Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Your Big East Game of the Week

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 ~

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Hey everyone, while we know this is a football site, it is important to promote basketball as well as football. That is why we at The Cat Basket are proud to announce the 2007 OAKLAND ZOO STUDENT EVENT!

On November 7th at 8:30 at the Pete the 4th Annual Zoo event will be held.

We will be offering:

Free Food
You can come on the court and meet the players and coaches
Loyalty points!

This is usually our biggest event of the year so make sure you stop by and get some food plus loyalty points. Lets start the 07-08 season out on the right foot!

~ The Cat Basket ~

Monday, October 29, 2007

Looking Back

I took some time to let the Louisville game settle in order to put some perspective on our current state. Let go of all the thoughts of getting a bowl game this year and everything starts to come into focus. We are a extremely young team with talent in many places on the field. Circumstance has given Pat Bostick invaluable experience and talent has given Shady McCoy a record breaking season.

Shady fumbling on the goal line after single-handedly driving us down the field was the worst possible way of losing the game but it happened and he will learn from it. He strikes me as the type of player who will make it his mission to never fumble like that again. The emotion that he showed on the sideline said it all about what type of person he is, he cares and wants to win football games. Next year he has to be in the running for the Heisman Trophy as a Sophomore. No matter what happens in the next couple of games we still have an amazing player that will be around for two more years, that is something great to build on.

I think the fate of Paul Rhoads has already been sealed and I agree with DPJ that Cavanaugh looks for a QB coach job in the NFL next year. When the new AD gets in here getting a new assistant staff for Coach Wannstedt has to be priority number 1. 2008 and 2009 appear to be our big chance to make a run at the Big East title and these appointments need to be innovative and ambitious.

For the rest of season I think we have to just look for more improvement from all our young players. Perhaps, we can still pull a big upset if everything comes together for one game. I'm not really happy about some of the early season play but at least we are competitive again and not getting blown out. I guess I'm just trying to justify this season as building towards the run starting next year. Lets hope for the best.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

We love you Shady.

Ok, well that was probably the most heart breaking way to end the game. I'll tell you what though, the team showed me something. This team didn't quit and wanted to prove something to people who didn't believe in us. We beat the spread and from the 2nd quarter on we really showed that we can hang. The team had their weak spots and their high spots but we did what we needed to do to stay in this game.

Shady, we understand how heart-breaking it must have been to fumble. Don't worry, this is a season that doesn't mean much and is nothing more than rebuilding. We here at Cat Basket should be known as Bostick homers, but I'll tell you what. Shady, you are the heart and soul of this team. Until you leave as a junior, this team will be riding on your back. 2 years from now, this game will be a highlight of how you remember how the fumble really impacted your career. I am glad that this highlight will be available because it will be shown next year and two years from now as we are fighting for a big east championship as well as a BCS bowl.

Moe Williams, thank you for playing a great game and having drive saving plays. Conredge, you played a great game and deserve credit that people are not willing to give you. Hot-Rod, despite what readers want you to believe, we love you here and know that you definitely have a strong role on this team.

At 3:15 p.m. today, I was saddened by this loss. Jason Jones fell to the floor and I could only stare at the tv with my mouth open. As we look at this game from a past perspective, I can only say that we performed better than anyone could have expected. This was one of the games I expected we would lose this season, however I didn't think we would keep the score as close as we did.

I still expect Rhoads to be fired after the season, especially after the late drive we gave up to allow them to take the lead. Matt Cavanaugh will probably try to take a position in the nfl. All of that is ok. Our talent is set up for 2008 and 2009 to be HUGE years. I really think we have a bcs caliber team starting next year and the year after. We just need to deliver with the right coaches.

Don't fear Panther nation, we are much better off now than we have seen in a long time.

~ The One and Only ~

Friday, October 26, 2007

Beat the Birds

Welcome to the weekly DPJ preview.

Like Jason Jones said, this game is winnable, but it is also very losable. The key is to this game like almost every other is controlling the ball. Bostick should be given his chance to throw the ball and I believe he will be given that chance. However, we need to be smart with him. We can't depend on him to be going shot for shot with Brian Brohm. Best case scenerio for Pitt is that we get the ball first and get a touchdown on the first drive. After that, we need to force a turnover or punt. Basically we need to get out to an early 10 point lead and then run the ball and control the clock. The best way to play defense in this game is by keeping Louisville's offense on the bench.

If we give Brian Brohm the chance to beat us he will. Our defense is not built to stop a passing team like this. Add in the fact that Wanny said that we will not be bringing pressure on Brohm, and our chances are dimished. I really don't believe Wanny and think that he is trying to trick Cards into thinking they will have extra time to pass. This is a double edge sword though. Mauk wasn't able to handle our pressure because he wasn't expecting it. Brohm is 10x the qb that Mauk is and now he has reason to expect the blitz. Add all of this up and it could mean a disasterous game for Pitt.

Don't get me wrong, I still think we have a chance to win the game. We hung with MSU and I really believe MSU is a better team than Louisville. Our team is a different team now than we were in week 2, but we are now better off at qb.

Sorry for the short preview, but it's halloween time and Mr. Clean needs to get ready.

My prediction. If our blitz is effective then we will win 31-20. If it isn't, take Louisville by at least 10.

~ The One and Only ~

Predictions for Pitt vs Louisville

I apologize for being a little lean on the column output from me but I think DPJ has more than made up for it. Well we are in a much better place than we were before the Cincinnati game. Now we have a coach who has a top 25 win, a 2nd half comeback, and a win over a team that was favored over us. I took a little heat from my last column about getting distracted by the one win. Please read everything that I have said in that one good win doesn't make up for 3 awful losses in a row. My point is that now who knows what we are going to do from game to game, we finally proved that we can pull an upset. Well onto my predictions for the big tilt between 4-4 Louisville and 3-4 Pitt.

1. Let's start with the man of moment Shady McCoy. I was extremely wrong last week about his output due to the fact that we weren't blown out. This week Shady is going up a defense that is outright bad. Outside of Navy this is the worst defense he will have seen once the real schedule started at Michigan St. Also he is getting another shot to put up numbers inside the Big East. Now that Coach Cavanaugh understands how to use him and LSH together I think that he is on the verge of having a couple of really great games. Starting against the Cardinals I see Shady putting an exclamation point on an already amazing freshman season.
Stat Line 31 carries 202 yards 3 TD's

2. Brian Brohm is going to completely pick apart our defense. He has done it every time he has played against Pitt in his career and I don't see this game being any different. What the defense needs to do is somehow try to create turnovers between the huge gains in the passing game. Last week for the first time since what felt like the Jock Sutherland era the team we created 3 turnovers. I'm really concerned about the play of the secondary and I think Brohm will expose a couple large weaknesses, Mike Phillips I'm looking in your direction.

3. Pat Bostick is going to continue to get better and keep his completion percentage high. Every game is more experience for a guy who has proven that he is a legitimate D1 quarterback. If our receivers play like last game Bostick has a chance to put up some big yardage numbers. I'm going to start the call for much more Mo Williams in the passing game, our starters have been underwhelming and TJ Porter has shown up in his extra playing time. Hopefully, the tight ends can get more balls thrown to them as well.

4. Our fan base is going to go crazy either way win or lose. I hope that people put this game into perspective for what it is. A game which we have a chance to win against an down Big East program. Don't get too crazy everybody.

Well that's it for this week I'm off to enjoy Halloween weekend and get ready for the game tomorrow. As for my predicted score I have absolutely no idea how this game will go, this is a big guess.

Pitt 35 Louisville 38

Addressing the Issues

So recently a big stink was made about Pitt having to return unsold tickets to West Virginia for the 2007 Backyard Brawl. This was very surprising to me for a couple of reasons. First off, it seemed like it was a bit too early for us to be returning tickets. If I am remembering correctly, ticket sales for MSU and UVa were on sale until at least 2 weeks before the game. The second reason I am surprised is that while we do not have the greatest fan base, we do have a strong core of football fans that I thought would be willing to make the short trip. Perhaps the poor stretch from MSU - UVa made up people's minds for them. Another reason why I was surprised about this is because the Student Alumni Association is planning having a bus trip town to Morganhole. The bus would be students and alumni alike from what I have gathered. While I do not believe it is the smartest idea to have a bus full of Pitt people driving through Morganhole, it is still nice to see the support for Pitt is there.

Now, I have never been to the Backyard Brawl when the Hoopies are at home. I only have been to the games hosted by the Panthers. In fact, I have never and will never, barring extraordinary circumstances go to WVU unless it is for a Pitt basketball game. I have been to the awful Hoopie coliseum every year for the basketball version of the Backyard Brawl for the last 3 seasons. Judging from what I have seen from a smaller and more tame crowd, I can't ever imagine any reason why a Pitt fan would want to go to Morganhole for the game.

The easiest way I can say it is, I will never go to a Backyard Brawl game when held by West Virginia and I hope that none of the hoopies ever come to Pitt when we host the game. Sure we may chant Go Home Mountainqueers, but is that really bad when you compare it to what Pitt fans must go through when we go to West Virgina? (NIT reference).

I can't speak from experience, but the thought is WVU fans are among the nation's worst. The stories I have heard, although most likely embellished, were still vile enough for me to have lost any respect I may have ever had for them, which now stands for none. I could see if it were only the Pitt game where these stories have occurred, but ECU, Marshall, Rutgers, and even as recent as Louisville have reported these so called fans treating them worse than the typical opposing fan usually gets.

