Pitt Stripe Out

The name says it all!
abpk2903
Official BleacherCoach
Official BleacherCoach
Posts: 3316
Joined: December 7th, 2004, 2:36 pm
Reputation: 93
Contact:

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby abpk2903 » December 13th, 2017, 11:03 am

Man, it may not be a lot of numbers but literally every playmaker that I seen on the field for Pitt this last year seems to be graduating or leaving.  Weah, Maddox, Flanagan, Whitehead, Henderson all gone at the skill positions.  They lose 3 of their 5 OL if O'Neill does leave including both tackles.  That is tough.
Question for Pitt fans.  As of December 2017, what are the 2018 expectations.  I probably watched 6 Pitt games or so this year and those names listed above (along with Hall, Ollison, and Ffrench) seemed to be the only ones that I noticed.  As a non-Pitt fan, I have a hard time even seeing them getting back to the 5 win mark next year without knowing their schedule.



  • Advertisement
User avatar
Crimson's Ghost
Moderator Team
Moderator Team
Posts: 8782
Joined: June 24th, 2011, 10:43 am
Reputation: 513

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby Crimson's Ghost » December 13th, 2017, 11:13 am

As mentioned before, Pitt had one of the youngest teams in the country, 9 returning starters on a defense that got better throughout the year, and many expect it to be better next season.  Losing Whitehead and Maddox hurts, but the promise of youngsters like Paris Ford and Damarri Mathis filling in, is pretty exciting.

Pitt fans really like Kenny Pickett, and the offense starts with him.

Both top 2 running backs are back with Ollison and Hall. Plus they are sitting on 2 former 4 stars that have high expectations. Hall was really good down the stretch. Think it finally clicked for him. 

Pitt gets the return of swiss army knife fullback, George Aston which will be key. He scored 10 TD's in 2016, not having his versatility hurt this past season.  He did a lot to make the 2016 offense as good as it was. 

Leading receiver Rafael Araujo-Lopes is back, along with Aaron Mathews and Maurice Ffrench.  Tre Tipton will return from injury. Should be some capable players there. 

Matt Flanagan is no loss, Chris Clark is back, and there's still expectations he lives up to his billing, plus Charles Reeves redshirted this past season, and he was highly thought of out of high school.

The Line is the question mark, Alex Bookser is a good one. And Jimmy Morrissey is OK, finding three other starters is going to be interesting.


Whitehead hurts since he was a solid 3 year starter, and could do some things on offense.  Safety recruiting has been one of Narduzzi's stronger areas, so while it's a loss, they probably can absorb it better than other positions. 

Maddox was underappreciated here. But he was pretty good, and started a lot of games.  He had the strip sack to beat Miami, and had a key INT in the near upset of VT, and he did all that with one arm.  Dane Jackson is the best corner on the team, but Maddox's leadership will be missed. 

Weah was better in 2016 than this past year, a lot of that had to do with the QB situation.  Still he's a frustrating player because he drops a lot of passes. He finished second on the team in catches this year.  Good player, they'll need to find a top WR to replace him, but they aren't losing Larry Fitzgerald with this kid either, he can be replaced. 

If O'Neill does indeed leave, it'll be a tough one to overcome.  He's very good.

Henderson will be missed on special teams, but hardly missed on offense.  The Jet Sweeps of 2016 were not there in 2017, and he never really tried to become a better receiver.  Lopes is a better straight up slot receiver, and Ffrench can handle any running duties.   But as a return man?  Yeah we'll see.  He was elite back there, so finding a return man like that is never easy, but obviously there are candidates. 



