For the record, Graham said High Octane 0 times. Seriously, zero. I'm as shocked as you are.
As I said earlier, Pitt's Media Day was today. HC Todd Graham gave a quick opening speech before answering some questions from the media.
If there was one thing apparent from this media day, Graham isn't shying away from expectations.
"At the end of the season, I want to be Big East champions and heading to the [BCS title game] on January 9th."
"I came here to win championships...Anything less than that is unacceptable"
I like the attitude, although I would be somewhat shocked if Pitt is indeed going to the BCS title game at the end of the regular season. I don't know if this particular team will be the Big East Champions in 2011, let alone a national title contender. A new system, one that is very different from the system run by Wannstedt, makes me doubt that Pitt will be BCS bound.
More from the media day after the jump...
Graham was impressed with the speed in the RB and WR units. I can agree with both statements. RB, obviously, with Ray Graham and Wisconsin transfer Zach Brown should be a solid unit - Ray for 1st and 2nd downs and Brown for those short yardage situations. At WR, Devin Street and Cam Saddler have plenty of speed, although depth is a big concern.
Paul Zeise of the Post Gazette was on hand at Pitt Media Day and he spoke with WR Mike Shanahan.
"I think it took us a while to be able to run the offense at the speed it needs to be run, but that was what the spring was for and then our workouts in the summer," Shanahan said.
"But we're ready, I think we've really come together as an offense, and we will be able to really get after it from the first day. The thing is, I don't know if we can average 40 points a game or not, but I wouldn't doubt that it is possible.
"The key is going to be turnovers and penalties -- if we can limit both, we can score a lot of points."
"I don't know if we can average 40 points a game?" Let's have some positive attitude there, Shanahan. With the HIGH OCTANE offense, we're going to average 50 points. I'm joking, of course (or am I?).
Speaking of the offense, Graham was (and has been) asked about whether he has the type of players needed to execute his offense correctly:
Not surprisingly, one of the main questions Graham has faced since he arrived at Pitt has been, "Do you have the personnel to pull off your wide-open, spread offense?" His answer, consistently, has been "absolutely."
How many times does he have to say it?! It's not a spread! it's a HIGH OCTANE, up-tempo offense with a power running game to open the pass! It just looks like a spread offense.
Now for the defense. Blitzing is going to be a big part of the defense, according to Brandon Lindsey:
"But I think it is going to be fun to see how we're going to attack teams. Last year, we probably only blitzed about 10 percent of the time, if that, but, this year, coaches are talking about blitzing as much as 60 percent of the time."
Where was I for these "blitzes" as Lindsey calls them? I seem to be forgetting what a "blitz" looks like.
Pitt is also hoping to get more aggressive on defense. Last season, Tulsa forced 36 turnovers, which was 3rd in FBS. Pitt only forced 22. Lindsey also commented on the secondary.
"Everyone talks about our secondary as, like, it is the weak link, but we have a lot of guys who can run and cover, and that's what it takes."
I'm actually surprised that people view the secondary as the weak link of the defense. Have they seen the linebackers? Pitt had a great pass defense in 2010 (may have been due to playing against "star" QB's like Ryan Nassib, Chas Dodd, and whoever UConn decided to throw in at QB) and the unit should be even better with more experience.
Some last news and notes:
- One position battle to keep an eye on will be at the Spur position between Greg Williams and Todd Thomas.
- Dan Mason is currently not practicing, but is working on getting back.
- Trey Anderson, the walk-on QB who joined Pitt a few weeks ago, has impressed the coaching staff in his few weeks on the team.
- Brian Murphy, a promising LB, will redshirt this season as he is academically ineligible.