image from postgazette.com
First and foremost, I’m sorry for failing to update in forever. It’s been an extremely busy week for me, and I just couldn’t put in the time. I’ll be better in the future. As for the Buccos, I’ve missed two straight series recaps, but judging by the hits to the site when I put up Pirate posts, no one really cares about the Pirate recaps anyway. The quick rundown of the Diamondbacks/Cardinals series are that we stunk. A lot. We were swept in both. The offense stunk. The pitching stunk. Matt Capps plunked Albert Pujols out of what I’m sure was frustration. It was bad. So, now that that’s out of the way, I figured I’d put up a post about something else. Usually Tuesday is the new ‘My Two Cents’ segment, but I felt like that was a rut. I kept saying over and over again that if rules are set ahead of time, they have to be followed. They can be changed, but they have to be lived with in the present. People want to complain when the rules that are set up aren’t always ideal or fair. Well, tough. Learn from it. Change them moving forward and live with what happened in the past. Anyway, I figure I’ll take a week off to see if I can find a different tangent to take. In the meantime, Pitt’s been in the news a lot lately, and I figured I’d give a quick update of their goings-on. I’ll probably do likewise for the Steelers this week sometime. I know that’s probably eagerly anticipated. I’m pumped to write about something besides the Pirates. So, without further adieu, here we go:
In case you haven’t heard, Pitt switched their sponsor from Adidas to Nike. The new football uniforms are above. They look pretty nice. Classic and plain. Just the way I like it. I’m always in the camp that you can only do harm by putting a bunch of crap on a football uniform. Isn’t that right, Oregon?
image from faniq.com
But, alas, I am no fashion expert. You can make your own judgement. Enjoy the future swoosh clothes, Panther fans.
Agnes Goes Overseas
Women’s basketball coach Agnes Berenato was selected to go overseas and speak to the troops with a few other college basketball coaches. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Coach B a few times, and I can say that she’s one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever met. I always leave encounters with her more motivated than when I came. I have no idea why. But I know that hearing a personality like that can only do positive things for our men and women overseas. Agnes is keeping a diary on the post gazette online if you want to keep up.
Couple of Basketball Commits
Chase Adams from Centenary College and Cameron Wright from outside Cleveland both committed to Pitt. Adams will join the team this year as a point guard and be immediately able to start. Centenary was a Division I school last year, but is dropping all the way to Division III. That means all their kids can transfer penalty free. The book on Adams is that he’s had decent production against good BCS teams (as he should being the centerpiece of the team) and he’s a defense first guy (defensive player of the year in the summit league last year). He’s only available for one more season, so he better make the most of this year. I’ve heard some rumblings that this is a sign that Coach Dixon is not impressed with his current stable of guards. I disagree. I think this is just a gamble free hedging of his bet. Travon Woodall would be my next choice for starting PG (I know about Ashton Gibbs and how he’s been doing ok at the point, but he’s still a natural shooting guard). Travon got hurt and sat out 90% of last year. The plan was to have him play behind Levance last year and take over this year. When that didn’t go as planned, Dixon brought in an insurance policy that doesn’t cost more than a one year scholarship we had in our back pocket anyway. I think it’s brilliant and worked out quite nicely. A team doesn’t move down in class with an experienced PG we can grab every year.
Wright is the more inconsequential of the two right now because he doesn’t come until next year. He’s a solid recruit, but not outstanding. Seems to be a typical Dixon guy. Not a prolific scorer in high school. Someone who will buy into the defense/unselfishness that Pitt preaches. We’ll see how he pans out next year.
Football Starts Practicing
The Pitt football team started practicing on the South Side again today. It’s way too early to get a read on anything, but there are a few question marks that will be fun to watch. Quarterback play first and foremost. Pat Bostick, Tino Sunseri and Bill Stull will all compete for the job with it apparently being Stull’s to loose. From what I’ve heard, Bostick had another terrific summer, so who knows what will happen with him. Maybe this is the year he blossoms into a great QB. I doubt it, though. He’s not mobile enough to be a star in the college game. However, if there ever was a year for him, this is it. He needs time to throw, and this is supposedly one of the best line’s Pitt’s seen in a while. Sunseri is a wild card because he hasn’t played a down, and hasn’t really competed for a starting job yet. Stull is the known entity. Sorta. He had a terrible second half to the season (which most Pitt fans remember and why this is even an issue). But what most people fail to remember is that Stull had a concussion against Rutgers. I noticed a drop in production after that. Maybe a summer to (literally) clear his head will do him good. Also, a change of system might help him as well. Matt Cavanaugh’s offense was basically put the ball in Shady’s hands or wing it to Baldwin. That meant most of Stull’s throws were screen passes or 40 yard bombs. Well, Stull didn’t have much of an arm, so the over the top plays didn’t work so well unless Baldwin outran his opponent by so much he had time to run under the ball (which happened). He also just couldn’t make a screen pass to save his life. I have no idea why. But he was pretty good on the few routes over the middle he threw. His strength is definitely his decision making. Frank Cignetti Jr. said he will open up the offense a little more. That could mean asking Stull to make more passes that fit his skill set. Just food for thought.
The other main concern is special teams. We have to replace a kicker, a punter and a long snapper. The long snapper is someone who no one will know once he starts playing, so why start now? I know how important that job is (just ask the Steelers), but I think as long as you do it every day and with the same holder, you’ll be fine. It’s a consistency issue. I’m not worried. The punter seems to be decided: Dan Hutchins. The kicker will either be him or Kevin Harper. Not sure about Hutchins’ kicking pedigree, but Harper was recruited as a kicker and had some impressive boots in high school. We’ll have to just see if he can handle the pressure of NCAA football.
Pitt was ranked as #1 in the Big East by the media. Most people reacted to this with laughter. Which I’m a little insulted by. What’s wrong with us being #1? We have some issues (see above), but we also have one of the best defenses in the country last year mostly in tact. I don’t get it. But I digress. If you really want to laugh, you’re not looking at the total picture. The first 5 teams were separated by only 35 points. #6 was 52 points behind #5. The #3 team had just as many first place votes as #1. The voters are clearly telling us there’s 5 teams that could win and Pitt is one of them. But, unfortunately, most people were too lazy to look at any number besides the one to the left of the team.
So that’s about it for Pitt about now. I’ll keep you posted as we get closer to the first game.