Friday, December 19, 2008


Can everyone please stop complaining about Tyrell Biggs shooting the ball? Seriously. I have been very critical of Biggs over the last several years and have always been underwhelmed by his play. I always felt like he could be more physical, be a tougher defender and do a better job rebounding. This year, however, he looks to be improving and gaining confidence in himself. But to complain about him shooting the ball is ridiculous. Complain about his rebounding or maybe his lack of intensity, but not his shot selection. He is currently 8-15 from three-point land. Two things: first, he has only attempted 15 three-pointers this season. That isn't that many through 11 games for a guy who is playing the minutes he does. Second, the guy is shooting over 50%. Not only is that a simply outstanding percentage (I know he doesn't have that many attempts) but he leads the team in percentage right now. We should be thanking Biggs for boosting our putrid three-point shooting percentage. Additionally, if he can consistently be somewhat of a threat to shoot that shot not only does it make for a tough matchup, but it will pull defenders out and open up lanes for Young and the others. Your stroke looks great so far, keep shooting it, Tyrell.

And just saw that Fittipaldo agrees.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pitt out on Cheek Sweepstakes

I think everyone knew this was going to come. Cheek is down to Kansas and Nova. O well, good luck to Cheek. I really think coming to a school like Pitt would be a great choice for any wing player. Sam Young is going to depart freeing up many shots. There is no real go to player on the outside and that role could be filled by a freshman. The shots will be open and the lanes will as well because I see a lot of teams focusing on defending Blair and Taylor next year. Another thought: It seems Pitt has this stigma that it can't get guys to the NBA. High School kids seem to be caught up in this. The truth is, NBA scouts will see you wherever you go. Especially at Pitt, which is constantly in the media and has been the top program in the best league in the country. Pitt has 5 out of the last 9 players named most-improved by the Big East. That means they are developing talent. Once Young and Blair are in the league I think this stigma will start to disappear. The reason Pitt hasn't gotten guys to NBA is they haven't had NBA talent. But they do a great job of developing players and their skills. Look for Pitt to put the full court press on DeAndre Kane to lock up a shooting guard to complete the class. This could be more difficult now that Connecticut is involved. Hopefully, Blair can swing his old teammate to the Panthers.

All Big East announced

It went kind of as I thought it would go. Brown is the offensive MVP, and McKillop the defensive. CJ Davis, Mccoy (unanimous), and Lee join Mckillop on the first team.
- second team surprise: Aaron Berry at DB? interesting. I think AB can be a good player if he gets his head on, but this year he did struggle many times. I guess the coaches saw differently. Maybe he is a better player than people have been thinking.
- Romeus also a second team guy.

- I really was hoping McCoy would win the Offensive MVP. Yes, Brown is a good player, but UCONN was not a very good team. Every other award in America your team needs to win for you to win. Example (Larry Fitzgerald losing the Heisman to Jason White). But Brown is a heck of a runner and props to him for what he did with that horrendous quarterbacking.
- I am surprised that Mick Williams and Jabal Sheard did not receive any mention. The havoc that both of these guys created week in week out was impressive. Especially Williams, as a DT you usually don't see guys making as many plays as him. I think both of these guys have potential to be 1st teamers next year. I also think Greg Williams if he progresses more could be an all league player. I love his speed and the way he flies to the ball.
- Overall the awards mean nothing but they are nice. It is good for Scott to go out as the D player of the year. Shady is clearly the most talented player in the league at this point, I believe that will be justified whenever he decides to go on to the NFL.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Texas QB has Pitt on top of his list

Kolby Gray a 6 foot 2 inch 182 lb. Quaterback from Cypress Falls High School of Houston Texas has put Pitt on the top of his list. I don't have a rivals password but from what I can see in the little info they give, Gray has Pitt at number one after a visit from Phil Bennet. Gray apparently is going to choose overall between Pitt and Utah but right now says Pitt is number one. If anyone has more info that'd be great to hear.

