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Pitt’s Offense Is Means Forward of The place It Was A 12 months In the past, What Does That Imply?



A shift in offensive coordinator typically leads to a brand new scheme, new gamers and new methods to maneuver the soccer. As Pitt shifted from Mark Whipple to Frank Cignetti Jr. final offseason, there was a corresponding shift in identification.

Whipple and Cignetti function their respective offenses in very alternative ways, so it solely made sense that there’d be a shift in values and beliefs. However I don’t know if anybody was ready for not simply the shift within the scheme however the sheer duty of studying Cignetti’s offense. It’s a really, very expansive playbook, in any case.

Let’s simply take a look at the place Pitt, based on Cignetti himself, stands now when it comes to offensive set up in comparison with the place it was this time final yr.

As Cignetti regarded again on final yr’s spring session, after two spring practices, he estimated there was about 15% of the offense put in. On the identical level this yr? He estimated about 60% of the offense is put in.

Regardless of a brand new quarterback, amongst different positions breaking in new starters, Pitt isn’t putting in the fundamental foundations of an offense — a run scheme, how you can shield or something of the kind. It was a methodical set up final spring, one which took time. It’s time that may be utilized in a different way this yr.

“We had a system to show,” Cignetti mentioned Thursday on the UPMC Rooney Sports activities Complicated. “Properly, the system’s been taught. And the gamers know the system, in order coaches, we don’t ever need to maintain them again, we need to come out right here and play soccer as quick as we are able to, so whenever you checked out follow one and two, you noticed a number of offense. You noticed a number of quantity, and also you noticed totally different kinds of play.”

It was, based on Cignetti, two good days to kick off the spring, however I’d have been shocked to listen to anything. The pads had been off, quarterbacks had been largely throwing in opposition to the air and the gamers haven’t even hit the outside but.

However as Pitt’s offense doesn’t have to put in a base go or run scheme, a system of how you can run a no-huddle offense, it’s extra of a ‘hit-the-ground-running’ type of deal right here. Cignetti seems like Pitt’s offense is simply choosing up the place it left off in opposition to UCLA.

“The gamers — I feel — have actually loved it as a result of we’re not holding them again going by methodical installations,” Cignetti mentioned. “We come out right here and we play ball. The opposite factor I can inform, and all of us can inform as offensive coaches, is that our gamers know what they’re doing.

“Check out the receiver group. Final yr right now, it was a methodical set up. They had been studying a brand new system, and whenever you take a look at guys like Bub Means and (Konata Mumpfield), you cannot solely see they know precisely what they’re doing however you see the management and what a terrific job they’re doing serving to others.”

That’s telling. There wasn’t nice quarterback play in 2022, however exterior of Jared Wayne, there wasn’t constant vast receiver play both. There by no means seemed to be any kind of cohesion. It was unusual within the sense that it simply didn’t get higher. It was as if every week, followers — and the workforce alike — held their breath in anticipation of the offense clicking, of the vast receiver operating the proper routes, the precise patterns on the proper tempo, however it didn’t occur.

When Pat Narduzzi would defend Slovis, he would typically allude to the truth that it wasn’t simply Slovis who was out of kinds. The chemistry between Slovis and his vast receivers simply wasn’t there. Mumpfield, Means, Daejon Reynolds and a plethora of younger, thrilling choices are again.

Pittsburgh Panthers vast receiver Konata Mumpfield (14) September 24, 2022 David Hague/PSN

Who’s again at quarterback? Properly, there’s one man who is aware of Cignetti fairly nicely.

It’s Phil Jurkovec’s third yr, technically, in Cignetti’s offense — reunited this season after spending the 2020-21 seasons collectively at Boston School. And as Cignetti has watched Jurkovec by the very early portion of the offseason, he’s seen a man who is aware of the offense, who is aware of what he’s doing throughout all phases.

Jurkovec — regardless of simply a few spring practices — has made the precise reads each along with his arm and his legs, making fast reads within the passing sport and selecting the best time to exit the pocket, and he’s displayed a degree of management that maybe he didn’t even have when he quarterbacked Cignetti’s offense at BC.

Cignetti has seen Jurkovec’s progress as a frontrunner, however he made certain to incorporate all of his quarterbacks when speaking in regards to the maturity that he’s seen this spring.

Jurkovec is a brand new arrival, however after all, he’s not alone. Christian Veilleux arrived from Penn State and Ty Dieffenbach arrived as an early enrollee. Nate Yarnell was the one true holdover from final season’s roster. Cignetti likes the room as a complete.

