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Let's Talk HIGH OCTANE Football

March 6, 2011

In case you didn’t know, Pitt held an event for season ticket holds at the Petersen Even Center to meet with Coach Todd Graham and his coaching staff.  It was a 2 hour session in which each of the coaches discussed the offense and defense in detail and how the team in going to approach next (and future) seasons.  Myself, @VictoryLights, @PittScript, and @mfranklin313 were “live tweeting” the event…so here is a summary of everyones tweets and notes that we took:

Pitt expected roughly 3,000 people to attend today’s event.  PittScript said he heard this from Usher.  I was surprised that he came w/o Justin Bieber though.  At least we got to sit in the Zoo.  So that was cool.

They played the same intro as at the stadium and the coaches came out of the tunnel to the same Alan Parsons Project song.  I think Coach Graham should really change this up to something more “high octane”.

Coach Graham was first up speaking.

  • First thing Coach Graham mentions is the BIG EAST championship won on that court last evening.  The second thing he mentions is how he does back handsprings every mornings.  Who knew?
  • The theme of the presentation: “The Beast From The East”
  • Talks of integrity and character.  Asked players to take out earrings and stop using sub-standard language.
  • More talking of winning. BIG EAST championship and BCS Bowl Championship this season.  “Everywhere it says 9 time National Champions, I want to put underneath it ‘Expect 10′”.
  • We kept a tally sheet of the buzz words: high octane, championship, speed, #winning.  We lost count when each approached the 2 dozen mark.
  • Introduced all of the assistant coaches.  For all of the coaches that previously worked at WVU for RichRod, Coach Graham would only say “previously working just South of here.”  He never once mentioned WVU.

Calvin Magee and Mike Norvell talked about the offense.  Mike Norvell talked much like the offense…with speed, speed, speed.

  • We will not be Texas Tech.  We will be hard nosed and run the ball.
  • Magee: “No shake and bake, run over stuff”
  • We will strive to average 83 offensive plays to the opponents 67.  We want to physically and mentally wear down the defense every game.
  • The team will not change personnel between plays because that slows down the offense.
  • We will snap the ball no more than 5 seconds after the referee marks it ready for play.
  • Every play in every series for every scenario will have been scripted.  The coaches will be very thorough.
  • We will run 1 reverse a quarter.
  • We will run 20 “special” plays in the season.  That is almost 2 a game.  They aren’t called trick plays because the team will practice them all season.
  • We will throw the ball downfield, over 40 yards, outside the hashes, 10 times a game.  Wants 1-play TD drives of over 25 yards.
  • We will be doing all of this out of a 2-back spread offense.  We will run 65% of the time, pass 35% of the time.
  • Using this offense at Tulsa, they had a 5,000 yard passer, a 1,000 yard rusher, and 3 1,000 yard receivers.
  • Norvell says the purpose of the defense is to get ball back for the offense. “We will score.”
  • When talking of speed, Cam Saddler’s name was often brought up.  When talking of the deep threat and the passes of 40 yards outside the hashes, Devin Street’s name was mentioned.

QB Coach Todd Dodge spoke of what he expects.

  • He wants the QB to be like another assistant coach.
  • 67-70% completion from the QB.
  • Also showed video of Tulsa and Michigan (Denard Robinson) QBs performing in this type of offense.  Should be interesting to see which of Sunseri, Myers, Gonzalez, or Gray best fits this.
  • Dodge wants at least 15 2nd and 4 opportunities a game.  A lot of explosiveness comes from 2nd and 4.

Keith Patterson and Paul Randolph talked about the defensive scheme.

  • #1 goal is to get the ball back as fast as we can for the offense in good field position.
  • “Control the pass does NOT mean prevent defense.”
  • Will use 3 down linemen so that there is more speed on the field.  At least 1 other rusher to confuse/surprise the offense.
  • Aim to set records, 28 interceptions and 29 fumble recoveries in a season.
  • Nine tackles for loss in a game.  Seven 3 & outs a game. Finish each game +3 in turnovers.

At the end, we moved onto the Q&A portion.

  • First question was asked if we had a QB on the team that could run this offense. Coach Graham said that the coaches will adapt the offense to the talent they have. Feels confident in Tino & the others.  With the tone the question was asked, the old man seemed to have a strong dislike for Tino.
  • The second question was asked if Coach Graham would change the uniforms to make us look faster.  Seriously?  We all know the uniforms are a hot topic, but thats how you ask the question?  The even had to say “seriously” after he asked it.  Coach Graham said it is not important to winning, but how they look is important to the players.  Our uniforms are classy and Nike does like to do some things with its “rivalry” uniforms.  Mainly he dodged this question.
  • Another question was asked in regards to special teams, if we will have one returner or two, and if they will actually catch and return the punts this season.  An obvious dig at Cam Saddler for his less than stellar returns last season at times.  Coach Graham was very quick to say that we will be returning the punts.  An unfielded punt costs an average of 10 yards of field position, 13 yards if on an artificial turf.  Randall McCray will be the special teams coordinator, but the offensive staff will work with the kickoff unit as it effects the offense’s starting field position.

As the presentation came to a close, we all stormed the court went onto the court to receive our free “High Octane Football” tshirts.  I know what I am wearing to work on Monday.

41 days until the spring game.  Hail to Pitt! #HighOctane

  1. PSB_Bryan permalink
    March 6, 2011 7:40 pm

    Jeez, you leave out one indefinate article and everyone’s a comedian. I’ll try again:

    “AN usher said #Pitt expects 3,000 people for today’s event.”

    • FearTheStache permalink
      March 6, 2011 7:43 pm

      @PSB_Bryan I just really wanted to find a way to tie Justin Bieber and Pitt together, you made that happen…thank you.


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