Thoughts: Gray seems to fill a void that many Panther fans have had an issue with. That issue is that our QB's that can throw the ball lack mobility, and those that can run, lack a passing attack. Gray looks like a kid that could grow into an excellent QB, that can buy time in the pocket and make throws. Check out his youtube highlights, just search his name. He looks pretty darn athletic and looks to be a tough physical kid. Also ESPN has evaluated Kolby: You can find there evaluation here: along with highlights.
Basically, they seem to think the kid looks better every time they watch him. They say he can really develop into a special player, even though he is a little raw right now. Rivals lists him as a 4.48 40 yard dash. I know high schoolers often exaggerate their times, but if a QB lists that high, he must at least be mobile enough to escape a rush. Also, on his video he looks plain fast. I'm excited about this kid and hope the Panthers can lock him up.

Some other important thoughts:
- Phil Bennett is recruiting him. Pitt has long had a hand in Florida. Under Harris they recruited heavily there, and under Wanny they are continuiung that trend. Bennett really gives them another fertile recruiting area to exploit. This is huge because Texas, much like Florida, has so much talent that it can't all be taken by the large schools. Many times, diamonds in the rough type players can be found in these states. See Antonio Bryant. Hopefulyl Bennett can stay around and open a solid pipeline in Texas. (The Panthers have also recently pulled 2 hoops recruits from Texas, so hopefully Pitt is becoming better known in the state. Playing a bowl game there can't hurt either).
- Second: This kid also had offers from Utah, Boise St., and Vanderbilt. When I think of these three programs I typically think of strong QB play. These schools seem to be good evaluators of talent in that area. So again, I really hope that Pitt can lock this kid up.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What to watch: Pitt vs. UCONN

3. Brown and McCoy
A lot has been made about these to backs going head to head. Even though they are on opposite sides of the ball, you can bet they both want to stake their claim as the best RB in the BE. They should be fun to watch considering these may be the two best backs in the nation (although both were snubbed from the Doak Walker award final list).

2. Can Bennett exorcise another team that haunted Rhodes:
Phil Bennett has proved that he could do something Paul Rhodes couldn't: His defense shut down navy. Bennett's group also put together a great showing vs. WVU, which Rhodes finally did in his last year as well. UCONN has haunted the panthers the past fewyears. I think Bennett will have the guys ready to go today.

1. Bill Stull
For Panther fans all eyes will be on Stull. He has been under heat recently, however, I think most people believe he is the only option right now. One thing that we know is Stull is a tough kid. I think he'll bounce back today, but it will be interesting to watch.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sun Bowl Bound?

So with the Gator Bowl inviting Clemson, it pretty much looks like Pitt will be headed to the Sun Bowl to face a Pac 10 foe. With Clemson in the Gator, North Carolina will most likely be playing in teh Meineke Car Care Bowl, this should send Rutgers to the bowl. I suppose the Sun Bowl could take WVU, but this seems unlikely.

VOTE for Pitt to go to the Sun Bowl. The poll is on the left side. Not sure it means anything, but let's let the Sun Bowl folks know we want Pitt to be there.

Stull WILL be the guy

The Stull to play or not to play question seemed to fire up quite a few readers, so I wanted to continue the discussion. In short, Bill Stull will be the guy going into the next two games and next season. To everyone who is so upset with his play: I'm not sure what your expectations were of him. Does this team need better play from the quarterback position if its going to be a contender nationally and within the Big East? You bet. But mark my words, Stull gives them the best chance and he is going to be the starting quarterback the remainder of this season and next.

Some things to keep in mind:

There is nobody else to play. Remove Kevin Smith from the discussion completely. He has demonstrated that he is completely inept. Pat Bostick is horrible. He can't run and he can't throw. Yes, he was the starting quarterback in some big wins, but the offense certainly didn't shine in any of those wins. I'm not sure how you can call for Stull to be benched when Bostick is the next guy in line. Last year when he was the starting quarterback he threw 8 touchdowns vs. 13 interceptions. So far this year Stull has thrown 7 touchdowns to 8 interceptions. Bostick had a passer rating of 111 (last in the Big East), and while Stull's is nothing to gloat about, he does hold a 124 which is good for 5th in the conference. Last season, Bostick threw for 1500 yards on 252 attempts. Stull has thrown for 2163 yards on 288 attempts this season with one game remaining.

Also, let's try to keep in mind that Stull is still adjusting to the position. I would hope that he improves as he'll have several weeks of practice and an extra game with the bowl and then continue to mature through spring ball.

