Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pitt 23 Syracuse 20

Thoughts:

1. It wasn't pretty but the Panthers are 6-1 on the season, and 4-0 in the ACC. And maybe even more amazing is that 5 of those 7 were on the road, and 3 of the 4 ACC games were on the road.

2.  Nathan Peterman continues to be efficient, and made his usual gutsy, accurate throws. For the game he was 19-25 for 189 yards. He didn't throw a TD but he also didn't thrown an interception. Since he took over full-time at Iowa he has not thrown an interception. That's been 4 and a half games.

3.  Qadree Ollison does one thing good, and that's running hard and straight. He did it for 103 yards on 22 carries. He also had 2 TDs. Chris James also played well running for 31 yards on 7 carries.

4.  Tyler Boyd had 12 catches for 93 yards, plus ran 6 more times for 34 yards. He also fumbled on a kickoff, and it was his fumbling that led him to lose the punt return job to Avonte Maddox in this game. Maddox didn't have any good returns, but at least he was very sure handed.

5.  Dontez Ford was going up against his former team, and he played well with 4 catches for 78 yards. He is plenty good enough to be a No. 2 WR. They just have to throw it to him.

6.  The play calling was frustrating at times mainly because of not throwing the ball down the field much, and because of the constant use of sweeps. Peterman has shown he can throw down the field so I have no idea why they don't do it more. The offensive line was struggling some in pass protection, but you still have to go down field sometimes. And Ollison runs best up the middle, but for some reason Jim Chaney kept calling for sweeps.

7.  The defense was not great, especially in the first half, but they did enough to win and even came up with two interceptions (Matt Galambos and Lafayette Pitts). It helped that Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey was probably concussed and shouldn't have been in the game.

8.  The last drive was a thing of beauty and it's what winning teams do to win. Taking the ball at their own 5 with 9:20 to go, the Panthers did whatever they had to do to get down the field, and things couldn't have worked out better. A gutsy, perfect fake punt continued the drive at midfield, and the Panthers took every second of the 9:20 to win the game on a Chris Blewitt 25-yard FG.

51 comments:

  1. I can't wait till HCPN gets his players and better athletes on defense and the team speed improves. Very mentally tough team (can't believe I just typed that about a Pitt Football team) OCJC is a disaster in my opinion the succeed inspire of him. The play calling is madding and it's like he can't see what his players do well and forces his offense regardless of what kids can do. Has no feel for the game at all. Still a good win HTP

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  2. Syracuse should be embarrassed and in trouble for letting Dungey back in the game. Not only did it cost them on the field (not that it should matter), but they put the young man's long-term health at risk. They just had a player retire because of concussions.

    Absurd and dangerous for him to be in the game

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    Replies
    1. And the kid's only a freshman. I was saying the same thing when he went back in.....no way if I was a parent would I let my kid go to that school to play.

      Contrast that to Narduzzi who pulled out Whitehead last week and his telling Conner to stay out all year after the knee injury.

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    2. This from the Trib:
      "Syracuse coach Scott Shafer defended his decision to re-insert quarterback Eric Dungey after he was knocked woozy by Pitt linebacker Nicholas Grigsby on the first play of the third quarter."
      “Obviously, we are hypersensitive to our guys getting hit and not getting up,” Shafer said. “He popped right up, and he wanted to go right back in, but our medical staff did a nice job. They said, ‘Let's be safe. Let's take him in,' and they evaluated him. They cleared him to go back out.”

      Here's how it went in the locker room:

      Doc: "Dungey, what town are you in?"
      Dungey: "Albuquerque"
      Doc: "What state are you in/"
      Dungey: "Albuquerque"
      Doc: "What's your favorite soft drink?"
      Dungey: "Potato salad"
      Doc: "He's OK to go....

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  3. Narduzzi coaching to win. It inspires the players. Since Foge there hasn't been an inspiring coach at Pitt though Graham's schemes made it fun for the players. He was only missing a QB or that team could have won more games.

    It's going to be tough sledding these next three weeks, but those final two at home versus Louisville and Miami look more winnable.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah... Miami game doesn't look like much now, does it? The big game is Thursday night. They have thrown away games to UNC the past 2 years.

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    2. The key to the UNC game is going to be special teams!!!!

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    3. Narduzzi is Pitt's best FB coach since Jackie Sherrill....and with a lot more class than him. Duzzi reminds me of Johnny Majors the first time around. Both coaches changed the culture at Pitt.

      I know it's a little early to judge Narduzzi, but he has already changed the culture here. The next SOP curse he has to slay, and this is the biggest and toughest, is the Pitt always loses big on national TV curse.

