Monday, August 31, 2009

Depth Chart Is Out

2009 Depth Chart

So there is the opening day roster and there are very few surprises. Kevin Harper not winning the kicking job is worrying for his future as a productive player. The two freshmen at running back is a pretty amazing feat for both players considering how things are done in the program. Joe Thomas won the left guard job in a result that shouldn't shock anyone. Aundre Wright not being a returner on kickoffs is weird considering his play last year.

The big news is Sunseri as the backup which means Bostick will be redshirted, barring injury or disastrous play. I really hope that we won't need to see Bostick so that he can get keep his 2 years of eligibility.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last day of camp and some Wanny quotes

Yesterday was the last day of camp, and unlike the last day of camp for most programs, some interesting things happened yesterday.

As we have all focused on the quarterback debate throughout camp, it was reaffirmed by Wannstedt that Bill Stull will be the starter. Before I get to the quotes on the matter, here's how the total completions and attempts for each quarterback went.

Stull - 5/19
Sunseri - 12/18
Bostick - 2/4

That's right, Pat Bostick only had 4 reps. Welcome to the world of redshirting Pat. I'm sorry that this couldn't have happened 2 years ago or even last year.

At the end of practice, Dan Hutchins hit a 47 yard field goal which was our last play of the 2009 camp. I'm betting that since he's older than Harper and made that field goal that we will see Hutchins doing the punting and kicking the field goals.

As that concluded the fall camp, Dave Wannstedt opened up with some quotes that were pretty uncharacteristically matter of fact. While he did state that they had an open competition, I'm not sure how much of a competition it was. Here's a few of the quotes from Wanny on the situation.

"I've never been around a training camp where we rotated two or three guys with the first group like we did"

I'm not going to lie here, I don't know too much about the teams that Wannstedt coached prior to joining the Cowboys as a defensive coordinator and I'm not sure how much Wannstedt would have been around an offense while serving as a defensive coordinator. As a head coach he would be exposed to all dimensions of the team, especially the quarterbacks. With a statement like this, it leads me to believe that every year he has been a head coach, he has already had his starting quarterback picked out well before training camp started.

The second interesting quote of the day was also regarding the quarterbacks.

After praising the development and improvement of Pat Bostick and Tino Sunseri, this is what Coach Wannstedt had to say about Bill Stull. "Has Billy made the big strides? I would say probably no. But has Billy performed at the level that you would say he’s the starter? I would say yes."

Was Wannstedt being honest here? I say yes and no. He is being honest that Bill Stull has not taken the strides that we needed him to take if we are hoping win the Big East. However, I don't believe that he is performing at the level in which you would say he is the starter. That is unless you are looking for mediocre to below average quarterback play. There were a handful of days where Stull did outplay the group. Actually, one day only sticks out in my mind where Stull was actually heads and shoulders above the group. Even yesterday in the last practice, Sunseri out played Stull.

So in the end what does this mean? Everyone has, and is entitled to, their opinions but mine is this. I think Wannstedt did allow all 3 quarterbacks to take 1st team reps to evaluate the quarterbacks. At the same time, I think it would have taken a disastrous camp from Stull and a perfect camp from Sunseri for any type of change to be made. With Sunseri having a couple of off days through camp, that was enough for Wannstedt to go with his guy, Bill Stull.

So, technically there was a competition, however, it was not as open as us fans would have liked it to be.

Fan Fest

This is just a reminder to everyone that Fan Fest will be going on tonight from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

It will be a bit different this year as there won't be any on field stuff, simply just autographs, music and the opportunity to buy a bunch of stuff (ticket, merchandise, etc.).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Buffalo might not be as bad as we thought

I for one was (and still am a little) worried about the Buffalo game being a big trap. We're playing a game on their campus and pretty much are one of the biggest draws they will have all season. Last year we were in a tough game at home against Buffalo and weren't able to pull it out until the fourth quarter.

This year the game would be a little bit tougher as a road game, but Buffalo is without former starting quarterback and MAC stand out Drew Wiley as he graduated last year. Now Buffalo is starting a sophomore at quarterback (unheard of around these parts).

To make matters worse, Buffalo head coach Turner Gill announced today that the all time leading rusher in Buffalo history, James Starks, will miss the entire season. He is a 5th year senior so this pretty much means he has played his last game as a collegiate athlete.

