I'm proud to announce that Cardiac Hill has officially joined the SB Nation network. You can view the new site at http://www.cardiachill.com/.
There will be no further posts on this site so head on over there.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Pitt received its 18th verbal commitment overall and second running back commitment today from Jeremiah Bryson out of Tennessee. Bryson is a two-star recruit as rated by Scout and a three-star as rated by Rivals.
Bryson reportedly had offers from eight schools including Pitt, North Carolina, Maryland, Illinois, and others.
Linebackers coach Bernard Clark, who played in college down south at Miami, was the recruiter.
The big story on Bryson is that he's trying to rebound after an amazing freshman year, when he rushed for nearly 1,300 yards and had 17 touchdowns. We all know message board fodder needs to be taken with a heaping tablespoon of salt, but this Tennessee Vols' board lit up after his freshman year and four touchdown/170 yard performance in the state championship game. He 'only' had about 1,450 yards in his sophomore and junior season combined, failing to reach 1,000 yards in each. Injuries have limited him in the passt a bit over that time.
Since then, he's been focusing on being more of a straight forward runner instead of going side to side:
Jeremiah Bryson's teammates have made a request of the Smyrna standout senior.
They want the old Bryson — the one who ran for nearly 1,300 yards as a freshman and was a key cog in Smyrna's second Class 5A state championship.
And that starts with his running style.
"My teammates have talked about it," Bryson said. "They want to see the Jeremiah from my freshman year. My sophomore and junior year I thought I could run outside. I'm trying to take it back to my old self. Instead of going east and west I want to go more north and south."
Looks like he's doing just that so far this season as he's averaging about 100 yards per game, his highest total over his career. In his last game, he had 125 yards and two touchdowns. He also is doubling as a defensive back this year.
I'm not saying that Pitt is desperate for running backs at this point. They've got Ray Graham for at least one more year next season and Jameel Poteat is a four-star recruit coming in next season as well. But this looks like a pretty good get for someone rated so low. The rating (particularly the two-star) is most assuredly due to the somewhat down seasons he had as a sophomore and junior. But if he gets back up to over 1,000 yards this season, that rating will likely improve.
The Pitt women's basketball team schedule has been released and it's highlighted by home games against UCONN and Duke. Pitt is also participating in the Las Vegas Hoops Classic and will play two games, facing Texas Tech and Texas Arlington.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I don't know why...don't ask. But I've had a real problem getting up for this game. Maybe it's because my expectations are lowered since the Utah game. The more and more I think about this game, the more I can't help looking ahead to Pitt's real season - the Big East schedule. If Pitt were undefeated and in the top ten, I'd feel much differently.
But any way you look at it, it's still a game of significance.
For starters, the game will have pre- and post-game shows on the new Pitt network.
Okay, so these schools do have some history including the epic 1997 game:
The Panthers and Hurricanes, of course, used to be Big East brothers before Miami bolted for the ACC. Pitt only beat the the Hurricanes once during their Big East days, also on a Thursday night in 1997.
I was at that game as a student and remember it being a pretty big deal around campus. Because the game was on a Thursday, I think total attendance in classes that Friday campus-wide was somewhere in the dozens. Even though Miami wasn't the Miami of old, they were still ranked somewhere around #17 or #18 and it was considered a big win.
Then of course, there's the history between the two coaches:
Even deeper than that, though, is the connection between the two head coaches. Pittsburgh's Dave Wannstedt helped recruit Miami coach Randy Shannon out of high school when he was the Hurricanes' defensive coordinator under Jimmy Johnson. Wannstedt then went on to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, which drafted Shannon in the final round.
Later, when he became coach of the Miami Dolphins, Wannstedt promoted Shannon on his staff. He also helped him land the defensive coordinator job with the Hurricanes from there.
And then there's Pitt linebackers coach Bernard Clark, who played at the U - he'd like to see his linebackers step up:
His main concern is production and big plays. The linebackers have yet to produce a sack or a tackle for loss.
"I've been their worst critic, probably harder on them than they are on themselves," Clark said. "We have a lot more to go, they've played good, I'll say, but not to the level we think they should play at but each week they are getting better. I thought from the Utah game to the New Hampshire game, they got better."
So Pitt and Miami are familiar with each other. What else?