Basically, the point I'm trying to establish is that while Pitt's tradition and fan base gets knocked a lot, I'm not too disappointed by the actions of our fans at football games. The students do have vulgar chants from time to time, but it's nothing people haven't heard before. It's usually the same bland curse word chants that the uncreative people in the crowd start just to laugh and make themselves feel better.

I hope that WVU fans, Pitt fans, and everyone else can take this to heart. When you go to the games, you shouldn't care about trying to treat the other team and their fans as terribly as you can. Why not just show up to the game and support your team from start to finish. We support our teams because we are fans of those teams. We don't become die hard fans of one team just because we hate another. You cheer for your team because you love your team. So the next time you go to a game and see opposing fans, let them be. Invest your energy into supporting your team and representing your university as best as possible.

~ The One and Only ~

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What Jason Jones Is Thinking Week 3

It is mid-week so I'm going to give my thoughts on where the rest of the season will take us. Beating Cincinnati proved that we are able to pull that big upset and 2-10 is now out of the question. Personally, I'm having trouble forgetting the 3 losses to UConn, UVA, and Navy. Which team is going to show up this week at Louisville is anyone's guess? More importantly, which defense is going to show up at Papa John's Stadium? Onto the wild prognostication!

at Louisville (50%): I thought previous to the Cincinnati game that we had no chance of winning this game and now I think we have a even chance to do so. If the defense plays like they did last week we will give Louisville all they can handle but if we play like we did against Navy we have absolutely no chance. I'm slightly concerned about this game being a let down for the team. They put so much into getting that 3rd win that I wonder what is left in the tank.

vs Syracuse (65%, if we beat Louisville 99%): This game always seemed like the winnable one on the schedule and it continues to be. I think the offense might be able to outscore Syracuse in a shootout so defensive play might not even factor in here. If we don't get the fourth win against Louisville this game will give us that win.

at Rutgers (25%): I think this game is beyond our coaching staff this year. Rutgers showed how talented and good they are against South Florida. This starts the run where in order to win our team has to play almost perfectly and the coaching staff has to be on point.

vs South Florida (5%): USF is a team full of speed and talent. Offensively I think they will be able to use their talent advantage and speed advantage to take us out of the game. Also I think their defensive speed and pressure is built to shut down our offense. I still think this might be a blowout of epic proportions, we just don't match-up well against the Bulls.

at West Virginia (6%): This is that game that no matter what our record is the team will get up for. Will that be enough to beat a WVU team with a shot at the Big East title? I think we won't have as much of a problem with this game than the USF game. As with most Backyard Brawls the atmosphere will raise the level of play. I hope that this game will be for our 6th or 7th win.

The team after one win seems to be back in a situation where I can see us winning a game or two. Now if we go into Louisville and put up another bad defensive performance like the Navy game where are we then? This season seems to hinge on putting together another great game at Louisville. I think this week decides a great deal about the direction of this team.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some almost mid week things

It's all but certain that coach Wannstedt will be up in the booth for the 2nd straight week which I am all for. I really think that being upstairs and seeing how bad Mauk's first run went was catalyst for changing the defense up. This week will be a tougher test vs. a much better quarterback. In his weekly presser, Wanny said that he doesn't expect to blitz much. I'm going to call b.s. on this one. I think that we will be blitzing, but unlike the Cincy game we will do it much differently. Against Cincy, most of the blitzing came on 1st and 2nd down. This game I think we are going to blitz on the first 3 downs but you probably won't see us do it 3 times in a row.

The other key to the defense will be hiding the packages. To be more effective against Brian Brohm we need to show blitz then drop back into coverage. We also need to look like we are playing zone then throw in a surprise blitz. This will be the only effective way to get pressure on Brohm through the blitz. If we show blitz only on first and second down, then actually bring the pressure, we will absolutely get burned by it.

Wanny has also been pretty quiet about the offense which basically leads me to believe we won't see many changes. Louisville's defense is their weak spot and if we want to win the passing game and running game must be clicking. I hope shady get his 20-25, I hope Hot Rod is allowed to run in the situations that benefit him best, and I hope Conredge gets a change to put his helmet down and knock a few defenders around. Speaking of the offense, I really have had enough of Oderick Turner's costly mistakes. He dropped the pass against MSU that would have given us the win, he has had a ton of false start penalties, he is constantly breaking off his routes leading to incompletions or interceptions, and lastly he taunted the student section. There is no reason for this, go out there and do your job. If you want to break off a route, wait until the play has broken down and you need to give the qb a new option. Run a hot route on a blitz to protect the quarterback. If I was Wannstedt, I would let Turner play this week, but I wouldn't list him as the starter because of his actions last game. Sure you can say it was a b.s. call by the refs, but he should have never done anything that could potentially be flagged. I would start T.J. Porter and Moe Williams. They have been our best two receivers this year, plus Porter has turned it on recently and ever since the fumble against MSU, has started to live up to some of the hype we have heard about him.

Bring on the Cards.

~ The One and Only ~

Monday, October 22, 2007

What Beat Cincinnati

Two things led us to the big upset of Cincinnati; the combination of Shady/LSH in the running game and the performance of the defense. The way the game was called and played by the majority of the rest of the team was pretty similar to the rest of season. Bostick continued to put up similar numbers with perhaps a slightly better showing by the wide receiving group. I really like the fact that the wide receiving group has been completely shuffled, Cavanaugh appears to be holding them responsible for their spotty play.

Two hundred yard rushers against a team that hasn't allowed a hundred yard rusher all year is an amazing feat for us. Shady has provided a similar level of play for the entire year, if he gets his carries he gets his yards. On the other hand LaRod Stephens-Howlings brought a level of play we haven't seen since last year. Also the Coach Cavanaugh stopped using LSH on straight up runs up the middle like he had been doing. Using delays and misdirections gives LSH a chances to get holes in which he can run through. Having Shady, who can run in any situation, made our play calling in the running game look better than it was previous weeks. This week though I thought we got it right the entire game with both of the styles of running. I have been critical of the way the coaching staff has handled the splitting up of carries but this balance was perfect. I really hope this can continue in order to take even more pressure off the offensive line, an established running game makes it easier to pass block.

Defensively, after the first drive everything fell into place. Our defensive line is the best unit on the team and quite possibly the best in the conference. Now that we are throwing the occasional blitz in the mix we are getting favorable one on one matchups for our ends. Romeus and Clermond did an amazing job of getting to the quarterback and containing the running lanes, especially in the second half. We also finally caused turnovers. Getting two fumbles after not forcing a fumble shows that this team hasn't given up a belief in itself. I hope that we can continue to build off this game.

Try to enjoy this win and look at all the positives that have come out of the big upset. Don't forget about the three bad losses before this game though. This week will tell us if we finally turned the corner and can make a run at a winning season. I'm off to be old and send some more text messages, because thats what I do.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Game Planning

Before I start, I just want to remind everyone that with Fanfest being completed, basketball season is among us so don't forget to check out the Zoo's website to see some good stuff from Jason Jones and the other Zoo writer Keith McBride at the Zoo's Official website.

Now on to Louisville. The one thing we have learned in the Big East this season is that everyone is beatable. The main point being lowly Syracuse upsetting the Fighting Brian Brohm's a few weeks ago. So before I write my preview for the game, I think it's worth mentioning here how important game planning is. One thing we have always from the coaches, especially after we were blown out this year was how the coaches felt that we created very good game plans. I don't really buy that in the regards to Uconn and UVA, but we did seem to know what we were doing against Cincy. One problem with this though, is that every game plan looks good on paper. It's kind of like preparing for a draft. You can scout and practice mock drafts all night long, but you never know exactly what will happen until the unfolds before your eyes. That is why you have to go with what you feel is your best game plan, but also remember that being flexible and allowing for adaptation is the only way to give yourself the best shot.

It would be easy for everyone to say, "just do what Syracuse did and we will win", but that is not the case. I believe that despite a few losses this season, the Louisville coaches will adapt their schemes to hide any apparent weaknesses. So while we must concentrate on how to exploit those weaknesses, we also need to prepare to hide ours. Our defense is coming off a great 2nd half against Cincy, but Louisville's offense is one of the best in the Big East. Our offense is finding a niche with a great balance between Shady, Hot Rod, and Bostick with the passing game. Louisville's defense is very susceptible, so we need to be ready to exploit it whenever possible.

Don't be surprised if a Navy situation breaks out where its two teams going blow for blow down to the very end. I do think that if we continue to bring pressure and the DLine decides to be the best in the Big East for another week, then we stand a good chance of winning. But like I said, it all starts with the game plan.

~ The One and Only ~

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thank You

This win was something that everyone needed. We were all ready to abandon ship, but the team was able to bring everyone back for at least a little bit. The stage couldn't have been more perfect for a win. It was homecoming weekend, the attendance was better than expected, and the weekend is ready to conclude with Pitt Basketball fanfest.

This is probably the hardest thing about writing on this site. I want to be overly optimistic, I want to say we've turned the ship around and that despite a 3-4 record we will finish strong. I also don't want to forget the fact that we are coming off of 3 bad losses. This middle ground that we need to walk is very important. The team provided many items that we can get excited about and gave us something we can expect to build on.

