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Written by PSB Bryan | 22 February 2012

Paul Chryst met with the media yesterday to discuss spring practice beginning in March. Lots of topics to touch on on:

  • Bostad leaving wasn't unexpected. This generally jives with how easy it was to slide Rudolph over to OC and Hueber to OL. I've always thought it was a safe assumption that Bostad was really just going to be the OL coach with a better title and Chryst is going to actually call the plays. He led more support to that notion yesterday (via the PG):

"I obviously have a lot to offer, but, at the same time, I want to let guys do the jobs they were hired to do, and I want to be in touch with the guys in all phases of the game as ultimately I am responsible for it all," Chryst said.

He was asked again if he would call plays and he quipped, "Only the good ones."

  • Sunseri will be the starter going into camp. No real surprise there. As bad as Sunseri played last season, he'll have every opportunity to hang on to his job this season. It's very rare that a freshman can come in and play right away, so I'm not sure I'd rely on Voytik coming in and competing this year. The question mark continues to be Mark Myers, who seemingly has the talent to at least garner some attention in practice.
  • On that note, Notre Dame transfer EJ Banks (DB) and Anthony Gonzalez (H-Back) will be depth QBs in the spring. I'd expect Banks to go back to DB and Gonzalez to be moved somewhere on the defense eventually (safety?).
  • Chryst expects to hire a running back and quarterback coach this week.

Obviously, Sunseri is going to be a big topic of discussion all spring. I don't care if it's Sunseri or Myers or Voytik or Anderson - Pitt needs better quarterback play than they had last year.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 21 February 2012

JMooreUSF12Internet issues and general apathy conspired to push the USF game recap a day late. Brief summery: this game sucked. Pitt can't score. Pitt can't play defense. Pitt still throws lazy passes and can't make layups. Pitt is not good at basketball.

Among the biggest disappointments in a game with several was Ashton Gibbs, who scored just three points (via the PG):

Gibbs was 1 for 7 Sunday night and the school's all-time leading 3-point scorer was held without a 3-pointer for the third time in the past four games.

"It was a mix of them playing tough defense and me missing a couple of open shots," Gibbs said in a solemn postgame. "I had some opportunities, but I didn't take advantage. They play tough defense. It's something I have to live with."

South Florida senior Hugh Robertson once again was assigned to defend Gibbs and did a masterful job. It was Robertson who forced Gibbs into a 2-for-9 shooting performance in the game at South Florida

The players and coaches should play the credit game, but that doesn't really tell the whole story. If Gibbs is being shutdown, then someone else needs to be able to take advantage of that. Where was Woodall (1-for-4)? Where was any semblance of a low post game (Nas, Dante and Talib combined for 14 points in 66 minutes played)?

Nasir Robinson shot a three. Twice. And they weren't even the worse things about this game. Dante Taylor had five offensive rebounds and didn't make a single put-back. As bad as that is, at least he got the ball. Talib Zanna was thoroughly unproductive with two points and two rebounds in a whooping 20 minutes played.

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Written by TFW Bryan | 20 February 2012

Hi everybody.  I would like to introduce you to our friend Sean.

sean

As you can tell, Sean is a fan of our work.  It just so happens that on his blog, Sean's Ramblings, he also runs the Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament.  Essentially, it consists of a 32 team bracket, made up of 4 divisions of 8 blogs each.  

This year, the 4th edition of the tournament, the field of contestents consists of:

3 Pitt blogs
1 Penn State blog
5 Pirates blogs
6 Penguins blogs
11 Steelers blogs
6 general Pittsburgh sports blogs 

All of these blogs, even Bob Smizik's blog, met the criteria set forth by Sean.

Oddly enough, neither this blog, Cardiac Hill, nor Pitt Blather are in the "Vonteego Cummings Division".  However, we will have some touch competition in the "Kip Miller Division" against Seth Rorabaugh (#1 Empty Netters) and Brian McElhinny (#2 Raise the Jolly Roger) in our division.  So we will need everyone's help to move forward.  Hell, in typical Pitt fashion, at least help us get to the Sweet Sixteen before bowing out.  Up first:

#5 Pitt Script Blog

vs.