While it is not good for that young man, it certainly helps our Panthers. Breaking in a sophomore quarterback and now counting on a running back you expected to serve as a back up is certainly a tough task for any team. Putting those same players against our impressive defense is something that makes it that much harder.

The game in Buffalo may be close, but I suddenly feel a new level of confidence of this game that I didn't have before.

Some hope for Bostick?

With all of the debating back and forth about the quarterback position in the last few weeks, it was easy to get focused on certain things. I'm sure many of you did the same thing I did everyday when reading the camp reports. I would immediately look for the stat lines, drive recaps, and quotes from Coach Wannstedt about the position. Just like everyone else I was caught up in my own personal hope for a switch, caught up in my frustration with the way the season ended, and frustrated with what seemed to be a lack of an admission that there was a problem.

While we were all focus on the battle between Bill and Tino, we seemed to be missing a big part of what was being said by Frank Cignetti about Pat. Throughout all of camp, Cignetti has been praising Bostick for his team first attitude just like everyone else. It was while doing so that Cignetti was the first coach to bring up the possibility for a redshirt this season after fans were speculating this was going to be the case.

The biggest thing that Cignetti said which struck me was how appreciative he is that Pat is a student of the game. I'm sure growing up with a football father has helped Pat earn some extra respect in his eyes. From the way Cignetti has talked, it seems like he has some big plans for Pat and feels that with a full year under him, he can mold him into a better quarterback.

I've always felt that Pat has had the potential to end up being one of the better quarterbacks in Pitt history. He's already accomplished more than many players dream of. Add this to the fact that with a redshirt this year he will be around until 2011, this more than could make up for the awful situation he was thrown into as a freshman.

I'm one of Pat's biggest fans and I certainly hope he is given every opportunity to prove himself and that his work is fairly evaluated against his competitors. While you may not see Pat playing on Sundays, I do believe that there is a great chance you will see him some where on the field whether it is calling plays or teaching others who could benefit from his passion and his drive.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Camp Thoughts

Since this is the last week of actual camp before we hit game week I won't be doing reports of camp everyday. Here are some thoughts on the weekend:
  • Ray Graham and Dion Lewis are going to be an exciting duo to watch at running back. Graham dominated the Saturday scrimmage and has jumped Chris Burns on the depth chart as the 2nd running back. Last year, the offense was so predicated on the big plays from Shady in the running game that this freshman combo needs to replace the majority of Shady's production.
  • The constant nagging injuries, like DPJ wrote about earlier, have led to position changes. Nate Nix switched to defensive end and had a great scrimmage on Saturday. Hopefully this will allow Nix to get on the field and make an impact.
  • Bostick taking a redshirt now seems like a possibility. The reason for the increased work for Sunseri was in order to test him out as a full time backup. Keeping 2 years of eligibility for Bostick is a great idea and he can still produce as a QB here. Cignetti is a fan of Bostick so we could see a scenario where he competes with Sunseri for the starting job next season.
  • Ricky Gary is pressing Jovanni Chappel for the starting corner job opposite Aaron Berry. In the limited playing time last year for Gary I was a big fan. Despite his solid tackling Chappel's size is always a hinderance in the passing game. If Taglianetti starts our secondary will be incredibly small outside of DeCicco.
  • Lucas Nix is back to full strength. For the offense to be successful Nix and Pinkston have to have big seasons. The two tackle positions were a constant problem last year and with Stull starting he has to be protected. When Stull starts getting sacked we know what happens next.
That is it for the weekend thoughts. I will probably be back with another column later in the week barring any big news breaking.

Nagging Injuries

Injuries are part of the game and every team will go through them. You have to hope that when they do happen, they won't be significant or too detrimental to the team. I know Jones likes to bust my chops about Buddy Morris potentially being a reason for the injuries, but to refute that claim, Buddy does have the players go through appropriate stretching measures. Stretching is stressed just as much as lifting for the players, because that is what really will lead to injury.

So far through camp here's what we have in terms of injuries on the team.

