Sam Werner's Pitt football chat transcript: 9.6.12
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What is your prediction for the Pitt/Cincinnati game tonight?
Blowout Cincinnati win: (19%) Close Cincinnati win: (24%) Close Pitt win (52%) Blowout Pitt win (5%)
Sam Werner: Alright, everyone. Glad you all could join me for this first Pitt football chat. Rare gameday chat today. Pitt vs. Cincinnati in the Big East opener at Nippert Stadium tonight. Let's get started ...
Bob: If trading were allowed in CFB, what position/type of player do you think Pitt would try to deal for and what position/players would they be OK giving up?
Sam Werner: Interesting question. Really, the question is where they have depth vs. where they don't. I think the player they (and pretty much any team) would try to trade for is an offensive or defensive lineman. College football games are won and lost in the trenches, and you can never have enough depth there. Both lines were depth concerns heading into the season, and last week did nothing to dissuade that notion.
As for what positions they'd be OK giving up, I think the answer is safety. They've got four quality players for two spots (three when they go nickel) in Andrew Taglianetti, Jason Hendricks, Ray Vinopal and Jarred Holley. It says something that Holley, an all-Big East guy last year, came off the bench in the opener.
Kevin: Do think Shell gets some carries tonight?
Sam Werner: Yes. I'd be very surprised, shocked even, if Shell doesn't play tonight. He'll definitely be third in the rotation behind Graham and Bennett, but the staff made it clear heading into the season (prior to his suspension) that he would play this season. Plus, it wouldn't make much sense for them to bring him back from suspension and put him on the 65-man travel roster if they didn't plan on using him. I think he'll probably get around five carries or so tonight, just to give him a little taste of what major college football is like.
Wanny Apologist: How have the suspended players responded this week and do you think they got the message? Which will receive significant playing time tonight @the Nipp?
Sam Werner: We've had limited access to players this week given the short turnaround, but all indications are the suspended guys responded well this week. I'm not sure Chryst would have let all of them come back if they didn't. Chryst said Tuesday that the entire team, including the suspended guys, have been upbeat in practice despite everything that happened on Saturday night.
As for which ones will play tonight, I expect all four guys that were on the travel roster (Ezell, Hale, Shell and Jones) to play at least some minutes. Ezell is listed as the starter on the two-deep, so he'll probably see the most action. Which makes sense, because Pitt needs all the d-line help it can get.
Chris: Was Tino's performance last week encouraging because of his numbers and few mistakes, or discouraging due to so few points and plays made?
Sam Werner: I think Tino's performance last week is actually very encouraging for this season. Like you said, no interceptions and relatively few mistakes. Sure, he missed a few throws to some open guys, but if this team is counting on Tino Sunseri to make plays on offense to be successful this season, it's going to be a long year. He threw 30 times, which I think everyone will admit is too many, but that was mostly a product of trailing the whole game. I think they'd like to limit Tino to around 20 throws per game.
Doug: What is the mood of the team and coaches?
Sam Werner: Surprisingly upbeat, given what happened last week. I think they all realize that there's really no good in dwelling on what happened. They can't go back and un-lose to Youngstown State now, so the only thing to do is move forward and hope they make the loss irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Everyone in the Big East is still 0-0 and other teams that suffered FCS losses (i.e. Michigan in 2007) have bounced back to have successful seasons.
TacoFromTheSouthHills: Is there a chance the track could bend?
Sam Werner: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.
Pitt Panther Pride: Do you think that if Coach Chryst would have played the defensive scheme that Coach Graham played last year, Pitt would have had a better defensive game against YSU? - Coach Graham's defense had hybrid players, and the D played well last year
Sam Werner: I do think there's something to be said for the defense switching schemes so much over the last few years. There are some pretty significant philosophical differences between the 3-4 and the 4-3, and these guys have bounced back and forth numerous times over the past couple of coaching changes.
That said, though, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for Chryst to go with a system he and his staff aren't comfortable with. There may be some growing pains, but in the long term this is his system and he believes in it. That's a better long-term plan than running a gameplan you don't know well. Plus, remember, most of these players were recruited for Wannstedt's defense, which is more similar to Chryst's than Graham's.
Sweet Caroline: Is there a chance we will see more blitzing tonight given the lack of pressure on the QB last game?
Sam Werner: I don't think so. I think, given what Munchie Legaux showed last year, Pitt's going to dare him to beat them with his arm. He only completed 47.4 percent of his passes last season and had 5 TDs to 4 INTs. If they blitz too much, and he can escape the pressure, that's a lot of open field for him to make stuff happen in. If I'm Pitt's defense, that scares me more than the chance of him sitting back and picking the defense apart.
john shaplye: is mark caprara going to play this year? at what position?
Sam Werner: Caprara practiced at linebacker this fall, but I would expect him to redshirt this year.
pittisit37: sam, i wrote you on twitter about the r word and you said it was too early to use that word. how can it not be when you consider the past 3 season and the turmoil, and if pitt slides do you think we see tino benched for getting the youth experience?
Sam Werner: By the 'R' word, he means 'rebuilding,' just for the record.
Sam Werner: And I still think it's too early. Like I said earlier, Tino was hardly the problem last week and I think he actually did alright. Barring injury, Tino's going to be the quarterback this season. It's just too difficult for a true freshman to come in right away and be effective at the quarterback position; there's a reason it rarely (if ever) happens. I think Voytik is better served in the long-term redshirting this season, and catching up to the game mentally, rather than being on the field.
Sweet Caroline: Sam, do you care if the names are on the jerseys? Why was that such a focus this week?
Sam Werner: Personally, no I don't care what the jerseys say. I think it was a focus this week because it was sort of the one tangible change that Paul Chryst made in week one. From the sound of it, it was a decision made by the coaching staff, namely Chryst. Some players may not like it, but that's tough on them. I don't believe any of the nonsense that it'll hurt recruiting or anything like that. USC has never had names on their jerseys and they're doing just fine.
DT: who on cincinnati's squad should we be concerned with on either side of the ball? they lost a dynamic rb in pead from last year and i know legaux is a somewhat exciting player, but more so as a scrambling qb
Sam Werner: Their offense will definitely be a little bit different his year without Pead or Zach Collaros. I'd expect more read-option plays with Legaux and running backs George Winn and Jameel Poteat, both of whom played in relief of Pead last year. On defense, I'd be concerned about Cinci's two defensive ends. Walter Stewart and Dan Giordano combined for 11 sacks and 20 TFL last season, so Pitt will need to keep them contained.
Vugu18: Were the mistakes last Saturday more physical or mental breakdowns?
Sam Werner: Both? Everything? There were certainly mental breakdowns in terms of positioning and play recognition, but also physical breakdowns in poor tackling and just bad line play.
Sam Werner: Alright, folks. That's all for now. I'll be on the blog tonight checking in from Nippert Stadium. You've got seven and a half hours to finish all your daily duties before it's football time. Have a good one!.
First Published September 6, 2012 4:11 pm