Recruiting Forum Football Talk IV

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ChattaTNVol

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Looking closer at our toss-up games for this year – Part 1

at Pittsburgh

This table shows the tenure of Narduzzi at Pitt. The numbers are national rankings. The FPI ranking is where Pitt finished the year – with the exception of 2022. The 2022 ranking is ESPN’s FPI preseason ranking for Pitt.

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Bill Connelly had Pitt ranked #13 in his Feb edition of SP+ with the offense at #15 and their defense at #31. In May he revised that to #19 overall with the offense at #20 and the defense at #30.

Connelly has Tennessee #9 overall with the 4th best offense and the 43rd best defense for 2022.

Pitt is a lot like Kentucky in my view, both in terms of talent level and coaching philosophy. Both coaches are considered by many to be defensively minded.

My issue with the analytical models in regards to Pittsburgh this year, especially FPI, is how can anyone, even a machine, really think that losing a first round NFL QB and the Biletnikoff award winner isn’t going to be a huge hit to the Pitt offense. Both Pickett and Addison were 1st team all-ACC last year.

Kedon Slovis apparently couldn’t officially win the QB job in the spring and the thing with Addison is he beat out every NFL receiver drafted last year for the best receiver in the nation award, including superstars from Ohio State, Alabama, USC, Purdue and a host of others. They were all on the watch list for the award but Addison took home the hardware. I’m skeptical guys like Pickett and Addison can be replaced without missing a beat or twelve. jmo.

Multiple betting outlets have Tennessee favored over Pitt this year by at least 3.5 points. Add in 4.0 points for home field advantage (Phil Steele research) and that would suggest maybe a 7.5 point spread on a neutral field. In that case we would have a 65.0% win probability. My conclusion is that the only reason handicappers have this as a toss-up game is because it’s on Pittsburgh’s home field. jmo.

According to ESPN Pitt’s strength of schedule for the last 3 years is worse by almost twice Kentucky’s strength of schedule. Even though we are not up to our typical talent standards, on paper at least we still have a talent advantage over Pitt. jmo.

I think this may be the “easiest” of our toss-up games this season. jmo.


Narduzzi has said his offense will be more run oriented his year. He’s had some occasional success with that before so it could work. I think this suggests Patti may get the QB job. He has some mobility whereas in 3 years at USC Slovis exhibited none, zero, zilch. It’s not like it was the USC offense that was holding him back in that regards because when Jaxson Dart took over the first thing Dart did was take off running. Well, okay, maybe not that much, but he was a net addition to the USC rushing attack. In 3 years and 27 games with USC Slovis never had positive yards rushing on the year and never rushed for a TD. Dart takes over as a freshman for the last six games last year and has 2 rushing TDs. Nick Patti was the backup to Kenny Pickett for 3 years and in limited action he rushed for 4 TDs. In fact, midway through the first quarter of the bowl game last year against Mich State he rushed for a TD and was injured at the end of the play (broken collarbone while diving for the endzone) and obviously unable to return to the game, otherwise Pitt probably wins. jmo.

Pitt returns all three of their main RBs from their rotation last year. Of course the Pitt community is pretty high on this position group but none were named to the 3 all-ACC teams last year, neither did any of them garner honorable mention consideration. Last year they had a 4th string RB that is a 240 pound bruiser and he showed out in the spring and there’s some thought that he may be a better fit for the rushing attack favored by their new OC and could possibly challenge the other 3 for the lead back position this year.

I think these are the skill position players our defense will face from Pitt’s rushing attack.

ScreenHunter 951.png

Pitt returns all 5 starters from their 2021 offensive line. Football outsiders ranked these guys 19th best in the nation last year and 115th best the year before. The Left Tackle was named to the 1st team all-ACC team last year. One Guard was named to the 2nd team all-ACC team, and the other Guard and the Center were given honorable mention all-ACC accolades last year. The other starter, the Right Tackle, is a redshirt senior this year.

