Pitt vs. Cuse. I'm sure this is a match up that all of America would love to see on primetime, but alas, it is only on regional television. That's ok though because if you live in the general vicinity of Pittsburgh you should be at the game. I know, you have to mow the lawn on that cold november 3rd morning. The packed Pitt traffic makes it impossible to get in and get out of the North Shore area. Enough joking here, this weekend could be a GREAT Pitt weekend. Even though it is only syracuse and exhibition games think about it. Saturday afternooon you can come down to Pittsburgh and see us beat up on a weakened Cuse team. Even if we lose, we have all day sunday where you can thank your lucky stars that our basketball team has become one of the greatest programs in the country. Sunday gives you the first Pitt women's game, the alumni game, and then the Pitt men's game.
Think about this folks, the best team on campus, is your 2007-2008 womens team. They are scary good, and yes I'm talking Final Four, fo sho'. The mens team has question marks but we also had question marks the year after Knight, Zavackas, and Lett graduated. All that team did was make a run at a Big East Championship and another Sweet 16.
I know this is a football blog so let me tell you how that all relates. It took Howland a few years to turn the team around, and Agnus has done an incredible job in her short time here. The football program is way behind where it should be right now. Not all of that falls on the coaches though. Injuries are a big key to it and we all know we have had too many injuries thus far. With a healthy Stull we win the MSU game. With cavanaugh taking the baby bottle out of Bostick's mouth, maybe we don't get housed at the UVA game. The key though is improvement. The play calling has been very questionable almost all season. The plays we are using in the 4th quarter should be used all game long. The defense has played better, but the defensive scheme didn't work when it mattered most against Louisville.
Think about this though. TJ Porter and Maurice Williams were very highly touted prospects. Porter had the costly fumble against MSU and Williams didn't see anything but the backside of the coaching staff as he was on the bench for far too long. Pitt started to give them more opportunities and they have responded very well. Pat Bostick, for some reason, has a large number of critics. Maybe it is because we hold white quarterbacks from rural areas to the highest level, but c'mon. How many other 18 year old true freshmen are out there starting for a (still) major D1 program? The answer is not many, and of those who are starting, none have the stats Pat "The Boss" Bostick does. People criticize his footwork and mobility, which are all valid complaints, but he is only a freshman and an offseason with a qb coach will help him tremendously. Pat has done everything asked of him and has made the plays when he has had to.
Our entire TE group has shown great improvement. All 3 are getting into the action every week. Last year Strong was out of shape and did not represent us well. This year he has busted his ass and has turned his game around enough that based upon performance and ability, he will be on someone's wish list during the NFL draft (even if it is on day 2).
Romeus, Duhart, Williams, and Malecki have all improved as a core unit. This gives us a tremendous problem. Add those guys in with the fact Mustakas, Tucker, and Sheard will all be fighting for playing time next year means that we will have the BEST defensive line in the Big East next year.
Aaron Berry really has turned it around these last few games. A report came out a little while ago that said the coaches told Berry to do what was natural to him and to play his game. Since then he has started running with his head up and has made several great plays. Maybe he decided to avoid the Ball school of cornerbacking and went back to what made him that highly sought after recruit in the first place.
All of the negative Nancy's out there will be upset that I said we should be happy with our progress. Listen, I don't see why you shouldn't be happy to see this team get better. Sure, the season is a waste, but we are still improving which is what you want. Cavanaugh and Rhoads will likely be else where next season. If we can provide the right coaches who bring in the right defensive schemes, then they can take these progressing players and start winning some games. The players getting better is only half of the equation, the rest falls on the shoulders of the coaching staff.
~ The One and Only ~