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83-Steelers-43
08-15-2006, 06:42 AM
2006 Preview: Pittsburgh Panthers


Pittsburgh is a pro town that has a Super Bowl champion football team again. The city isn't going to look too kindly on another losing season from its main college team.

Head coach Dave Wannstedt is a pro coach who realizes when a talent level isn't quite where it's supposed to be. He knows his team has to be faster on defense, stronger against the run, more efficient in the passing game, and far more effective running the ball. In other words, the Panthers have to become the Steelers.

While winning a world championship isn't likely to happen any time soon, being more of a player in the Big East race would do for now. While all the attention will be paid to Louisville and West Virginia and their national title hopes, the road to the Big East championship and the BCS will literally go through Heinz Field.

Pitt might not be as talented as the Mountaineers or Cardinals, but it has some great pieces in place to work around and should be better overall by the end of the season. That means the timing is perfect; the final two games are at home against ... take a guess.

First, take a step back to last year. What went wrong in the 5-6 campaign? Getting blasted by Notre Dame, Louisville and West Virginia didn't turn out to be anything to be ashamed of. There was the nationally televised embarrassment against Ohio losing to an awful Bobcat team 16-10 in overtime because QB Tyler Palko's favorite receiver turned out to be Ohio CB Dion Byrum. A little better execution on special teams would've meant a win at Nebraska. In other words, Pitt was two plays away from being 7-4 with Wannstedt's first season being seen as a success.

The concern, of course, is how the Panthers lost to Rutgers and got pummeled 87-33 by West Virginia and Louisville. Pitt has to be better against the league's top teams considering it was the Big East champion in 2004, and it has to put a stop to the annual dog game, like the one to Ohio last season, that brings the season to a screeching halt.

Palko, LB H.B. Blades, CB Darrelle Revis and P Adam Graessle are among the best players in the conference at their respective positions. Young talent has to emerge at defensive tackle, wide receiver and running back, but the positive is the athleticism; it's better than what was there before. Now if Wannstedt could just find a way to successfully recruit Troy Polamalu, Joey Porter, Ben Roethlisberger ...

The Schedule: It all leads up to November 16th and the Backyard Brawl against West Virginia followed up by a home date against Louisville a week later. The road games aren't all that bad with only two of the five games against 2005 bowl teams (UCF and South Florida). Virginia, Michigan State, Toledo, and Rutgers all have to come to Pitt. In other words, the schedule works out as well as could possibly be expected.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Tyler Palko. He has everything you'd want in a quarterback except the ability to let a bad play go and not press when things get rough. He has the arm, the experience and talent. Now he has to become the type of player who can put a team on his shoulders and carry it to big things. He did it in 2004 and could be in for the same type of season if all the other parts come together.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB H.B. Blades. One of the nation's best all-around linebackers will try to become the first Pitt player to earn three first-team All-Big East honors. He's big, quick, and is always around the ball with 286 career tackles and 18.5 tackles for loss. He moved from the outside to the middle last season and showed he could also be strong in pass coverage.

Key player to a successful season: Junior CB Kennard Cox, sophomore CB Kelvin Chandler and senior CB Reggie Carter. Junior corner Darrelle Revis is one of the nation's most talented all-around defenders. Teams know this and aren't going to throw at him. That means Pitt needs someone else to quickly step up in place of all-star Bernard "Josh" Lay on the other side if the pass defense is going to come close to finishing second in the nation like it did last season.

The season will be a success if ... Pitt wins the Big East title. Crank the expectations up a notch. The team should be an experienced, hardened squad by mid-November. It's not often you get ten games to prepare for your two biggest home games.

Key game: November 16th vs. West Virginia. The Mountaineers have won three of the last four in the series and might be in the mix for the national title when it makes the trip to Pittsburgh. The Panthers' game against Louisville the following week won't mean much if they can't win the Backyard Brawl.

2005 Fun Stats:
- Punt return average: Opponents 17.1 yards per return - Pitt 11.3 yards per return
- Penalties: Opponents 89 for 771 yards - Pitt 69 for 593 yards
- Fumbles: Pitt 26 (lost 15) - Opponents 12 (lost 6)

83-Steelers-43
08-15-2006, 06:44 AM
2006 Schedule

9/2 Virginia
9/8 at Cincinnati
9/16 Michigan State
9/23 The Citadel
9/30 Toledo
10/7 at Syracuse
10/13 at UCF
10/21 Rutgers
11/4 at South Florida
11/11 at Connecticut
11/16 West Virginia
11/25 Louisville

BlackNGold203
08-15-2006, 06:55 AM
looks like a tougher schedule...hope they do well...