I'm not sure if it was Wannstedt sitting upstairs and seeing Mauk run for 56 yards on the very first play which inspired him to start calling blitzes, fake blitzes, and defensive schemes that we haven't seen before. I'm not sure if it was the impressive showing against Navy that allowed Wannstedt to allow Bostick to have a chance to throw the ball early. Something happened today that we have not seen in many years here at Pitt. We had an effective game plan which made us competitive in the first half, and then made the adjustments at halftime which allowed us to win the game.

I believe the moment I knew something had changed was during a play in the 3rd quarter on defense, Thatcher was lined up against a wr, but moved closer to the offensive line showing blitz. This was the first time in a long time we have seen something like this. It was these little changes that threw Cincy off of their game. With all of the footage Cincy had on us, I doubt they were expecting to see us create pressure through various blitz packages while staying in the same base defense. I think it is also important to note that the defensive line had their best game of the season. Tommie Duhart and Greg Romeus deserve special recognition as they played incredibly well and really had a huge impact on the game. Also, great job by Aaron Berry for snagging that INT at the end of the game to preserve the victory. All season long he has been running with his head down and not looking for the ball. Today, he looked for the ball and he found it.

Larod Stephens-Howling also deserves some credit. He was able to rush for 100 yards and provided a great change of pace. We used him in the most appropriate role he fits. We didn't try to force him as a between the tackles runner. He did great on draws, stretch and counter plays. It must have been difficult for Cincy to have Shady running up and down on them all day and when they see LSH come into the game he picks up right where Shady left off and ran all day long. TJ Porter had a decent day pulling in a few passes and coming up with some key plays late in the game, good job. Moe Williams also saw the field more than usual and I think he did pretty well in his limited time. I hope that we will see him utilized more often. Against Louisville we will need to stretch their defense out, Moe Williams is the man who can do that.

I think the players played a great game on the field, but I also think the coaches performed very well. The extra preparation time worked very well. We were ready to handle the Bearcats and knew how to take advantage of their weaknesses. Think about this, we were able to many things today that we have never done before under Wanny. We beat a ranked opponent, we came back in a game where we were down at halftime, and we beat a team we were not favored against.

Going into this game I did not feel we would be able to win based only upon the most recent performances of the team and decisions of the coaching staff. They proved me wrong, and I have never been happier to have been wrong. The big thing about this win is that we should all enjoy it. It was a beautiful day and we were able to be treated to one of the most exciting games at Heinz Field during the Wanny era. Enjoy the successes of the individual players, of the coaches, and of the team as a whole. On the surface, this was a talented underachieving Pitt team that beat a team we should continually beat. We haven't had to much to celebrate this season, so this win feels extra special. Lets not get ahead of ourselves though. We have Louisville next week which will be a tough game. We may win, we may lose, but the important thing to remember is that we can beat any team on any given week. I don't believe that things were as bad as some people made them out to be, and I'm not ready to say that all of our problems are solved.

From here on out, lets just take things week by week and accept this team for what it is. Enjoy the victories we have the rest of the way and try to find the positives as we finish up our last 5 games. Be happy about the win for now, and lets get ready for Louisville.

~ The One and Only ~

Friday, October 19, 2007

Please, just this once.

This season has been a disaster, we can all agree to that. Cincinnati is a team that we should look at the schedule and think that we have a realistic shot to win each and every year. This season is different however as our coaches have decided to show the world how incompetent they are. Now Pitt fans, it has come to this, the point where we are looking at our schedule, getting ready to face a team that we have had a fake rivalry established with. We are facing a team for a trophy that is quite possibly the ugliest of any sport. We are facing a team that we are heads and shoulders above in terms of talent, but light years behind in terms of coaching.

That is why I am asking you this of you Pitt. I realize that Syracuse is the only game in which we will be favored against the rest of the way. I don't see how we can beat anyone left on this schedule outside of Syracuse. An upset has to happen sometime right? Under Wanny, we have never won a game against a top 25 opponent. We have never won a game in which we were the underdog. This needs to change. Coach Wannstedt, I hope that while you are in the box coaching the game, you see how inept Paul Rhoads is and you decide to take over play calling. I hope you let the defense create pressure through blitzing. I hope you tell the corners to play man to man, bump and run, and tell them the zone is dead for now. Let the linebackers rush the quarterback and play the position like it is meant to be played. Please let the defenders hit the open spots to make plays instead of lining up offensive players just to fill gaps.

I hope you let Pat and Shady take control of this team. There is no reason why these two shouldn't be together as starters in the backfield until at least the 2009 season when Shady has left us to make his millions. Let Nate Byham make the plays he is capable of. Let Conredge continue to get his carries and control the clock if we get a lead. Let Moe Williams on the field to make us more dynamic. You showed that we can move the ball when the playbook is opened up. Don't be afraid to do that now.

We can win this game. The only thing holding us back is you. Go against your gut and coach as a college coach should. This isn't the NFL so leave that part of the game to the Steelers on Sunday. This River City Rivalry is one that should be lopsided from start to finish in favor of Pitt.

It's homecoming weekend, Pitt Basketball fan fest on sunday, and more importantly a week when the stands will be a little more full that usual. Take advantage of this and let us die hard fans have something to be proud of.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Some thursday night things

Hey everyone,

Hope you're enjoying the Rutgers/USF game. (GO BULLS) So, not much football related stuff right now, but some stuff that you all should be aware of.

Incase you don't know I, DPJ, am the bald guy from the Zoo. Jason Jones, is also the head writer for the Oakland Zoo's webpage. Sunday, Pitt will be holding the annual rich donor fan fest from 1-4:30, and I hope you all stop by and check it out. The women and men will both hold scrimmages. More importantly, Jason Jones will start back up writing articles for the Zoo page. If you want to check it out the website is

The other important note is that we're going to place our second merchandise order this weekend. So if you're interested in Hoodies or Shirts, email Hoodies are 25 and Shirts are 10.

This weekend should provide some good football. It is also homecoming weekend at Pitt, so if you're any where in the area, come on down to Bigelow Blvd tomorrow at 9:30 for the annual Laser Light Show and fireworks display. It is always a fun time to see the festivities and shitty music played by the PPC, but you know what, at least it something we can call our own.

p.s. Rutgers just scored a TD on a fake field goal. That was a great call.

Anyways, until the next update. Enjoy it folks.

~ The One and Only ~

Predictions Cincinnati vs Pitt

It's that time again and how much things have changed this season. I remember a time where I thought we could make a run at a bowl now all I care about not getting embarrassed at home. This week should be one of the worse losses at home in Pitt history. DPJ has gone over the turnaround of the Bearcats' program, its amazing what a competent coaching staff can do. Well onto the predictions.

1. I'll start with the shining light of this awful season Shady. This week its going to be extremely hard for him to get his yards. The Cincinnati defense attacks teams and creates a ton of pressure. Therefore, we are going to be throwing a bunch this game and Shady may not get to feature as much as the coaching staff would like. Ugh, I don't even want to write this.
Stat Line 11 carries, 65 yards, 0 TD's

2. We will turn the ball over 3 times, at least. The pressure that Cincinnati is going to cause on our banged up and mediocre offense line is going to great. I really hope Bostick doesn't get injured by an untouched blitzer because having to see Kevan Smith play again may cause me to lose my mind. The offensive progress we made last week will look like an anomaly, we will look inept again. I really hope I'm wrong but the amount of pressure they create is going to completely stop our offense.

3. Paul Rhoads will make it 3 in a row allowing 40+ points. The spread offense, ran by a competent team, always causes us problems. I imagine Rhoads sat down at Southside this week taking a nap. After last week I doubt that Rhoads could stop any type of offense. Yuck it up while it lasts jackass this is your last job in football at any level.

I know all this sounds very bleak but I'm trying to prepare you the loyal Cat Basket reader for the loss. DON'T EXPECT US TO WIN THIS GAME. In order to be fair I'll give you the scenario for us to win this game. Firstly, we can't turn the ball over at all. Also we need to score on our first two drives in order to stay in the game. Then our defense has to somehow create a turnover or two. The offense has to score (FG or TD) on every single possession the entire game, no punts. If all these things happen we will have a chance to win, won't happen though.

Cincinnati 41 Pitt 17

Clash of the Claws

Bearcat vs. Panther.......6-1 vs. 2-4. Dynamic offense vs. the worst coached defense ever.

Welcome to our 3 hour farewell tour of the River City Rivalry trophy. I really don't care much about losing the trophy, it's pretty ugly. I'm more upset losing to a team that we should be well ahead of at this point in terms of team development. Anyways, here's our game 7 preview!

So Cincy brings in first year head coach Brian Kelly. No, not former SGB president Brian Kelly, but a Brian Kelly who knows how to coach. Cincy hired an up and coming coach who started to turn their team around, but was snatched up by MSU last season. Brian Kelly, another up and coming coach took over and the team has stayed right on track. Cincy hasn't had great recruiting classes, but has turned this team around by playing to its strengths. You know, something that good coaches do. Here's a surprise, Cincy helps create turnovers by PRESSURING THE QUARTERBACK! They do it with different blitz schemes too....... You know, as I write this, I'm thinking I may just start taping Cincy games for the rest of the season and make a defensive highlight package and send it down to the Southside complex to show some coaches how to play defense with or without talent. Enough of this rant, lets move on.

