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September 26, 2007

He’s lying there, practically asking for it.

Sure, it seems like lousy timing to get the list of 10 worst football head coaches debate going when Pitt is (to be kind) floundering. Dave Wannstedt is going to make the list and be the nominee for the worst, by many. So what? Wanny is — to go all Gundy on this — a grown man. An adult. He can take it.

As fans of our school we can be bothered by it, but getting bent out of shape or indignant over it is silly. Right now, at this point he’s in the conversation, and even a punchline.
So, until Pitt shows a pulse and starts to even look like it is going in the right direction that has to be expected. And things like this:

Falling: Pitt. Getting beat down by Rutgers or West Virginia is one thing. But getting beat down by UConn — at home, no less — is quite another. Feel free to make your own joke.

There are plenty of teams and coaches doing more with less. Pitt and Coach Wannstedt are not among them. Like it or not, that is reality right now.

It can change. I still hold out hope that it will. Right now, Pitt is 2-7 in its last 9 games. 2-4 at home and the last time Pitt won a road game was Mid-October of last year. Coach Wannstedt has often fallen back on the cliche that “you are what your record says you are.”

Right now, he isn’t a very good head coach.

Does Zeise or his editor read his stories before they’re printed?

‘”LaRod and I will switch in and out and probably end up with the same amount of carries, so it really doesn’t make a difference who is starting,” Stephens-Howling said.’

And for people kicking him when he’s down, oh well. It doesn’t mean shit. People beat the shit out of coaches all the time. We’ve seen “amazing coaches” with back to back 4 and 5 win seasons, 1 win seasons, etc, that kept their job and turned it around. Nobody knows for sure what’ll happen – but we have the most talent we’ve had in a long time, albeit young. No one knows what the future holds, but it could be worse. How come no Kragthorpe bashing? Its not like Wanny walked into a situation with a 1 loss team and the best QB in the nation, and totally destroyed them in 4 games.

And the other thing i’ve realized is people were bitching that Shady didn’t get enough carries – but we only gave the ball to LSH 6 times. The rest of the time we were forced to throw because we were behind – I can guarantee the plan wasn’t to throw 50 times, but when you’re down 20 at the half, you don’t have many choices. And it isn’t like UConn hadn’t figured out he’s the only weapon we have after our one scoring drive, putting 9 in the box. If Bostick can show up this week, look at his one receiver, and then check down to the back or throw it away, and not turn it over, maybe we keep it closer than the 2 score loss i predict. Hopefully he shows up and plays like the top QB prospect we’d thought he was – and with our line, that would be absolutely amazing.

Comment by Stuart 09.27.07 @ 12:36 am

[…] With Syracuse beating Louisville, I think that now makes the Pitt Panthers the worst team in the Big East. Pitt has beaten such powerhouses as Grambling State and Directional Michigan, and suffered losses to Michigan State and UConn. This week they travel to Virginia who is looking for revenge for last season’s defeat. My question is; how can Dave Wannstedt have such high recruiting classes yet his team is showing nothing on the field? Easy answer, he is not a good head coach and I am not the only one who believes it. […]


Not to keep rehashing this issue, but I thought this was pertinent. McCoy was on with Junker & Crow yesterday on ESPN Radio 1250 and was asked about the carries issue. He said:

1. there were game situations that unfolded against UConn where it made more sense for LSH to be out there in certain packages,

2. with the way the game unfolded in the second quarter and the team finding itself down by so much so early, he said they needed to open it up in the second half to try to get back into it. He said they thought they could maintain some balance in the third quarter a little bit when Bostick came in, but had two three-and-outs and then had their third and final drive of the quarter stalled by penalties. Bostick threw the entire fourth quarter.

3. UConn ran 51 plays in the first half to Pitt’s 29 plays.

Consider this as well. Pitt began using the Wildcat formation in the second quarter because Smith was ineffective. There were nine minutes left when McCoy scored on their second drive of the second quarter to pull the score to 10-7 in favor of UConn. Over the next nine minutes, UConn took Pitt completely out of the game by scoring 17 unanswered points. Ten of those points came within the last minute of the half (thanks to Smith fumbling and UConn converting it into a last-second field goal).

Comment by Stoosh 09.27.07 @ 9:15 am

i recall when Mike Gottfried took over at Pitt ending the Foge era of futility….his first game was a loss at a very good Maryland team….but right from the get go…you could tell that he had control of the team, and things would get better…it was his sideline organization, player attitude, and a shared belief on what the coach and the team wanted to accomplish….I don’t get this feeling with Dave and the current Pitt team….3 years into this thing….the team should play with alot more sense of purpose and organization than I’ve seen….far too disorganized, desperate, and disinterested….I hope this attitude vacates soon…but that might require some coaching changes….we got the talent….coaching and prep is the answer

Comment by deter 09.27.07 @ 9:43 am

how bout rick neuheisel?? winner at colorado and washington, ucla boy/west coast connections for recruiting, a bit of a bad boy, would support the hoops program( and probably bet on them heavily in a march madness pool!).

