Big Lead Sports Bar

10/11/2007

Letdown Wednesday

Wednesday was an all-around lousy night for Pittsburgh sports. That's never fun to revisit. But I'll try. And in honor of ESPN naming everything, I'll call it "Letdown Wednesday". Ramon Mondesi has been kind enough to create a logo for the occasion.
We'll start with Pitt, who is now sitting at 2-4 and facing a remaining schedule that features South Florida, WVU, Cincinnati, Rutgers, and Louisville. The only game that is potentially competitive looks to be a matchup with Syracuse on November 3.
The Panthers lost a 48-45 double-OT contest to Navy last night in front of Tony Dorsett, Curtis Martin, Roger Staubach and 30,103 others who couldn't get tickets to the Penguin game. Since the game was nationally televised, we were treated to nearly four hours of Lou Holtz, Mark May, and the obligatory Primanti's/Peppi's references. Remember, Pittsburghers only eat heaping, fatty sandwiches, and they only eat them at these two restaurants. By the way, the Heisman committee should be expecting Holtz's vote for Pat Bostick today.
It's hard to take many positives from last night's nationally-televised defeat, other than the fact that their head coach didn't have a recent road rage incident. But Joe Starkey manages to find a few in today's column, "Wannstedt hard to figure in Pitt loss":
There were at least three pieces of good news for Pitt fans:
1. Bostick (20 for 28, 191 yards, one touchdown, one interception) appears to be improving, even if Navy's pass defense has more holes than Oakmont Country Club.
2. Somebody decided to dust off junior fullback Conredge Collins (nine carries, 52 yards), whom Mel Kiper Jr. has rated as the nation's top NFL fullback prospect among juniors. Apparently, no one had informed Pitt offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh of this until last night.
3. Freshman tailback LeSean "Shady" McCoy (32 carries, 169 yards, three touchdowns) showed an ESPN television audience why he is being mentioned in the same breath with Pitt greats Tony Dorsett and Curtis Martin, both of whom attended the game at Heinz Field (they didn't have much company).
Don't take that the wrong way, though. Starkey's column was plenty negative (hence the aforementioned "Wannstedt Hard to Figure" name). As he pointed out:
And remember, Navy isn't very good.
It lost to Ball State, couldn't put away Temple until the final minute and needed a dramatic rally to beat dreadful Duke on the final play of the game.

Duke had snapped a pesky, 23-game losing streak a week earlier.

And the email has been very anti-Wannstache this morning. Among the early reactions, here's three questions/comments from a very intelligent reader:

1. Who would have thought that Walt Harris' C-plus tenure would be the high point of Pitt football in the last 15 years?

2. Jimmy Johnson could be the luckiest former coach in football history. He was able to have Norv Turner and Dave Wannstedt as coaches and still found ways to win games.

3. Wasn't Matt Cavanaugh supposed to be some "great" offensive mind? And how does Paul Rhoads still have a job? Wasn't the Rhoads to Ruin supposed to be an 'up-and-comer?"

Good points all around, but that's about all the Pitt talk I can stomach this morning. Let's talk about a team that actually has a chance to do something this year. It's the NHL's traveling, ticket-selling road show, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Ice Bowl contestant is going to be packed up and shipped to Prague, Czech Republic, to open the 2008-09 season.
That's fantastic for all of the Czech Penguin fans out there, but it had no bearing on the 3-2 loss last night against Montreal.

Montreal goalie Carey Price played a solid 60 minutes, but the Penguins were giving the "we beat ourselves" excuse, which is never a good thing to hear. Mental mistakes, long shifts, bad penalties, and a general lack of consistency contributed to their second loss of the early season.

"We don't have the fire in our eyes like we did last year," Therrien said. "We need more desperation in our game, because we're not going to win many games with no desperation.

"It's pretty simple. We can do the pompons. We can have the fans cheering. It's got to start with these guys. Right now, I don't think we have the desperation."

Regardless of their skill level, the Penguins are still a very young team, and young teams in any sport can suffer from a lack of focus/maturity. That's called growing pains, and you can expect to see them from time to time. We'd all rather see them sitting at 3-0 or 2-1, but let's not hit the panic button and fire up "firemicheltherrien.com" just yet. Things will get better for the Penguins. That's more than a Pitt fan can say today.

3 comments:

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

That logo is pretty sweet!

boredinpittsburgh said...

If anything the 1-2 start has left me even more impressed with Therrien. Therrien isn't afraid to call out his own team in the media, when players aren't hussling they need to be called out, now if only someone could pass along that information to Jim Tracy.

Matt H said...

Shady McCoy is special.