Well, speaking of linebackers, Coach Wannstedt says Dan Mason may not play. At all:
Sophomore middle linebacker Dan Mason, demoted to second team last week, may not play against Miami, according to coach Dave Wannstedt. Max Gruder is starting at middle linebacker, and Tristan Roberts will make his first career start at weak-side linebacker. Greg Williams will move to strong-side linebacker. When asked how the Panthers will use Mason, who was in Jason Douglas' car during a recent arrest, Wannstedt said, barring an injury or some other factor, "I don't know if we will. As of right now he is not on the depth chart as a starter, and he's not starting on any special teams," Wannstedt said.
Personally, because of his role in the Jason Douglas/DUI incident, I'm not sure he should be playing. But since he's not suspended, I'd be surprised if he didn't play at all. I think he sees some time, even if it's only limited.
Dave Wannstedt also covered a lot of ground in his press conference. Out of everything, this is what may have stuck out the most to me:
“He’s got it all. The second play of the game, if he’s forced to play, he’s capable of doing that. We don’t have anything different for Dion (Lewis) than we do for Ray. They’re both interchangeable.”Um, interchangeable? Really? I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. Funny what a difference two games can make. Lewis was a Heisman trophy candidate and two games into the season and we're ready to call it a wash between he and Graham. Wow...not sure I'm buying that just yet. In looking at the entire context of the quote, I don't know if he really meant to use that specific word or that he's saying Graham is as good as Lewis. But just the fact that we're talking about them being interchangeable parts shows just how true 'What have you done for me lately' really is.
Meanwhile, on the Miami side of the ball, it's hard to get a handle on just how good Miami may be. Like Pitt, they're 1-1 and lost their one challenge of the year and handily won against a weaker opponent.
One thing we know is that they have a somewhat dangerous quarterback, but one prone to mistakes:
Miami quarterback Jacory Harris has thrown for four touchdowns and four interceptions through two games this season, and in 2009 he hit on 24 scores but also threw 17 picks.
That may be true, but we'll have to see how Pitt's secondary responds. They haven't exactly been world beaters. Some good news is that the secondary may get Dom DeCicco and Andrew Taglianetti back.
Also on an anciliary note, Pitt will be bringing back several hundred players, enough to rival the approximate 500 that helped close Pitt stadium:
Should be a fun night. Well, if the Panthers win, anyway.Some of the players that are already confirmed include Tony Dorsett, Jimbo Covert, Bill Fralic, Ruben Brown, Al Romano, Randy Holloway, Jim Sweeney and former Pitt head coach John Majors.
“It was my job to get in touch with these guys, which we have over 330 guys (coming in),” Clancy said. “We had guys call in (Thursday). I talked to Ruben Brown, he’ll be in. We’re going to get close to 375 guys, 300 to 400 guys. There’s going to be some guys who call up, last couple of days like they always do. I’m surprised we have this many, this early.”
Seriously, despite the sarcastic title, this is good news for Pitt. I've long been a kicker and screamer when it came to not being able to see every Pitt game. And now with the 'Pitt Network', it looks like that problem is solved.
Well, at least if you have Comcast. If you have FIOS like me, you're out of luck.
Other Big East schools have apparently done this as well:
Pederson said other schools in the Big East Conference such as Connecticut and Syracuse have announced similar initiatives, and that it is seemingly the way many athletic departments are headed.
To start, this isn't a full-blown network. From what I understand, it won't be 24/7 coverage like an actual television station. But it will have regular coverage of basketball games and other Pitt stuff.
And by the way, this is really an extension of something Pitt has done in the past. They've used the channel 188/210 before to televise games that otherwise couldn't be seen. It just wasn't on a regular basis. It looks like this will cover any non-televised basketball game as well as things like pre- and post-game shows, press conferences, etc.
“What we’re trying to do is look at where we are right now,” Pederson said. “Things like that, like a (Big East) network, are a number of years away. “We have a great partner in Comcast. We have fans who love content. We’re going to go ahead and push forward as an institution, everything that we can find to put on the air for our fans. This is additive program that we haven’t been able to bring our fans before, and we’re very excited about that."
Stuff like this Pitt network are great for fans, but as far as putting actual dollars into Pitt's pockets, I think it probably does very little. A Big East network, something I've pushed for a great deal, is really what needs to be done if the Big East wants to have a more secure future. And soon.