Comment by Scott 09.27.07 @ 10:37 am

Stoosh – exactly. Its funny to have these “journalists” complain in the box score we only gave Shady the ball 11 times, and threw 50+ times, when we said we wanted to do the opposite. They just assume if you want to run the ball you “just call a run play” – then if you do it on 3rd and 13, you’re an idiot cause you “just called a run play.”

I still think it comes down to the QB play, and that is exacerbated by the OLine/blocking scheme. Until we can complete a screen pass (or at least not completing them to the other team), we’re not beating anyone.

I love during football season we get to talk about who we want to replace Wanny with, and during basketball season we get to talk about who we want to replace Dixon with. Awesome school and fans we have here.

Comment by Stuart 09.27.07 @ 11:54 am

stuart, i’m guessin you love hangin out w/ wanny and jeff smoker.

Comment by Scott 09.27.07 @ 12:48 pm

The plethora (yes, Jefe, I said “plethora”) of third-and-longs was also another thing that McCoy mentioned that had an effect on the number of carries he had Saturday.

I just want to put the issue to bed. Shady’s going to get his carries, but Pitt cannot give him the ball 45 times a game…well, they can, but they need to have some way to mix it up. Until the quarterback proves them otherwise, we might witness the first collegiate game where the opposing defense ran a 9-2 for the duration.

On a somewhat related note, some of Zeise’s comments in his chat today on the Post-Gazette website were a little, um…unsettling. I’m talking specifically about the ones involving the playcalling on the first series of the UConn game and then Rhoads’s complete failure to work a scheme that matched up well with UConn.

Not encouraged. Not at all. I’m not a huge fan of Cavanaugh and Rhoads to begin with, and this didn’t help.

Comment by Stoosh 09.27.07 @ 5:06 pm

About Wanny, I have three words:

EVERYBODY thinks he’s an idiot clown. Well, everyone except the True-Believin’ Yinzers.

Comment by Joshua 09.27.07 @ 5:43 pm

Told us fucking what? I sure as fuck didn’t expect this season to be a cake walk, and with no QB, we’ve tanked. I’m taking a wait and see approach to this – i want to see what happens by the end of next year. Until then, you haven’t told us shit. This is nothing like what Kragthorpe has done to LU – Wanny stepped into a program with a bunch of 3-star players and has struggled. I didn’t expect him to do shit until he at least has SOME 4 and 5 star upperclassmen – which won’t be until next year at the earliest when he’ll have some good juniors. Go bother some other fucking team. Like PSU, or ND, or LU. And as i’ve explained before that i’m sure as hell not a yinzer – i moved out here for college. And if you think firing a coach every 3 or 4 years is going to get your program anywhere, you have absolutely no sense. You’re obviously too fucking slow to comprehend when i point out several programs that had shitty years and embarassing losses with new coaches before it got turned around.

At the end of next season, come back and “tell us so.” Until then, STFU.

Comment by Stuart 09.27.07 @ 6:33 pm

Next year, next year, next year, blah, blah, blah. Maybe that’s why Pitt always sucks, because you always want to talk about NEXT YEAR!!!!!! When will it be THIS YEAR?!!! Two seasons ago was supposed to be THE YEAR. Last year was supposed to be THE YEAR. Of course, after a few games in both seasons, it quickly switched to NEXT YEAR.

And maybe if the AD made the right hires, we wouldn’t have to fire coaches every 4 years!

Comment by Joshua 09.27.07 @ 9:24 pm

DW should have some dignity and just retire after the UConn ass kicking…the guy just isnt a head coach. Is it just me or are we actually getting worse each year? Didnt Uconn just go D-1 a few years ago? How is it that every other program manages a big win here and there except for us? Even disgraceul Syracuse took it to Louisville. Look at all the other programs that have passed us in just a few years: USF and Rutgers just to name a few. DW will never last after next year and I think thats a good thing.

Comment by Rex 09.27.07 @ 10:25 pm

Before the football season started the best anyone expected was 7-5 (being hard pressed to win a road game) now that we lost Kinder, Stull, and Mustakas why should anyone be surprised by the Connecticut game ? The record could only get worse losing the best players at each of their positions. Blame Wanny for not having depth with 2 1/2 recruiting classes, can’t coach someone not on the field. The Walt Harris fiasco is still biting the Pitt program (the cupboard was bare and Walt’s last season was done with smoke and mirrors). Next year (2008) by everyone’s account before the season started was the year to judge Wanny. I don’t like what has transpired but Stull and Kinder injuries were significant to an offense WE knew was weak.

Comment by Marty 09.27.07 @ 10:31 pm

Nice summary of the situation Marty.

Comment by TMGpanther 09.27.07 @ 11:18 pm

Marty, its impossible to reason with senseless people. No one wants to hear “reasons” they just want wins. Your QB, top WR, top DL, etc, could go down, and no one wants to hear it – you should still win. Just win goddamnit.

WTF do you people expect? Tell, who is this miracle fucking coach dying to come to Pitt that would have recruited as well and changed all this with 2 recruiting classes and the injuries that have happened? Please, edumacate all us dumb people.