At receiver they return their #2 leading receiver from last year, their #2 TE from last year (Honorable mention all-ACC), and their #9 and #10 leading receivers from last year. They brought in the leading receiver from Akron (2nd team all-MAC and Freshman All-American) to bolster the position group. He had 6 catches for 67 yards against Ohio State so he’s probably not afraid of a bigger stage. All total he had 8 TDs on the year. Anyway, in addition to losing Addison, Pitt also lost their #3 receiver and their #1 TE (2nd team all-ACC).

The thinking is there’s not a lot of difference in the QBs as to their passing ability but Slovis obviously has much more live game experience. There is, however, some thinking that he has lost his confidence so if true that’s another reason to think Patti gets the nod. If Slovis is the QB I don’t think he will be much of a threat to take off running but he may be able to keep our safeties out of the box. jmo.

Last year Pitt had the ball against us for 36:05 and we had the ball for 23:55. They ran the ball 45 times for a net of 96 yards or 2.1 yards per attempt. They scored 2 rushing TDs against us. They threw the ball 37 times for an average gain of 8.1 yards per attempt and 3 TDs including one WR pass by their #2 WR.

Pitt’s two best years running the ball under Narduzzi were 2016 and 2018. In 2016 in 13 games, they ran the ball 542 times and passed 324 times. In 2018, in 14 games, they ran the ball 571 times and passed it 316 times. Last year in 14 games they ran the ball 525 times and passed it 544 times. I think they’ll likely be throwing the ball a lot less this year. jmo.

Last year against Pitt’s offense we had 10 TFLs including 2 sacks. We had 4 pass break ups and 5 QB hurries, and of course, Christian Charles blocked their punt on their first series of the game which Small took the final 2 yards to the checkerboards the very next play. The game was pretty even statistically but we lost the turnover battle 0-3, 2 fumbles and the interception at the end of the game. Even though we gave them 3 turnovers they only got 1 FG out of those. The big negative for us was lost opportunity for our offense. jmo.

If our defense could hang pretty well with their high powered offense last year I see no obvious reason why we can't this year and owing to our relative strength against the run versus the pass we'll perhaps be in a good position to have the advantage in this matchup. jmo.

Pitt’s defense is expected to continue to be one of the best in the nation this year as they have been for the past 3 years but the strength of the defense is against the run. They were 3rd best against the run last year in yards/game. They were 114th in pass defense in yards per game allowed; we were #122. Generally when a team has a stout run defense opposing offenses tend to rely more on their passing game to move the ball down the field, especially if the pass defense is vulnerable as Pitt’s was last year. Pitt was ranked #122 in passing attempts/game against their defense last year; We were ranked #126. It seems all of our opponents, theirs and ours, were lighting up our secondaries at every opportunity.

ScreenHunter 952.png

Pitt has a number of key veterans returning. They have a 1st team all-ACC DT returning, a 2nd team all-ACC DE returning, and another DE returning that was given Honorable Mention all-ACC last year. They have a 2nd team all-ACC LB returning and a 2nd team all-ACC Safety returning. Their other starting safety is also back and received Honorable Mention all-ACC recognition last year.

The Pitt defense last year had a Havoc rate of 18.92%; ours was 17.31%. In TFLs/game Pitt was 3rd in the nation, Alabama was 5th and we were 7th. They were 23rd in interceptions per game; we were 35th. They were 14th in the nation in 3rd down defense; we were 101st.

Last year Pitt’s defense had 9 TFLs against us including 5 sacks, 2 on Milton and 3 on Hooker.

While Pitt has what many consider a stellar defensive line, other than their 2nd team all-ACC Mike linebacker they pretty much lost all their other linebackers either to graduation or transfer. They brought in a former 4-star from Notre Dame (top 100 player) but in 4 years he never did much for the Irish and last year was reportedly hampered by a shoulder injury. The consensus is Pitt is thin at linebacker this year and with no one proven other than their returning star.

In the secondary which was considered subpar last year as a minimum, they do return both safeties and one corner and they have a couple of options to replace the departed Honorable Mention all-ACC corner that moved on to the NFL.

We apparently didn’t really have any RBs all that healthy for the Pitt game last year so out of the 136 yards we rushed for against them, 103 yards came from Milton and Hooker on a combined 14 attempts. That could be different this year. Small and Wright had a combined 19 rushing attempts and totaled 33 yards with each scoring a rushing TD.

