't coach scared and that is what he did. There was a far greater chance of making half a foot than there was of pinning Iowa inside the ten.

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    1. NFL coaches make mistakes all the time. Hell, Bill Belichick is supposed to be a genius and he has made some whoppers. It happens. Now if it happens too much then I think it will be a concern. But I don't see that happening.

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  11. Three things concern me regarding this Pitt team and the coaching: 1st, The excitement around the Peterman decison and everyone's enjoyment based on his play so far is mystifying to me. He's thrown 3 horrible int's in two games. The reason they lost to Iowa is his awful 1st qtr interceptions. Just inexcusable. And why everyone seems to be celebrating him being names a starter makes no sense. Second, this coach (like a long line of coaches before him) not knowing to go for it on 4th and inches from the other teams 40 yard line. Terrible. Finally, Elijah Pitts is a disgrace and has been for 3 years prior. What this coaching staff sees here is beyond me. The fact that they named him a starter is questionable. The fact they named him a captain is a mark upon thier coaching record. you just don't win a lot of games with players like him. Makes me question this coaching hire. He didn't inherit an empty roster--Chryst, for all his mediocre-ness, did leave a nice roster of players. These developments have me questioning this regime in a very short period of time. The Iowa loss was a very winnable game and yet they blew it. Frustrating! Chris, keep up the great work.

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    1. The first interception was on Boyd, according to Narduzzi, and I tweeted the same thing when I saw it. Peterman put it up so that Boyd could win the battle and for some reason he didn't aggressively go for the ball. The second one was a helluva defensive play. Having said that, he has to do better with not throwing interceptions. Don't forget that he hasn't had a lot of game action in his career. He should get better, and in fact he got much better in the second half. He ended up going 20-29 against an excellent defense so that's pretty good.

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    2. You mean Lafayette Pitts, not Elijah. He played for the Packers back in the day.

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    3. Pitts does not get his head turned around and that is true (and frustrating). But he is usually in very good position in relation to covering the receiver. You asked what the staff sees in him and that is it - he is in good coverage position. This is important because for many passing plays, the QB is reading whether the receiver Pitts is covering is "open". Generally, if a DB is in close coverage of a receiver, the QB has to read that very quickly and will usually decide to throw elsewhere. The exception is in post or fly routes when the QB is often reading the safety. And it is in these deeper routes that Pitts has gotten beat because he hasn't turned his head and reacted to the ball.

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  12. The TV programming for Pitt FB bites this year. I live in Denver. Last year, I could watch all but 2 games on TV. This year, not a single game has been televised yet and it does not look like VT or Virginia will be televised out here. I did watch the Akron game on ESPN3 and the coverage was awful.

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    1. It's on Root Sports Rocky Mountain but only on tape delay. And it is on ESPN 3 live.

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  13. If anyone has an Xbox or gaming system you can access ESPN application and watch the game on your TV. It's not the greatest.

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