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UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast w/ Corey Cohen (S2 Ep 7)

In this episode of UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast, Corey Cohen welcomes Jim Hammett to discuss Pitt's chances in the ACC Coastal and their Thursday night matchup vs. Virginia Tech.

In this episode of UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast, Corey Cohen welcomes Jim Hammett to discuss Pitt's chances in the ACC Coastal and their Thursday night matchup vs. Virginia Tech. Plus they answer the Three Rivers Pack of Questions along with choosing a Panther of the Week.

Please follow us on Twitter @CoreyECohen and @JimHammett along with subscribing to the podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Pitt vs. Virginia Tech: Breaking Down the Two-Deep

Looking at the depth chart for the Virginia Tech game

QB - 1. Nate Peterman 2. Manny Stocker

Nate Peterman had a pretty ordinary game against Virginia. He was 11-21 for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns and rushed for 26 yards as well. He made some nice throws, but missed some pretty easy ones, including a sure touchdown on a flea flicker. I don’t think he played bad or anything, but he could have done some things better. Looking at the numbers on the season for Peterman, they are fairly solid and he’s running a tight ship. 11 touchdowns to two interceptions? I’m fine with that. I also like he’s able to get some yards on the ground as well. I still think he could be better, and with these next three games he might have to be.

RB - 1. James Conner 2. Chawntez Moss OR Darrin Hall OR Qadree Ollison

James Conner had a very nice game against Virginia. He rushed 20 times for 90 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 28 yards. Conner is up to 531 rushing yards and 197 receiving yards on the season, which is good for eighth in the ACC in All Purpose Yards. It might not seem like it, but Conner is having a really nice season. It’s been slow at times, and it’s not like 2014, but he’s been key for this team.

Chawntez Moss continues to be the second running back in the rotation. He had some nice runs against Virginia, and has been strong since joining the regular rotation in week three. Ollison had one touch last week, while Darrin Hall hasn’t seen the ball since the North Carolina game.

FB - 1. George Aston 2. Jaymar Parrish

George Aston scored his fifth touchdown of the season in the Virginia game. He continues to be an important weapon near the goal line, and his versatility really opens up the offense as a whole.

WR - 1. Jester Weah Quadree Henderson 2. Aaron Mathews OR Maurice Ffrench Tre Tipton 3. Rafael Araujo-Lopes

Jester Weah caught two passes against Virginia, but the big one was a 38 yard touchdown in the first half. He now leads the team with 19 receptions, 402 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Weah has really stepped up this season, and I’m not sure anyone really expected it. We always heard about his talent, but it’s nice to see it translate to the games.

Tre Tipton had two receptions against the Cavaliers, and has seemingly emerged as the #3 option among the receivers. He has seemingly gotten more involved in the offense each and every week, and he is responding.

Beyond that, the other four receivers played against Virginia, but not one of them caught a pass. However, three of them carried the ball. Quadree Henderson wasn’t nearly as involved as usual, I think he was slightly dinged up but I would expect to see him at full strength Thursday. Araujo-Lopes and Ffrench both had some carries late in the fourth quarter, nothing major from either, but Lopes did break one for 12 yards. Aaron Mathews was in the game plan and was targeted a couple of times, but did not record a catch.

TE - 1. Scott Orndoff 2. Jaymar Parrish

Scott Orndoff has three catches for 25 yards in the UVA game. He is tied for second on the team in receptions with 17 and touchdown catches with 2. Orndoff has always been a reliable target, and he may need to come down with some big plays against the Hokies.

LT - 1. Adam Bisnowaty 2. Aaron Reese

LG - 1. Dorian Johnson 2. Carson Baker

C - 1. Alex Officer 2. Connor Dintino

RG - 1. Alex Bookser 2. John Guy

RT - 1. Brian O’Neill 2. Jaryd Jones-Smith

Pitt put up 346 yards of offense against Virginia. The Panthers also possessed the ball for 36 minutes and posted a season high 45 points. The offensive line has been a big part of the success of the team this season. Dorian Johnson got a few mentions of mid-season of being a mid-season All-America, and rightfully so. The line has been great in run blocking, and Nate Peterman generally has enough time to make his throws. Nobody is perfect, but I can’t imagine there are many lines as a whole better than Pitt’s.

