04 January, 2009

The None Bowl

Now I know why I wouldn't spend thousands of dollars for travel and expenses to go cross country for my team's bowl game.

It seems that Pitt left its offense in the locker room, back in the hotel, or perhaps it never left Pittsburgh. Sixty minutes of play in the Sun Bowl, in El Paso, Texas, and the closest they came to scoring was a fifty-eight yard attempt at a field goal. Okay, so they only lost by a score of 3-0, but, you know how it goes, a loss is still a loss.

A play-action pass play is one where the play starts out looking like a running play, but becomes a pass play instead. This is useful when you have a strong running game, or are perceived to have such, because the defense is drawn in to stop the run, which of course never happens because the quarterback fakes a handoff to a running back and prepares to pass. Passing possibilities are enhanced because the defense is tricked into moving forward to stop the "run".

But in the None Bowl, by the time Pitt got around to running play action passes, they had already proven that, on this particular day anyhow, that their running game was totally inept. Oregon State linebackers didn't have to rush in immediately to stop the run, because it became obvious that their defensive line had everything under control. It's like the Beavers had built a dam that couldn't be breached, not by Pitt's o-line at least.

Yes, there were strong crosswinds that made passing difficult. But a good quarterback can adjust to this during pregame practice. Bill Stull did not have a clue on dealing with the wind. When he threw the ball it could have ended up in downtown El Paso...or Las Cruces, New Mexico for that matter.

So I blame the loss on poor play calling and Pitt's inability to adjust to conditions on the field. But still, it was a good year and perhaps next year we'll even do better, and I'll start believing that Dave Wannstadt really is a football coach. One of the biggest challenges will be to beat Rutgers, on their field, after losing to them the last four years. There was a chuckle when Rutgers, Cincinnati, and South Florida joined the Big East. All three have proven their worthiness.

Anyhow, looking at "none" on the positive side, as in no losses, the Pitt basketball team has recently achieved credibility by thrashing Georgetown by 16 on the Hoya's home court. It's only basketball, but what the heck...go Panthers!

~PITTSBURGH starts with PITT!~

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