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Better Know A Nemesis: Pitt

As part of our affiliation to FanHouse, we're connected to some of the most brilliant minds in all of Blogfrica. We're also connected to Chas at Pitt Blather, and while we've pronounced TNIAAM the best Big East blog (and we're sticking to it!), Pitt Blather is definitely on the medal stand. During the course of the week, we posed some questions to our hated nemesis blogger, and we have them and his responses here. Likewise, we'll post his concurrent article with our content later today.

BHGP: Welcome to the pages of BHGP. Say something juvenile.

Pitt Blather: Boobies.

BHGP: Now tell us about this Pitt team. Are they still good? Any chance they return to the Top 25, or have you thrown your hands up in frustration?

PB: The ability of the human mind to delude itself is an amazing thing. If you asked me that after the opening weekend or even right after the Buffalo game, I'd have laughed bitterly and gone with utter frustration.

A bye week, a fair amount of alcohol, and I'm actually able to talk myself into the idea that Pitt still has a chance. I should know better, but it is happening.

What in the hell is the deal with LeSean McCoy? For someone who put up such nice numbers as a freshman and who was drawing comparisons to Tony Dorsett (sub-question: did you buy into any of that crap?), he's looking positively pedestrian. Who's to blame? Is he 100%?

I really believe he is over-thinking things. Last year, he went more with his instincts and just hit the first gap or seam there was. Or he would immediately bounce outside. This year, he is hesitating a bit. Dancing behind the line trying to find the perfect spot to run and follow blockers. The problem is, Pitt's O-line sucks and teams are predictably sticking 8 or 9 in the box. Pushing the line back, right into him before he finally decides to go forward.

What other RB from Pitt's history are you going to compare him to? Kevan Barlow? Curtis Martin? Marshall Goldberg? Of course it's absurd. At the same time, when it's Tony Dorsett actually saying it's okay to make the comparisons, it's hard to get too bothered.

You're walking along the streets of Pittsburgh with your favorite soda beverage in hand. Across the street, you see Dave Wannstedt run out of a tavern, engulfed in flames. What's your reaction?

I assume you mean after the initial reaction of seeing anyone come out of a tavern engulfed in flames. I'd take a drink, because seeing someone in flames would probably make me thirsty.

Then, I would shout encouragement to Wannstedt to follow the fundamentals and execute the stop, drop and roll. Later, when the police are interviewing me about what I saw I can explain that he just didn't execute properly and that's something he's going to have to work on if he wants to do better. He just needs to get some experience, and in time he'll get it. I have no doubt that I was clear in my instructions, so clearly the fault was with him.

Same question, but somehow your soft drink is now a loaded handgun.

Now what the hell am I going to drink?

Iowa's shown much more competence in the running game than through the air thus far. How good is your front seven in run coverage? Does Pitt have a complicated, blitz-and-stunt-happy defense, or is it largely just base stuff?

Hard to say. It was Bowling Green which relied on passing out of the spread to pick apart Pitt in the first game, and Buffalo in the second game had some success early. The run defense did tighten up further into the game, but again -- it was Buffalo. The run defense is supposed to be better and the linebackers for Pitt are definitely better against the run than the pass.

The defense is definitely base stuff. Nothing exotic or fancy. It's slightly undersized, but quick. A standard Wannstedt defense.

Where's Pitt's biggest weakness, offense or defense (or, if your punter is a traffic cone, special teams)? Is it crippling, or easily hidden through schemes and coaching?

Um, Pitt's biggest weakness is the head coach.  I thought that was already established. The offense, gets the nod because in addition to Wannstedt as head coach, the OC is Matt Cavanaugh. A coach who specializes on short passes on third down that are always at least a yard in front of the first down marker. A coach with the kind of imaginative playcalling that makes Lloyd Carr look innovative.

As far as the units go, the biggest weakness is definitely the offensive line. They are simply getting overwhelmed and the coaching isn't helping when Wannstedt prefers to go with experienced bad players over talented but inexperienced younger players. All out of fear they might make a mistake. Because, apparently it's much easier to accept that the offensive line is being overwhelmed because they suck rather than because they might miss a blocking assignment because of inexperience. It's the reason that a freshman, Army All-American, 5-star right tackle has only seen 2 plays in the first two games, while the guy in front of him was being beaten consistently by MAC players.

Seriously, Dave Wannstedt? Tell me with a straight face you wouldn't physically harm the guy if you had the chance. No jury in the state would convict you.

Pennsylvania is a commonwealth, not a state.

[Sigh] This would be so much easier if Wannstedt wasn't so (A) nice and (B) an alum. We know he wants to win. Everyone wants him to succeed. The problem is that he is completely incapable of adjusting to the players strengths and weaknesses, and the changes in football. It has to be his system, his way and he will win or lose his way.

An asshole who won't change his ways comes off as arrogant, condescending and a jerk -- or Charlie Weis. A nice guy who won't change his ways is just stubborn and clueless.

All that being said, I wouldn't mind shaking him until his ears started bleeding. All the while screaming at him to stop talking about all the success he had when Jimmy Johnson was in charge.

As you know, the Philly-Pitt game is also this weekend. Shouldn't Pitt fans show some support for their local team and show up to the Iowa game in black and gold?

Half the fans usually do anyways. It's very convenient that all 3 pro sports teams use the same colors. It is the predominant color worn at all sporting events in the 'Burgh.

Tell us one more thing Iowa fans don't know about this game that'll affect the outcome.

Pitt actually has talent and weapons on offense, but the coaches don't know how to use them. Oh, you wrote something Iowa fans don't know.

Okay, Pitt has some real depth and talent at receiver -- both WR and TE -- and if they are actually used in more than 5-yard dumps can actually open things up for Pitt's offense.

Lastly, a prediction, and one more juvenile statement, then you are off the Black Heart Gold Pedastal.

I predict that this could be a painfully frustrating game for both fanbases. Both coaches will play for field position, so there will be lots of punting and the score will stay very close. The fans of the losing team will fume and complain about missed opportunities and how this game was right there for them.

Your state smells like an ethanol refinery.

Good day, sir!