Nate Byham - Concussion (day to day)
Dorin Dickerson - Hamstring (day to day)
Kolby Gray - Shoulder (out for season)
Shayne Hale - Undisclosed (day to day)
Justin Hargrove - Ankle (day to day)
Buddy Jackson - Broken Jaw (unknown)
Lucas Nix - Leg infection (day to day)
Tristan Roberts - Shoulder (day to day)
Mike Shanahan - Broken fingers/hand (out 4-6 weeks)
Jabaal "Lamar" Sheard - Undisclosed knee (day to day)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Depth Chart Speculation

I skipped the last few days of practice coverage due to a bit of a hectic schedule outside the blog. Before the scrimmage tomorrow which will pretty much decide every position battle I thought I would give how my thoughts on how I see the depth chart shaking out. Remember some of this is speculation on my behalf but I would like to see how I do:


QB: Stull/Sunseri/Bostick (With Bostick in a position to take a redshirt barring injury or poor play)
RB: Lewis/Burns/Graham
FB: Hynoski/Collier
WR: Baldwin/McGee/Turner/Wright/Saddler
TE: Byham/Dickerson
LT: Pinkston
LG: Thomas/Jacobson (This is going to come down to the wire but I just have a feeling seniority will win this battle at least for the opening day spot)
C: Houser
RG: Malecki
RT: Nix


DE: Sheard/Romeus/Hale/Lindsey
DT: Williams/Karagein/Mustakas/Hargrove
OLB: Williams
MLB: Gunn/Mason
OLB: Gruder/Murray
CB: Berry/Chappel/Gary/Holley
S: DeCicco/Brown
S: Taglianetti/Fields

I didn't do the full 2 deep just the people who are going to start and see playing time. If I was picking the the starting lineup the only two positions I would change are QB, LG, and MLB. On paper this is a very competitive team, it really all depends on the QB and OL play on offense. The defense should be extremely good.

I'll have some thoughts on the scrimmage over the weekend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Message Board Debates: Tailgating

So this marks the first year that Jones and I will be able to enjoy sitting in the parking lot tailgating before games instead of waiting 5 hours at Gate C waiting to run up to our seats.

It looks like we will be in Red 5 this year based on DPJ's Panther Club donation. If you know anyone with a Gold Lot Parking pass they are trying to sell, we are in the market for buying one.

My question to the readers is this: What all should be included for a good tailgate?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 10 Training Camp 2009 (First Scrimmage)

Today was the first scrimmage of camp. All the big news coming into today was about the QB situation. I thought in order to calm down the coverage of Stull and this situation I would say my last words until a major development breaks. Speaking to the media after the practice Wanny was quoted as saying "Billy is the starter".

If you look at the first week of camp and the first scrimmage today Sunseri and even Bostick have outplayed Stull. Today Sunseri threw a touchdown and no interceptions while Stull put up another interception as he has been doing for the entire camp. The quick dismissal of the question about a QB battle heating up says all you need to know about this situation. Stull is going to start regardless of play on the practice field. Opening day he will face the actual competition from a restless fanbase and YSU.

Stull hasn't had a standout practice or scrimmage since the spring and that hasn't changed his spot at all. With that, I will keep the bitching about the QB situation out of the columns. Now on to a quick overview of the day:
  • I'm very excited with how well Taglianetti is playing at safety in the absence of Fields. In a perfect world Fields would be an All Big East player right now but that hasn't happened. I still feel that on-field we could have a superstar in Fields but knowing that Taglianetti can handle the starting job is promising.
  • Ray Graham is really playing himself out of a redshirt. He had the most productive day of all the backs and I have a feeling the staff trusts him. Right now I would predict the depth chart for the running backs being Lewis-Graham-Burns and Harris being used as a different situation and short yardage back.
  • I think the defensive line is going to be even better this year. Sheard had an amazing end of the season and he is creating sacks. Where the new strength lies is guys like Hale and Lindsey destroying on the second team. The interior of the is just as strong with the position change for Hargrove.
Hopefully some of the small injuries guys have picked up will heal and the team can get more time to gel.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hands Off the Offense Wanny

One thing all Pitt fan's can agree on is that Dave Wannstedt pretty much knows what he is doing with the defense. Wannstedt has been able to find success in different places, both college and professional, when it comes to coaching the defense. All one has to do it look at our defensive line to see all the evidence they need.

The offense is a whole different story. At every position where he's held full control, Wannstedt has been awful with the offense. It is not simply just calling the plays, it is developing players and finding the right guys to play.

I do not believe that Matt Cavanaugh had as much freedom over the plays that some people believe he had. He might have been able to pick from a few different plays, but they were all most likely very similiar plays that Wannstedt was comfortable with. If you're not believing me, then you missed out at practice today when Pitt brought back our favorite play of the Cavanaugh era, the BUBBLE SCREEN! I do expect that we will see some changes under Cignetti, however I don't believe they will be drastic changes as Dave Wannstedt will have the offense under his control.