A comment...if I may.....(lol)....

I get the perception that alot of folks here dont like Pitt. Is it because they have struggled recently?

I hear alot of Penn State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, WVU, and even some Texas supporters...but very few people even mention this team.

just curious...the one thread I saw that even pertained to Pitt...about Tyler Palko...seemed to be a sounding board for people flaming this school (and Mr. Palko)...

:cool: :cool:

83-Steelers-43
08-15-2006, 07:05 AM
looks like a tougher schedule...hope they do well...

A comment...if I may.....(lol)....

I get the perception that alot of folks here dont like Pitt. Is it because they have struggled recently?

I hear alot of Penn State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, WVU, and even some Texas supporters...but very few people even mention this team.

just curious...the one thread I saw that even pertained to Pitt...about Tyler Palko...seemed to be a sounding board for people flaming this school (and Mr. Palko)...

:cool: :cool:

Well, I'm a huge PITT fan but I'm not a Palko fan. His decision making scares me. He tends to get on a roll and then throws a boneheaded INT out of the clear blue. Hence, the many :dang: over the years.

As for others on this board. I have no idea. Being born in Pittsburgh and strictly supporting Pittsburgh teams while also being a PITT alum I can't imagine rooting for another college or pro team. Even if I wasn't a PITT alum I would still root for them simply because they are a Pittsburgh based team.

No matter how bad our local teams stink, I could never image rooting for another college or sports franchise. I wouldn't be able to live with myself and when all is said and done; it's just wrong.

X-Terminator
08-15-2006, 07:47 AM
I'm a Pitt fan, but I don't like the direction the football program is going at all. Maybe it'll take some time for Wannstedt to put his stamp on the team, but let's face it - their recruiting leaves a lot to be desired and their coaching has been absolutely horrible. The fans are just tired of the mediocrity, especially when they see WVU and Penn State getting their programs back into the national spotlight.

BlackNGold203
08-15-2006, 07:48 AM
I'm a Pitt fan, but I don't like the direction the football program is going at all. Maybe it'll take some time for Wannstedt to put his stamp on the team, but let's face it - their recruiting leaves a lot to be desired and their coaching has been absolutely horrible. The fans are just tired of the mediocrity, especially when they see WVU and Penn State getting their programs back into the national spotlight.

i hear ya there bro....

Curious...do you think the change to Heinz Field affected anything???

There certainly is no longer a "campus feel" to Pitt games...ya know???

:cool: :cool:

Jeremy
08-15-2006, 08:44 AM
I'm a Penn State fan, but I don't hate Pitt the way some Lion fans hate Pitt. I'm happy when they do well, but I don't know how successful a team is going to be when veterans are quiting the team the first few days of fall practice.

83-Steelers-43
08-15-2006, 08:52 AM
Good news for the two freshman: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06227/713570-233.stm

Good recruiting news: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_466077.html

X-Terminator
08-15-2006, 09:18 AM
i hear ya there bro....

Curious...do you think the change to Heinz Field affected anything???

There certainly is no longer a "campus feel" to Pitt games...ya know???

:cool: :cool:

I do think that has something to do with it. I've never been a fan of a college team playing in a pro stadium, and I was against the move before it happened. Not only that, but they share the Steelers' training facility on the South Side, so even that isn't on campus. They needed to upgrade their facilities and stadium, sure, but there had to have been some way to keep them on campus.

At least the Petersen Events Center is nice...

Hines86Ward
08-15-2006, 10:58 AM
I'm a pretty big Pitt fan. All I'm gonna say is that if Wannstedt keeps trying to run the ball all the time & act like we have a solid running game, then it's going to be a looong season....We haven't sent out a solid RB to the NFL since Kevan Barlow, but since then we've sent out WR's like Antonio Bryant & Larry Fitzgerald. We had the nickname "WR University" for those years. We need to pass the ball more, Palko is not bad like everyone says he is

83-Steelers-43
08-15-2006, 02:37 PM
Bad as in throwing a football or personality wise? Palko having a nasty tendancy to force the ball is noted throughout this city. I can't imagine what that offense would look like it if we start "Air-Palko". If anything, he's hyped in this city more than he deserves. I guess after a while, mediocrity is embraced and accepted.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06223/712744-233.stm

Black@Gold Forever32
08-15-2006, 03:03 PM
looks like a tougher schedule...hope they do well...

A comment...if I may.....(lol)....

I get the perception that alot of folks here dont like Pitt. Is it because they have struggled recently?

I hear alot of Penn State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, WVU, and even some Texas supporters...but very few people even mention this team.

just curious...the one thread I saw that even pertained to Pitt...about Tyler Palko...seemed to be a sounding board for people flaming this school (and Mr. Palko)...