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  4. I for one am stoked about this team, just keep grinding out wins even when they don't play their best game. Note to coach Chaney please, please rip that toss sweep out of the play book. NEVER WORKS !!

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  5. Chaney play calling really six at times...run up the middle...and look for tight ends...simple enuff

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  6. Doke, gotta think Al Folden is helping our cause with Tyler Dunning. Not sure he will finish out the year.

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    Replies
    1. It might be better if he lingers near death. A new coach could energize the kids down there.

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    2. Miami is finding out it's much tougher to win when you play by the rules...Luther Campbell not pleased....

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  7. Just sent thank you cards and flowers to Barry Alvarez for paying us to take Chryst off our hands and in the process get Steve P canned. I was excited when Narduzzi was hired. And it has shown. We finally have a coach who knows what he is doing

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  8. I agree that this east-west attack, both running and passing, is not very productive, especially when this team is built more for north-south

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  9. Chris,
    Do you think it is Chaney being conservative? Or is it coming from the HC?

    I seem to recall Chaney leaving Ark. because their HC forced him to run all the time.

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    Replies
    1. I think he's conservative because Boyd is really the only exceptional player they have on offense. The rest, while solid, aren't game breakers.

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    2. I sort of agree with this sentiment, but also think Chaney doesn't have full confidence in Peterman. I can't remember a time when Peterman has looked for Boyd on a go route once this year. Pitt has established the run with Ollison (who I think is overrated) and a little play-action go route to Boyd would be huge. We've definitely seen that Peterman is accurate, but does he have a cannon?

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  10. Doke---

    What was the Twitter buzz among the recruits about the game? They have to love the idea of a coach who believes in his team.

    pmdH2P

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    Replies
    1. Didn't hear as much this time but they'll be a lot of prospects in for UNC and a ton for ND.

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  11. As Demetrious Gore once said "Listen very close to what I am saying, Pitt is on the rise and there's no delaying" Hail 2 Pitt

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  12. Positives:
    - Turnovers. Probably saved the game for them.
    - Ollison/James running either just off tackle or running hard, vs. dancing it, up the middle. Agree with others that slow developing sweeps and counter plays needs removed or reduced to 1-2 times/game.
    - The final drive to chew up the clock and win the game.

    Negatives:
    - The Offense in general. Even without Connor, I expected a lot more from that side of the ball. I disagree that outside of Boyd they don't have talent. Think it's more a OC who's playing things too close to the vest. They have two good WR's, two good RB's, two good TE's, and a good QB. More than enough to have a successful college offense,
    - The D is still too inconsistent and gives up big plays. They've been lucky to get by so far allowing that but it they do it on Thursday to NC, I don't see them winning.
    - The O continuing to pass under routes when faced with a 3rd and short (i.e. 2-3 yards). It can't be hard to run 5 yard routes...

    Overall:
    - Great to see the team is 6-1.
    - Love to see the energy that's come back to the team and if they clean things up there isn't a game remaining that Pitt shouldn't be able to win. No saying they'll win them all but there shouldn't be any obvious blowouts out there.
    - Seems like this staff more consistently rotates players into the game and I see that as a good thing. Makes more people feel included, helps them continue to grow and develop, better prepares them in case of injury, and should help reduce good players from transferring out.
    - Agree the future looks very bright with PN, hope the recruits agree.

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    Replies
    1. Boyd is the only skilled player that will be all-conference, and he's probably the only NFL player of the bunch. I'd call that lack of talent.

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    2. I could be wrong but guessing, Texas Tech, Bowling Green, Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati, Tulsa, and Western Kentucky aren't overflowing with NFL talent on that side either but each is in the top 10 for total offense rankings.

      That's why I feel it's a scheme, not talent, issue. And with Boyd being part of the team makes it an even worse performance by the OC.

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    3. James Franklin's ChancreOctober 25, 2015 at 7:58 PM

      Partly agree.
      In some case, those teams aren't exactly playing great defenses.

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  13. Another day at the office for hcpn. He has instilled belief into his system and style of play and while not overloaded with talent this team has heart. I for one have been waiting for this display for a long time. Can you imagine what he is going to do with his players in his system?
    Coaching, I can not say enough about what the team is doing on all three sides of the ball. Everyone is playing for each other is the impression I have and it is definitely working. The coaching staff has everyone focused for 60 minutes and wont let the thought of "Pitting" happen.
    Everyone needs to back off of ocjc while the play calling is not overly aggressive yet my thoughts are he is still evaluating the players and putting them in the best position to use their talents to win the game. Isn't that what coaching is all about?
    the wins are there. We are a 57 yard field goal from being undefeated,we are bowl eligible in October,we are playing for the right to play in the acc championship. How many of you thought this is where we would be last year at this time? I for one did not.
    Enjoy the ride,better things on the horizon,show some support for the team and GO TO THE GAMES
    H2P
    Gary from Cleveland .