DE - 1. Ejuan Price Rori Blair 2. James Folston Allen Edwards 3. Rashad Weaver

Ejuan Price leads the nation with 9 sacks, and is third in tackles for loss with 13. Price left the Virginia game with an apparent injury. It didn’t look major and I expect him ready to go for Thursday, not that the Pitt coaching staff would tell us anyway.

Rori Blair had a very big game with two sacks. He’s up to 3.5 on the season, which is second on the team. Pitt’s pass rush is key against Virginia Tech, and I think they may need 4 or 5 sacks to beat the Hokies.

DT - 1. Shakir Soto 2. Jeremiah Taleni 3. Amir Watts

A bit of a change here as Jeremiah Taleni rises to the #2 spot here. Taleni managed to get on the field for the first time against Virginia and recorded a tackle. The junior from Hawaii has only appeared in 15 games in his career, we’ll see what he can bring to the table.

NT - 1. Tyrique Jarrett 2. Shane Roy OR Mike Herndon

Tyrique Jarrett posted four tackles against UVA. He’s now up to 20 stops this year, which matches his season total from last season. He’s making less plays behind the line of scrimmage, but he’s making plays overall. His conditioning is also much better. Pitt is strong in runs up the middle, and he’s the main component in that.

Money LB - 1. Mike Caprara 2. Saleem Brightwell

We’ll see if Mike Caprara can get on the field this week. The senior has missed the last three games. Bam Bradley got the start last game, but he left with an injury. Could that mean more time for redshirt freshmen Saleem Brightwell?

Mike LB - 1. Matt Galambos 2. Quintin Wirginis

Galambos led Pitt with seven tackles against Virginia, and he is fourth on the team in tackles this season. Galambos is having a relatively solid senior season, but nothing outstanding. He seemed to make bigger plays last season with sacks, interceptions, ect. It would be nice to get a big play from him Thursday night. Fake punt anyone?

Star LB - 1. Seun Idowu 2. Bam Bradley

Idowu had six stops in the UVA game, as he has held onto this job since week two. I wonder if Caprara can return to game action, would that put some pressure on this position? Bradley had a sack against Virginia, and has been playing well recently. He deserves to be on the field, assuming he’s healthy himself.

CB - 1. Philipie Motley OR Avonte Maddox Ryan Lewis 2. Damar Hamlin Dane Jackson

The big thing here is the health of Avonte Maddox. He did not play in the UVA game, and we’re still not sure if he is playing. Motley started in his place, and handled himself alright. He gave up some big plays, but did knock down a few passes as well. I thought Dane Jackson did some nice things when he was on the field. Oh and, Damar Hamlin on the depth chart again. Is this the week?

FS - 1. Terrish Webb OR Reggie Mitchell

Terrish Webb left the Virginia game with an injury. It’s unclear if he will go as an injury is a guarded secret with this coaching staff. I expect Reggie Mitchell will get the reps, and I think he’s played well during his playing time this season.

SS - 1. Jordan Whitehead OR Reggie Mitchell 2. Dennis Briggs

Jordan Whitehead had his best game of the 2016 season. It wasn’t just the pick six, or the 28 rushing yards. He seemed more engaged in making tackles and plays then in previous weeks.

K - Chris Blewitt P - Ryan Winslow LS - Pat Quirin

Chris Blewitt missed a field goal for the first time since the Penn State game, and was 1-2 against Virginia.

KR/PR - 1. Quadree Henderson 2. Avonte Maddox

Quadree Henderson struck again for a kick return, the third of his career. Could he make a big special teams play on Thursday night? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Students make teacher's World Series dream come true

An Ohio teacher is having a World Series dream come true, and it's all thanks to his students.

Richard Gage is a huge fan of the Cleveland Indians, and students realized that he should be at the game when the Indians take the field for the Series, WKBN reported.

>> Read more trending stories  

So they set up a GoFundMe account to make sure he could see his team live.

"There are a lot of people like me over the past 25 years who he has had such a huge impression on that putting this out there we could probably get it done pretty swiftly," former student John Miley said.

In less than 72 hours, more than 100 people donated enough money to reach $2,500 goal, WKBN reported.

Many also left notes for their former teacher.

"I would just say to all the people who helped make this possible, thank you so much, you make me realize my life has true meaning," Gage said.

Gage will be at Game 2 Wednesday night.

This is what football can do to a child's brain after just one season

The results of a new study may have some parents rethinking whether they allow their children to play football.