Even last week Ron Cook brought up this exact point about talent evaluation. We were in such a bad spot during the 2007 season with quarterbacks that we had to put a full court press on Greg Cross to get him here. Last season we were ignoring the quarterback situation until it became such a point of contention that we had to search the country and were lucky enough to find Kolby Gray. This year there has been a flurry of activity in regards to recruiting, yet we are still without a quarterback. West Virginia, Louisville, and Syracuse have 2 QB's already committed while Rutgers, Cincinnati, UConn, and South Florida have a quarterback for the next class. That's right folks, we are the only team thus far in the Big East without a quarterback committment for 2010. Sure it is still early, but we have already seen plenty of top talent go else where despite having interest from Pitt. The one thing that really hurts us, and this is coming directly from someone in the athletic department is that "the top quarterbacks do not want to play in our offense".

As much as we can tout getting players to the NFL and having success, don't think that people aren't using names such as Kramer, Mirer, Fiedler, Krieg, Moreno, Huard, Greise, and Feeley against us. Dave Wannstedt has not been able to acquire a good quarterback nor has he been able to develop a good quarterback. Joe Flacco leaves Pitt and becomes a 1st round pick. Jim Harbaugh left Chicago for Indy and became a Probowler. It is clear, Dave Wannstedt can not and should not handle the majority of the offensive duties.

Great leaders are very good at working with their strengths and hiding their weaknesses. For some reason, Dave Wannstedt does not want to accept his flaws when it comes to working with the offense. In a year with so many question marks, we can not afford to have such a glaring flaw with our offense. As improved as the offensive line may be, we are still heading into this season with a huge question mark at running back and a glaring weakness with Stull at quarterback.

If Pitt wants to take the next step towards becoming more than just an average program, Dave Wannstedt needs to let Frank Cignetti Jr. have more control in the offense. He needs to be the one designing plays, picking the starters, and making the adjustments. Cignetti has already proven he can be successful with the offense. By giving him more control we will have someone who has had pretty much consistent success at the college level leading our offense. We will have a guy who isn't bound to one person as Wannstedt is to Stull. We will have a guy who can have a chance to be more innovative and provide something to our offense that we haven't seen in 5 years. We will give the man a chance to prove that maybe his role in life might not just be suited to a coordinator position only. We need to allow Cignetti his chance to prove what he can do, especially with the quarterbacks, because right now, the status quo is not working.

A man who does not learn from his mistakes is bound to repeat them and I don't want those mistakes hurting my football team.

Day 9 Training Camp 2009

If you would have told me 9 days ago that camp was going to be this interesting I wouldn't have believed you. This whole Stull QB situation is developing so quickly. Onto some quick thoughts from the camp today:
  • Sunseri took some extra first team snaps. Another day and another dominant performance from Sunseri. Bostick had a really solid day and maybe he isn't completely done. Stull looked bad in every drill.
  • Baldwin had a huge day. It sounds like he is pulling off a circus catch in every drill. He could be an All-American if he gets the ball enough. I'm predicting a giant year for Baldwin.
  • The running back battle is still very cloudy. Having 5 running backs in play for this job is only going to be a benefit. Running back by committee can definitely work and can be successful. I have a feeling that Ray Graham and Jason Douglas will end up redshirting but both are getting a shot.
Tomorrow is the big day with the first scrimmage.

The Stull Issue

Stull is in the worst position as the starter at Pitt as he has ever been. This is an extreme statement but at this point every beat writer and media outlet that is covering camp is becoming frustrated with watching Stull play. Gorman and Zeise never call out players specifically and as bluntly as they written about Stull's poor play in camp. One full week of bad practices is as big of a red flag as you can possibly see from a player.

As a redshirt senior we should be seeing consistent performances or at the very least outplaying the other QBs in camp. Sunseri is easily having the best camp and he is doing everything that Wanny claims to want out of a QB. Stull is throwing picks and Sunseri isn't. Stull is having trouble completing passes and Sunseri is thriving. All we ever hear is how the QB position in our offense is about being a "game manager", last time I checked throwing picks is not a part of that.

What the real issue is in this battle is how far is Wanny going to take it. Handing Stull the job before camp is par for the course with Wanny regarding Stull. In Spring Camp Stull performed the exact same way is performing in camp now. His confidence is completely shot from the injury last year. Like I stated in yesterday's column how does Stull lose the starting job? His last game played he was benched, he had an atrocious spring, and now he is putting together a string of bad practices.