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  14. Qadree Ollison on that last drive in the fourth quarter reminded me of The Bus. Play after play, everybody knew that the run was coming right up the middle, yet Syracuse could not stop it.

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    Replies
    1. It was an impressive soul stealing drive. Right down their throats.

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  15. I agree that Boyd is our best weapon, by far, on offense. Coach Chaney is using everything he can to give him opportunities. Chaney needs to develop more confidence in the offensive line to allow Peterman to get a vertical passing game started. Between Boyd and Ford, there should be some opportunities there in the future. I am very, very happy that the Weah experiment is over.

    Pitt got through a trap game this past weekend if there ever was one. I expect them to play much better against North Carolina. They need to continue to take one game at a time. It is great to finally see Pitt fans being positive.

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  16. Doke, any word on how Terrish Webb and Reggie Mitchell are doing? I'd love to see them playing Thursday night, especially Webb.

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  17. This was yet another win that (I'm convinced) Chryst House Inc. would have found a way to blow. And with pretty much the same bunch of players other than Peterman (who ironically wouldn't even be here if Reputed QB Guru Chryst was still here...) and Whitehead.

    First of all, we nearly always lost that type of game under their watch. And that fake punt took serious onions to call, and I doubt the previous regime would have dared.

    If we can somehow manage to win the next two games, then things start to get seriously interesting.

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  18. Miami fired Golden.

    Fortunately no one is talking about the Duz for that job yet.

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    Replies
    1. He's not going there or anywhere else. Don't worry about it.

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    2. I saw yesterday that one of the national mags is speculating Narduzzi is on the shortlist of candidates for the USC job. Which made even less sense to me than Miami (or Sparty, if Dantoni returns to S. Carolina), especially since Southern Cal's AD is on the hotseat, might not be there himself.

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    3. They just throw at any name that's doing well. Consider it a compliment.

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  19. I see where HCPN is politicking for national recognition for Tyler Boyd. Perhaps even Heisman consideration.

    I have always regarded Dorset as the best college running back I have seen. In the GT game Boyd made a Dorset-like move when he ran along the line of scrimmage, then cut 90 deg. upfield with slowing down. Boyd is a very special player. He will deserve all of the honors and accolades he receives. And I hope they are many.

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  20. Good to hear Chris Clark had his offer pulled from Syracuse. I sure hope he’s Pitt bound.

    Pitt could have a big offense in 2017:

    Bertke – 6’6” 245
    Ollison -- 235lbs
    Winfree – 6’2”
    Flowers – 6’4”
    Clark – 6’5”
    JJ-S – 6’7”
    Bookser – 6’5”
    Officer -- 330 lbs
    Grimm or Herndon
    O’Neill – 6’6” (Yes, he’ll be the next left tackle)

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    1. I have my doubts that Bertke or Ollison will be starting but the rest looks like a great offense.

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    2. Why did Clark have his offer pulled by the 'Cuse?

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    3. I'm guessing that they suspected that he was looking at other schools still. He claims it came out of nowhere and that they said it wasn't a good fit. But that makes no sense because they recruited him hard.

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  21. Its Ollison's job to lose, isn't it. I suspect he keeps his job unless Sanders flips and is, as expected, good enough to beat him out.

    I understand about Bertke with our current QB returning for his senior year.

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    Replies
    1. No, I don't think it's his to lose. I think there will be a wide open race next year.

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    2. Chris,

      Do you think Connor returns in '16?

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  22. While I know that STARS are not always great predictors of college performance, have any of our verbals had their numbers of STARS adjusted (meaning increased) as their senior years have progressed? Or, doesn’t an adjustment typically happen until a senior year is completed?
    pmdH2P

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    Replies
    1. Do you have any thoughts about who may be in line for more STARS?
      pmdH2P

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    2. Ffrench will get 3 stars. MacVittie and Pine deserve 4 stars but I doubt they'll get it. Rivals and Scout is weird. They give a finite amount of players 4 or 5 stars whether or not somebody deserves it or not. Chris Clark was the No. 1 TE in the country and was a 4 star. Miles Sanders is the No. 1 all-purpose back but he's a 4 star. It's ridiculous.

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  23. Best part of Panthers Prey is reading Dokes answers to questions others pose that you wanted to ask. A great resource for Pitt fans. Thanks truly. And readers keep asking those good questions.

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  24. Chris,
    I know you have a life, but I would like to see you start doing a preview of the game (weekly).

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  25. Chris-you're clearly a huge fan like the rest of us! Will you be at the game tomorrow?

    Jc

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