#4 Steelers n'at

VOTE HERE

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Written by PSB Bryan | 19 February 2012

facepalmdouble

What's worse than losing to South Florida in basketball? Losing to South Florida twice in basketball. And not just losing - being thoroughly out-performed.

What else sucks? Four starters combining for six points. SIX POINTS.

Pitt has now lost seven home games this season - the same number they've lost the past six seasons COMBINED.

Recap in the morning as long as the maw of hell doesn't open below the Pete and swallow the city whole.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 19 February 2012

ABrenemanCC11Name: Adam Breneman

Position: Tight End

Height: 6'5"

Weight: 225 lbs

School: Cedar Cliff (Camp Hill, PA)

From Home to Heinz: 202 miles (3 hours, 44 minutes)

Position Need: High

Offer from Pitt: Yes

Other notable offers: Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford

We all know the meme about the decline of Pennsylvania football - demographic changes have moved the talent base down south. The players that grew up in places like Oil City, Mercersburg and Bethlehem now all seem to sprout up in the old Confederacy. It's a sign of the times, but the Keystone State still pumps out a few true "national recruits" every year. This year, Camp Hill tight end prospect Adam Breneman is one of those recruits. The 6'5" 220 lbs high school junior was recently named the top recruit in the state and the top recruit at his position (via PennLive.com):

The junior, who had 72 receptions for 1,120 yards with 12 touchdowns this past season, came in at No. 22 overall. He was given a 4-star rating by Rivals and was the top rated tight end on the board.

Adam talked to ESPNHS.com about what's important to him (via ESPN):

ESPNHS: As you’ve piled up offers and information from all these coaches, have you started to think about what’s important to you?
Breneman: When I look at a school, there’s three aspects. I look at the school academically, I look at the football team and the offense I’d be playing in, and then I look at the school spiritually to see if these are the right guys for me. I’ve started to make some opinions in my mind, but I’m nowhere close to making a decision.

With offers from nearly everyone, Breneman can afford to take his time and be choosy. The good news? He seems to want to stay close to home. The bad? He is reportedly a "life long Penn State fan." The guys over at the Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries stalked him down for an interview and it appears that Bill O'Brien is all over him already (figure of speech!). PennLive.com already pegged him as a Penn State "lean," but I think Chryst will be keeping up the contact until letter of intent day 2013.

For Pitt, the tight end position will be a priority. Yes, Pitt just added WPIAL standout JP Holtz, but Pitt will be losing Hubie Graham after this season, leaving the position with only three TEs on scholarship for 2013 (assuming Anthony Gonzalez changes positions, which I expect). Wisconsin ran several multi-end sets last season, so that would basically have every tight end on the roster on the field at once. I'd expect Pitt to attempt to land at least two tight ends for 2013, and if Breneman is one of them, he will almost surely come in and contribute right away along side a then-sophomore JP Holtz.

Highlights after the jump

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Written by PSB Bryan | 19 February 2012

As always, VictoryLights nails it.

PittCoaching

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Written by PSB Bryan | 18 February 2012

Bob Bostad is gone. That's a tough loss for Pitt because of his reputation as an offensive line guru, but his replacement should be pretty solid as well.

Joe Rudolph has been moved to offensive coordinator and tight ends coach while current tight ends coach Jim Hueber has been moved to the offensive line. From Chryst (via Pitt):

"Joe Rudolph and Jim Hueber will be tremendous assets in their new assignments," Chryst said. "Joe and I worked closely on the offensive side of the ball at Wisconsin. He has a thorough knowledge of our systems and what we want to achieve offensively.

"Jim has coached some of the finest linemen in the game, pro and college. He is tremendously accomplished as a teacher of offensive line play, and his overall experience as a coach benefits our entire staff and program."

Both guys are very much qualified for their positions, but my outsider's preference would have been to keep Rudolph as assistant head coach and then used the offensive coordinator title as bait for the new hire. Right now, Pitt needs to hire a quarterback and running back coach. I can't see Chryst bringing in someone he isn't familiar with and giving them the title assistant head coach.

Fun times.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 18 February 2012

Good morning world:

BBostadTB

(Via).

I'm waiting for another credible report before I officially panic, but there's reason to suspect this is true. The biggest of which is that Alex Marvez is a respected NFL reporter, much more so than the fairly anaonymous CBS Radio Chicago report that had him off to the Bears.

