Sam Werner's Pitt football chat transcript: 10.11.12
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pittisit: With the 11:00 start and it being homecoming, what's your predictions on attendance?
Sam Werner: I'll be generous and say I expect a late-arriving crowd this Saturday. A quick perusal of Pitt's website shows that you can still buy blocks of eight tickets together in the upper level near midfield. The 11 a.m. start, while not all THAT different from a noon kickoff, won't help.
That said, if there was one game to be scheduled for an early start, homecoming is probably your best bet. There will be a lot of people who had been planning to come to this game for a while, so the start time will just be a minor inconvenience. Basically, homecoming means a lot of people would have come regardless of the start time, so that helps.
LetsHang50: Drew Carswell's body of work the past 2 seasons, in my opinion, has been less than impressive. Alligator arm versus WVU last year, and a crucial turnover and dropped pass last week. Is this an effort/attitude thing? Or just simply not making a play at critical time, and it getting magnified?
Sam Werner: Gotten a couple of questions about Carswell, who we actually talked to offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph about yesterday. Rudolph said that Carswell would probably be the first to admit that he had a poor game against Syracuse, but that he was really pleased with his performance in the prior two games. He had that long reception that kind of set the tone against Virginia Tech, and Rudolph said Carswell did a lot of the little things right (blocking, etc.) in place of Hubie Graham.
Based on what Rudolph said, it seems like it was just a case of a couple of bad mistakes coming at critical times. He seemed very pleased with what Carswell has given him overall this season so far.
Jimbo: Who is having a better senior season...Stull or Tino?
Sam Werner: From a stats perspective, so far, it's definitely Tino. He has more yards than Stull did through five games of his senior season and a high passer rating. Stull finished that year with a 150.6 passer rating (Tino is currently at 164.7), 2,633 yards and 21 touchdowns. If Sunseri keeps up his current pace, he'll blow past all those numbers.
The difference, obviously, is that Pitt was winning games Stull's senior year Through five games, the Panthers were 4-1 and 1-0 in the Big East, instead of 2-3, 0-2.
I asked Tino yesterday if he could take some solace in his strong play despite the loss, and he said not really. He said that the final drive, with the intentional grounding and the sack, is how he grades his game because that was the most important series of the game.
Guest: Is Shell's injury something to be concerned about long term? Is he practicing this week?
Sam Werner: Rushel Shell was back in practice this week, and all accounts point to him being back to 100 percent in time for the game. I would expect to see him used pretty much the way he was against Virginia Tech and Gardner-Webb. If he's rolling (like against the Hokies) they'll probably stick with him.
As far as a long-term prognosis, he said last week that he didn't anticipate it being a problem. Obviously, that's what any player is going to say in his situation. Back spasms are always sort of a tricky issue, and he said that it's apparently just the way he was born. However, now that the doctors and training staff are aware of it, they'll know the best way to handle it so it won't be an issue in the future. Not saying it definitely won't come up again, but they'll take the precautions necessary.
PittLovesMitt: Sam, is Pitt's line that bad, or did they really miss Shell that much?
Sam Werner: I think it's a little of both. They definitely missed having Shell just as a sort of change-of-pace guy to spell Ray Graham when he wasn't really getting his yards. Given his limited role in the offense with Shell out, it doesn't seem like they really think of Isaac Bennett as an every-situation type of back, the way they do with Shell and Graham.
Friday was also not a good day for Pitt's offensive line. The Orange didn't blitz much, but were able to clog up the holes and not let the offensive line get any push. This sort of inconsistency is somewhat typical of a young offensive line (with the exception of Turnley and Jacobson). They were great against Virginia Tech, but couldn't handle Syracuse. Paul Chryst talks a lot about consistency, and the offensive line is one unit that needs to show it.
Guest: Other than Shell and Holtz, are the other 2012 Freshman likely to redshirt, Bisonwaty?
Sam Werner: At this point, yes. If a freshman hasn't seen the field by now, they're almost certainly going to redshirt. That means everyone except Holtz, Shell and Darryl Render will be saving a year this season (Jahmahl Pardner played, but will get a medical redshirt). The only exception I can see is if things got really dire from an injury perspective. If the offensive line got ravaged by injury, they could be forced to play Bisnowaty. Same thing in the secondary with Ryan Lewis. I think that's an absolute worst-case scenario at this point, though, and you can plan on those guys saving a year of eligibility.
Seveo Buds: Dorian Johnson or Robert Foster, If Chryst could only have one which one does he take?
Sam Werner: I'd think Chryst would probably take Dorian Johnson. Foster certainly looks like he's going to be a stud, but all of Chryst's great offenses at Wisconsin were built around a rock-solid offensive line. Especially with a run-first coach, offensive linemen are more valuable than receivers. To some extent, linemen are more sure-things than skill players, too.