I feel like Wanny will want to take this QB battle to the absolute last second possible. He isn't a guy who will take a guy with more seniority starting job. Will Sunseri even get a chance to work with the 1st team in camp might be the better question. Sunseri is already the defacto backup after taking over Bostick, which says to me that Cignetti is handing out playing off of merit in the 2nd and 3rd team.

All this being said I think if Stull stinks up the joint during the Tuesday scrimmage and Sunseri plays well the pressure will be too much. Wanny is super stubborn about player selection but he can't be foolish enough to continue to deny Sunseri first team snaps. If Stull is the opening day starter without a 180 degree change in his play he will be booed off the field after his first mistake, right or wrong. This whole QB situation has evolved so quickly, I never would have predicted this level of change in tone from the media.

We will find out what type of coach Wanny is over the next two weeks. Handling this badly will be an absolute disaster for Wanny and his public image.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 6 and 7 Training Camp 2009

I thought I would combine the days in order to get caught back up. Here are some thoughts on the last two days:
  • The big story of the first week is Bill Stull's poor play and Tino Sunseri's increased snaps with the second team. I haven't seen one report that has been positive about Stull. Throwing picks and making bad decisions during drills are now par for the course for Stull. We all know that Wanny wants Stull to be the starter, he has for 3 years, but at what point do we look in another direction. Is it 10 poor practices or is it the more likely option of after he costs us a regular season game. Sunseri has been on fire in camp and is getting significant second team snaps. Why not give Sunseri some first team snaps and see how the offense runs with him.
  • My new favorite Panther Dan Mason is now taking the majority of the backup snaps at middle linebacker. He can be a playmaker right now and I would love to see him get a run out with the first team defense. I'm aware of the playcalling responsibility that goes along with being a middle linebacker but with all the veterans we have on the defense it would be a manageable situation.
  • Jared Holley is a guy to look for as a 3rd or 4th cornerback. He has been receiving some praise in the reports coming out of camp.
Tuesday is the first scrimmage. Over/Under on Stull interceptions is 3.5.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 5 Training Camp 2009 (Sorry for the lateness)

So yesterday there was another practice with the pads and helmets. Today is going to be the first full contact practice. Here is a few thoughts from yesterday:
  • Justin Hargrove moving to defensive tackle is an interesting development. This may just be a practice position switch but I think Hargrove will be a contributor down the line. The one position I trust our recruiting judgment with is defensive line.
  • Tino Sunseri had the best all around day of the QBs. I would be shocked if we ever read a report of Stull looking great in camp. He never looks great even in practice but remember he won this job on the field not by seniority.
  • Kolby Gray having shoulder surgery is a bit of a blow to his practice time here at Pitt but he was going to redshirt no matter what. I feel like Gray has the most unique set of skills of any QB we have and would be great in a spread offense.
  • Like I did Thursday for Dan Mason can I start a Mike Shanahan as the second wide receiver bandwagon? I'm sick of watching Turner dog it and keep his job like last year.
I will be back later for the report of today's practice.

Message Board Debates

I'm hoping to throw some topics out here to get some discussion going. Please use the comments section responsibly and be respectful of the other posters because these are only opinions.

Anyway, first topic: Jones and I have always discussed this and can't seem to find the answer. On many message boards you always hear about people talking about wanting a "Pittsburgh guy". When Dave Wannstedt was hired everyone was hired that he was a "Pittsburgh guy", when Jamie Dixon was hired people were interested in Calipari and Sean Miller because they were "Pittsburgh guys". Now after Matt Cavanaugh had moved on to the Jets, people were excited with the FCJr hiring because he is a "Pittsburgh guy".

What is it about being a "Pittsburgh guy" that makes all of the fans view them as more desirable?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 4 Training Camp 2009

The big story today was the contingent from the NFL Panthers (Arizona Cardinals) coming to the Southside to talk to the team. Can all of Fitzgerald's attributes rub off on Baldwin? Onto some thoughts on the first full squad practice of camp:
  • Max Gruder is still working with the first group at the weak side linebacker. I thought Gruder showed a ton of potential late last season. As solid of a tackler Murray was in the 2007 season I feel that Gruder has so much more playmaking ability.
  • Get used to the defense dominating the offense storyline for the entirety of the camp. The defensive line is well ahead of the offensive line. If the Romeus of his freshman year can show up again we have the best end combo in the Big East. I thought Sheard was the most underrated player in the conference last year and he is going to build on that.
  • I'm setting myself up for a big disappointment but I'm starting the Dan Mason challenging for the starting middle linebacker job bandwagon. He has the attributes of a playmaker at the position and he isn't behind anybody on the vaunted "look test". I've never thought much of Gunn as a player, at best he is solid positionally. Think outside the box here Wanny and give a freshmen a chance.
Sorry for the quick report but nothing of note happened today.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1st road trip of the season