Cincy runs a very dangerous spread offense. If you think we'll be ok stopping their run, think again. Cincy has a mobile qb who can run the ball, and as a team, Cincy is averaging more yardage rushing per game than we are. The Bearcat's QB Ben Mauk is also a huge threat through the air playing in that spread offense. Their leading WR has 8 touchdowns, thats 1 less than Panther RB Lesean McCoy.

Cincy's defense is 2nd in NCAA in interceptions. Their defense always finds ways to cause turnovers, especially against inferior opponents. Cincy has a very good run defense which has only given up one 100 yard rushing performance this season. Hopefully saturday at 4 we make it 2. Last week Louisville exposed the Cincy defense picking apart the secondary. I think that Bostick can help open up this game with some short passes to start off with which should no only open the running game, but hopefully cause the DB's to press which would open up the deep vertical attack. Turner and Pestano must be on top of their game for us to have a slight chance. I'm just afraid that facing a good defense this week, the injury plagued, inferior offensive line will crumble and that may just seal our fate for this game.

My predictions for this week is that Bostick will have about 50 passing attempts only because we will fall behind early. Pat needs to get rid of the ball fast and dance in the pocket because he will not have much time back there. We need to watch out for turnovers. We will have at least 2 turnovers on interceptions, which will be due to pressure on the quarterback.

Our defense will prevent the Benton/Moore RB combo from joining the Paul Rhoads still running club. However, Paul "hit the" Rhoads will refuse to blitz and since our secondary plays a zone and most of the DB's have decided to refuse to play this season, Mauk is going to light us up. Maybe with Wanny up in the booth he will see how ridiculous our defense looks to the rest of us and will make a LONG OVER DUE CHANGE!

So look forward to some history being made this saturday. 1921 was the year the Jack Rabbit was introduced to Kennywood, it was the year my Great grandmother was born, and it was also the year we started our winning streak against Cincy. And after this weekend, we'll still be able to say we have the Jack Rabbit and Kennywood.

Cincy 45 - Pitt 28

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Talking About Extensions

Rumors are beginning to emerge in that Coach Wannstedt is going to the Athletic Department looking for a contract extension. He is three years into his initial 5 year deal, which is around the time that schools begin to give their coaches a vote of confidence. I know what you all are all thinking how could a coach who has gone 5-6, 6-6, and as of now 2-4 get himself a contract extension. The big answer is recruiting, if we have a lame duck coach it will difficult to continue to get the same level of prospects.

I'm highly against the prospect of Wannstedt getting a new extension at this point. My argument is that we need to blow up the assistant coaching staff after this year and judge him by next year. Wannstedt won't be going anywhere for the next two years but his assistant coaches will be. Once we finish out the season 2-9 or at the absolute best 3-8 heads will start to roll. If we have a new AD by the end of the season maybe we can make some smart hires for a new coaching staff for Wannstedt. He has proved over the last three seasons once we hit the field he has no idea how to coach a college football team. On the recruiting trail he has given us back to back top 25 recruiting classes, whatever stock you put into the recruiting services.

With a staff of young, hungry assistants next year Wannstedt should be judged worthy of an extension. Our team next year, as DPJ has already stated, has potential to be much better. If we don't completely change the coaching staff then Wannstedt shouldn't get an extension and get fired. The on-field performance has been poor this year and somebody needs to be held responsible for it. I realize the administration won't hold Wannstedt accountable for this so lets start knocking off assistants. I will tell you the coaches on our staff that need to be fired immediately, Paul Rhoads (Defensive Coordinator/Linebacker Coach) and Paul Dunn (Offensive Line Coach). These two coaches are completely inept and have made the players they coach worse.

Don't completely dismiss the idea of Wannstedt getting an extension. If this team has a great start next year with a new group of assistants he may be the figurehead coach for this team. Do I think we will go out and get a new group of assistants? No, I have a feeling only Rhoads gets fired and Wannstedt takes over defensive coordinator. Then again I'm extremely pessimistic about Wannstedt giving up the majority of his staff, no matter what the pressure from the administration is.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Late night update + some ramblings

Hello all, I'm back from meeting with the most powerful man at Pitt and decided to share some news with you.

In regards to the AD search, he said "we are at the beginning of a very long process, but this one should be much faster than the last search".

He also said that Donna Sanft, current interim AD has removed her name from consideration for the the position.

Steve Pederson will not be back at Pitt.

Wannstedt had surgery today on his leg but is expected to be on the sidelines for the game. If for some reason he can not be, he will coach from the box.

Do not expect Sal Sunseri to come back to Pitt as the AD unless something major changes. The thought right now in house is that younger, proven guys who are at lower tier schools are the way to go. Wannstedt will remain, but expect any assistant coaching changes to feature "on the rise" coaches much like Howland was when he came to Pitt.

Outside of that, I'll be doing my preview sometime later this week and hopefully we hold on to that ugly ass trophy from our fake ass rivalry.

~ The One and Only ~

I hate homecoming

Ok, I don't HATE all of it, just parts of it. I really like what we've done recently with painting all of the store fronts and campus buildings blue and gold. I like the fact that we strongly encourage all alumni to come back to Pitt for at least one football game. I like the fact that despite the fact that the Pitt Program Council screws it up, we have events on friday night before the game. In case you haven't seen it, the fireworks and laser light show on Bigelow the night before the game are two things that you should check out. Granted, the program council picks the worst music ever to accompany the lights and fireworks, but hey they need to cater to that 50 year old white population and not to what the students want to hear. Inside the union they have all types of fun stuff, the geeks get free DDR all night, you can take your significant other and have a caricature made, balloon animals will be made for you, have your fortune told, all in all it's not a bad deal. Outside of that fun free stuff, there is other stuff going on. South Oakland will have it's usual friday night house parties, no more and no less than a usual friday night. The frats become "by invite only" since all of the "brah" alumni are back in town and want to try to meet some nice freshman girls. The bar scene gets more packed too. If you think you can't move at hemingways on a usual friday night, watch out, it is a sardine can in that place. A lot of the other bars get packed too as the over flow makes its way to Peters, Garage Door, and Boomerangs. Basically, that entails your friday night before homecoming. I actually kind of like it.

Saturday........ This is where the complaints come flying. If you are a freshman who likes getting to the games early listen up. Despite the team being 2-4 and playing against a Cincy team that we do not match up well against. Despite the fact that it is a noon game that will be on tv. You better watch out. There will be hundreds of drunk sorority girls waiting in line just so they can be bored 2 hours before kickoff when the gates open, and be bored during the first half of the game. But at halftime, oh halftime, thats when the magic begins. Halftime of homecoming is the most important part of the Pitt football season. You get to see the crowning of king and queen. How exciting is that! Two jerkoffs that are stuck on themselves thinking they're better than everyone else trying to win a title that means jack shit.

Listen, I know it's one of the few traditions we have that "some" people rally around. I just don't see the point of promoting something stupid like this which ends up having people litter campus with fliers about why we should vote for you and what stupid dumbass organizations sponsor you. I hate walking around campus and having it look like Pitt is a day care center with all of the chalk marks on the ground. Every year since I've been at Pitt it has rained during homecoming week which I thought was great because it ruined the fliers and washed away the chalk. Unfortunately it looks like this week will be dry until the game on saturday. The worst part is, the rain will make it uncomfortable for everyone in the stands but it won't deter the drunken sorority girls from trying to take away the seats from the people who care about Pitt football. Last year a sorority thought it would be fun to run up to the seats and rope off 3 rows of seats! If they were at every game running up the ramp with me as soon as the gates open then I would be fine with them doing that. However! They only do this for one game, and as soon as the king and queen are announced all of them go back to the parking lots to start drinking.

This whole king and queen idea is a joke. It brings people to the games who do not cheer, do not understand our tradition. These people are the ones I mentioned in a previous post who make up the large majority of Pitt students who do not care about football.

My suggestion is this. Let the joke Pitt Program Council and their incompetent leader Tom Miseraca announce the stupid homecoming court at the beginning of the laser light show
and then during the fireworks, have Zambelli's take like a 3 minute break in between shooting them things off and announce the king and queen there. Put a spotlight on the winners as they walk up the stage and let the fireworks play with the Pitt fight song in the background. That would work for me. This really would be better for everyone. Sorority girls won't have to go and get hammered before the game and ruin the experience for everyone there. They can drink with their friends that night and not be bothered with waking up too early on saturday morning.

So like I said, real Pitt fans, get ready for a game that will annoy you way more than any ESPN game ever could. Instead of getting fair weather fans, you're getting fake/apathetic fans.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The fans have spoken

Well, the first batch of Cat Basket shirts are all gone, but fear not Cat Basket fans, we are placing another order. Here are the details.


Small - XL are 10 dollars
XXL are 12.50.


We are also ordering Hoodies.

S-XL will be 25 dollars
XXL are 30.

If you are interested please email for ordering information.

