Monday, October 12, 2009

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

With our style of play, there will be games that end up closer than they should be, but as Jason Jones said, a win is a win. We just need to keep plugging along and hope that things turn out the best for Pitt.

So here is the list of people that deserve credit (good or bad) from what what we have seen.

First off Bill Stull deserves credit for his play. He deserves the criticism for the way he played in the first 40 minutes of the game. He also deserves the credit for having a perfect final 20 minutes of the game where he lead us to 2 touchdowns, a 2 point conversion, and most importantly the win.

The fans also get a thumbs up/thumbs down for the performance in the game. I understand being upset about throwing the awful pick 6 early in the game. I also understand the frustrations that Pitt fans have after suffering through disappointing season for the last 20 years. What I believe we are seeing is fans who think "same old Pitt". Especially after losing a game to NC State when we had total control of the game. I didn't have a problem booing after the pick 6. I did have a problem when the boo's came in when the offense took the field on their next offensive series. The fans do get some credit though for coming alive in the 4th quarter and joining the team with being fired up when it was needed the most.

Ray Graham and Dion Lewis deserve credit for having very good games. Minus the dropped pass for Lewis (in which Graham was supposed to be in the game), this might just be the best freshman duo in the country. Every week these two come to play and will be major players for Pitt over the next 4 years.

The offensive line deserves a great amount of credit. Let's not sugar coat anything here. In the first 4 years under Wannstedt, our offensive line flat out sucked. They were a joke and had players who had no business being on the field (with a handful of exceptions). Now we have a line full of players who could play for most teams throughout the country. This is a squad that deserves more credit than they are being given. So for Jason Pinkston, Joe Thomas, Robb Houser, John Malecki, and Lucas Nix, keep up the great work, you are the main reason why we are 5-1 and are the reason why we have been able to keep the running game going.

The last offensive person who deserves credit is Frank Cignetti. He has been absolutely fantastic. With Matt Cavanaugh we are probably 3-3 at this point. Frank Cignetti in just a few months has helped Stull develop more than Cavanaugh did in 4 years. He understands what plays Wannstedt wants and what plays work best for our offense. Having a person who understands his talent and limitations has helped us more than anything else this season. Who else would have thought that Dorin Dickerson and Nate Byham would be such integral parts of the offense this year. Frank Cignetti is doing a great job and I hope that he stays around for a very long time.

Dan Hutchins has done a very good job this season. He had the unenviable task of replacing one of the best kickers to ever wear a Pitt jersey. So far this season, he has been solid (minus a mishap vs Buffalo). The kicking game was more of a question mark than most other positions this season, but Dan has answered those questions better than we could have imagined.

Phil Bennett and Dave Wannstedt deserve credit for failing to see the need to switch to a nickel in certain situations. Constantly having linebackers cover wide receivers has hurt us more than anything else this season. When Cincy and Notre Dame come out and throw over the middle against us, it will be our downfall. It can not possibly hurt to play a 4-2-5 with Mason and Gunn as the linebackers on 3rd down and long. We put ourselves in a bad mismatch by refusing to break away from the 4-3 and that will cost us 2 games this season. Yes, 2 games this season.

Lastly, Jarred Holley played well for his first start. We really need to consider him as a starting CB or safety at some point. He has good size and speed. He is a guy that knows where he is supposed to be and can make plays. I'm not afraid to say that right now, he is our best defensive back. Berry, Gary, Chappel, DeCicco and Fields have all had below average seasons this game. In limited action, Holley has made plays when asked.


Pitt Panther Maddness said...

I agree with your analysis of the Pitt-U-Conn game. Still, what irratates me is what seems to be a poorly coached effort. How many times do you do that lateral pass, and the corner pass in the end-zone, and throwing the ball, instead of using his running backs on short yard downs?. Also, I can see why the fans get so edgy...I don't think they are booing the players as much as they are booing the sideline play calling....As I said to Paul Z last week, (and he was amazed about any discontent (negative attitude with Wanny) I still think this teampulls itself up by the bootstraps on its own, and pulls out the win... Maybe Stull should be given full control of the play calling? newport_ri

johnny said...

The Panthers are averaging 35 points per game this year. How much more do you think it would make a difference if we had Stull calling the plays?

Is the playcalling perfect? No. Has it drastically improved? Yes.

This is a team that won't get confused with the Greatest Show on Turf, but if they can stick to putting up 30+ points per game, I'm pretty sure we will win a few more times this year.

Anonymous said...


I hope so, but...

I just keep waiting for the wheels to come off, remember 2006 when Pitt started 6-1 only to finish 6-6, I guess I am just used to having my hopes built up only to have them crushed in some way year after year!

The playcalling is much better but the defense has really struggled at times.

This team is still a mystery on how good they are, if they lose to Rutgers its the same old Pitt, if they win then it is another game they should win because they have superior talent.

So we will see on Friday.

johnny said...

Hey, I agree that I'm proceeding through this season with cautious optimism. I've suffered through some disappointments with this team in my decade as a fan.

As you, DPJ, Jones, and I all note, there are many valid reasons to criticize this team and vast room for improvement. However, I don't think that the offensive playcalling is as high on the list as most of that stuff. In particular, rigid adherence to a flawed defensive system concerns me the most, as does some uneven play at Linebacker and secondary.

I just found the initial post, especially with respect to Stull taking over full control of playcalling, to be absurd as it gives no credit from an area where we've seen vast improvement. Namely playcalling and QB development.

rkohberger said...

I don't think you'll find any college team where the QB calls his own plays on the field - not even Peyton Manning did that in college - and he's the only QB to do so in the NFL. This just doesn't happen.

Are you sure you meant to say that?