A couple of Pitt items that interest me (maybe you, too):
By the way, I am writing this while watching a replay of the Pitt/Notre Dame game. Yes, it’s worth watching again.
– I had a friendly chat Wednesday with Theodore Roosevelt (Ohio) High School coach John Nemec, whose prize pupil is 2013 Pitt quarterback recruit Tra’Von Chapman.
Nemec told me that Chapman, who gave Pitt a verbal commitment over the summer, plans to enroll in January and be available for spring practice. That means the spring of 2013 will be the first since 2010 without an incumbent starter.
Joining Chapman will be junior-to-be Trey Anderson, Chad Voytik, who is being redshirted this fall during his freshman season, and Tom Savage, who is sitting out this year after transferring from Arizona. Savage also spent two seasons at Rutgers.
Nemec said Chapman, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, has led Roosevelt, a school from Ohio’s second-largest classification, to a 10-1 record and into the second round of the playoffs Friday night. Chapman has thrown for 32 touchdowns, 2,500 yards, with only eight interceptions. He also has run for 700 yards.
Nemec, a Gateway graduate, was a bit conflicted when I told him his alma mater is playing Woodland Hills in the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals. Nemec counts Woodland Hills coach George Novak as one of his coaching fraternity buddies.
– A look at the Pitt depth chart indicates that freshman J.P. Holtz is a co-starter at tight end, along with senior Hubie Graham. Holtz has scored touchdowns in two consecutive games.
– Pitt kicker Kevin Harper leads the Big East in scoring (72), field goals (14) and attempts (20).
– Pitt kickoff returner Lafayette Pitts, who is also a starting cornerback, leads the conference in average yards (27.3)..
– Pitt coach Paul Chryst said on his radio show Wednesday night that Anthony Gonzalez, who has been a Wildcat quarterback, H-back and safety in three years on campus, will be used as a backup emergency linebacker in Connecticut. He also said long snapper Kevin Barthelemy, who has missed the past five games with left hand injury, may be ready to return.
– To those Notre Dame fans, who booed when linebacker Emanuel Rackard fell down and were thinking — wrongly — that it was a ploy to get Pitt a timeout: Rackard has a knee injury and won’t make the trip to Connecticut.
– To those adult Notre Dame fans, who sit in the press box cheering and high-fiving each other: Grow up. It’s a workplace, not a bar.
– During the telecast, analyst Mike Mayock said Pitt has the best screen game of any team he has watched on video this season.
– Remember the play in the second quarter when Notre Dame’s Theo Riddick appeared to score, but the play was overturned on replay review? Riddick’s knee hit the 1 before he reached the goal line because of a nice, diving tackle by Aaron Donald. Impressive athleticism for a big man. You can see so much more on TV than from the press box while trying to meet a deadline.