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Keys to Victory at Pitt

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1.  Run Andre Run.  Let Andre consume the clock leaving the Pitt O on the bench.  A team's best D is a running O.

2.  Consistency from PJ and the WR's.  No early INTs from PJ and Jackson & Green need to catch the dang ball.

3.  Eliminate turnovers - The universal game changing stat.

4.  Play traditional USF defense.

5.  Stop the run make the Pitt O one dimensional

6.  Pressure Palko all day long.  Royals & T.Jones must have strong preformances.  Would prefer to pressure w/4 but if Nicholas must blitz, send him.

7.  DB's can't give up any big plays.  Make Pitt score on long drives.  I don't believe they will be capable of more than one or two drives more than 50 yards.

Our Bulls must be prepared and have thier "A" game.  Pitt is not going to roll over for the Bulls.

I'd prefer to see a conservative game plan in the first qtr. so the Bulls don't fall behind on unforced TO's.  My biggest concerns is Palko will have a breakout game vs. USF.

I think USF will be the second best D PItt has seen after NE.  I watched NE vs. TxTech.  The Bull D is prolly very close if not as good but the Bulls DL is not as deep.  The Bull LB core is probably better with the NE DBs slightly more experienced but USF may be faster.  Pitt only scored 6 vs NE.  I expect the Panthers to score about 13 maybe 17 O points vs. the USF Bull D.  I expect the Bulls to be able to put 28 up on the Pitt D if Criminatti can score 24.

BTW, did anyone notice that Wannstedt is the only coach that didn't wear a suit tto the preseason coaches media day and in the coaches BE commercial he's not wearing a suite.  Even Leavitt who IMO is probably the last guy I'd expect in a suite bought a tie b/c he forgot one for that day.  It kinda goes to show that maybe Wanna-be a Head coach-stedt might lack taking care of details which may be the result of his less than stellar HC tenure at Miami 'Phins and now at Pitt.

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Here are my top five keys:

1) Show up.  Yes, we all know about the vaunted USF reputation at Heinz field, but it's hard to win there if you're sitting at the hotel or even back in Tampa.  The Bulls need to make sure they make it to the stadium.  Pitt may have a chance if there is no opposing team on the field.

2) Dress appropriately.  Pitt's defense may hit like a girl, but helmets and shoulder pads are necessary.  The men's soccer uniforms will confuse Palko and company for a while, but eventually they may get the picture and start scoring.

3) Play football.  I know that a Pitt football game can be a good time to practice your cricket or field hockey skills, but the referees will penalize you for that.  USF has done a great job of limitign penalties, so no one wants to get unsportsmanlike conduct for trying to play curling in the endzone.  Pitt could win unless USF actually plays the same sport.

4) Don't tie one hand behind your back.  This Pitt team has trouble hitting water when falling out of a boat.  While it would be nice to level the playing field, tieing one hand behind your back may not be the way to go.

5) Breathe.  Sure, Pittsburgh is a northern, dirty, polluted, stinking town - but oxygen deprivation can be a tough hurdle to overcome.  It's best if the USF Bulls actually breathe while they play.



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Bulldoug, I disagree on a couple points:

5.  Stop the run make the Pitt O one dimensional.

If you mean one-dimensional in terms of passing all the time, that's just what we DON'T want. With Tyler Palko, they're actually good at throwing the ball. Just review the second half of the Rutgers game or the last drive of the Ohio game. If Pitt had called plays like that the whole season, they'd probably be 5-1 right now.

But unfortunately for Pitt, their new coaching staff is obsessed on establishing a power running game, even though their personnel is completely wrong for it. The Pitt offense doesn't concern me as long as they're trying to pound the ball with their injured running backs behind their mediocre offensive line. It's when Pitt gets behind, and game circumstances force the offense into the correct strategy, that they become dangerous.

6.  Pressure Palko all day long.  Royals & T.Jones must have strong preformances.  Would prefer to pressure w/4 but if Nicholas must blitz, send him.

I'm not so sure about blitzing Palko. When Pitt gets behind and starts passing the ball, it's all three-step drop/quick ins and outs and slants. Watch the second half of the Rutgers game, or the last drive of the Ohio game. You're not going to get to Palko in three steps, so it's wasteful to commit extra guys to a pass rush. Rush 4 or maybe even 3, and focus on short pass coverage. I realize that this puts pressure on the defensive backs to cover Greg Lee straight up. But that's a gamble we can live with, because the offensive braintrust at Pitt is too risk-averse to try exploiting it with a lot of deep balls.

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