Comment by Stuart 09.28.07 @ 2:22 am

I’m as upset about this year as anyone. However, the comparisons to USF and Rutgers are not fair and actually help make an arguement for the wait-and-see-crowd (which I’m a part of). The coach as USF has been there 11 years, 11!! It’s not as if this program appeared out of thin air.

As for Rutgers, their coach was forced to fire all of his assistants three years into his term. It was clear that he was next to go. But in year #4 the team started to improve (slightly). It was in years 5-6 that the team became to really take off.

As mad as I was on Saturday night, I realize it best for everyone to allow DW to complete year #4 before we pass judgement.

Comment by ME2001 09.28.07 @ 7:49 am


Maybe you can tell us who else Pitt was going to get back in December of 2004 that was any better.

The other FINALISTS for the job were Cavanaugh and Rhoads.

Not Bo Pelini.
Not Les Miles.
Not Dan Hawkins.
Not Urban Meyer.
Not Charlie Weis.
Not Kirk Ferentz.
Not Jim Leavitt.

Matt Cavanaugh.
Paul Rhoads.
Dave Wannstedt.

Those were the choices. No one else was walking through that door because they all had bigger and better opportunities. Bo Pelini is likely to take over the job at LSU if Les Miles leaves. Hawkins took a Big XII program that’s been down for a while, but at least was a Top 10 program just 10-15 years ago. Leavitt’s been courted by Miami and other higher-profile programs down south and he still didn’t leave USF.

Stop revising history. Lots of people questioned the Wannstedt hire, but he was a hell of a college recruiter and a very solid assistant before. On top of that, Pitt desperately needed someone who was going to believe in the program, believe in a plan, and not take off the first time a bigger and somewhat better offer came down the pipe. Would you rather have had someone like Petrino, who coached his entire time at Louisville with one foot out the door?

Look at what this team has gone through this year with their personnel. They’ve recruited more high-profile players in the last two years than Harris did during his entire career here at Pitt. The reason we’re not seeing results is because most of these kids are true sophs, redshirt freshmen or true freshmen. These kids need time. Not every top-flight recruit is going to be Adrian Peterson.

Comment by Stoosh 09.28.07 @ 9:42 am

THOSE were the finalists? Well, that tells me that Jeff Long was an incompetent BOOB! Good riddance to that bad garbage. I could have named a few I-AA coaches of the top of my head better than that dreck. I wonder whether the Appy State coach is ready to move up to I-A. And yeah, Appy State has been good for some time, not just the past couple of years. Then there’s also Dick Biddle at Colgate, Tim Murphy at Harvard, etc. Wanny couldn’t and STILL can’t hold their jockstraps.

Comment by Joshua 09.28.07 @ 2:35 pm

And as for recruiting, bah. They don’t mean a thing unless you can coach on the level of an 8th grader. Just as Ted Roof. He claims he’s bringing in the best classes Duke has seen in a long time (probably since McGee and Spurrier), but the team still sucks. And everyone knows the reason: bad coaching. How many times do I have to drill this into your head: GOOD RECRUITS CANNOT OVERCOME BAD COACHING!!!!!

Comment by Joshua 09.28.07 @ 2:38 pm


Comment by Stuart 09.28.07 @ 3:08 pm


But that’s my point…it’s not like this was some marquee program that had up-and-coming candidates rushing to make sure their name was in the hat. Very few coaching candidates see Pitt as an end destination and they won’t see it that way unless the Big East becomes a more prestigious conference (I think they’re on the way…a national title or two will do wonders there).

I still think Wannstedt deserves to see these recruiting classes through. Every program that has achieved any long-term success has done so by consistently recruiting good players. Some programs have a bad year here or there, but they’re always restocking their program with good players.

The problem even with quality players is that there’s no set timetable for them to mature and start making an impact on the program. For instance, it generally takes linemen longer to make an impact because a younger lineman is dealing with physical limitations he has simply because he’s younger. Take someone like Joe Thomas…he doesn’t turn 20 years old until December, but he’s was in there last year and this year against players who are three, sometimes four or five years older than he is. As I’ve said before, it’s not much different than taking a high school freshman and asking him to hold his own against a high school senior. The senior may not be quite as naturally talented, but he’s going to have some advantages simply because he’s older and more physically mature.

Many of Pitt’s problems are due to coaching, I will agree there. I said as much above in some of my earlier posts. I do think, though, that the injuries have to play into this somewhat, and I think Wannstedt deserves to see this through at least the end of next year. A coordinator or two, or perhaps some other changes will be made, and that’s usually the signal that the head coach is officially on notice. And if those changes come, Wannstedt really needs to be careful with who they bring in to replace those coaches.

I could see if this was a program on par with Michigan or some other marquee name like that, and there was a bonafide “program savior” out there like what Urban Meyer was a few years back. They could expect something like the changes Louisville and Cincy made…a coach coming from a lower conference like C-USA or the MAC, but not every coach is capable of having success at the “next level” like that (see Smith, John L.) and there’s always a chance Pitt deals with a situation like Petrino.

Comment by Stoosh 09.28.07 @ 3:43 pm

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