I'd say anywhere from 7-5 - 9-3 is the expectation.  The Schedule is hard, but the team will be better.  I'm going to say 8-4, with the cautious optimism in 2019 they breakthrough for a division title.   I think Pitt will beat Penn State this year given the roles will be reversed.  PSU will have like 17 new starters, and Pitt will return around 17 starters. (I've kinda thought the home team would win each game in this four game series given how the rosters stack up in terms of experienced)

abpk2903
Official BleacherCoach
Official BleacherCoach
Posts: 3316
Joined: December 7th, 2004, 2:36 pm
Reputation: 93
Contact:

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby abpk2903 » December 13th, 2017, 12:39 pm

Man, I trust your insight with Pitt athletics more than anyone but I just must be missing something.   They really only return 2 RBs and a FB on offense.  They need to replace the majority of their offensive line (4 of the top 6) which will eliminate a lot of the ability to just grind out the run game, they lose the 3 players that keep defenses the most honest and can take the top off the of defense in Weah, Henderson, and Whitehead, they are going to have a 1st year QB, and they are losing 3 of the 4 TEs listed on the roster. 
As far as beating Penn State, they might.  Penn State is not losing as much as you really think.  They are returning the entire offensive line, their 3rd year starting QB, 2 of their 3 top receivers.  That offense should still be very good next year.  Especially in the passing game. Defensively they will still be good on the edge.  The top 6 DEs in the rotation return, both outside LBs return, and they get their best cornerback back after a spring ACL injury.  They just will need some good development up the middle of that defense.  I think a 8-10 win campaign is the realistic expectation for Penn State fans for next year (assuming Barkley does go get rich).

User avatar
Crimson's Ghost
Moderator Team
Moderator Team
Posts: 8782
Joined: June 24th, 2011, 10:43 am
Reputation: 513

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby Crimson's Ghost » December 13th, 2017, 1:04 pm

The schedule is tough, but I think they are better than the 4 wins you are expecting them to have.  Again, I really think the optimism is around the youth of the team. They only lose 10 seniors, 3 early NFL entrants.  

From the box score of Pitt's win over top 10 Miami, Pitt returns 16/22 starters from that game, and off the participation report, Pitt returns 24/28 additional players used in that game.  And gain back presumed starters George Aston, Tre Tipton, and Quintin Wirginis for next season. Plus Narduzzi's highest recruit he's ever landed is expected to step right in and play next year in Paris Ford. Pitt's whole team were mainly freshmen and sophomores and it showed at times throughout the year, there's a jump expected for a young team.  They played better in the second half of the season for the most part, especially the defense. 

User avatar
Crimson's Ghost
Moderator Team
Moderator Team
Posts: 8782
Joined: June 24th, 2011, 10:43 am
Reputation: 513

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby Crimson's Ghost » December 13th, 2017, 1:08 pm

I think they have capable backs, some experience at receiver, some talented yet unproven tight ends.

It comes down to, is Kenny Pickett as good as he was in beating a top 10 team? And can they find 3 capable offensive linemen to fill out the starting lineup?

abpk2903
Official BleacherCoach
Official BleacherCoach
Posts: 3316
Joined: December 7th, 2004, 2:36 pm
Reputation: 93
Contact:

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby abpk2903 » December 13th, 2017, 3:00 pm

I hope you are right in your optimism but I think a lot of times people overvalue those lower on the depth chart of their own team while expecting their opponents to not have a replacement for the stars they are losing. The games that I watched, I noticed a lot of Maddox, Whitehead, Henderson, Weay, and Flanagan.  The offensive lines also looked very big and physical.  Taking just a few playmakers off of Florida's team this season took them from probably a 9 or 10 win team to a 5 win team.  NFL athleticism is very hard to find and harder to replace.

I could do the same for Penn State.  They lose 10 starters due to graduation/leaving early but they have 5* recruits in Wade, Sanders, and Shane Simmons stepping in for 3 of those spots.  They also were able to get their 2 and 3 deep rotation a lot of work throughout the year in blowouts.  Their second team got at least a series in 8 of the 12 games so far this year.  Most games they got nearly at least a full quarter of reps.  At the same time, I'm sure Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State have highly touted recruits stepping in for the seniors they are replacing too and had blowouts, as well. So I try not to think that this 5* or experienced 4* recruit will have better results than a talented young kid at another school.