“It’s a terrific room,” Cignetti mentioned. “First off, bringing in 4 new quarterbacks, they’ve actually labored nicely collectively. I feel they’re having a number of enjoyable collectively; they’re competing with one another and it’s a terrific room. Jon DiBiaso and the brand new guys, they’ve put a number of time into it, they’ve had nice effort, nice preparation within the offseason for spring follow.”

Jurkovec and Veilleux (who Cignetti praised as a man who throws a phenomenal ball, possesses the precise soccer IQ and places the required time and work into it) had been the big-ticket switch additions this offseason, probably arriving as the current and way forward for the place, however Cignetti has made certain to emphasise that it’s a battle that doesn’t simply function these two — Yarnell is round, too.

Cignetti mentioned that when each Jurkovec and Veilleux arrived in Pittsburgh, they knew it wouldn’t simply be a contest between the 2; it’d be a three-way battle. It’s not like final season’s battle, based on Cignetti, as a result of there are three guys within the combine.

“Final yr right now, Nate wasn’t even practising,” Cignetti mentioned. “We didn’t even know who Nate was but. And you bought guys, like final yr, which have gained soccer video games earlier than. Similar to final yr once we had Kedon (Slovis) and Nick (Patti), they’d some expertise to them, and we’re lucky sufficient this yr to the place Phil and Christian — they’ve gained video games. Phil’s gained a number of video games, Christian beat Rutgers up there at Penn State and Nate beat Western Michigan.”

Nevertheless, at the same time as Yarnell’s title is thrown round as a contender, it nonetheless feels prefer it’s a battle between Jurkovec and Veilleux. You don’t herald two high-profile quarterbacks — one with one season of eligibility and one with three — with no plan.

Jurkovec has the very early benefit, figuring out each Cignetti and his offensive gameplan very nicely, contemplating their years collectively, however Veilleux will push him onerous.

If there’s a purpose for optimism, it’s that familiarity. Slovis, on the threat of sounding bitter, clearly wasn’t a match within the system. Jurkovec is extra acquainted, extra athletic and higher outfitted to run Cignetti’s offense. And Veilleux, and Yarnell, clearly know the offense nicely. The offensive set up is nicely over midway full.

In fact, whereas the quarterback competitors will dominate headlines going ahead for good purpose, the duty of changing Israel Abanikanda within the offense isn’t enviable. However as Rodney Hammond Jr. sat behind Abanikanda final season, frequently rising inside Cignetti’s system, he’s the right participant to step ahead. Don’t be shocked if Hammond emerges as the very best operating again within the ACC.

Rodney Hammond (9) – September 25, 2021 David Hague/PSN

Pitt’s offense will take advantage of a deep secure that features C’Bo Flemister and Derrick Davis Jr., however it’s clear that Cignetti’s offense does permit for a man to face out. It was Abanikanda final season, and it is going to be Hammond this coming season.

They’re two very totally different sorts of operating backs, however regardless, Hammond shall be an ideal complement to whoever comes away with the beginning job within the fall.

And that’s all with out accounting for the expansion Gavin Bartholomew ought to have within the system, his second season with Cignetti, and any rising choices at vast receiver, somebody like Lamar Seymore.

Pitt’s offensive woes in 2022, as Slovis was seemingly unable to search out the subsequent degree along with his personnel, had been complicated. But when Pitt’s capable of totally implement Cignetti’s offense, spend a full season with a quarterback and vast receiver who’re on the identical web page, to associate with an All-ACC operating again, the sky is the restrict.

Will probably be very fascinating to comply with the development of the offense all through the spring.


2024 3-Star QB Sam Kaiser ‘Very Excited’ For Potential Alternative With Pitt



There isn’t a prolonged relationship between Sam Kaiser and Pitt, just some weeks of contact, however he’s already begun to construct a long-lasting bond with assistant quarterbacks coach Jon DiBiaso.

Pitt prolonged a proposal to Kaiser — a 6-foot-6, 215-pound three-star quarterback from Rock Bridge Excessive in Columbia, Missouri — a few week in the past, and even though he’s not all that accustomed to Pittsburgh as a complete, he sees the chance laid out earlier than him.

It’s Kaiser’s fourth provide, becoming a member of Akron, Miami (Oh.) and Vanderbilt, and Pitt has already stood out.

Kaiser has been on the telephone with DiBiaso fairly a bit, studying what it’s wish to be a Pitt student-athlete and being despatched cool factoids and notes on an virtually day by day foundation. There’s a really sturdy relationship there.