Guest: Is Mason now the 2nd team middle linebacker? At one time, he wasnt even on 2 deep
Sam Werner: He's still not technically on the two-deep, for whatever that's worth (hint: very little). But given what we saw Friday night, it certainly looks that way. I know Joe Trebitz (the listed second-teamer there) has been a little banged up, but Mason went out there when Shane Gordon had to sit out a couple of plays. The coaches obviously trust him enough to put him out there in key situations, not just the junk time we saw him play against Gardner-Webb.
Guest: What is Manny WIlliams status for the louisville game?
Sam Werner: Not sure right now. He was in practice yesterday in full gear, so that's a positive sign. Chryst will have his final injury update this afternoon, so make sure to check back on Redshirt Diaries later today to see who's good to go and who's not against Louisville.
Sweet Caroline: I like Chryst but is this year sort of a free pass for him? He seems way too relaxed during the press conferences after a loss.
Sam Werner: Well, given everything that has happened at Pitt over the last couple of years, I think there's less than a zero percent chance that Paul Chryst's job is in any kind of jeopardy. As for the relaxed nature, that's just who he is. He's a really laid-back guy and doesn't let many things bother him.
He's definitely not happy losing, but one of his biggest messages for the team is keeping the same mindset and consistency whether things are going well or going poorly. He's the same guy whether they win by 50 or lose by 30, and I think that's a valuable trait for a football coach.
ghost of JoePA: Did anyone ask Coach Chryst why a back of tight end isn't used more to block for Tino in obvious passing downs like the 4th quarter against Cuse?
Sam Werner: I think they were. In reference to the costly cornerback blitz that really swung the game, that was just a case of no one picking up the blitzing man before the play. That responsibility could fall on anyone on the offense. Ryan Turnley took the blame after the game, but anyone -- Tino, the RBs, any other offensive lineman -- could have picked it up as well and shifted protection accordingly.
Bob Dylan: Hi Sam:
Sam Werner: Whoa! Bob Dylan!
bens pumpfake: how much can we expect to see todd thomas play this week?
Sam Werner: Probably a bit more than you did against Syracuse. Subtle plug for the Todd Thomas story I wrote for today's P-G (http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/pitt-big-east/so-far-third-times-a-charm-for-pitt-linebacker-thomas-657055/).
Thomas played mostly in Pitt's dime package against the Orange, but said this week that he hopes to work more in the base defense as the season progresses. The defense will probably work from the base against Louisville a lot this week, so they'll have to find some ways to work Thomas in. Defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable said that, given Thomas' athleticism and talent, he's excited to find ways to get him on the field.
Guest: Chances Corey Clement keeps his commitment to Pitt? It seems one minute he says he is still committed to Pitt and then other times he is keeping everyone in dark
Sam Werner: I think the chances are actually fairly solid. Predicting anything in football recruiting is a fool's game, but I get the sense that Clement is just sort of keeping his options open. I know that he does like Pitt and there's a reason he committed to them in the first place.
Chryst and the staff will have to keep working at him and keep reminding him why he likes Pitt, but I think he will stay committed.
PittLovesMitt: Sam -- what college football stadiums (not counting the one that sits beneath Touchdown Jesus) are on your bucket list? Any games you have to see live? Army-Navy? LSU-Bama?
Sam Werner: Hmm..interesting question. I've been to most of the Big Ten stadiums, but I've never been to an SEC game before, so I'd love to go experience the culture down there (Tailgating at the Grove at Ole Miss, especially). Army-Navy is definitely up there just for the pageantry of it.
I think Autzen Stadium in Oregon would be a neat place to see a game, particularly when the Ducks are as good as they are now. Another stadium I'm looking forward to hopefully visiting when Pitt starts ACC play is Death Valley at Clemson. Seems like an incredible atmosphere.
Enough Excuses: RIP Beano Cook, College football won't be the same. http://t.co/RWGWGdxZ
Sam Werner: That's a shame indeed. Beano was truly a Pitt and college football legend, and we'll definitely miss him.
KRF: Why does Peterson want to continue a series with Iowa? I see no benefits for recruiting and it's not that big of a draw. Same with Utah. Is there no SEC teams we could match up with. Even an Ole Miss or Tenn would be nice, I don't expect LSU or Bama even though WVU and PSU could get them.
Sam Werner: I don't think Pederson ever specifically suggested continuing the Iowa series, just that he was interested in scheduling some Big Ten teams to fill the non-conference spots. I don't think any Pitt fans be upset about a home-and-home with Michigan or Nebraska?
The problem with scheduling an SEC team (in addition to the current talent gap) is that you'd have to do it on their terms. The Bama/PSU series was a serious exception to the general rule that SEC teams hate playing non-conference games north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Sam Werner: Alright, folks, that's all the time I have for today. Make sure to check the Redshirt Diaries later today for the final injury updates, and join me again next week for the Pitt football chat.
First Published October 11, 2012 1:03 pm
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