>> Watch the news report here

Three million children in the U.S. play in tackle football programs. While many doctors and scientists have taken a look at the impact of concussions, new research by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center studied the impact of less-serious blows to the head that are common during games.

The study included 25 players between the ages of 8 and 13 and was centered on a youth program in Winston-Salem, N.C. Each boy was outfitted with a helmet that measured the severity and frequency of head blows.

“This is important, particularly for children, because their brains are undergoing such rapid change, particularly in the age category from maybe 9 to 18. And we just don’t know a lot of about it,” Dr. Chris Whitlow, a lead researcher, told NBC News.

Researchers say their findings indicated that even at this young age, the boys were receiving pretty hard hits.

The doctors then performed MRIs on the players and determined there were some changes in the brain’s white matter, the tissue that connects the gray matter of the brain.

“We have detected some changes in the white matter,” Whitlow said. “And the importance of those changes is that the more exposure you have to head impacts, the more change you have.”

Young players who did not have concussions were also found to have been impacted by repeated hits. Brain changes were found even after a single season of playing the sport.

>> Read more trending stories

So far, doctors are not cautioning parents against letting their children play football since there are still some unclear areas following the study. Doctors don’t know if these changes will continue as the boys play football. They also don’t know what long-term impact the repeated blows to the head will have on the players.

Still, some parents say the sport is worth the risk — for now — because of the joy it brings to their children. Football also encourages their kids to stay on top of their grades.

Kindra Ritzie-Worthy has two sons who play football. She says they take their footballs everywhere they go. One even sleeps with his ball.

“Worth the risk?” she told NBC. “I say absolutely.”

The study is published in the journal Radiology.

Weeks after giving birth, soccer star undergoes surgery to remove brain tumor

Former U.S. women’s soccer player Lauren Holiday is recovering after undergoing a successful surgery to remove a benign brain tumor Thursday at Duke University Hospital.

The 28-year-old is married to New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. She was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor called meningioma during her pregnancy with their first daughter.

>> Read more trending stories

In late September, the couple welcomed baby Jrue Tyler. The baby’s original due date was mid-October, but doctors decided to induce labor early to expedite brain surgery, ESPN reports.

Jrue Holiday is currently away from the Pelicans indefinitely as he helps his wife through the recovery. His teammates and coach have been supportive of his decision to take some much-needed family time.

Doctors are confident that Lauren Holiday will make a full recovery, ABC News reports.

Happy Birthday to my best friend, my adventurer and my partner in life. So thankful for the day you were born. I love you. A photo posted by @laurenholiday12 on Jun 12, 2016 at 9:22am PDT

Michael Young named as a preseason candidate for the Karl Malone Award

Yeah, I know - go figure, right? No, I hadn't heard of the Karl Malone Award, either.

That's mostly because it's a relatively new award. Created by the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2015, this is only the third season the award will be given. The Karl Malone Award, given to the top power forward, is one of five positional awards give by the Hall of Fame.

The others are the Bob Cousy Award (top point guard), the Jerry West Award (top shooting guard), the Julius Erving Award (top small forward), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award (top center).

Young is one of 20 players on the list and with most of these things, he will probably have a difficult time winning it. That's particularly true this season with the Panthers returning so many key players. Young should be the best player on the team but I'm not sure he'll be able to dominate the ball as much as other players will.

But still great to see the recognition.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

King of the Hill: ACC Football Power Rankings (Week 8)

Here are the most recent rankings after this week's ACC action. This past weekend, may teams, including the Panthers, were on bye weeks. But there were still several games, so as usual, we've got movement.

One thing to note is that while North Carolina State and Virginia both suffered some ugly losses, they didn't fall in the standings since they beat the two teams ranking right behind them in head-to-head matchups. Pitt had a chance to move up a spot but with the Hokies looking so impressive against Miami, they deserved to leapfrog the Panthers.

The previous week’s rankings are in parentheses and as always, let me know what I got right/wrong in the comments.