“I believe he’s a terrific dude,” Kaiser instructed PSN. “He’s a younger man, so fairly relatable, and he’s very personable. So I actually like him to this point, we’ve constructed a superb relationship.”

There have been some textual content exchanged with head coach Pat Narduzzi right here and there, however no telephone name, and whereas he hasn’t had the possibility to talk with offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr., that’s apparently within the playing cards.

DiBiaso instructed Kaiser that Cignetti might be making it out to Rock Bridge later this spring, doubtless in Might, to verify in together with his college directors and coaches and to see him throw stay. There’s an opportunity Cignetti might be there sooner quite than later.

And it’s very doubtless that Kaiser might be making it out to Pittsburgh earlier than Cignetti makes it out to see him, too. The plan as of now, which isn’t official, is to make it out for a spring follow in April. He is aware of Pittsburgh is the Metropolis of Bridges.

“I believe it’s very cool by the appears of it, however I’ve by no means been,” Kaiser stated. I’m desperate to rise up there to see it, however I don’t know a lot about it. I find out about this system although, a really wealthy historical past. All these Corridor of Famers and stuff like that. I haven’t actually saved up with them previously couple of years earlier than I obtained supplied, however I do know they’re an excellent program.”

As a junior at Rock Bridge, he accomplished 135-of-230 move makes an attempt (60%) for 1,700 yards with 22 touchdowns and simply 5 interceptions — and he added 250 yards on the bottom. He isn’t purely a pocket passer both.

“Folks see 6-6, 210, and so they routinely sort of suppose pocket passer, a tall quarterback who stays within the pocket and stuff, however I believe I can prolong performs very well,” Kaiser stated. “I come from a basketball background, so I’m fairly athletic.

“I might be fairly elusive within the pocket, get out of sacks and stuff like that, prolong performs. However I additionally suppose my arm energy and the place I can put the ball might be the very best a part of my sport. I really feel like I can command the ball fairly properly and put it wherever I would like.”

247Sports charges Kaiser because the 952nd-ranked recruit within the class (61st-ranked quarterback and Seventeenth-ranked recruit from Missouri) whereas On3 charges him because the 995th-ranked recruit within the class (51st-ranked quarterback and the Seventeenth-ranked recruit from Missouri). Rivals hasn’t ranked Kaiser but.

Other than Pitt, Kaiser is planning visits to Duke, Louisville and Tennessee this spring — together with potential visits to Miami (Oh.), Marshall and West Virginia. As Pitt searches for its quarterback within the class of 2024, Cignetti and co. will search for a quarterback, getting choices on campus might be essential.

“I believe it might be on the high of my record, for positive,” Kaiser stated. “Vanderbilt simply had their second quarterback commit, and that’s my different Energy 5 provide, in order that they have two quarterbacks dedicated. As soon as I am going up there and see (Pitt), I undoubtedly suppose it may make the highest of the record for positive.

“I believe it might be a terrific place to stay, good spot to play soccer, particularly with the correlating facility with the Steelers. I simply suppose it’s a terrific program, and I’m very excited to be supplied and have the chance to return play there.”

Pitt has landed 5 commits within the class of 2024 to this point (with a six but to be introduced), and there’s nonetheless a seek for a quarterback.

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Duquesne Bows Out in First Spherical of CBI




DAYTONA BEACH — Duquesne formally ended its storybook season on Sunday afternoon, falling to Rice within the Faculty Basketball Invitational by a rating of 84-76.

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Setting young men on the path to a better future.

The Dukes went from final place of the A10 to the highest in probably the greatest turnarounds in program historical past. It was additionally their first postseason look since making the 2016 version of the CBI.

“We took a step up, there’s little doubt,” Dambrot stated postgame. “The subsequent time we’ve a chance, we’ll be somewhat bit extra ready for it.”

It was a gradual begin for Duquesne, however they caught stride out of the primary media timeout with an 8-0 run.

Rice would proceed preventing again like they did all sport, taking a 13-point lead within the last minutes of the primary half. That was when Duquesne went on a 10-0 run to chop the lead again down to 3 simply earlier than break. 

A whole lot of the work performed within the first half was via Dae Dae Grant who entered halftime with 18 factors off 4 made three-pointers. He finally matched his profession excessive for factors at 28 on the day.

“I’m pleased with Dae Dae, he’s been a very good chief all 12 months. I believe his play jumped from when he was at Miami,” stated Dambrot. “I believe he can get stronger; I believe he’ll get higher in a whole lot of completely different areas. However he tried to do what we requested on a constant foundation.”