Hooker completed 15 of 21 passes (71.4%) in relief of Milton for 188 yards (9.0 yards/attempt) and 2 TDs, one to Calloway and one to Warren. His passer rating for the game was 168.54 but would have been at least 10 points higher without the interception at the end of our last series. Milton completed 7 of 12 passes for 50 yards (4.2 yards/attempt) and had a passer rating for the game of 93.33.

I think quite a number of people think that if Hooker had played the entire game last year we probably win. While that’s easy to say in hindsight it’s likely not many knew that in advance, including me and including our coaches, but I agree Hooker, given the time, in retrospect, would likely have changed the outcome of the game and so that should be an added advantage for us this year in addition to having some available healthy RBs. jmo.

I think Hooker and our receiving corps should be able to torch Pitt's secondary and if our OL can get either Jaylen Wright or Dylan Sampson to the 2nd level they're probably not going to get caught. jmo.

Given all the noted considerations, I'm inclined to believe that our offense this year will likely have the advantage against Pitt's defense. jmo.
 

Nashvegas31

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From the Texas 247 board
“Former Texas pitching coach Frank Anderson, who is currently the pitching coach at Tennessee, has turned down an offer to return to Austin to work with Longhorn pitchers, two sources close to the situation told Horns247."
Yeah he isn’t leaving Tony and those 3 studs he comes back to.
 
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Looking closer at our toss-up games for this year – Part 1

at Pittsburgh

This table shows the tenure of Narduzzi at Pitt. The numbers are national rankings. The FPI ranking is where Pitt finished the year – with the exception of 2022. The 2022 ranking is ESPN’s FPI preseason ranking for Pitt.

View attachment 468271

Bill Connelly had Pitt ranked #13 in his Feb edition of SP+ with the offense at #15 and their defense at #31. In May he revised that to #19 overall with the offense at #20 and the defense at #30.

Connelly has Tennessee #9 overall with the 4th best offense and the 43rd best defense for 2022.

Pitt is a lot like Kentucky in my view, both in terms of talent level and coaching philosophy. Both coaches are considered by many to be defensively minded.

My issue with the analytical models in regards to Pittsburgh this year, especially FPI, is how can anyone, even a machine, really think that losing a first round NFL QB and the Biletnikoff award winner isn’t going to be a huge hit to the Pitt offense. Both Pickett and Addison were 1st team all-ACC last year.

Kedon Slovis apparently couldn’t officially win the QB job in the spring and the thing with Addison is he beat out every NFL receiver drafted last year for the best receiver in the nation award, including superstars from Ohio State, Alabama, USC, Purdue and a host of others. They were all on the watch list for the award but Addison took home the hardware. I’m skeptical guys like Pickett and Addison can be replaced without missing a beat or twelve. jmo.

Multiple betting outlets have Tennessee favored over Pitt this year by at least 3.5 points. Add in 4.0 points for home field advantage (Phil Steele research) and that would suggest maybe a 7.5 point spread on a neutral field. In that case we would have a 65.0% win probability. My conclusion is that the only reason handicappers have this as a toss-up game is because it’s on Pittsburgh’s home field. jmo.

According to ESPN Pitt’s strength of schedule for the last 3 years is worse by almost twice Kentucky’s strength of schedule. Even though we are not up to our typical talent standards, on paper at least we still have a talent advantage over Pitt. jmo.

I think this may be the “easiest” of our toss-up games this season. jmo.


Narduzzi has said his offense will be more run oriented his year. He’s had some occasional success with that before so it could work. I think this suggests Patti may get the QB job. He has some mobility whereas in 3 years at USC Slovis exhibited none, zero, zilch. It’s not like it was the USC offense that was holding him back in that regards because when Jaxson Dart took over the first thing Dart did was take off running. Well, okay, maybe not that much, but he was a net addition to the USC rushing attack. In 3 years and 27 games with USC Slovis never had positive yards rushing on the year and never rushed for a TD. Dart takes over as a freshman for the last six games last year and has 2 rushing TDs. Nick Patti was the backup to Kenny Pickett for 3 years and in limited action he rushed for 4 TDs. In fact, midway through the first quarter of the bowl game last year against Mich State he rushed for a TD and was injured at the end of the play (broken collarbone while diving for the endzone) and obviously unable to return to the game, otherwise Pitt probably wins. jmo.