Well the Cat Basket, plus our 2 distinguished guests (JT and Grant) will be joining us in Buffalo for the Pitt at Buffalo game on Sept 12. While we toyed with the idea of staying in Canada we decided to stimulate the US economy and keep it on the US side of the border.

If you're interested in joining Pitt still has plenty of tickets left to purchase. Also, we will be staying at the Hyatt in Downtown Buffalo (thanks priceline!!). A simple 72 dollar bid was good enough to get us a 3 star hotel in downtown Buffalo that usually goes for 155 a night.

The NC State game is up in the air but this confirms the 3rd annual Cat Basket Road trip (MSU and Navy were the previous 2).

Day 3 Training Camp 2009

Today is the last day of the split practices and no pads. Starting tomorrow you will start to see the position battles begin. Here are some quick thoughts about today:
  • All reports talked about how Chris Burns had a great day. I expect we will hear this report about every running back in camp over the next couple of weeks. If one guy could come through and dominate that would be the perfect scenario but I think we will be in a situation of a 1a and 1b running back after camp.
  • Bostick practiced with the afternoon group but that was probably just to give Sunseri some reps with the upperclassmen. I can't imagine that Bostick will lose the backup job regardless of camp performance.
  • Jacobson took all the first team snaps at left guard. He needs to win this job.
That is it for today I would expect much more news to come out of the contact practice tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 2 Training Camp 2009

Before the team starts practicing in pads the real news coming from camp is how the personnel groupings are set. Here are some thoughts on the first two practices of camp:
  • Dion Lewis was the first team running back which is to be expected after his monster spring. He is in the pole position to win this job but like I said yesterday this position is completely open. Lewis, Chris Burns, and Shareef Harris all have a chance to win this job if they can put together a great string of practices.
  • Oderick Turner is still practicing with the starting group as the second wide receiver. We all saw what he did last season and I'm really hoping for one of the McGee/Shanahan/Cross group to take his job. Baldwin has the other spot locked down and hopefully Cignetti is dialing up a certain amount of plays per game for him. He is the legit playmaker on the team and he appears on the verge of a breakout season.
  • Pinkston-Thomas-Houser-Malecki-Nix is the current offensive line. Left guard is the position to watch and hope that Chris Jacobson can win that job. Thomas hasn't been consistent enough in the last two years to earn this job over a prospect like Jacobson. In order to be successful this season we need this unit to gel and gel fast.
  • No real surprises on the defense. As of right now we pretty much know who will play every position barring two, middle linebacker and the linebacker opposite Greg Williams. I would bet anything that Shane Murray takes the outside linebacker job and Adam Gunn takes the middle linebacker job. Experience usually wins these camp battles.
  • There was no big news out of the second session which featured all the freshmen. If anybody is going to make a push from the first year players it will be later in the week once the team gets to pads.
That is it for the first day. Can we get out of camp without a big injury, please?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stolen License Plate

Well my license plate was stolen last night. It was a custom plate that said: OKLN ZOO.

So all you readers out there, I'm offering a reward. 25 bucks if you find it and return it. 50 bucks if you find it, return it, and let me know who had it. 75 bucks if you find it, return it, let me know who had it and I beat the "S" out of them. Or 100 dollars if you find it, return it, let me know who had it, and you beat the "S" out of them.

Now if you see the plate on a black Monte Carlo, don't go ripping it off because that is my car.

My guess is that some douchebag has it hanging on their wall in South Oakland. So if you're out partying and see it, be sure to let me know.