Duquesne continued its string of excellent offense into the second half, scoring 5 straight factors. That’s when the offense on either side appeared to grow to be unstoppable although. 

After a Rice foul spell, the Dukes tied it up on the second media timeout of the second half. On the third, Duquesne trailed by three after which its offense went silent after the massive spurt.

The Dukes went on a area aim drought of 4:50, permitting Rice to stretch its lead out to 4. Duquesne then turned the ball over on consecutive possessions out of the ultimate media timeout and that’s when the sport appeared to finish, and the Owls stretched their lead out to double digits.

“I believe we competed, that was one of the best factor we did. We tried to win, we tried to offer our greatest effort. Clearly, dissatisfied with how we performed the final three video games,” stated Dambrot. “Simply one thing we’re going to wish to research, perceive, see why.”

Dambrot completed his sixth season at Duquesne with a 20-13 document.  

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5 Issues to Know Earlier than No. 11 Pitt vs. No. 3 Xavier within the NCAA Event



GREENSBORO, N.C. – Pitt appears to depart Greensboro with a whole 180 of its final end result within the ACC Event and proceed taking part in significant basketball in March. The Panthers defeated Mississippi State within the First 4 and Iowa State within the Spherical of 64, advancing to the Second Spherical of March Insanity.

Listed below are 5 issues to know forward of the No. 11 Pitt’s event recreation in opposition to the No. 3 Xavier Musketeers.

Hi there, Outdated Buddy

It will likely be a bittersweet afternoon for Xavier head coach Sean Miller, dealing with his aluma matter and former program with a spot within the Candy 16 on the road. 

It was an enormous deal when Sean went to Pitt,” head coach Capel mentioned. “He was a four-year starter. Actually, actually good participant. Bought the help on essentially the most well-known play ever on the College of Pittsburgh and one of many best performs ever in faculty basketball historical past. He’s a Pitt man. He has been an impressive coach.”

Miller – within the first yr of his second stint at Xavier – performed for the Panthers from 1987-92. A Beaver County native and Blackhawk alum, Miller delivered some of the iconic passes in Panther historical past to Jerome Lane to finish the well-known play: “Ship it in Jerome!” Miller by no means actually bought near returning to Pitt at any level to educate. 

“It by no means labored out,” Miller mentioned. “You realize, I feel for me that’s all the higher as a result of in some methods I would like my recollections of Pitt to be once I was there as a scholar, as a participant.”

1,500-Level Membership

Throughout the Panthers’ 18-point win in opposition to Iowa State, Nelly Cummings and Jamarius Burton each surpassed the 1,500-point plateau. 

“To be sincere, I didn’t actually learn about it till after the sport,” Cummings mentioned. “It’s undoubtedly a milestone that someday I’ll have the ability to look again and admire.”

Cummings has scored 392 factors in his lone season at Pitt following three years at Colgate and one season for Bowling Inexperienced. Pitt can also be Burton’s third workforce, proudly owning 875 Panther factors. 

“It by no means was a objective of mine,” Burton mentioned. “I credit score everyone that was part of it. From managers, to the teaching workers, and mentors. There’s been lots of people which have helped me by way of my faculty profession.”


Pitt and Xavier are two of the highest three-point taking pictures groups within the nation. The Panthers rank thirtieth within the nation in three-point subject objectives (9.1) and shoot 36.1% behind the arc. On the alternative aspect, The Musketeers make 7.4 per recreation and are fourth within the nation at 39.1%. 

A quick-paced offense scoring over 81 factors per recreation, Xavier can also be fourth within the nation in field-goal proportion at 49.4%. Pitt does personal the benefit on the free-throw line (76.2-71.5%) and averages 75.2 factors per contest.


The Pitt-Xavier Unfold is ready at Xavier (-5) per DraftKings Sportsbook. 

The over/below is hovering round 149 complete factors. Pitt’s particular person workforce over/below is ready at 72.5. 

Based on Workforce Rankings, Pitt ranks because the No. 2 workforce within the nation in opposition to the unfold, with a 24-10-1 report (70.6%). 

Xavier is 18-16-1 ATS this season (52.9%).


The matchup will tip off at 12:10 p.m. on CBS, with Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel and Evan Washburn on the decision. 

93.7 The Fan may have protection all through the sport in Pittsburgh. 

Following the matchup, No. 6 Kentucky and No. 3 Kansas State will matchup at 2:40 p.m. on CBS.

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