ORANGE & BLUE: Football – PITT Scouting

ORANGE & BLUE: Football – PITT Scouting

It is the Orange and
Blue Report, and why not? It’s week one of the
college football season, and nothing like starting
it off with a bang. The Orange and Blue Report is
always presented by UVA Health, and I’m joined right now by
defense coordinator Kelly Poppinga. He coaches the linebackers,
as well for the Cavaliers. I’m Dave Cain, and K pop, let’s
get right into this thing. Nothing like starting
off with a bang. I mean, you start the
season, it’s always exciting, then you throw a little
conference action on top of it. And in the fact
that this is a team that has seemed to have your
number over the last four years. A pit team that ran the
ball incredibly well against you last season,
254 yards on the ground. Obviously, these
are the things that keep defensive
coordinators up at night. Oh yeah, that’s what we’ve been
thinking about all off-season. I’ve probably watched that
game three, four times a week, you know, over the off season. No joke, and you know,
you put that game in there and the Virginia Tech
game, and just schematically, that’s what our whole offense– off-season has been based
around is the one game that they were doing in those
games of how to stop it, what can we do better. How can we give our
guys a better chance? As far as just starting
the season with Pitt, this is different than any
year that we’ve had here. Usually we’re starting
off with an FCS team, and so going right into
conference– great challenge. Way more urgency, I
think, from a team of we’re just making sure we’re
putting our best product out on the field. We’re playing for a
conference championship every single week, so
that opportunity to go in and, you know, earn that
right to play in December, you know, down to Charlotte,
it’s going to start Saturday. And not a better way
to do it than, I think, going up there and seeing if all
of our work in the off-season and playing to run
is going to pay off. Yeah. It makes it even more
challenging in some ways, this is a double edged sword. They have a new offensive
coordinator, Mark Whipple, so the challenge
for Pitt is they have to try to integrate these
things in week one against you all. Now the challenge
you have is preparing for a team that’s
got an entirely different new
offensive coordinator and potential scheme. What has that been like trying
to get ready for this game? Yeah, you know, I think
based upon the head coaches personality there,
I think, you know, he’s going to want to play great
defense and run the football. And so I think that’s
why the new OC came in. Obviously, he has, you know,
some run game background. They were really good at
running the ball last year, so I don’t think that’s
why they made the changes. I think they made the changes
because he wanted to throw the ball a little bit better. So there’s going to be
a balanced attack there, which we’ve been preparing
for based upon this stuff he did at UMass. But I would anticipate
a very similar run game that we’ve seen from
Pitt in the past. They’ve got good receivers too. I think that’s the strength
of their offense right now is their receiver
and their quarterback. An experienced o-line,
inexperienced backs, even though I think the
backs are good from what I’ve seen of them. And so, you know, we’re going to
have our work cut out for us as far as just– it’s not going
to be just defending the run or, you know, you
play a spread team and you’re just worried
about defending the past like the South Carolina game. We’re going to have
to be locked in and making sure we’re
defending the run and defending the pass game
at the highest level we can. This is a team that goes
without 2000 yard rushers from a season– four new offensive linemen. You touched it on that
fact, but they’re not the only ones who have
undergone some changes. Your defense, while
mostly intact, does have some new faces
that we’re going to see from. Tell us a little bit about
how this defense figures to be different from a season ago. And I know a lot of
it starts up front. Yeah, I think just
the depth up front. That’s the biggest thing. Very comfortable with the
depth that we have there. And not just players
as far as just people, they’re good players. You know, they’re guys
that have been in games and make plays besides
the two freshmen. And so obviously that is
going to be the biggest, I would say, upgrade
from last season. But then the other experience
or the other positive that we have– we have a lot
of experience back up from. So just the front
seven, it’s deep. The secondary,
everybody talked about the secondary all
off-season, I think we know what we have there. And then the consistency
of experience at linebacker is what we’ve got to bank on. That those guys are going to go
out there and reach our goal. We believe if we can keep
them 3.5 or under in the run game per play, that we’ll
give ourselves a great chance to win this game. He is the man with
the master plan. He is the defensive
coordinator for the Cavaliers, Kelly Poppinga as
he is trying to get his team ready for this week
one show down with the Pitt Panthers. 7:30 coming up on
Saturday night. We get the airwaves on
the Radio Network at 6:30. We hope you can join
us, but for now, that is the Orange and Blue Report
presented by UVA Health.

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