~ DPJ ~

Day 1 Training Camp 2009 (Press Conference Notes)

Here are some of my thoughts from watching the morning presser:
  1. Everybody who was injured in spring camp is ready to go for fall camp. So hopefully we can get to see what we have at linebacker with Murray and Gunn back as well as what Cam Saddler will bring to special teams.
  2. Wanny came out and said that Stull is going to be the starter going into camp. We knew this but now we have a direct quote from the horse's mouth. I thought for sure we would get more conjecture about everybody getting a chance. Apparently, Stull easily won the job in the spring so take that for what it is then look at the archives for the numbers from the spring scrimmages and the Blue-Gold game.
  3. Steve Dell is getting mentioned in all the media Wanny is doing pre-camp. Don't be shocked when he is on the 2 deep and playing some snaps this season.
  4. Wanny is concerned about the battle at kicker between Kevin Harper and Dan Hutchins. Harper hasn't seperated himself and it sounds like the staff is treating this as an open competition
  5. Nobody emerged in the spring as the odds on favorite at running back. This is the most interesting position for camp because there is an actual position battle. There is no obvious Wanny guy at the position so this is going to get settled on the field. Harris and Collins are the only backs with any experience.
  6. Wanny made sure to state that the offense wasn't going to change under Cignetti.
  7. The staff is looking for Aaron Berry to prove himself in camp after the off-field stuff in the spring. I loved hearing this because Berry has so much talent but he just hasn't put it together.
  8. As usual there is was a bunch of talk about people's work in the weight room and their bodies.
  9. Wanny expects very few freshman to play this year.
  10. Only 4 mentions of coaching the Dolphins which is a little low for Wanny. Playing with Dorsett only came up once.
  11. Lucas Nix is going to be the right tackle. That was an exact quote from Wanny which is very promising for the offensive line. There is going to be a position battle between Joe Thomas and Chris Jacobson at left guard.
  12. DeCicco and Fields are going to be the starting safeties. Wanny was insistent about Fields having a big season in order for us to be successful.
All in all the presser was boring and no new information was released. Keep it here for the rest of training camp and all through the season.

Day 1 Training Camp 2009 (Morning Preview)

Welcome back college football! After 8 months off we finally have something to sink our teeth into as Panther fans. Today is the media day for the team and when all the interviews go up I will give them a listen and give some reports. The big news of the morning is a leak of the new home jersey.

I'm a huge fan. I really like the color and the size of the numbers. My only worry is what happens when the Big East logo goes on those jerseys and will it be 5 times bigger than the Pitt logo like last year.

Just like last year I'm going to be doing daily updates on camp along with the usual opinion pieces from us. So keep checking here and keep checking out our twitter for updates.

Be back in the afternoon with thoughts on the Wanny presser this morning and the team interviews.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#1 in the Preseason Media Poll

The Big East Media picked Pitt to win the Big East today. THE BIG EAST MEDIA PICKED PITT TO WIN THE BIG EAST TODAY! Now I'm not that shocked but this comes a bit out of left field considering the question marks we have on both sides of the ball. This is a great marketing tool for the Athletic Department to sell some more season tickets regardless of the merit to the ranking.

Here are the five biggest questions that need to be answered for us to win the Big East as we have been picked to do:
  1. QB. Somebody needs to take over and play well not just stumble to wins.
  2. New OC Cignetti needs to establish his style of offense early in the season and find the type of playcalling that will fit our personnel. No more 3rd down draws and bubble screens on 1st and 2nd downs. You don't win the Big East by being as conservative as the playcalling was under Cavanaugh.
  3. Offensive line. Who is going to be play the two tackle positions? Is Houser going to be able to come back from injury and keep the center job? Will Jacobsen finally get his shot at guard? Will Nix win a starting job? Does seniority decide each position battle like it has in the past? By the time we break camp every position needs to be decided and the players winning the starting jobs need to play well enough to keep them.
  4. Will potential stars on defense finally emerge and play consistently for an entire season? Greg Romeus had a great Freshman season but struggled in many games last season. Aaron Berry is the biggest underacheiver in the Big East and you rarely know what you will get from play to play with him. Elijah Fields is the egnima of the entire program with all the off-field stuff and the flashes of potential on the field.
  5. Has Wanny learned from the mistakes of last year? At so many points the program was on the verge of breaking through but something always killed the momentum. We all know exactly who Wanny is and what he brings as a gameday coach but can he get over the hump.
I see the logic of why the writer's voted us as the Preseason favorites because of the question marks each contender has. If we find solutions on offense 2009 could be an amazing year. Being picked to win the Big East Title preseason is where we need to be every year if we are to become a top level program.

For what it is worth I would have picked us to finish either 2nd or 3rd behind either Cincinatti, WVU, or USF. I think we have every chance to win the Big East and I don't see anybody as a big favorite.

Big East Preseason Poll