User avatar
Crimson's Ghost
Moderator Team
Moderator Team
Posts: 8782
Joined: June 24th, 2011, 10:43 am
Reputation: 513

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby Crimson's Ghost » December 13th, 2017, 3:40 pm

How do we usually base projections going into next year for college? We look at starters from the previous year generally and start there. So if the majority of the team that handled 10-0 Miami is returning, it's not a stretch to think they'll be good in the following season. That's kind of been my logic.   I think 16 starters returning is pretty good, I think getting 3 would-be starters back is good.  It's one thing to hope for guys buried in the depth chart to become impact players right away like you mentioned Penn State was doing getting some kids in the game during blowouts, it's another to have a lot of young guys playing and playing meaningful snaps during a game.  I think that's where Pitt was this season. They were young, and had young guys playing in important spots all season long.  I didn't watch much Penn State, but you said Wade and Simmons only played in blowouts.  I think those are two different kind of reps in my opinion.  Pitt isn't banking on a lot of kids that haven't played being good, because they already played this past season. 

But maybe I'm way off, and they'll be 3-9. We'll see. 

User avatar
Crimson's Ghost
Moderator Team
Moderator Team
Posts: 8782
Joined: June 24th, 2011, 10:43 am
Reputation: 513

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby Crimson's Ghost » December 13th, 2017, 3:44 pm

And Matt Flanagan was bad, he's no loss. He missed the block that allowed Max Browne to get hurt and caught like 11 passes this season.

User avatar
Crimson's Ghost
Moderator Team
Moderator Team
Posts: 8782
Joined: June 24th, 2011, 10:43 am
Reputation: 513

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby Crimson's Ghost » December 13th, 2017, 3:55 pm

abpk2903 wrote:I could do the same for Penn State.  They lose 10 starters due to graduation/leaving early but they have 5* recruits in Wade, Sanders, and Shane Simmons stepping in for 3 of those spots.  They also were able to get their 2 and 3 deep rotation a lot of work throughout the year in blowouts.  Their second team got at least a series in 8 of the 12 games so far this year.  Most games they got nearly at least a full quarter of reps.  At the same time, I'm sure Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State have highly touted recruits stepping in for the seniors they are replacing too and had blowouts, as well. So I try not to think that this 5* or experienced 4* recruit will have better results than a talented young kid at another school.


Yeah like Penn State kids got some mop up duty, and I think Pitt was relying on their young kids more.   Penn State had 8 senior starters on defense by my count, and relied heavily on 3 guys on offense that won't be there next year with Barkley, Hamilton, and Gesicki.  We'll see, but if they only played in mop up duty, it may take them a month to get to a point of being really good. 

McSorely may carry them early but he seemed worse this year than in 2016. I would be concerned how good he'll be without the three big players that have carried Penn State's offense, not to mention Joe Moorehead.  Sow we'll see.  They have 4 OLinemen back, but isn't that a team weakness?  If Barkley had more room to run, he'd be holding the Heisman right now wouldn't he?  So unless Miles Sanders is every bit as good as Barkley, have to think the rushing game gets worse. 

User avatar
Crimson's Ghost
Moderator Team
Moderator Team
Posts: 8782
Joined: June 24th, 2011, 10:43 am
Reputation: 513

Re: Pitt Stripe Out

Postby Crimson's Ghost » December 13th, 2017, 3:57 pm

I think both teams have a lot of questions that need answered. Replacing 8 defensive starters, an AA Tight End, the school's all-time leading receiver and perhaps the best player in the country along with a very good OC seems like a way more daunting task.


Many thought Pitt's biggest loss was Matt Canada going into this season, I don't think that was entirely true but at times it was. I can see PSU being a little lost at times without Moorehead.


Return to “College and Professional Sports”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests