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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Take Five | EA college football, the NFL awards and more

Pitt+senior+setter+Rachel+Fairbanks+%2810%29+sets+the+ball+against+Bowling+Green+State+University+at+the+Fitzgerald+Field+House+on+Sep.+9%2C+2022.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Pitt senior setter Rachel Fairbanks (10) sets the ball against Bowling Green State University at the Fitzgerald Field House on Sep. 9, 2022.

In this week’s Take Five, The Pitt News Sports Desk gives its take on a diverse range of topics, including EA’s new college football game and the NFL awards. 

Don’t get too excited about EA College Football ‘25 // Brian Sherry, Sports Editor 

Last week, video game developer EA Sports released a teaser trailer for its new college football game, which it expects to release sometime this summer. The trailer comes after a nearly 11-year hiatus of the much-beloved college football game series. Fans of the series quickly flocked to social media to voice their avid support of the potential new game. 

But there are still many lingering questions and problems plaguing the release of the game. For one, this installment of the series will feature real-life athletes, which is a vast departure from the fictional players the older games used to utilize. This development is thanks to the recent rise of name, image and likeness deals across collegiate sports. EA is set to offer each player in the series $600 and a free copy of the game. But it is still unknown how many players will actually accept the deal and how EA will handle those who don’t. 

EA has also drawn criticism recently for its handling of its Madden series. The NFL football simulator continues to draw poor reviews with every edition, and EA has yet to address fans’ issues around the game. If EA’s new college football game resembles its recent installments of the Madden series, then there’s a good chance it will flop and fans will have waited 11 years for nothing.

Personally, I have little faith that EA can meet fans’ lofty expectations. The game will probably feel like a Madden game with college teams and different modes. As an old enjoyer of the series, I will likely join thousands of other fans who disapprove of the game once it comes out.

From a Steelers fan — Myles Garrett deserved DPOY for only one reason // Conor Hutchison, Staff Writer

Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett rightfully won this last NFL season’s Defensive Player of the Year honor, but not for the reasons everyone says.

People travel the Earth to talk about Garrett’s statistics, but the defensive lineman does not have first- or second-level statistics on his side. Quarterback pressures, pass-rush win rate, double-team rate and time to pressure are a few statistics that many refer to when praising Garrett. But all of these categories are led by Micah Parsons of the Cowboys.

Likewise, T.J. Watt led the league in almost all box-score statistics — so what allowed Garrett to notch his first DPOY win?

First, the MVP honor might as well be the Offensive MVP, as a defensive player has not won the award since 1986 with Lawrence Taylor. Therefore, the DPOY acts as virtually a defensive MVP. What are the criteria for the MVP award? Be the best player on the best unit in the league. The Ravens were the best team in the league last regular season, and Lamar Jackson was rightfully compensated with his second MVP award despite inferior numbers to other candidates.

Garrett, who had never recorded a first-place DPOY vote until this year, won his first DPOY honor by leading a historically great defense as its best player. The Browns’ defense gave up only 266 yards per game, held opponents to an average of 20 points per game and forced more punts than the Packers and Broncos combined.

Still, Garrett’s award win may seem somewhat predetermined. After Garrett temporarily took the sack lead by .5 sacks over Watt in Week 10, the NFL changed their Instagram bio to “Myles Garrett for DPOY.” However, Garrett deserved to win.

Kade Bell is already amongst Narduzzi’s top hires // Alex Porter, Staff Writer

Regardless of offensive coordinator Kade Bell’s on-field performance, his hiring already ranks amongst head coach Pat Narduzzi’s best for its boldness and adaptability.

Narduzzi’s critics often characterize him as headstrong, stubborn and above self-reflection. Oftentimes, they point to Pitt’s 2021 offense that led them to a 45-21 ACC championship victory. Despite the team’s historical successes, Narduzzi seemed unsatisfied with their play style at times.

“Our old offensive coordinator [Mark Whipple] had no desire to run the ball,” Narduzzi said. “Everybody knew it. He was stubborn. When we ran it, we ran it for 10 yards, but that wasn’t good enough.”

After the Panthers finished last in total yardage, first downs and scoring in the ACC last season, Pitt knew it needed change. Narduzzi turned to Bell’s “play fast, score faster” offense, which plans to snap the ball every seven to 10 seconds, for answers. 

This hire represents a dramatic philosophical shift from the run-heavy schemes that previously defined Pitt under Narduzzi’s tenure. The hiring of Bell should silence some of Narduzzi’s detractors, proving he puts winning over any of his personal preferences. 

“The one thing I don’t want is a yes-man,” Narduzzi said. “If I say, ‘Hey, I think this is the best guy for the job,’ and someone says, ‘OK, coach,’ that ain’t good. I want guys who say, ‘Coach, this is what I think.”

Setting is an art form, so why is the NCAA taking that away? // Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer

On Tuesday, the NCAA announced that it approved double contacts in women’s volleyball. The NCAA’s goal with this rule change is to increase the number of rallies in women’s volleyball matches, making the game more exciting for players and fans. All of that sounds good and fun, but it takes away some of the skill it takes to play as a collegiate-level setter. 

The NCAA taking away double contacts is as if the NFL took away the rule of a receiver having to survive the ground after a catch. Yes, this rule change could cause more exciting plays, but it takes away part of the skill needed to become an NFL pass catcher. 

In the 2024 season, this rule change won’t become noticeable. But it will in the following years, because collegiate coaches are going to recruit the fastest high school athletes to play as setters, not the players with the best hands who have perfected the art form of setting. 

Setting is an art, and part of that art should not get taken away for two or three longer rallies a match.

Remembering Adam Johnson // Jenna Paler, Staff Writer

Former Pittsburgh Penguins player Adam Johnson passed away on Oct. 28, 2023 due to a tragic on-ice accident. Johnson was playing a game in England for the Nottingham Panthers against the Sheffield Steelers when his neck got cut by a blade. He was only 29 years old. 

Johnson also played for the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, the Ontario Reign and Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Johnson played a total of 13 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL. 

Johnson made a true impact in many areas of the world. His teammates recognized him as humble, down to earth and an overall great person. On Oct. 30, 2023, in their game against the Anaheim Ducks, the Penguins showed a video of Johnson’s first goal with the team. The Penguins gave a final round of applause for Johnson instead of a moment of silence and wore “AJ 47” on their helmets, which was a beautiful tribute to have. 

This is truly a devastating event that took place, especially for such a young person. Many other leagues are now mandating neck guards to prevent further accidents like this from occurring. 

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