Some Notebook Items to Consider

Written by Paul Zeise on .

Not much has happened since my last entry but there have been some interesting little tidbits to string together a new entry for today. We have about ten more days of dead period and then things beging to heat up with preseason football media days and then of course training camp. But here is a short notebook of items which should bring you up to date.

** I got to see a few future Pitt players at Pitt's 7 on 7 camp and some Pitt would like to have. I know it is 7 on 7 but my God, it looks to me like half of Woodland Hills team - a lot of them are still underclassmen - could help Pitt's cause as there are some really athletic looking kids on that cause. The two current commitments who particiapted and I got to watch extensively are Seton LaSalle tight end Scott Orndoff and Clairton defensive back Titus Howard (who actually committed at the camp). Orndoff is big and can really move and he is a good receiver. Obviously, I couldn't see how physical he is or if he is a good blocker by watching 7 on 7 but I do think he passes the look test in that he is big and athletic. Howard is skinny right now but he will fill out and gain weight but the thing they like about him is he is fast, athletic, tall and he can cover and that's important because in Pitt's defense under Dave Huxtable, the corners are going to be asked to be on an island a lot in man coverage. Howard showed he can cover and that's a big thing but he will have to get a little bigger and stronger in order to do some of the jamming and physical stuff corners are asked to do in man.  I like both players based on their potential, but again, I haven't seen them with pads on yet. Orndoff is important because he fills a position of extreme need. This roster really needs to be reloaded with defensive ends, offensive tackles, tight ends, kickers and fullbacks and you know what, probably linebackers, too. There is just no depth at those positions right now.

** Several other players who have committed to Pitt since the 7 on 7 camp - I blogged about them but to review, Pitt added a kicker (Chris Blewitt from Alexandria, Va.) and a punter (Ryan Winslow from LaSalle in Eastern, Pa.). All I can tell you about either is they both apparently have a strong legs and they obviously fill positions of need. Tra'von Chapman from Kent, Ohio,  is the quarterback the coaches targeted from day one and he is the kind of player that can change the game for them. He is a dual threat guy but he picked Pitt after seeing what Paul Chryst and company did with Russell Wilson and company at Wisconsin. Perhaps the strangest commitment was from offensive lineman Carson Baker from Fairborn, Ohio. It was strange from the standpoint of, nobody, including all the recruiting gurus, seemed to know a thing about him or his commitment. He is a relative unknown who didn't have any other offers - or perhaps had one from Toledo as nobody seems to be sure - but he apparently is a prospect that the coaches like because of his upside. He does have size (6-5, 315) but I get a little nervous when a linemen is taken for his potential because based on my experience those players rarely turn out.

** Another quick note - we knew Allderice's Tyrique Jarrett was not going to qualify for tihs year and now we know what his plans are as well as he said he will attend Milford Academy, which has sort of become "Pitt Northeast" in recent years. Jarrett hopes to improve his grades quickly enough to enroll at Pitt in January. The rest of Jarrett's recruiting class moved in to Pitt two weeks ago and have begun summer workouts. I was down at Pitt last week and saw them out there on the field working out, it is a good looking group but again we will see what they are made of once they put on pads in about a month.

** One small, yet significant, development came Saturday night when Boise State basically realized it had no other options and beat the deadline to withdrawal from the Mountain West without having to pay a penalty. This means Boise is likely headed to the Big East now and many believe that means Pitt will definitely get out of the Big East in time for next season. I can tell you one event had no affect on the other. Pitt will not be in the Big East in 2013 and wouldn't have been even if Boise stayed in the Mountain West or whatever. If Boise does join the Big East, the lineup of 12 teams for football for 2013 will be -- Boise State, Central Florida,  Cincinnati,  Connecticut,  Houston,  Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, San Diego State, South Florida, SMU and my beloved Owls. Obviously it is making the best of a tough situation but I have a hard time believing that collection of schools is going to agree on much of anything moving forward. I hope it works because I think the Big East people are good people who have stood for the right things but I have a hard time believing this is a long term solution to the issues that face the conference.

** It was not a surprising move but the ACC's marriage to the Orange Bowl became official on Tuesday. I think it is a very big development for the conference because it means that every year it has at least one tie-in to a major bowl. And that tells me the perception of the ACC is that it is still indeed one of the major conferences and that it isn't going anywhere. I know the conspiracy theorists believe that some day there will only be four major superconferences and that the ACC will be the odd man out (with the Pac 12, Big 12, Big Ten and SEC being the four that survive) but the more I talk to people, the more I read up about all of this conference stuff, the more convinced I am that the ACC is in a much stronger position than most people give it credit for. Now if Florida State and Clemson truly go looking - again, I am not convinced they have or will - it would certainly become an issue but that doesn't seem likely at least at this point. At any rate, in case you missed it the Orange Bowl announced it will take the ACC champ or the highest rated ACC team not involved in the four-team playoff each year and the game will be played on Jan. 1st. Here is the link to the news story from ESPN and here is an analysis of what the deal means from ESPN's ACC blogger, Heather Dinich.

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