~ The One and Only ~

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Like father like son

I'm sure all of you loyal readers out there know my opinion that the majority of Pitt fans are bad fans. I think most of you who read this site are in the minority of what I consider to be "good" fans. We have fans who will drive over 250 miles to each game just to see the Panthers play. We also have fans who live less than 30 minutes away but refuse to come to the game if it is on TV. I'm sure there are other schools out there with this same problem, but it is an issue that I have many problems with because I am so passionate about Pitt. I can't justify not going to a game unless there is something significantly important going on. My sister got married on Sept 1, 2007, the same day we played Eastern Michigan. The wedding was at 3 but I found the time to be in the wedding, be in all of the family photos, and be in my seat for the game 45 minutes before kickoff. The game wasn't in Pittsburgh, it was an hour north in Butler County. Some people might think that it is ridiculous that I would place such importance on a college football team, but that's just who I am, and that is what other passionate college football fans are.

The main point of this rant stems from the bus ride I had from outside the union down to Heinz Field on wednesday for the game. I have always been one of the first people at the gates for all of the games in the last 6 years with the exception being EMU. I had a meeting with some of higher ups in the academic side of things at Pitt. The meeting was scheduled for 4-4:30, but ran over till 5. I thought I would be in good shape to catch a bus down to the stadium and with the two previous games being awful, there shouldn't be too many students waiting. So as a 71A drove by me at the corner of 5th and Bigelow without stopping (F the Pat bus system), I decided to take one of the school buses that Pitt provides to the game. I got on the bus and luckily found an open seat. This is where my problems began.

There were some kids sitting in the front of the bus who are the type of people I wish represented all fans. They know about the program and stay updated like all good fans should. Now I was stuck in the middle of the bus surrounded by freshmen. I wasn't the biggest Pitt fan when I was a freshman, but I at least wasn't completely in the dark when it came to the team. These people around me were so proud that they were finally going to a game before halftime. These kids were painting their faces to match the blue and gold E-S-P-N they had written on their chest. The others in the group were talking about how great their signs were and how they were definitely going to get on ESPN. The kid sitting next to me mentioned to a girl that she should write "19" on her cheeks. Her response was quite naturally "Who is number 19?". The conversation then moved to how the day's edition of the Pitt News reported that Matt Cavanaugh said we were going to open up the offense. They all seemed like the coaching staff came up with that idea on tuesday night around 11:30 pm and that no one else had any idea this game plan change was coming.

As I'm sitting in this crowd of idiots, I have a bag with some Cat Basket shirts for my friends as well as a folder containing our SuperShady sign (which made it on ESPN even though we didn't care if it did or not, HA!) as well as tape in the folder since the A-Hole security guards won't let you bring in tape to the game. I also had a few study guides and notes that I had made because I had 2 exams and a presentation the following day. The guy next to me asked if I was bringing homework to the game. I told him it was a Shady sign as well as some study materials for my exams the next day. He told me that "It was gay that I brought work to the game with me". I had to explain to him how I have been doing this since 2001 and that I was going to this game regardless of when it was, who was airing it, and didn't care if it was Navy, Notre Dame, or IUP that we were playing. He seemed puzzled by the fact that I wasn't going to the game because it was an ESPN game. Luckily, he understood that I thought that him and all his friends were a joke and I hope he knows I think that it is people like him that are the reason our fan base sucks.

Our students love to party. Pitt can drink with the best of them and our students love getting blackout drunk thursday-saturday. We also love football tailgates because it is an acceptable reason to drink on a saturday afternoon. The one thing that can change it all though has been ruining football and basketball games at Pitt for as long as I can remember. ESPN brings out the worst in our fans. The damn fair weather fans love being on TV and really don't give a shit about the team or the game, all they care about is getting on tv.

I hate writing things like this because I know we have a good base of fans and students. It is just a shame that outside of the passionate fans, everyone else falls into one of two groups, the group that doesn't care and will never go to Pitt athletic events. The second group is the group that only wants to get on TV and will someday be the people refusing to go to the game because it is on TV. I really get frustrated with the fact that all these idiots have to do is let go of the fact that we are on TV. Just come to the game and support your school. If you don't know much about the team, don't pretend that you do. Show up before kickoff. You can still tailgate for 5 hours before kickoff so there is no excuse for saying, I can't go in before kickoff, I need to get my drink on.

I hope our new AD schedules opponents who are the least attractive for TV games. Not because I want to screw over those who can't come to the game. I want to screw over those who can come to the game, but would rather watch it on TV instead of being a good fan and showing up.

We currently have bad fans and the students now are only keeping that tradition alive. Hopefully winning can change that, but at this point I really doubt that it will.

To all of you "good" fans and supportive students, keep coming to the game, keep showing your enthusiasm. You are the foundation of what should be a great fan base, but is not right now. When someone tells you to be quiet or to sit down at the game, just ignore them and tell them if it bothers them so much to go home. Stand strong, while we aren't the minority, we are more powerful than they are.

~ The One and Only ~

What Jason Jones Is Thinking Week 2

Thought I would come back with my thoughts on the possibilities of getting another win this season. Big shake up in the top 10 this week and in the Big East not that this matters at all to us. We just need to get another win, right?

vs Cincinnati (5%) This game is an absolute long shot for us. Our only hope is that the loss to Louisville will strip the Bearcats of momentum, then they forget to catch the bus to the game. I hope they enjoy their meaningless trophy that they get for winning this awesome "rivalry" game.

at Louisville (.00000001%) They will be able to score on us at will and while they have a bad defense no way can our offense compete. I'm not looking forward to seeing the final score of this game.

vs. Syracuse (40%) WE HAVE TO WIN THIS. Seriously, though we won't. Syracuse has put up a pretty good fight against WVU and Rutgers the past two weeks, they appear to have some life left in them. At least this will be an interesting game to watch in person.

at Rutgers (.00000000001%) Ray Rice could set a some records in this game against our porous defense. The Scarlet Knights are going to beat us badly. Too many weapons on offense and a competent defense equals a loss for the Panthers.

vs South Florida (-1000%) This could be an exciting event at Heinz Field a consensus #1 team in the BCS playing the Panthers. The Bulls could represent the conference in the National Title game. Oh and this could be one of the worse losses in Pitt history, they will have a reason to completely bury us.

at WVU (1%) Rivalry games always have a chance for the underdogs to pull the upset. I just hope we can keep this close and give the Hoopies a game but we probably won't. DPJ should be happy either way this game goes, lord knows I won't be.

So there it is loyal Cat Basket readers I am completely convinced we are going 2-9 but it isn't all bad, oh wait yes it is. Try to enjoy Shady breaking the freshman rushing touchdown record, Bostick continuing to develop, and the last few games of Paul Rhoads football career. Don't get hung up on losing anymore its going to happen. Start looking for the positives in these losses. We are the worst team in the Big East but hopefully we can show signs of improvement.

Friday, October 12, 2007

You have every right to question me

First off I must mention somethings before I get into the meat and potatoes of this. I was going to post last night about some different things, but 2 tests, a presentation, plus the flu virus really take it out of someone. Fear not though, as I am the only college student without friday classes to be up this early and posting on a chilly friday morning. I didn't get a chance to read this site yesterday, but this morning I was browsing some comments made on Jason Jones' posts. Of those comments, one really stood out to me. Someone was wondering aloud how we could continue to support Wannstedt and not be calling for his head?

We'll Sir or Ma'am, this is my response. A few short years ago, I remember reading about how Dave Wannstedt was the leading candidate for the coaching position at Pitt. I was not thrilled at all. I only knew about the failures he had at Miami and Chicago. A short time later, the ESPN 2 ticker relieved a great fear of mine. It said; "Dave Wannstedt removes his name from consideration for Pittsburgh's head coach". I was with my dad when we saw that and he said it best, that news is the best thing I've read about Pitt in a while.

Once more news came out, we all became aware that Mustache Jones was trying to get more money for his assistants. We ponied up, and Dave became the new head coach. After reading the Pitt spin on things as well as Wanny defenders, I became a kool-aid drinker. I blamed Wanny's failures at Chicago for him having too much control in choosing player personnel, I defended him in Miami because he had a winning record and a few 10 game win seasons. I said that he would still be their coach had Ricky Williams not decided to live the "green" life.

I was wrong. My dad always told me to be realistic about this, but I was not. I expected him to take a BCS (not bcs caliber) team to greater heights. I was confident that a 10-2 record was on the horizon for the 2005 season. I was wrong, Uncle Charlie Weis took that all away from us and was the first step down a long and dark path. Obviously we know where we are today.

So, if you want to know why we still "support" Wanny, here is why. Wannstedt is a great representative of Pitt always speaking highly of us. Outside of coaching there is not any way possible that he sheds a negative light on our fine institution. That is my cliche response.

This is the real reason. We do not have an AD. We will not have an AD for a while. I know 2 people on the search committee for the new AD and they have assured me that it will be a long drawn out process. This is the most disturbing thing. One of them said that the key fundamental to whom they choose will be their ability to seek and acquire donations. Don't get me wrong, that is a HUGE part of what the AD must do to be successful. However, I believe they are undervaluing the necessity of NCAA and sports knowledge. Jeff Long was very good at getting donations and was one of the best "people persons" I have ever met. He did however lack in some areas. For example, when the Wannstedt era began, Jeff Long should have said, I will give your assistants the extra money, but we must have proven coaches. That is why I can understand hiring Dunn and Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh was an offensive coordinator in the nfl (albeit a terrible one) and was said to have great teaching ability for young quarterbacks. Sounds good to me. Paul Dunn helped turn around many offensive lines in his day, so you can't argue with that. David Walker and Aubrey Hill were brought in showing signs of success and to this day, I believe they are still the right people for this job.

