March 15, 2007

This year it crept up on me. It’s not like there’s tons of optimism or belief that this is going to be the turnaround. There’s more a sense of, well I guess we’ll find out if last year was rock-bottom before things start getting better of if there are further depths to plumb. Sorry, still feeling very cynical about things.

I’ll just try and get this quickly. One of the graduate assistants is now the Tight Ends Coach. Good luck to Brian Angelichio. I don’t know anything about him, but the TE has been one of the few consistent strong and bright areas from Harris to Wannstedt. Plus there is some serious talent and depth (go figure) at that spot, so just don’t screw it up.

Bob Junko has changed positions within the staff again.

After 14 seasons in numerous capacities, Pitt football associate head coach Bob Junko is moving to a newly created administrative post.Junko, 60, will focus on daily operations and working with the football alumni outreach program.

Last year, Junko moved from coaching to recruiting coordinator because of health issues. This reads like a continuation of those health issues. Stay well.

The #1 athlete and potential offensive threat from Pitt’s 2006 recruiting class is now a linebacker?

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said Wednesday that Dickerson has been moved to outside linebacker, where he is expected to compete for the weak-side starting job.

“We’re trying to put Dorin in a position where he can help the team the fastest,” Wannstedt said. “Dorin is one of the strongest guys on our football team. He’s up to 225 pounds and he’s benching over 350 pounds. I told him, ‘We want to do what you want to do, but we’re looking for the best place for you to contribute.'”

This is either a brilliant move to get an athlete on the field at a need position where he will excel and a clear recognition of talents that will serve the team and Dickerson well. That or insanity at wasting a huge potential offensive weapon who could create chaos for opposing defenses by playing in the backfield and catching the ball. I’m going to reserve judgment — mostly.

Just one thought. It does seem from the article that Coach Wannstedt has fallen back to a natural state as seeing players in set positions and not putting hybrid athletes simply on the field and looking for ways to create opportunities to use them. That’s okay, even if I disagree. The thing is, he has to recruit that way and be up front with the recruits.

Tommie Campbell and Corey Davis are still suspended and little used Kelvin Chandler has left the program. As he only has a year left, I imagine he will look for a 1-AA or D-2  school if he still wants to play.

A Q&A with Coach Wannstedt. Obviously you will want to read it all.

Question: How do you feel about the quarterback competition, now that Tyler Palko has graduated?

Answer: I think we’ll come out of the spring feeling good about all the quarterbacks that are here. Billy Stull will start off with the first group. Dexter Davidson is coming off the (knee) injuries, and we’ve got walk-on Steve Malinchak, but it’s going to be a two-man battle, as far as reps, with Bill Stull and Kevan Smith.

Both guys will get the majority of the work. One thing I’m thinking about doing different than the past two: When we scrimmage, everything will be live. There will be no restrictions on quarterbacks. I want to find out who can sack a quarterback, and I want to find out which quarterback can make some plays under pressure, on his feet and with his mind. Both quarterbacks are similar. Billy has a little more experience and is an accurate passer. They both understand the offense. Kevan is more athletic and has the stronger arm.

Unserious, snarky thought about letting the QBs be “live.” He wants one or both hurt early so Bostick can come in and get the job. That or he just wants one hurt so he can make the easy choice and go with the one not hurt as the other will unfortunately fall behind on practice and learning the system.

It also mentions that Shane Murray is moving to Linebacker. Elijah Fields is being called out. No practices at high schools this year.

Thanks for this, Chas.

Comment by Chris 03.15.07 @ 9:28 am

I cant’ believe he’s moving dickerson to lb..this guy was recruited by every major program as a back/recvr. and we’re playing him at lb…just amazing.

Comment by scoocher 03.15.07 @ 9:38 am

I thought Dave wants a big back. Sounds like he is getting pretty big to me. Could you imagine a 220 Dorin Dickerson in the backfield? I guess the team needs linebackers that bad.

Comment by Chris 03.15.07 @ 10:13 am

225? WOW! Didn’t he come in at like 190.

Comment by Chris 03.15.07 @ 10:29 am

Good lord, Dickerson is going to be a LB??? Way to take a game breaker type player and put him in unfamiliar territory. Can we just skip over football season this year?

Comment by Rex 03.15.07 @ 10:32 am

Disagree with the above posts. Dickerson was being recruited by other schools for his defensive play also(tOSU & Michigan I believe). So, to me – you get the guy on the field anyway you can and see how he does. I’d have liked for it to work out for DD in the backfield, but it’s tough to sit an almost 900 yard rusher (LSH) down for an unproven commodity. DD was behind the 8 ball with his injury during camp last year anyway, and in 2007 do you see him unseating LSH or being ahead of McCoy on the depth chart? Where would he fit in at WR? Full time LB would be better than a second or third string RB. This could be a good development and I give DW the benefit of the doubt at this time.