:cool: :cool:

I like Pitt. I like the NFL more then college. But Pitt is one of the college football teams I follow and root for. The other is Michigan. Growing up and living Big 10 country you tend to follow that conference. So I started pulling for Michigan a long time ago. The two college teams I hate the most are Notre Dame and Penn State. I also can't stand any of the Florida college teams. The U, Florida State and Florida.

Haiku_Dirtt
08-16-2006, 04:39 PM
I like Pitt. I like the NFL more then college. But Pitt is one of the college football teams I follow and root for. The other is Michigan. Growing up and living Big 10 country you tend to follow that conference. So I started pulling for Michigan a long time ago. The two college teams I hate the most are Notre Dame and Penn State. I also can't stand any of the Florida college teams. The U, Florida State and Florida.


Echo this. I add Bob Stoops and OU into the "hate category". I don't dislike the Wolverines but I was at the Rose Bowl to watch Bo's last game and for obvious reasons rooted for the opposition.

My family has close ties to U of Pitt so they're my team east of the Pasadena Frwy. I expected a lot more from Dave Wannstedt but there is a lot to fix and recruiting is so freaking hard for the Panthers. Looking at the schedule it looks like 6-6.

Steelers
08-17-2006, 11:24 PM
Big Pitt fan and a sophomore here. I'm predicting 9-3 this season. All their toughest games are at home and players are more comfortable with the system.

83-Steelers-43
08-17-2006, 11:49 PM
I'm going with eight wins tops......that's me being optimistic.

SteelCityMan786
08-18-2006, 11:45 AM
From a Penn State fan PREDICTING PITT

9/2 Virginia L -You better be ready to fight against Virginia they don't lose easy
9/8 at Cincinnati W-Cincy lost too much
9/16 Michigan State L-Michigan State is a rising team in the Big Ten. If it wasn't for PSU they would have been in a Bowl game last year.
9/23 The Citadel W- Lose to the Citadel, Pitt minus just forefit the rest of the year
9/30 Toledo L- Don't doubt the MAC. A couple teams are improving
10/7 at Syracuse W- (see The citadel comment)
10/13 at UCF L- Central Florida is not as bad as one may think. They don't lose easy at home
10/21 Rutgers L- Rutgers will continue they're revival this year. They'll beat Pitt if key mistakes are made
11/4 at South Florida W-The Bulls are awful. They lost a lot. Not the same team that almost beat Penn State Last year.
11/11 at Connecticut L- Uconn is no team to mess with at home
11/16 West Virginia L- Slaton and White have big days. The game will be over by the end of the 1st quarter
11/25 Louisville L- Louisville isn't as weak as one thinks. I just have some feeling that Pitt will lose to Louisvlle. I can't think of a reason they beat Louisville.

Games that could go either way
Rutgers, Toledo, Michigan State, Uconn

I don't think Pitt is completely adjusted to Wannstedt yet. But give them a couple years, Pitt could fight for the Big East again.

Hines86Ward
08-18-2006, 12:35 PM
I think Pitt can win 7 games this year

Ambridge
08-27-2006, 01:36 PM
2006 Schedule

9/2 Virginia L
9/8 at Cincinnati W
9/16 Michigan State L
9/23 The Citadel W
9/30 Toledo W
10/7 at Syracuse W
10/13 at UCF W
10/21 Rutgers L
11/4 at South Florida W
11/11 at Connecticut L
11/16 West Virginia L
11/25 Louisville L

I think Pitt goes 6-6.
Depending on what kind of teams are returning at Rutgers and UConn maybe they get a couple more wins and go 8-4.

Haiku_Dirtt
08-28-2006, 05:10 PM
Big Pitt fan and a sophomore here. I'm predicting 9-3 this season. All their toughest games are at home and players are more comfortable with the system.

9 and 3 eh? Not impossible. The first game against Virginia is very critical. I guessing it sets the tone for the younger players. Building confidence in the program is a must.

If they go into Syracuse with a 4-1 record then who knows. They could get to a good bowl game. Is it going to be easy to get tickets for the opener? I'm going to be in town that day.

83-Steelers-43
09-02-2006, 11:26 AM
So they are not televising the PITT vs Virginia game today. FSN Pittsburgh would rather show me back to back highschool football games and the UCLA vs UTAH game. I can view the PITT game if I order ESPNU. Then after the PITT game is over I will be stuck paying for a channel in which I won't ever watch for the remainder of the season.

Nice.

83-Steelers-43
09-02-2006, 09:15 PM
PITT with the 38-13 win over Virginia. Very nice way to start off the season.

