Originally written on Pitt Blather  |  Last updated 11/17/14

Well, it could be worse. At least Pitt isn’t involved in an ongoing academic scandal that could impact its basketball and football program. Oh, and now losing a top fundraiser because he started taking trips with the mother of a former basketball star of the school on said school’s dime. Yeesh.

The new depth chart for the VT game is out, and there are a few changes (PDF, page 3). No, not to the QB. Going to have to let that one go for another week, people.

Bryan Murphy will start at DE on the other side of T.J. Clemmings. Jack Lippert will now back-up Clemmings and redshirt freshman Devin Cook will be behind Murphy. Shayne Hale has dropped off the two-deep. Jarred Holley is back as the only starter but at strong safety. Ostensibly he shared the starting free safety spot with Andrew Taglianetti in the first two games, but he was out on the field for the entire Cinci game. Jason Hendricks has moved in front of Ray Vinopal (who simply hasn’t looked good in the games) to be the starter at the free safety. (Honestly, I don’t know if that was some sort of typo in the 2-deep with regards to free and strong safety listings.)

Ronald Jones dropped off the two-deep at WR, with Josh Brinson in his place. And that is the extent of any changes to the 2-deep.

Don’t think the defense hasn’t been really bad so far? In two games this is what the defense has done:

  • 65 points allowed
  • 8-8 on scoring opportunities in the red zone
  • 845 yards in total offense
  • 382 passing yards
  • 463 rushing yards
  • 1 sack
  • 0 interceptions
  • 0 fumbles

Pathetic only begins to describe the defense’s performance to date. No pressure up front. No contain in the middle. No coverage behind. Waiting for the blame to fall on Sunseri for this as well in 3… 2… 1…


From a notes piece at the end of last week. As much as this season may be done. There really aren’t a lot of changes to the line-up that can help for this year. One more reason why the more the losses pile-up, the more likely the line-up changes that will have to happen will be about the future.

So, after being unable to handle a dual-threat QB in Cinci, a bigger version comes to Heinz Field on Saturday. Great.

Go figure. It’s frustrating to only move the ball between the 20s.

Recruiting better is always the hope for the future. But you still have to coach and try to win with what you have now.

Over in Wisconsin, they reacted to two games of bad times with the O-line by firing their new O-line coach.

When UW coach Bret Bielema hired [Mark] Markuson in the offseason, it was considered to be a coup at the time. Markuson spent the last 14 years coaching offensive lines in the Southeastern Conference at Arkansas and Mississippi. Since 2003, he coached six different players who earned All-America honors.

But Markuson had big shoes to fill, following Bob Bostad, who was regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in college football. Bostad originally left after last season to go to the University of Pittsburgh, after former UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst was named the head coach there. Bostad left Pitt after a short time to become an NFL offensive line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Markuson and some of the team’s veteran linemen admittedly had problems adapting to each other during spring practices, but both sides said the situation got better during preseason camp.

However, UW’s inability to run the ball in the first two games may have uncovered deeper issues that UW’s players were not adjusting well to Markuson’s schemes and techniques.wise.

It does seem like a panic move after two games — though Bielema stressed that he slept on the matter. An interesting counterpoint, though, raised by Big Ten Blogger Matt Hasty. By taking this kind of action, it was a rare admission by a coach that the coaching was the problem more than the players or “execution.”

The one thing I will say about it for Pitt and Coach Chryst. He just saw his friend and former boss make a tough call by pulling the trigger and firing a coach that — in his mind — wasn’t able to do the job. That is another part of being the head guy. Chryst went out and hired people he’s known or has personally been recommended to him by friends and family. Will he be able to/willing to see which coaches are not doing the job or will he just conclude it was in the execution by the players?


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