Not seeing Webster’s name mentioned in the LB mix surprises me – so maybe the illness rumors are true.

I did like what he said about finding a place for Pinkston if he keeps knocking down lineman. Reading between the lines it sounds like DW is happy with his progress with the switch to O line.

I don’t want to skip this football season, I’m thinking it’ll be fun to see how these kids develop, and we might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Comment by Reed 03.15.07 @ 10:53 am

Reed I love Pitt but rest assure there will be no pleasant surprise this season. DW is starting to remind me of Paterno – blowing red shirts and turning every player in to a LB.

Comment by Rex 03.15.07 @ 11:03 am

It is hard to remain patient with DW when WVU and PSU are having success. We should have been in a bowl last year with Palko, Blades, and Revis.

Comment by Chris 03.15.07 @ 11:28 am

Rex – I think his moving players around is a sign that he’s getting the hang of the college game. In the pors you don’t do that, and my impression of DW’s first two years was that he stuck with player’s in the positions that he inherited way too long. The only switch I can remember was Campbell.

Paterno’s had a pretty good track record with position switches. Seems like almost every player that excels at PSU started out in a different position.

As good as Blades, Revis and Palko were – they certaintly are not irreplacable. Too many fans think that we are going to be automatically deficient in those positions just because those guys left. Well, WR worked out OK last year, and we said the same things in last year’s pre-season.

I’ll stay optomistic, in the main because I think that we are going to see much more talented players on the field than last year – maybe even in some of the three ‘star’ positions we lost.

Comment by Reed 03.15.07 @ 12:05 pm

Reed-I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Paterno wanted Unitas to play lb for them…Johnny f8#king U!

You can’t take a guy like dickerson (who was a big time NATIONAL recruit) on offense and put in at lb.

In hoops, it’s one thing to play a guy at the #2 even though he might be a 1 or even a 3, but football its completely different.

I don’t care if we play with all freshman lbs and a jucco transfer, dickerson needs to be on offense…so we win or lose with games in the 40s.

You don’t fill a hole with a player of his caliber.

Comment by scoocher 03.15.07 @ 12:19 pm

I say where there is smoke, there is fire…If DD was good enough to beat out the current RB’s or WR’s, he would have been playing. I don’t know why he could not beat them out, but he did not. The WR and RB positions look to be deeper this year than last, so it makes sense that he move to a new position. Plus, at 225 he may have lost some quickness, and he may be still growing. Let’s say he adds another 10 or 15 lbs, how many 235 to 240 pound WR’s or RB’s are out there? Most recruits play OFF and DEF in high school. OFF naturally get’s all of the attention, but that does not mean that DD was not also a stud on defense. I’ll leave it like this: Where does this team need more help…Offense or Defense?

Comment by HbgFrank 03.15.07 @ 1:50 pm

Louisville Head Football Coach Frank Camp had Johnny Unitas playing linebacker or safety on defense, quarterback on offense, and kick/punt returner on special teams.

Comment by KeithS 03.15.07 @ 2:14 pm

I think it escapes a lot of people that most of the “big name” schools wanted Dickerson on defense first, primarily at outside linebacker. OSU and Michigan are the certain two who wanted him on defense. I believe Florida, Penn State, LSU, and Wisconsin also all wanted him at outside linebacker. One reason (though not the primary one) Dickerson came to Pitt was because he would get his chance on offense. With his injury in the Big33 game and then it lingering throughout camp and most of the season, put Dickerson behind the 8-ball on the field. When the receivers came through (big question marks going in to the season) last year and McCoy’s signature at LOI 07′ pretty much put Dickerson in a spot that would not provide as much time as a athlete like himself is needed on the field.

Comment by pittengineer75 03.15.07 @ 3:05 pm

didnt Paterno want Tony Dorsett to play lb and Jeff Hostetler?

Comment by Rex 03.15.07 @ 7:28 pm

No, Paterno didn’t want to recruit Dorsett because he felt he was too small for college ball at 5’10” and 175 lbs. Afterward TD’s four years went by he said “Who knew?” which is my favorite Paterno quote of all time.

Comment by Reed 03.15.07 @ 9:46 pm


According to the Post Gazette, Dorsett was desired by psu as a defensive player:

“Every college coach wanted Dorsett. Penn State was interested in him as a defensive back because of his speed and toughness. Pitt needed a running back, and Dorsett gained 6,082 yards and scored 55 touchdowns during his four years with the Panthers.”

link to

I also remember Dorsett telling a similar story on Fox Sports Spotlight.

Comment by Rex 03.16.07 @ 7:21 am

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