Inside Conditions…Growing Pains?

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Pitt freshman wide receiver Tyler Boyd (23) celebrates with fello0w freshman tight end Scott Orndoff (83) and other teammates after making a touchdown catch in the second quarter of the NCAA football game against New Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

by Aubrey Bruce
For New Pittsburgh Courier
2013 was predicted to be a growth year for the Pitt Panthers football squad because of the slew of 1st and 2nd year players scheduled for major playing time. Well sometimes kids grow up sooner than planned.

 

 

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Aubrey Bruce

As far as I am concerned, the upcoming competition of Pitt might become the victims of the “tough love” of the fresh faced, youth-based Pitt Panthers football squad.

Pitt smashed New Mexico 49-27 Saturday at Heinz Field and the boys from the “frosh” brigade did not give their rear ends a chance to develop “booty sores” as a result of “benchitis.”

Head coach Paul Chryst pointed after the game that; “It’s hard to say you’re surprised when you’re around these guys as much as we are. You definitely appreciate it and you’re happy for them to have some success.”

Freshman receiver Tyler Boyd did not “wait till next year.

It appears that Boyd is poised to make an impact sooner than later.  Remember, just last year he was on the sidelines of Clairton High torturing high school cornerbacks who had the dubious distinction of being assigned to cover him. Boyd said after the game that; “It’s real fun because once our offense is rolling, I can do multiple things. I can get deep passes [and] bubble screens. It just opens up way more.”

Pitt senior quarterback Tom Savage seemed just as hyped with the possibility of being the “field general” charged with guiding this overabundance of young talent. Even though he was intercepted early in the game Savage was still brimming with confidence. “I’m going to take shots downfield and I’m going to try and put balls in there. Obviously, I’ve got to learn from that mistake and never do it again.”

I hope that again Savage was not saying that he would never be intercepted again because in the real world that is almost like saying; “I will never sin again and I will be perfect” anyway Savage did a great job against New Mexico.

Now the Panthers are scheduled to face Duke. Don’t you feel goose bumps. Pitt’s starting offense consists of two freshmen. Their second team is made up of six freshmen. The second team QB, tailback, tight ends, right tackle and center. The first team defense is a bit longer in the tooth starting only one first team freshman and he is Bam Bradley at linebacker. However, the second team boasts six freshmen and three sophomores.

It is my opinion that coach Paul Chryst is navigating the University of Pittsburgh football program back to the road of success even in the football rich ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference).

The Panthers might be fresh faced but I predict that they will be inflicting some old damage on their conference as well as non-conference opponents before the 2013 season ends.

Eye of the Tiger

“It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight. Rising up to the challenge of our rival. And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night. And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger. Face to face, out in the heat. Hangin’ tough, stayin’ hungry. They stack the odds, still we take to the street. For the kill with the skill to survive.” From the song ‘Eye of the Tiger’

I have my Cincinnati/Steelers credential sitting right in front of me. I couldn’t make the trip for reasons I choose not to disclose at this time but that is another story.

I feel a bit like a hybrid of James Earl Jones, Leonard Nimoy and Barry White. Two narrators that would have you thinking intergalactic travel and the third creating and narrating for you a fast track to the boudoir.

Will the 2013 chronicles of the Pittsburgh Steelers be more about their victories on the field as opposed to exploits after dark and at home? Are the men of steel just star stuck or will they have an unexpected winning and successful season?

As I gazed upon my 2013 press box credentials for the hard fought Steelers/Bengals game at Cincy, I felt a twinge of guilt for not being there, through no fault of my own. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a $100 million quarterback, not a $50 million or $25 million field general, but a $100 million…signal caller. Ben Roethlisberger has played three straight games including the second to last game of 2012 played at Heinz Field a game that the Bengals defeated the Steelers by three points.

Last weekend was the 2013 season opener a game in which the Black and Gold was defeated by the Tennessee Titans and the course, the primetime showdown this past Monday night in Cincinnati a game in which a tight end made a careless bonehead play and a contest in which “Big” Ben threw another “spirit” killing interception attempting to make a splash play downfield; as opposed to taking what the defense gives you.

For almost the entire game, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was frustrated because Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor covered Bengals star receiver A.J. Green like a glove and held Green to a paltry 4 catches for a measly 41 yards and those catches came after the Cincy offensive coordinator made adjustments and began to toss the rock to Mr. Green underneath.

See, the Bengals realized that they were not going to get a splash play in Ike Taylor’s pool because they had no life jackets and because someone might drown; so they began to stay in the shallow end. To their credit when they implemented that strategy; Green became effective especially down the stretch because before that series of plays he was a non factor, no matter how much you scramble around and avoid getting sacked when coverage is tight throw the ball away and live for another day. Are the Pittsburgh Steelers are experiencing growing pains, or just plain pain? Time to head to the kitchen and pour myself a stiff martini.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741)

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