Tyler Palko went 17/22 for 286 yds with 3TD's and 1INT

LaRod Stephens-Howling, 17/58 yds

Oderick Turner, 2/93 yds, 1TD

Steelers
09-03-2006, 06:49 PM
PITT was firing on all cylinders last night!

Hines86Ward
09-03-2006, 07:19 PM
I didn't see the game. But from the stats & score, it sounded like Pitt kicked their ass....I like that, it's a great start to the season. That was a big game for them

SteelCityMan786
09-03-2006, 09:22 PM
Well Pitt proved me wrong Saturday. Let's see how many more times.

Ambridge
09-04-2006, 06:36 AM
Well Pitt proved me wrong Saturday.

Same here.
I was surprised how easy they rolled over UVA.

Haiku_Dirtt
09-10-2006, 02:46 AM
6-6 or 9-3? I picked 6-6. But if a strong showing against Virginia came to roost then who knows.

Is it premature to think that Pitt is back? Yes and no. I caught the game against Cincy while in PGH and I sensed a little skepticism -amongst fans. The VA and Cincy games got me pumped up.

Question: Does Wannstead know how to harness this momentum if they lose a game or two?

Pete Carroll made the NFL to NCAA transition. But Carroll had the benefit of adopting a team recruited by Paul Hackett. I can?t stand Hackett as a coach ? actually irate he was hired period ? but he can recruit. FOR THE RECORD: Paul Hackett was the one who recruited Troy Polamalu.

The intensity is noticeable with Pitt. Bodies are flying. Those of you who thought 9-3 may be in the bulls eye IF they don?t get ahead of themselves. And this is where coaching matters bigtime. Cowher proves it in the NFL. Carroll in the NCAA.

The spotlight is on Wannstead to keep an even keel. Even if it means a slower progress than what we want.

Steelers
09-10-2006, 08:58 AM
If we win against MSU this Saturday, we can ride that momentum all the way to WVU. If we lose though, we'll probably pick up more losses to the likes of Rutgers and USF.

BlackNGold203
09-10-2006, 09:20 AM
Hmmmm...

didnt Palko go into Notre dame a couple tears ago and throw 5 TD passes??

Looks like Morelli fell JUST a lil short of that yesterday....LOL

Do some people still really think Morelli is better than Palko??

SteelCityMan786
09-10-2006, 10:38 AM
If we win against MSU this Saturday, we can ride that momentum all the way to WVU. If we lose though, we'll probably pick up more losses to the likes of Rutgers and USF.

Saturday is definantly big for Pitt as well as Toledo. Michigan State nearly stole Penn State's Big Ten Title and BCS Birth last year having only lost by 9. I wouldn't be surprised if John L who happens to be on the hot seat this year is able to get his troops ready for this one. I can easily see a dog fight if both teams are playing well early.

Steelers
09-10-2006, 09:46 PM
If Pitt beats MSU, and MSU beats PSU, can Pitt have the Land Grant Trophy? Since JokePa won't play Pitt, it's as close as we can get.

SteelCityMan786
09-11-2006, 05:10 PM
If Pitt beats MSU, and MSU beats PSU, can Pitt have the Land Grant Trophy? Since JokePa won't play Pitt, it's as close as we can get.

Hate to break it to ya. But The Land Grant Trophy is as good as Penn State's for another year. Michigan State unless a miracle happens will have all hell brought on them when they come to PSU. JoePa wants to play Pitt but they can't come to an aggreement and Penn State has 1 more with Notre Dame, Syracusex2, Alabamax2. Earliest I could see Penn State/Pitt being renewed is 2011.

I.C. Lights
09-11-2006, 08:49 PM
I'd love to watch a pitt/penn st. match up!

Lyn
09-16-2006, 09:50 PM
Wooooooooooo Hooooooooo MSU tromps Pitt

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile:) Go State!~

SteelCityMan786
09-16-2006, 09:56 PM
After a game like this It should be a good game between Penn State and Michigan State(as of this point). We'll see how the rest of the year pans out. A lot of football still to be played though.

83-Steelers-43
09-16-2006, 10:08 PM
Oh well. All is not lost in my opinion. Team is young.

Pittsburgh will live to fight another day. It's the Pittsburgh way. Some get it, some don't. :smile:

SteelCityMan786
09-16-2006, 10:24 PM
Oh well. All is not lost in my opinion. Team is young.

Pittsburgh will live to fight another day. It's the Pittsburgh way. Some get it, some don't. :smile:

Well said 83. Very sportsmanlike. Pitt lost to a very improved Michigan State team. I think if Pitt finds a way to erase the memories of this week they could improve.