We'll be updating this post throughout the day/weekend.

Off to find some morning beers....

UPDATE 1: According to friend of the blog Jeff of Black Shoe Diaries, 4-star Ohio QB Malik Zaire is visiting Pitt this weekend. Pitt needs to crush these rumors ASAP if untrue.

UPDATE 2: And here's Marvez's article on Fox Sports.

UPDATE 3: No confirmation or denial yet by Pitt or Tampa Bay and no further reporting yet this morning. If Pitt does lose Bostad, there's always the possibility that Chryst could hire his brother, Geep Chryst. Geep is currently the quarterbacks coach for the 49ers and certainly deserves a fair share of credit for Alex Smith's improved play. Here's his blurb from the 49er's website. And here's a nice article from out west on Geep.

UPDATE 4: Bob Bostad was removed from Pitt's website. Seems rather official. Crap.

UPDATE 5: Thinking about the possibility of Geep Chryst as OC. I'd add quarterback coach to his title as well. That would allow Chryst to allow Joe Rudolph to coach tight ends (like he did at Wisconsin) and current tight end coach Jim Hueber to coach OL like he has for most of his career. No idea whether Geep wants to come aboard, but food for though.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 16 February 2012

This is a tough game to write about. Not just because of the frustration that has become commonplace with this team's performances this season, but because there is almost nothing positive to point to. I suppose JJ Moore played well, scoring 10 off the bench. And Malcolm Gilbert played adequately in increased minutes due to Zanna and Taylor's foul troubles.

Pitt played adequately for the first half. The second half was a completely different matter (via the Trib):

But West Virginia (17-10, 7-7 Big East) outscored Pitt, 40-23, in the second half, highlighted by a 12-0 run midway, on the way to its most lopsided victory over the Panthers in Pittsburgh in 45 years.

"Obviously, the game got away from us in the second half," Dixon said. "We're disappointed in how we played. There's not a lot more we can say. We didn't play well. They deserved it. West Virginia outplayed us."

It was Pitt's sixth home loss of the season; the Panthers had lost only 12 games at the Pete in the previous nine seasons.

The negatives just overwhelm any positives from this game. And that is mostly as a result of the turnovers. Pitt turned the ball over 17 teams. Coincidentally, Pitt only made 17 shots. Pitt's starters were an absolutely dreadful 1-for-12 from three, with Gibbs going 0-for-5 and Woodall going 0-for-4. WVU played well, but their defense was hardly suffocating. Rather, Pitt's effort getting open was lax and they failed to take any care of the ball.

As for the rivalry, I think that's about all we'll see of it for a long, long time. With both teams moving to nine conference game schedules the football side is shot until further notice. Yes, there's more flexibility with basketball schedules, but there's no reason to believe either team will make room for the game. I'd assume West Virginia will want to find a way to continue the series, but why would Pitt want to increase WVU's basketball exposure on the east coast? Particularly when Pitt will be in the premiere eastern conference? WVU needs to recruit ACC country, so why would Pitt afford them another opportunity to do so? Not to mention that Jamie Dixon hasn't exactly been daring in scheduling nonconference game during his tenure at Pitt; preferring to play the likes of South Carolina State and Wofford to warm up for conference play. Everyone is saying the right things, but it's done. That sucks, but it's true. And WVU got the last laugh.

It was a terrible game during a terrible season. Before the season started, I argued that Pitt was overrated as a top 10 team. Never in my worst nightmares did I envision this mess. But there is hope:

  • Pitt has elite facilities
  • Pitt has one of the top-tier coaches in college basketball
  • Pitt has easy access to the fertile recruiting grounds NJ/NY/DC/NE
  • Pitt has a commitment to basketball
  • Pitt has a secure future in a stable and prestigious conference
  • Pitt has a top 5 and a top 60 player coming in next season

These are dark days. But it will get better. There's no where to go but up.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 16 February 2012

facepalm

Tonight's loss at home against West Virginia would easily be the worst loss of the season if it happened any other season of the past decade. But it happened this season - a season in which the title of "biggest disappointment" invokes some fierce competition. The Mountaineers came into the once unbeatable Petersen Event Center and manhanded Pitt in the second half. Pitt couldn't score, couldn't rebound, couldn't hang on to the ball. Just an absolute mess.

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