In 2003 Rod Rutherford led the conference in pretty much every statistic related to quarterbacking. He finished first in completelions (247), yards (3679) and touchdowns (37) to interceptions (14). In his first season as a starter, however, Rutherford's statistics were comparable to Stull's. 129 passer rating, 2783 passing yards and a completion percentage of 52.3 (Stull's is slightly better at 59.4%). Also, in their first season's under center Rutherford and Palko took 44 and 38 sacks, respectively. Stull has been sacked only 22 times to date. Part of this is due to a stronger offensive line, but Stull may actually be better at getting rid of the ball. If you look at sacks per attempt Rutherford was sacked 38/409 (9.3%) and Palko was sacked 44/367 (1.20%) while Stull was sacked only 22/288(7.6%). I'm not claiming that Stull will be better than Rutherford or Palko, he probably won't. But I think we need to keep in mind that he is young and still developing as a quarterback and decision maker and that there is room for improvement. One needs to look no further than the drastic improvement Rutherford made between his first and second seasons under center.

Someone made the comment:

Why do we have to be happy with "good enough"? Why can't we want good? Especially since there's lots of "good" around on the offense.

Well, we have to be happy with "good enough" for now because he's literally all we have. There is no doubt we need to recruit talent at the QB position, but that isn't going to help us this year or next.

So let's all temper our expectations and try to be a little more patient with this kid's development.

Hail to Pitt!

Enough is Enough Already!

In today's Post-Gazette Pitt football Q&A with beat writer Paul Zeise nearly every questions pertained to Bill Stull and whether or not he should still be quarterbacking this team (most were negative). My question to the Pitt fans out there is this: Who the hell do we think we are? Do you think a Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy is sitting somewhere on the bench buried in the depth chart below the likes of Pat Bostick and Kevin Smith. Did you watch the Notre Dame game? Smith was a deer in headlights and Bostick (yes I know we won the game) was horrible. He is incredibly unathletic and slow and makes far worse decisions than even Stull has. Gimme a break! Its getting ridiculous.

Disgruntled Panther fans, please wake up, you need a reality check. I was at the Brawl this past weekend. It was a great game to be at, but I was absolutely sick to my stomach as Panther fans actually had the nerve to boo Stull and the Panthers as they came of the field before half time. Yes, the last offensive play of the half was horrendous. It was an awful call by Cavanaugh and a terrible throw by Stull. But booing the team (a team that went into halftime with a lead mind you) that had completely manhandled the Mountaineers for 30 minutes of play was shameful. And I know the scoreboard didn't indicate it, but Pitt had just played a tremendous half of football aside from 2 key mistakes (the missed Lee field goal and the Stull interception). And yes, both of them were costly, but these kids certainly did not deserve to be booed coming off the field. It made me sick to my stomach. Think of what the players thought or prospective recruits for that matter. Who wants to go to a school where the fans boo the home team when they are up going into half time. What a joke.

Pitt fans need to step back and re-evaluate. This is not the 1976 team. Nobody expected them to be. This IS, however, a good football team. A team that has come from behind to win no less than five times this season. This season is a stepping stone. We have a young team that is going to make mistakes, but you cannot argue that this team isn't talented and doesn't have heart. They have accomplished a great deal this season. Their record stands at 8-3 and they have a chance to lock up a 10-win season with a win over Connecticut and a subsquent bowl victory.

As for Stull (I know I got a little sidetracked)he is hands down the best we have right now. He isn't the best QB in the conference, but he is more than serviceable. He is not all that experienced, but he has done a decent job when he has time to sit back and throw the ball and is put in a position to succeed. By position to succeed I mean in manageable down and distances (not asking him to throw a fade ball to score a TD before the half from the 1yd line). He hasn't played well the last two games, but at Cincinnati protection was mediocre at best and there were several drops by our receiving corps. In the brawl he made some ill-timed bad decisions. I'm sure he knows it though, and will improve. It was infuriating to me to hear the guys sitting behind me calling for Stull's head and referring to him as a "piece of shit". That kind of commentary is despicable, especially when Stull is the best option we have. The bottom line is that he is a relatively inexperienced quarterback. He has played well at times and made mistakes at others. He WILL continue to improve as he gains more confidence in his reads and gets more help from his line and wide receivers. But he is our best quarterback and those questioning his position in the starting lineup need to take a seat.