Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …
>> My Friday column looks at Todd Graham and Dana Holgorsen, the new coaches at Pitt and West Virginia, and their mutual disdain. Could bring a whole new dimension to the Brawl.
Thanks to both gentlemen for offering one-on-one time earlier in the week.
>> One reason why coaches and managers in sports are leery of making depth-chart declarations too early before any season is that, as they love to say, some things just play themselves out.
And so it was with the Steelers’ final preseason game, as Charlie Batch became the very, very clear No. 2 on the QB list at age 36, largely because of Byron Leftwich’s ugly injury but partly because he flat-out outplayed Dennis Dixon. Right guard looked just as unsettled, but Doug Legursky stepped up again last night. And the wide receiver depth chart became a blissful blur of players performing so well that the only fitting answer was Bruce Arians’ decision last night to go five-wides on the opening series.
Roster issues remain, though most are on the fringes. The one I’ll single out here is Mortty Ivy, and not just because he’s a fellow Gateway grad. From day one in Latrobe, all he’s done is make plays, many of them in the backfield. He’s not big at 6-1, 239, and he’s not Usain Bolt, but kid displayed a great nose for the ball, which you’d think would help on special teams as much as any of the more tangible traits.
>> If you think the Pirates hung tough with the Dodgers based on the 6-4 final yesterday, you weren’t one of the, oh, 4,000 or so fans at PNC Park.
Getting mowed down for eight innings by Dana Eveland is inexcusable.
Ryan Doumit’s lock-up after the passed ball was the same.
Chris Resop walking Eveland to load the bases in the eighth … you get the idea.
I’m not anywhere close to making one of those boisterous statements about the team quitting, but I am quite comfortable in saying there’s no life at all in that clubhouse. And that sort of thing almost invariably is the manager’s domain. We’ll see how Clint Hurdle handles it.
>> I’ll be covering college football all weekend, with the usual game threads going up here. Would love to hear from those of you who are into the game in our comments section. I’ll chime in when summoned.
>> Thanks to all for participating on the chat yesterday.