Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cat Basket Podcast Number 9

Very much a potpourri of Pitt football this week a couple of topics discussed.

Cat Basket Podcast Number 9

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some late night thoughts.

Well as you've heard by now Corey Brown committed to OSU. That hurts Pitt as Brown is the latest in a string of Western PA guys to leave the area and the 2nd from Gateway HS to go to OSU. There have been some rumblings that Gateway HS Coach Terry Smith is "bitter" at Pitt for not offering him the WR coach position when it opened. There are also some people who are mad at Pitt for the Brossard hiring since now we have lost two top players from Gateway and because Brossard failed to land a visit from a top Maryland WR recruit.

Losing a potential receiver like Brown really hurts because not only is he local and had Cam Saddler pushing him to Pitt, this hurts because of some recent rumors. It is highly speculated that Moe Williams may never see the field for Pitt again. I'm not sure if he isn't going to summer school or simply refuses to go to summer school, but the thought is that his grades will be the reason why he will not be at Pitt next semester. I'm sure the staff is trying to keep this as quiet as possible as Williams may end up like Shane Brooks. It isn't unreasonable to expect to lose a player due to academics, but losing two (especially players who could have contributed) really can hurt a program. Despite losing those two, Pitt is fortunate enough that we are very deep and talented at fullback and receiver. This move would also allow potential Pitt gray-shirt Andrew Taglianetti to earn a scholarship for this fall which permits him to join the team right away.

The latest podcast has been recorded and I promise it will be up soon. I have to get the file to Jason to set up on the internet, so expect it sometime Wednesday at the latest.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Let me pick your brain

Hello there Cat Basket faithful! On tuesday 6/17, SGB President Link and I will be meeting with the Athletics department again to put the plans in motion on how to improve our gameday atmosphere. We believe we have some great ideas and hopefully with the help of the video man of the athletics dept himself Paul Barto, we can start to change things for the better.

We have worked on things for: Pregame, player specific stuff, some in game action (like telling the crowd to be quiet when we are on offense), some defensive stuff, and as well as getting some other traditions built.

Unfortunately for some of you I don't believe we will be discussing Pitt Script or an on campus stadium. As always though, if you have any ideas, complaints, suggestions, or anything else that you would like taken directly to the higher ups of the athletics department, you can shoot me an email ( or post a comment.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sandcastle Update

Ok, so you're probably saying "What the hell does Sandcastle have to do with Pitt football"? Well the answer is, nothing really. On Wednesday Jones and I along with some others went to beat the heat by enjoying a nice day at Sandcastle. While we passed on the 4 dollar beers and instead enjoyed slides, lazy river, and pool we did see something very interesting. We entered the park around noon and stayed until six. Around 4:30 we saw something very interesting to Pitt football fans. As we were walking to the Blue Tubaluba, I saw a guy and go, wow he kinda looks like Shane Murray. Needless to say, it was in fact Shane Murray. Walking behind Shane was Nate Nix and Dan Loheyde. So as Jason and I grabbed our tandem tube and were climbing up the steps, two dark haired guys come running up next to us in the other aisle. Now these guys weren't just running up the steps with little effort, these guys were showing the hustle that you would expect an athlete to have. I looked over and saw Dom DiCicco leading the way. Behind him and running just as hard without any problems was our star tight end Nate Byham. So without any medical reports or anything else to go on other than watching him run up the steps, I can say that Nate's leg looks to be 100%.

To go along with that good news, you Rivals fans should be pleased to see that Pitt commit Cory King earned himself 3 stars.

I predict that Brock DiCicco will be the next recruit to pledge his services to Pitt.

We won't be doing a podcast this week since Jason and I will be away from Pittsburgh and back at our respective homes in Belle Vernon and Butler for fathers day.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Cat Basket Podcast Number 8

Back and super hot! We bring you some discussion on the first recruit of the season and the academic problems that have come up. Also a little bit of movie talk. The Cat Basket Podcast more fun than Sandcastle?

The Cat Basket Podcast Number 8

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Where to turn?

I will be completely honest here. When I first hear of CatBasket friend E.J. Borghetti announcing that Mo Williams had some academic issues, I did not think it was serious enough to have him miss an entire season. Usually when you hear of some academic issues, a couple of summer courses can fix that problem right away. The NCAA rules state that a player must complete 12 credits per year (6 a semester) and meet specific GPA's (1.8 for freshmen I believe). For those of you who never attended Pitt, the University requires a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or else you will be placed on academic probation. Jason Jones and I usually joke that if Pitt really wants you, they will find a way to make you eligible. Unfortunately this will not be the case for Mo Williams. I'm sure you are all tired of reading about rules and regulations, so here are some of my OPINIONS of how this will impact the team.

Firstly, we are lucky to be deep at WR. Kinder, Turner, Porter, McGee, Wright and Jonathan Baldwin are all capable players. I was really hoping that Kinder/Williams would be the starting wr's as I feel that Turner lacks concentration and isn't the most motivated of receivers. Despite my feelings on that, Turner has shown that when the effort is there, he can be an effective player. I believe that Oderick is the type of player that needs some type of inspiration to get the full potential from him. His freshman year he had to earn his playing time and he did well. Last year after the Kinder injury, I believe that he felt his job was safe and he did not try as hard as he did before. I am also aware that being the #1 receiver on the team meant he had to face the opponents #1 cornerback, but when you have responsibility like he had last year, you need to show up.

Since Williams is now in this situation I think this will also teach him a valuable lesson that just because you have earned a scholarship does not mean that you are untouchable. I think it would be easy for a college freshman to get wrapped up in the hype of the college sports experience and let it go to his or her head that academics are second. After a good freshman year, Pitt women's player Jania Sims missed time due to academic issues. Hopefully he can continue taking courses this summer and use the fall and spring to boost the GPA. I also hope that Wanny uses this to motivate the players and let them know that performance on and off the field counts. As much as we love our football team, Pitt is an outstanding academic institution. Just having a degree from here is more valuable than 95% of all other colleges.

Having this redshirt year will also help Mo improve. It will give him an extra year to develop, an extra year in the system, and an extra year to improve his rapport with the quarterbacks of the future Pat Bostick and Tino Sunseri. I don't think anyone expect Mo to be a guy who left early, and now he can use his last 3 years to earn a spot next to Jonathan Baldwin and hopefully make up the most dangerous WR duo in the Big East.

Jonathan Baldwin. The biggest outcome of this whole debacle may just be that Jonathan Baldwin can raise himself up from what I felt would have been a redshirt season into a significant contributor. Lets face it folks, Wanny does not play freshmen unless he HAS to. Bostick, Joe Thomas, and Shady all saw their playing time because of issues at their respective positions. I do not believe for one second that despite his amazing talent, that Baldwin would have ever gotten above 5th on the overall WR depth chart. With Kinder's post-injury ability unknown, Turner's struggles last season, and not knowing McGee and Wright's true ability, Jonathan Baldwin could force himself into the game based upon his amazing potential alone.

This is a big loss for Pitt, don't look at it any other way. Before you get too down about it though just remember that while it does hurt that we are losing him, Pitt is doing the right thing. We're not going to make exceptions, we're not bending the rules, we have and will continue to run a respectable program and one that we should all feel proud to be associated with.

Mo, I can't wait to see you on the field in 2009, but take this year and get everything set straight.