Pitt returns all three of their main RBs from their rotation last year. Of course the Pitt community is pretty high on this position group but none were named to the 3 all-ACC teams last year, neither did any of them garner honorable mention consideration. Last year they had a 4th string RB that is a 240 pound bruiser and he showed out in the spring and there’s some thought that he may be a better fit for the rushing attack favored by their new OC and could possibly challenge the other 3 for the lead back position this year.

I think these are the skill position players our defense will face from Pitt’s rushing attack.

View attachment 468274

Pitt returns all 5 starters from their 2021 offensive line. Football outsiders ranked these guys 19th best in the nation last year and 115th best the year before. The Left Tackle was named to the 1st team all-ACC team last year. One Guard was named to the 2nd team all-ACC team, and the other Guard and the Center were given honorable mention all-ACC accolades last year. The other starter, the Right Tackle, is a redshirt senior this year.

At receiver they return their #2 leading receiver from last year, their #2 TE from last year (Honorable mention all-ACC), and their #9 and #10 leading receivers from last year. They brought in the leading receiver from Akron (2nd team all-MAC and Freshman All-American) to bolster the position group. He had 6 catches for 67 yards against Ohio State so he’s probably not afraid of a bigger stage. All total he had 8 TDs on the year. Anyway, in addition to losing Addison, Pitt also lost their #3 receiver and their #1 TE (2nd team all-ACC).

The thinking is there’s not a lot of difference in the QBs as to their passing ability but Slovis obviously has much more live game experience. There is, however, some thinking that he has lost his confidence so if true that’s another reason to think Patti gets the nod. If Slovis is the QB I don’t think he will be much of a threat to take off running but he may be able to keep our safeties out of the box. jmo.

Last year Pitt had the ball against us for 36:05 and we had the ball for 23:55. They ran the ball 45 times for a net of 96 yards or 2.1 yards per attempt. They scored 2 rushing TDs against us. They threw the ball 37 times for an average gain of 8.1 yards per attempt and 3 TDs including one WR pass by their #2 WR.

Pitt’s two best years running the ball under Narduzzi were 2016 and 2018. In 2016 in 13 games, they ran the ball 542 times and passed 324 times. In 2018, in 14 games, they ran the ball 571 times and passed it 316 times. Last year in 14 games they ran the ball 525 times and passed it 544 times. I think they’ll likely be throwing the ball a lot less this year. jmo.

Last year against Pitt’s offense we had 10 TFLs including 2 sacks. We had 4 pass break ups and 5 QB hurries, and of course, Christian Charles blocked their punt on their first series of the game which Small took the final 2 yards to the checkerboards the very next play. The game was pretty even statistically but we lost the turnover battle 0-3, 2 fumbles and the interception at the end of the game. Even though we gave them 3 turnovers they only got 1 FG out of those. The big negative for us was lost opportunity for our offense. jmo.

If our defense could hang pretty well with their high powered offense last year I see no obvious reason why we can't this year and owing to our relative strength against the run versus the pass we'll perhaps be in a good position to have the advantage in this matchup. jmo.

Pitt’s defense is expected to continue to be one of the best in the nation this year as they have been for the past 3 years but the strength of the defense is against the run. They were 3rd best against the run last year in yards/game. They were 114th in pass defense in yards per game allowed; we were #122. Generally when a team has a stout run defense opposing offenses tend to rely more on their passing game to move the ball down the field, especially if the pass defense is vulnerable as Pitt’s was last year. Pitt was ranked #122 in passing attempts/game against their defense last year; We were ranked #126. It seems all of our opponents, theirs and ours, were lighting up our secondaries at every opportunity.

View attachment 468276

Pitt has a number of key veterans returning. They have a 1st team all-ACC DT returning, a 2nd team all-ACC DE returning, and another DE returning that was given Honorable Mention all-ACC last year. They have a 2nd team all-ACC LB returning and a 2nd team all-ACC Safety returning. Their other starting safety is also back and received Honorable Mention all-ACC recognition last year.