  1. Clemson (1) / 7-0: On a bye week
  2. Louisville (2) / 6-1: Dominated North Carolina State, 54-13
  3. North Carolina (3) 6-2: After a slow start, pulled away for a 35-21 win against Virginia
  4. Florida State (4) / 5-2: On a bye week
  5. Virginia Tech (7) / 5-2: Impressive 37-16 win over Miami
  6. Pitt (6) / 5-2: On a bye week
  7. Miami (5) / 4-3: Lost to Virginia Tech
  8. North Carolina State (8) / 4-3: Ugly loss to Louisville but remain ahead at No. 8
  9. Wake Forest (9) / 5-2: On a bye week
  10. Georgia Tech (10) / 4-3: On a bye week
  11. Syracuse (11) / 4-4: 28-20 win over Boston College
  12. Virginia (12) / 2-5: Lost to North Carolina
  13. Duke (13) / 3-4: On a bye week
  14. Boston College (14) / 3-4: Lost to Syracuse
Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Fans petition for Bob Uecker to call the World Series

Cleveland fans have already been denied "Wild Thing" making an appearance, so they've now turned to another fictional "Major League" character to improve their World Series mojo.

More than 12,000 fans have signed a petition to replace Fox's Joe Buck with Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker.

>> Read more trending stories 

Fans must be expecting Uecker's alter-ego, Harry Doyle - the lovable Indians broadcaster from the 1989 movie in which a laughable Cleveland team beats the odds to make the playoffs.

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Fans must've missed the sequel in which it is revealed the Indians didn't make the World Series, losing to the White Sox in the ALCS.

But that was Hollywood and this is reality.

Charlie Sheen, who portrayed pticher Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the film, was denied his request to throw a ceremonial first pitch by Major League Baseball. 

Uecker was a catcher with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves in the 1960s. He has served as the Milwaukee Brewers' announcer for more than four decades. His signature home run call is "Get up! Get up! Get outta here! Gone!" 

The Indians have been to the World Series twice since 1995, losing both times. The Chicago Cubs have reached their first World Series in 71 years. They have not won one since 1908.

Weekly Kickoff: Pitt to be tested by Virginia Tech defense

After a week off, Pitt hits the ground running with a Thursday night game against Virginia Tech.

The Hokies have grabbed quite a bit of attention after all of the talk had mostly been around Clemson, Louisville, and Florida State. After pounding North Carolina 34-3, they did have a head-scratcher in losing on the road to Syracuse. But after crushing Miami this week, 37-16, it's safe to say that they're mostly for real.

Virginia Tech, of course, isn't elite. With that loss to Syracuse and an early-season 45-24 rout to Tennessee, it's clear that they're not a Top 10 team. But this is going to be a great test for Pitt, who is still trying to figure out exactly where they are in the ACC hierarchy, too.

The Hokies are solid on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they've scored about 36 points - only a hair less than Pitt. Like the Panthers, Virginia Tech doesn't make a lot of mistakes at quarterback. Jerod Evans has 19 touchdowns against only two interceptions and he leads the entire ACC in passing efficiency. Evans, in fact, is in the top ten in the nation in that category, so don't expect him to make a ton of mistakes. He will also get out and run a little. Evans is second on the team in rushing with 417 yards.

In other words, not a great thing to see.

Defensively, though, is where Virginia Tech really makes their mark. The Hokies are 11th in the nation, allowing only about 300 yards per game, and they are 16th in scoring defense giving up just 18 points per game. Pitt's offense has mostly done what they wanted this year, so that's going to be a great matchup to watch. What the Panthers want to do is run the ball, but that's where the Hokies excel, ranking 11th in the nation there, too, allowing just over 100 yards per game.

Throwing against Virginia Tech is no picnic, either. Linebacker Terrell Edmunds and defensive back Greg Stroman are tied for second in the ACC with three interceptions. Overall, the team ranks 32nd in the nation allowing just under 200 passing yards per game. Because of what they do on defense, it will be interesting see how Pitt's run/pass balance shakes out.

One specific area where the Hokies stand out is on third down and if you're looking for a key to the game, that might be it. Virginia Tech is fifth in the nation in third-down efficiency on defense with teams converting those for first downs less than 25% of the time.

All of that sounds pretty difficult, obviously. But don't count the Panthers out just yet. For whatever reason, the Panthers always hang with Virginia Tech for the most part. That's no reason to expect Pitt to play well in any given year, but it's just been one of those things. More importantly, Pitt gets the game at home and on a Thursday night, should have a pretty good atmosphere if the weather holds out.

One more thing, too. While they haven't faced a team as good as Virginia Tech defensively, I still expect them to score points. Georgia Tech is a Top 30 defensive team and the Panthers scored 37 points. Outside of that, Pitt hasn't really been tested by great defensive squads, but I still believe this is an offense that will score against just about anyone. As usual, the question will be how they can slow down a decent passing attack.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

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