The defense is where the problems start. Wannstedt should have seen how terrible Paul Rhoads was. He should have cleared house and brought in people with sound schemes for the college level. He did not, and we were stuck with an inept defense from day 1. Following the poor play, we all heard how Walt left the cupboard empty and we needed to rebuild and reload by having solid recruiting classes. Not once did this staff try to take the players they have and build a system around it. They had their style, recruited guys to play their style, but left all of the current team and more importantly, upper classmen in a system where they were not built to play.

This is why I am not calling for Wanny's head. We don't have an AD, so we can't fire him. We have always had a history of giving coaches plenty (maybe too much) time to build their program. The first step will be making Wannstedt change assistants. Rhoads and Dunn will be gone for sure. Matt Cavanaugh is a close friend of Dave's, so unless Matt can get an NFL job, we really could expect to see him back. If Cavanaugh is not retained, I truly believe it will be because of pressure from the donors/alumni who have scared Nordenberg to the point where he truly feels it could effect the university academically.

The other reason I am not calling for his head is because I feel if we can get coordinators who can adjust to what they have, create solid game plans and make good in game adjustments, this team could win. Army knew how to get the most out of what they had. John Beiline down at Hoopie U figured out his team was awful so he installed a gimmick offense that allowed them to win. We, right now, do not have the coaches in place to do that.

We need to create a Paterno type situations. I'm sorry if that offends you loyal Pitt fans, but hear me out. Let Wannstedt remain the figurehead. Let him recruit and talk up Pitt in the best of fashions. Let him remain so that we have consistency at the highest level of the coaching tree. BUT! Let the coordinators design the offense and defense. Remain hands off in the play calling. You hire the coaches because you trust them, so bring in the right ones and let them have full reign.

Imagine this for example. We somehow steal two great/hungry assistants from smaller schools who want to prove themselves in a major conference. We let them design the playbook AROUND THE PLAYERS WE HAVE and not the system Wannstedt thinks we should run. Imagine the assistants from Tulsa, Boise St., and TCU working with this team.

The last reason, outside of the ones showing why Wannstedt WILL BE BACK in 2008, is look at this projected starting lineup for 08.

Qb - Bostick (we are Bostick supporters and think he will beat out Stull for the job)
Rb - McCoy
Fb - Collins
Wr - Kinder and Turner
Te - Nasty Nate Byham
OT - Lucas Nix and Jason Pinkston
OG - Chris Jacobsen and Joe Thomas
C - CJ Davis

On defense we are looking pretty solid too if we would design the right defense

DE: Jabaal Sheard and Greg Romeus
DT: Rashad Duncan/John Malecki/Tommie Duhart/Mick Williams
OLB: Shane Murray/Nate Nix/Scott McKillop
ILB: Dorin Dickerson
CB: Ricky Gary and Aaron Berry/Jovanni Chappell/Sherod Murdock
S: Elijah Fields and Dom Dicicco.

I like what I see on paper with this team. Sometimes I like what I see on the field with these players. With the right coordinators in place, and Wannstedt letting them have full control, we can win enough games to get a solid bowl bid next year. However, if Wannstedt doesn't do what I have just said, then we will continue to suck.

It's all about the money and the fact that our university isn't ready to eat the last 2 years of a very expensive contract mixed in with Wannstedt not wanting to resign means, we're not supporting him, we're just expecting him to be back regardless of what happens the rest of the way.

~ The One and Only ~

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut

And that squirrel is Matt Cavanaugh...just joking. I thought the offense as a whole played fantastic last night. This is really the first time since Palko left that we appeared to be running a full play book. Before I start the analysis I realize that Navy is one of the worst defenses in the entire nation, now some analysis.

For the first time in the season we figured out how to use our running backs properly. Shady got 31 carries which is exactly how much he needs. Due to the type of runner he is we can pound Shady pretty much all game. He doesn't take a bunch of hits directly and seems to not get tired. Also he looked great inside the ten and his ability to punch in touchdowns will be an asset. Collins finally got the ball in the power game and proved why he is the number 1 junior fullback on Mel Kiper's Big Board. I loved the way he hits the hole and powered through the first contact. LSH only got three carries but they were in situations that suited him. To properly use his talents he needs to get space and a hole to maneuver through. This was a really great template for the coaching staff to use for the rest of the year.

The passing game really got it together this game. Bostick did an amazing job of spreading the ball around the field, he had completions to 8 different receivers. Our wide receivers seemed to come alive this game due to Bostick's ability to go through his progressions. 20 for 28 as a freshman in only his 2nd game as starter. His accuracy and ability to read a defense opens up what we can do with this offense. There is no controversy here Bostick will be your quarterback for the rest of the year.

Hey offensive line great job yesterday. I didn't notice any blown assignments at all and Bostick was given time to look down field. Also the running game was humming along quite nicely with the big holes you guys opened. Finally, a complete performance from this group. Keep it up offensive line.

I hope that this big success despite the loss gives the offense confidence in their own ability and Cavanaugh runs a similar game plan. By the start of the season next year Bostick is going to be ready to be a truly elite quarterback. He is playing extremely well the talent is obviously there, he just needs to be refined in terms of footwork and throwing motion. Once he gets some work with a QB guru I think we are going to see some all time great things from him. How great is Shady? Seriously?

Preperation? What the f is preperation?

Paul Rhoads outdid himself this week. With 10 days to prepare for a team that runs a gimmick offense we looked clueless. On almost every down players were out of position, we never once attacked them, and couldn't get a stop to save our lives. Navy runs that option like a well oiled machine, I was highly impressed by their discipline and execution. At no point in the game did it seem like we had a handle on what they were doing. I don't understand how a defensive coordinator could have that much time and couldn't figure out this offense. You can't allow 48 points ever, let alone to an unranked team.

Another part of our defense that I was appalled by was the lack of discipline by our team, especially our linebackers. The fake up the middle and run up the middle ate us alive last night because McKillop didn't get to the point of attack. On the outside we kept pinching in on that up the middle fake which gave them space to get the quarterback around the corner. Shane Murray to his credit played very well in the second half but two first half touchdowns were his fault for not staying out wide. I don't know what this group was practicing for but they didn't handle this well at all and I think this falls at the feet of Rhoads he didn't do his job.

Our secondary is extremely poor right now and is only getting worse. I don't know where to start with this group, who is right now the worst unit on the team. Let's start with the arm tackling by our safeties. Mike Phillips was a bad player before his injury and he has now turned into a liability for this team. Eric Thatcher on the other hand I think may have been ruined by his injury, he is tentative and doesn't lay the wood like he used to. The corner play last night cost us the game. Is there a reason why none of our corners turn around when the ball is in the air? Navy's quarterback was floating the ball into the secondary and our corners never once made a break on the ball. I hate to speak out of school and attack everybody's golden coordinator but Chris Ball is doing an extremely bad job with this group. Every player has gotten worse or less fundamentally sound. I hope that its just the fact that these guys have shut Ball's advice out but if they haven't I'm worried about the big steal from Alabama.

The defensive line played ok in spots but they had to deal with their toughest assignment of the year. Facing that cut blocking scheme they held the line of scrimmage fairly poorly. Up the middle our tackles got moved off the ball. A couple of big plays in the backfield and the good play of Chris McKillop masked the spotty play of this group. This is the first game of the season I thought this group played sub-par but they were really put in a jam by the game plan.

Under no circumstances can Paul Rhoads continue to have a job next year. He has continuously put out teams that seem unprepared and undisciplined. I can't imagine how we will be able to stop the meat of our schedule with the continual slide of the defense. After that Michigan St. performance our defense has not just regressed but completely eroded. This group and part of the coaching staff lost us the game last night and they need to be held responsible. Coach Wannstedt needs to take over the defense this week, Rhoads is driving the bus leading to your career being in the toilet bowl. If you want to continue to be a coach you need to get rid of this defensive system.

As an aside, I'm extremely against promoting somebody from the inside as the new defensive coordinator. The only viable candidate on the staff off of performance is Greg Gattuso. I think that he should continue to coach up the defensive line, we need a new voice and system in place for this defense. I think this group will only continue to get worse throughout the rest of the season, we are going to be leaking points. Over 30 points allowed three games in a row is ridiculous.

About Last Night.....

I'm not really sure what to think about the marathon of a game last night. Bluntly, we lost against a team that had no business beating us with the talent level we have. Shady and Bostick are game-changing players and they will be the focus of the team for the next two years. The offense finally looked competent and the play calling I thought was great, I'll talk about the final play later. Overall, I thought this game is really indicative of where we stand in the world of college football. Pitt fans hold on because we are going to lose four to 5 more games. There are signs of life in this team though, hopefully we can continue to score points.

Everybody try to put into perspective this season, its completely lost, but look for the great individual performances. I was extremely entertained by last night's game out of context. I don't expect us to win games anymore I just hope we put up a fight. This sounds like a sad and defeatist way of looking at games but we are there now. Our future looks quite promising in places but we have loads and loads of problems. Don't give up on the team and stop watching or attending the games. One day you can tell people you got to see Shady and Bostick play as freshman.

Our new role in this season is spoiler and maybe we can take out on of the top Big East teams. I have stopped being angry about this season and accepted what is happening. The talent level is there in places we just need to find a way to bring it all together for the next couple of years.

Has it come to that point?