The Pitt defense last year had a Havoc rate of 18.92%; ours was 17.31%. In TFLs/game Pitt was 3rd in the nation, Alabama was 5th and we were 7th. They were 23rd in interceptions per game; we were 35th. They were 14th in the nation in 3rd down defense; we were 101st.

Last year Pitt’s defense had 9 TFLs against us including 5 sacks, 2 on Milton and 3 on Hooker.

While Pitt has what many consider a stellar defensive line, other than their 2nd team all-ACC Mike linebacker they pretty much lost all their other linebackers either to graduation or transfer. They brought in a former 4-star from Notre Dame (top 100 player) but in 4 years he never did much for the Irish and last year was reportedly hampered by a shoulder injury. The consensus is Pitt is thin at linebacker this year and with no one proven other than their returning star.

In the secondary which was considered subpar last year as a minimum, they do return both safeties and one corner and they have a couple of options to replace the departed Honorable Mention all-ACC corner that moved on to the NFL.

We apparently didn’t really have any RBs all that healthy for the Pitt game last year so out of the 136 yards we rushed for against them, 103 yards came from Milton and Hooker on a combined 14 attempts. That could be different this year. Small and Wright had a combined 19 rushing attempts and totaled 33 yards with each scoring a rushing TD.

Hooker completed 15 of 21 passes (71.4%) in relief of Milton for 188 yards (9.0 yards/attempt) and 2 TDs, one to Calloway and one to Warren. His passer rating for the game was 168.54 but would have been at least 10 points higher without the interception at the end of our last series. Milton completed 7 of 12 passes for 50 yards (4.2 yards/attempt) and had a passer rating for the game of 93.33.

I think quite a number of people think that if Hooker had played the entire game last year we probably win. While that’s easy to say in hindsight it’s likely not many knew that in advance, including me and including our coaches, but I agree Hooker, given the time, in retrospect, would likely have changed the outcome of the game and so that should be an added advantage for us this year in addition to having some available healthy RBs. jmo.

I think Hooker and our receiving corps should be able to torch Pitt's secondary and if our OL can get either Jaylen Wright or Dylan Sampson to the 2nd level they're probably not going to get caught. jmo.

Given all the noted considerations, I'm inclined to believe that our offense this year will likely have the advantage against Pitt's defense. jmo.
Who wouldve thought we'd play Pitt for the first time in a long time and it would be during one of their best seasons this century?

It never fails.
 

hjeagle1vol

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From the Texas 247 board
“Former Texas pitching coach Frank Anderson, who is currently the pitching coach at Tennessee, has turned down an offer to return to Austin to work with Longhorn pitchers, two sources close to the situation told Horns247."
ha FU Austin!!!
1656523662045.gif
 

Volsdeep4

#MikeHoncho
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From the Texas 247 board
“Former Texas pitching coach Frank Anderson, who is currently the pitching coach at Tennessee, has turned down an offer to return to Austin to work with Longhorn pitchers, two sources close to the situation told Horns247."
Huuuuuge
 

UpstateVol613

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From the Texas 247 board
“Former Texas pitching coach Frank Anderson, who is currently the pitching coach at Tennessee, has turned down an offer to return to Austin to work with Longhorn pitchers, two sources close to the situation told Horns247."
Would be even better if he announced “I have decided to stay at the real UT”
 

DeepPurpleFloyd

Miner 4 Truth & Delusion
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Everybody relax. I got us a room.
Can we all just let this go and blame Dick's, not for any politically motivated stance they may or may not have taken, but simply for naming themselves Dick's to begin with and leading to a lifetime of trauma and endless counseling sessions for @Glitch after discovering his Mother searching for Dicks on the web?
 

bignewt

VN's Ricky Gervais
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Can we all just let this go and blame Dick's, not for any politically motivated stance they may or may not have taken, but simply for naming themselves Dick's to begin with and leading to a lifetime of trauma and endless counseling sessions for @Glitch after discovering his Mother searching for Dicks on the web?
Touching.
 
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