Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Looking towards Iowa

Much attention has been given to the size of Pitt's defensive line over the last couple of days. Chas over at Pittblather has a good post up summarizing that some of the defensive line's problems are due to the scheme rather than the size of the guys up front. He also referenced that they are very similar to the Michigan State team that we saw last year. I don't know about you, but I can remember 2 years ago when MSU came to Pitt, I was shocked at how big their offensive line was. If the sizes of the Iowa offensive linemen are accurate and comparable to that of Michigan State I think this could cause some problems for our Panthers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that our defensive line isn't fast or strong enough to overcome the Iowa line, I just believe that we will have problems when our coaches don't make any adjustments to the way we are playing. One of the items that Jones and I will be discussing is the impact of Buddy Morris on the size of the DLine and how it is impacting our game play. While I will leave out an opinion on that until later, I do think that our line is not as bad as we are playing right now.

After the Navy game last year the DLine showed great improvement, but maybe that was only due to the defensive adjustments we made. This season we really have not been aggressive on defense and I believe that is the main reason we are struggling. If we blitz more with the linebackers that could make the line more effective in terms of getting to the quarterback. I just don't see us doing it this week. Everyone knows that Iowa runs an offense that a Wannstedt defense is designed to beat. This will be two NFL style coaches going after each other. My fear is that Ferentz will be more likely to adjust to Pitt's play than we will be to Iowa's.

So far it appears that 99% of our problems have been due to coaching decisions and I'm very sure that the defensive line woes are from the same source. When Wanny lets Bennett run his style of defense instead of the 2002 Dolphins defense, then we will be in much better shape.

Also if you haven't heard, there will be some basketball recruits at the Iowa game. The Zoo has been instrumental in helping the football team to land some recruits in the past few years. The Zoo really is in good position to help out because we know where the recruits will be sitting and for some reason, football recruits love the attention they receive at the basketball games. If you have noticed, every basketball player the Zoo has tried to influence to come really hasn't worked out. Herb Pope, Kevin Jones, and some others have all slipped through and gone other places.

I think it would be great to try and get something going for the basketball players that are coming this weekend (it would be amazing if we could get Durant Scott) but trying to organize 8,000 students to cheer for someone that we don't know where they will be let alone if they even come would be a hard task to accomplish.

There are a few students who read this blog so hopefully the awareness of the recruits coming increases and we can do more to try and help them like Pitt even more. I don't want to be a downer, I just want to try and stay realistic about something like this.


johnny said...

Thanks for answering my question. Good to stay in compliance with the NCAA gestapo. Bennett is too good a defensive coach to have forgotten how to run a defense. Hopefully he starts asserting himself so we see more in-game and game to game adjustments.

Brian Ising said...

Durand Scott will be in town this weekend for his first official visit, which is awesome news. Dante Taylor and Lamar Patterson will be also be there along with James Padgett, another big man prospect.

I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that this weekend's visitors will be the most talented group of basketball prospects that have ever visited Pitt at the same time. It is important that the students show these guys, especially Scott, some love at the game.

If Jamie can reel in Scott, I think that would be even more impressive than landing Taylor. Scott is ranked nearly as high as Taylor and has an impressive list of suitors. Plus, whereas Taylor plays a position of need and will likely start as a true frosh, Scott would enter a logjam at wing.

What is happening with Pitt basketball and specifically recruiting is really exciting. Even without Scott, this will be our best class in over 20 years, including the highest ranked player that we've landed in over 20 years. If we add Scott to that list, that will make 2 players in the same class that are higher rated than anyone we've landed in over 20 years. A class of Taylor, Patterson, Dodson, Richardson, and Scott would represent the best recruiting class in the history of basketball.

So when we have a 4th-and-2 from the Iowa 33 on Saturday and the punt team takes the field, remind yourself that basketball practice starts in less than a month.