Not to the point of being pissed or dejected, but rather to the fact that I try to find any positives I can from a game that I felt in my heart that we would lose? I used to get pretty depressed anytime Pitt lost, and I still do for basketball, but the football team is just taking it out of me. I feel terrible for the guys on the team. They all tried their hardest and did what they were assigned to do, but I feel that we are being held back by the coaches. Matt Cavanaugh pulled some tricks out of his sleeve and the offense looked pretty good. Granted, Navy's defense isn't superb by any means, but he gave an opportunity for our two key players (Bostick and Shady) to win the game. Shady and Bostick played nearly perfect games. Bostick had an under thrown pass, an int, and floated the ball on the last play of the game (EDIT: after review, he was being hit), but all night long he was hitting receivers in stride, moving around in the pocket, and doing everything required to win. I think tonight may be the night we look at as when Pat took over as the full time starter in his career at Pitt. As far as Shady goes, the kid is incredible. It was great to see his great effort rewarded by about 150 yards rushing and 3 td's. He came over and talked to us about our SuperShady sign during pregame, and he was so "Super" that ESPN put the sign on air and even referenced my bald self and the Cat Basket.

While the offense finally came around, the defense and special teams were awful. Dave Brytus had a few sail out of bounds on kickoffs which hurt. I can also say maybe kicking the ball out of bounds was a good idea because Navy seemed to have decent returns all night long.

I think this game was the icing on the cake for Rhoads. He had 10 days to prepare for this option offense and looked completely confused out there. From this point on, I will not be surprised to hear that Rhoads has either stepped down or has been relieved of his duties. Dorin played well at linebacker and we were able to see Chappell and Brown get some playing time later on in the secondary. It's amazing to think that after the MSU game, we were talking about how solid the defense was and how the offense needed just a spark to make us a very good team. Now with the offensive playbook changed, the defensive game planning is what is costing us.

I'm going to end this right now because I have a busy day ahead of me tomorrow, Jones will give you a couple posts recapping the game, coaches, players, and etc, and I'll write some more tomorrow. As the great Dave Chappelle once said "We've looked at the area and have determined it is ripe for regime change". I'm not calling for Wanny, only Rhoads.

If you're interested in Cat Basket shirts, email for information.

~ The One and Only ~

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What's in DPJ's head?

As disturbing as that thought might be, I'm going to keep this focused upon what is in my head for the game which is a little over 7 hours away now.

I think that Pitt will win. Yes I do have my blue and gold sunglasses on.

I think that Shady will have over a 100 yards rushing.

I think that Bostick will have a great day and impress us all if Cavanaugh opens up the offense.

I don't think that Cavanaugh will open up the offense.

I think Paul Rhodes will continue to blitz.

I think we will give up at least 3 big plays on defense due to the option.

I think that this will be our lowest attendance of the season with the game being on tv, a wednesday night, and due to the Pens game.

I think the Prowlers flying over head will be awesome.

I think we are doing the right thing honoring Curtis Martin.

I think despite what everyone does say, the athletics department does care, and they should not always be looked down upon the way we often do.

I think everyone should keep an eye out for the Cat Basket shirts tonight.

Most importantly,

I think win or lose we should continue to support Pitt and the players on this team. We all love this university, and while we have our complaints, these are OUR Panthers so lets show up "Panther Loud and Panther Proud" tonight and for the rest of the season.

~ The One and Only ~

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Predictions for Navy vs Pitt

It feels like forever since we have played and my unhealthy obsession with the problems of our coaching staff has began to subside. This game, like every other we have played this season, is a complete crapshoot. The talent gulf between us and Navy is considerable but when your coaching staff seems to be working against your players who knows. Let's get into the meat of this article, remember these predictions are for entertainment purposes but if you make some money I get a 10% commission.

1. Starting off with the usual prediction, Shady is going to bounce back to some extent. He has been held under 100 yards for two consecutive games. This will not happen tomorrow, probably. The odd offensive play calling seemingly is going to end going by quotes from Wannstedt and Cavanaugh but like DPJ I call bullshit on anything those two geniuses say to the media. The offense will be "opened up" so perhaps Shady will be given some space to run from the improved passing game.
Stat Line: 21 carries, 144 yds, 1 TD

2. Navy will rush for over 250 yards. We have had two weeks to gameplan for the triple option but considering who our defensive coordinator is we could have had 5 months. Paul Rhoads has never been able to figure out a team with an unconventional offense we haven't played before, Toledo and Utah the obvious examples. I think this could be a source of comedy for us fans during the game. Unless our defensive line can overwhelm Navy to the point they can't get the plays off we will have extreme difficulty with this offense. Once coaching strategy kicks in our players are so disadvantaged they won't be able to make up for it with athletic ability and talent.

3. Pat Bostick will continue his improvement as the starting quarterback for the Panthers. Quietly, Bostick has improved to the point where he has been given the vote of confidence from the coaching staff. Give him a chance to spread the ball around even more because Navy will not cause us problems with their defense. This is a chance for Bostick to put up his first huge game number-wise as the starter. I'm excited to see how well Bostick plays in a favorable situation tomorrow.

4. The attendance for the game is going to be bad, very bad. My guess and I'm thinking this is slightly generous is 21,000. I hope the ESPN uses some creative camera angles so the lack of fans only looks bad and not completely embarrassing.

This is really the last chance we have this season to get it on track and move towards a winning season. A big win here may give us some momentum going into Cincinnati. Lose this game and the season is completely gone and we might be on our way to an all-time bad season.

P.S. I know everybody is hitting people with this but just remember to show some respect to the Navy players. I'm not telling everybody to cheer them but don't use the usual trash talk while they come onto the field or warm-up. We all should hold these players in the highest regard because of the sacrifices they make for us. The Cat Basket certainly respects you guys.

Navy 17 Pitt 24



This game is either going to be a fun night or a long night.

In case you haven't heard Navy likes to run the ball and they do it very well. If you don't believe me you can check the stats out yourself. Navy is #1 in the nation in rushing offense. Over the course of the last several years, I think it is safe to say that we have had a little problem with stopping the run here at the University of Pittsburgh. Notre Dame, West Virginia, and MSU are all prime examples of our defense letting players have career days. As shocking as it sounds, statistically our defense hasn't been that bad. We enter this game ranked 9th in total defense despite getting blown out in the last two games. This is the week where we really find out how far our team has progressed defensively against the run. If we have any chance in this game, it is because of 2 reasons. First, the defense needs to play fast and physical as Rush Probst would say. The option needs to be stopped. Navy does not have a great passing offense at all and if we can force them to pass, then we will be in great shape. The one area that will be critical will be the play of the safeties. They need to read and react if the option is coming to move up and stop the run. We can't have them sit back in the outfield waiting for something. The defense also needs to hit the quarterback every time they run the option. If we can get in his face and knock him down every time they run the option, it becomes more likely we can shut down their running game.

The other half of what will keep us in this game is Navy's defense is pretty damn bad. They gave up 43 points to powerhouse Duke. This is the game where Bostick needs to come up big. If we can complete a few long pass plays, that should open the door for Shady to get his yards on the ground. If Navy does not respect the passing game and starts to line up 8 or 9 guys in the box, we need to open up the playbook and let Pat play. Despite comments from Wanny and Cav, I would not believe them saying they are going to open up the passing game. They have done nothing this season that would suggest they are comfortable throwing the ball. Truthfully, I think it was all fabricated statements to get Navy to back off their pressure of stopping the run. If they are serious about passing the ball, I'd let Bostick take a shot deep on the very first offensive play of the game just to prove a point. That would be a great message to send to Navy. We aren't and won't be afraid to throw the ball.

One little area of concern on the OLine (despite the many others) is that CJ Davis is injured but should play. If for some reason CJ has to leave the game, that would leave us with only 1 good offensive lineman, and that folks is a scary thought. I still hope that McGlynn is moved to center or guard as he is much better at those positions than he is at tackle. The running backs and tight ends will really need to step up this game, and the rest of the season if we want to give Pat the slightest fighting chance of having some time to throw the ball. The other side of that, is our receivers must come up big this game. No more lazy play, no more dropped passes, no stupid penalties. If we want to win some more games this season, the receivers need to show up for the first time this season.

Pitt 27 - Navy 17.

~ The One and Only ~

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Y'all wanna hear what I have to say?

Want to know how I really feel??? Well let me tell ya.


Yeah, I said it, Pitt will beat Navy. I haven't done too much research on it and this isn't my "official" preview, but really, just looking on the surface, Pitt will win.

Navy is 3-2 with solid victories over Air Force and Temple. They barely squeaked out a win by 3 points over Pawr Haas (powerhouse) Duke. They lost to Rutgers and Ball State. Thats right, they lost to that little crummy school in Indiana. Granted we got destroyed by Uconn and UVa, but at least those two teams know what it's like to win a bowl game recently.

I also think that if Matt Cavanaugh is not lying, and can get Shady 25-30 carried and let Bostick take the reins and open up the playbook, this game should not be a problem. I really think the defense will be able to stop the crazy option that they run. If you want my advice, every time they run the option, make sure Dorin is out there and have him hit the quarterback every single play as hard as he can. Eventually he will get tired of being smashed by Dsquared and that option becomes a little less successful. Think about it, do you think a quarterback named Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada can take a pounding from Dorin all day long? I sure as hell don't think so.