Lyn
09-16-2006, 11:12 PM
Michigan State is not a good team, not in the big 10. If they win another game it will be a miracle lol, like I said even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.

83-Steelers-43
09-16-2006, 11:14 PM
Well said 83. Very sportsmanlike. Pitt lost to a very improved Michigan State team. I think if Pitt finds a way to erase the memories of this week they could improve.

Thanks brother. I try to be.

We kind of knew it wasn't going to be an easy game. When MS has it's offense going, it's pretty damn good and hard to stop. But like I said, we are still young. It really didn't come as a shocker that we lost this game.

Lyn
09-16-2006, 11:17 PM
Pitt seemed to tire out or so it appeared on tv

:eyecrazy:

83-Steelers-43
09-16-2006, 11:26 PM
Pitt seemed to tire out or so it appeared on tv

:eyecrazy:

Ya think? lol. Actually, it was your TV playing tricks on you. :blurp:

SteelCityMan786
09-17-2006, 09:57 AM
Ya think? lol. Actually, it was your TV playing tricks on you. :blurp:

LOL.:sofunny: :sofunny: :sofunny: Way to use the sarcasm.

steelcurtain09
09-30-2006, 02:11 PM
51-6 expected
45-3 against Toledo. they werent supposed to win by this much.
this team is the BEAST!!!

Steelers
09-30-2006, 05:33 PM
Pitt, 4-1 :smile:

wadester47
09-30-2006, 10:26 PM
Sweet ,
roll on PITT roll on!!!

steelcurtain09
10-08-2006, 04:25 PM
5-1
still 4 cakewalk games till ther season begins

but i do see some chinks in ther armor
in the third and fourth quarter they missed a lot of tackles

one bright spot. the running game. u gotta love 200 yards out of Stephen-Howlings(sp?). i dint even no he was injured b4 now. wit him healthy they r now somewhat 2 dimensional.

two more pieces. Clint Session rocks, and Derek Kinder is gonna get the Biletnikoff sometime soon, either this year or next.

SteelCityMan786
10-08-2006, 04:32 PM
The State College Of New Jersey AKA Rutgers isn't a pushover. They have been getting better as of late. I wouldn't be surprised if a FG kick is needed to win that one for Pitt or Rutgers.

steelcurtain09
10-13-2006, 04:03 PM
Pitt-UCF is on TV tonight.
i no wht im doin 2nite

steelcurtain09
10-13-2006, 08:43 PM
38-0 after one half in the game
now we get to see 2nd and 3rd strings the rest of the game

steelcurtain09
11-11-2006, 06:40 PM
wow
big fall from 6-1
to 6-4
they can still get to good bowl game if they beat both WVU and Louisville but i doubt tht will happen.

SteelCityMan786
11-16-2006, 03:19 PM
6-6 looks like your 2006 season. Possibly 6-7 pending who you play in a bowl.

PisnNapalm
11-16-2006, 09:33 PM
I was watching some of the Pitt / WVU game tonight and for some reason I thought of an old tshirt I had as a kid. I couldn't imagine why it popped into my head. I remembered that it was gold in color and was dedicated to a football player that was paralyzed. Beyond that I couldn't remember. I thought maybe it was a Pitt player, but it didn't seem right.

Eventually I did remember the name though, Jeff Boynton. So I dug around on the internet and found this single reference to him.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05203/542006.stm

""There's also the unnecessary injury risk. It's impossible to proceed here without mentioning Jeff Boynton, who was a star at Plum High School and headed to a scholarship at West Virginia when he was paralyzed in an all-star game in Mt. Lebanon in 1978.""

I grew up in Plum Boro. I think the tshirts were sold to help his family cover medical costs.

I also remember his number was 22. I wonder whatever happened to him? Does anyone know?

Maybe it was the WVU reference that triggered something in my memory. I dunno.... I'm a little freaked actually.

Cape Cod Steel Head
11-25-2006, 05:52 PM
They Suck! Who is the defensive coordinator? There D has more holes than a sponge.

SteelCityMan786
11-25-2006, 05:55 PM
They definantly need a new defensive cordinator. Wanstedt's D Cordinator isn't getting it done. I'd be shocked if they get a bowl bid better then whatever the Big East's Lowest Bid avaliable.

Cape Cod Steel Head
11-25-2006, 06:04 PM
They definantly need a new defensive cordinator. Wanstedt's D Cordinator isn't getting it done. I'd be shocked if they get a bowl bid better then whatever the Big East's Lowest Bid avaliable.I wouldn't want to see them embarrass themselves in a bowl.

SteelCityMan786
11-25-2006, 06:18 PM
They would suffer their 2nd straight losing season guaranteed.