Their fullback is their secret weapon and I really think that if we aren't going to blitz, let Dorin cover Kaheaku-Enhada and let McKillop Jr. shadow the fullback to prevent any surprises. That lets the rest of the defense free to fill their holes and keep the schemes somewhat similiar.

I really don't expect there to be a huge crowd given the past 2 disappointing games. We also have to compete with the Penguins that night (go pens) so that's more of a reason to not show up to the game. I have one request for the 15,000 that will be in attendance.


Rutgers embarrassed themselves a few weeks ago when they traveled to New Jersey, lets not make the same mistake. When they come out of the tunnel, don't chant anything embarrassing. I'm not going to cheer for Navy either though. My sister is in the armed forces and I respect the men and women who choose that path in life. So when Navy comes out, I won't cheer for them, I won't boo them, I won't say I hope they win, I won't say any obscenities towards them. I'm merely going to ignore them. I'll chat with Jason Jones and my other friends who will be with me in the Cat Basket. I hope everyone that reads this blog, or knows of anyone who is going to the game can pass the word along to respect the opponent this week by not booing or cursing at them. Lets win this game with some class.

~ The One and Only ~

Hello Hello

Well it was definitely a fun weekend seeing Pitt not losing for the first time in 3 weeks. We do have a tough game coming up on Wednesday against Navy. I'll be doing my preview shortly so keep your eyes peeled for it. This is more of a potpourri of a post. I have multiple issues to tackle here so we'll do the best we can to keep it organized. I'm not going to bash the coaches, or scream about what players I think should be in, I'm going to try and keep this pretty level headed.

First off, the big news. The Cat Basket shirts have arrived. We won't be bringing the sign to the games any more since we will have our t-shirts on. Here is the official Cat Basket image featuring the sexy Cat Basket model proudly displaying the shirt in a fine south Oakland apartment.

You'll see a bunch of students wearing it and hopefully we can get some more shirts soon. If you are interested in a Cat Basket shirt let us know and we'll see what we can do about getting one for you.

Unlike what Jason Jones would have you believe, I was rooting for Syracuse this weekend. I was hoping that with the upset of louisville that maybe the Orange could steal a victory at home, but no such luck and the hoopies prevailed.

USF didn't look very good. They may drop in the polls this week due to a less than stellar performance against bottom feeder FAU. We'll just chock it up as a trap game they survived following the win against WVU the week before.

Navy's offense scares me. We don't do well with mobile quarterbacks. We don't do well against spread offenses and the option. Basically, there's a lot of things that could go wrong on wednesday but hopefully we will get the all important win.

This may actually be the time when we turn the season around. Everyone keeps talking about that 2001 team that started 1-5 then won 5 straight to make it to a bowl. We can only hope that we've learned from past mistakes and that the necessary changes will be made. I think if we tweak the offense and use the right type of trickery, then this could be a very fun game. It also could be a blow out, we just don't know. At this point I can see this team finishing anywhere between 2-10 and 7-5. I'll be skipping my stats class on wednesday night to see the Panthers play, so hopefully we decide to go the 7-5 route instead.

~ The One and Only ~

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What J Jones is Feeling Number 1

There are seven games left in the season and we can still become bowl eligible. I said it, I don't particularly believe it, but its out there on the table. Looking over our situation I keep forgetting the fact that we have the other half of our season in front of us. I thought I would come up with a new weekly column where I gauge the % chance I think we have to win the rest of the games on our schedule. I won't be previewing the games, that DPJ's job, I'm just going to give my initial impression of these games. Then at the end of the season we can see the ebb and flow of my confidence in the team.

vs Navy (42.15%): This game can go either way for us. Talent-wise we should be able to dominate this team but with the conservative play-calling who knows what will happen. Also Paul Rhoads is going to have to deal with a triple option. WHO ISN"T LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT?

vs. Cincinnati (15.1%): At this point beating a team in the top-25 seems impossible. Enjoy the River City River Boat Gambler Fake Useless Trophy for this game Bearcats.

at Louisville (15.1%): How good is Papa John's dipping sauce I mean seriously that stuff is too good. Oh the game no way we win.

vs Syracuse (61.76%): Here it is everybody this is the one we have to win. They are just as bad as we are except they did beat Louisville at home. This game might rival the one two years ago in the rain at Heinz Field for poor play. I'll never forget that game as long as a I live.

at Rutgers (5.1%): This could be embarrassing.

vs. South Florida (-500%): 50 points will be the Bulls margin of victory against us. By this time in the season USF will be firmly in a BCS spot and will need to dominate us to continue their march. Don't even hold a thought over a win against them.

at West Virginia (1%): I'm giving us a fraction of a chance to win this game just because its a rivalry game. Conceivably, the team could come out on fire and bring it to the Mountaineers but I wouldn't bet on it. This game will cause some problems for the traitor DPJ.

So this is the first of my week to week feelings on the rest of our schedule. I have a feeling that South Florida game might become more out of reach as the weeks go on.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wannstedt's Kitchen Nightmares

Ok, so if you don't get the reference, watch Fox tonight at 9 pm for what is one of the best new shows on American tv. Basically British chef Gordon Ramsay goes to restaurants that are failing and looks at why they are failing and makes the required changes. It's funny how such a great show can be applicable to Pitt's situation, therefore, I, Chef DPJ will take a look at our problems position by position and offer an immediate alternative to resurrect our failing season.

Qb - Bostick is fine. Bostick is actually playing very well. One huge problem though, LET HIM THROW THE DAMN BALL! No more holding back, if you want to win you will let him throw the ball regularly in quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4. You will also let him throw on downs 1, 2, 3, and 4 (when necessary). Once you do that, your quarterback situation is solved. Stull can sit out the rest of the year with his injury and next year it will be nice to have a little qb controversy over who should start, the PROVEN Bostick, or the redshirt Junior Bill Stull.

Rb - Well you're finally starting to get the right ingredients here. Shady 25-30, Hot Rod 5-10. With that problem solved we can move on to the fullbacks.

FB - Conredge and Brooks have played well. You won't let Henry see the field this season so just hold him back and let him learn and prepare for the future. Now given that we have the best.....i mean, worst offensive line in the Big East, you will need a fullback in for every play that is not a shotgun formation. Give Shady and LSH a lead blocker so that they can clean up the mess that the offensive line is creating.

WR - This is by far the laziest group of Wr's I have ever seen. They lack explosiveness and concentration. Pestano and Porter have failed to live up to expectations and Turner has become too streaky to be consistent. If this group wants some respect then they need to have the playbook opened up with more passing plays, but also to make sure that they do their job when they are called upon.

TE - We've been saying it all along. THROW TO NATE BYHAM! Ok, I get it, he's a good blocker and a great receiver. If you want to let him block, let him block on rushing plays. If you want a TE to block on passing plays, let Pelusi do it. Strong is not the greatest blocker but he is no where near Nate as far as receiving ability goes. I still say that Strong wasn't penalized enough for his little gesture to the USF student section, but he's here so we have to deal with it. I know it doesn't go with your philosophy of Seniors first, talented underclassmen second, but listen. If you want to win, you will throw the ball to Nate.

OL - Otah and Davis, you are fine......for now. Vangas, Thomas, Bachman, and McGlynn. Here is my solution. Put McGlynn in at center. McGlynn is one of the worst starting offensive tackles that Pitt has ever had. I'm sure he would be a little better at center, and if you don't want to try anyone else at center, let McGlynn play there. Atleast you can keep one senior starting there. As far as guard and tackle go. Let Bachman start, then OBJECTIVELY look at the rest of your linemen and decide who would be the best fit for right tackle regardless of class. I guarantee if Jacobson was healthy there would be no way in hell we would see him replace Thomas at guard. I can only hope that Lucas Nix is given a fair shot at cracking the line up (if he comes here). Shake up the Oline and get your best players in there.

DL - The only strong point of the team, keep it this way.

LB - DORIN DICKERSON! There ya go. Congrats Wanny, you beat out OSU, Michigan, and PSU for a great player. NOW USE HIM. After this year we only have 2 more seasons of Dorin and unless you want to waste him, i'd put him in every play possible. The other linebackers are interchangeable. I hope Nate Nix gets healthy, we could sure use him.

CB - To be honest, I'd sit Kennard. Let Aaron Berry and Ricky Gary get the majority of PT. Again, this breaks your rule of Seniors first, more talented underclassmen second. Guess what though. Ricky Gary has played well enough to earn a starting job. Also, with this season being a waste, let Aaron get some more experience because he will be your starting CB next year. We do have Buddy Jackson and Sherod Murdock waiting, but they'll be held out till next year, so get your guys experience now.

S - How great will 2008 be when the starters are Decicco and Fields. Dom Dicicco is not eligible for a redshirt because he has played too much. Good news, that means that your arm tackling, slow running starting safety, Mike Phillips, can rest for about 58 of the 60 minutes during the game. Hell, it could even be the entire 60 minutes since we forgot what the hell a Nickel and Dime package are.

If it were up to me, we would not see the following players this upcoming game: Mike McGlynn, Joe Thomas, Chris Vangas, Jameel Brady, and Mike Phillips. Now need and Wannstedts refusal to bench the seniors will prevent this, so we'll probably finish poorly.............again. This is not my team, and if it were these suggested changes would be made. We can only hope that the lineups and play calling changes and for god's sake would somebody catch a damn ball?