For this, I don’t actually blame Coach Wannstedt. No really. This issue actually coming up now, seems more in response to being asked by reporters since there will be two years on his contract after this season, and it’s the common time for extensions to happen or “lame-duck” arguments to begin.
He is in the third year of a five-year contract and, although he has talked with the chancellor about a contract extension, he said it is not his current top priority. Instead, that top priority is getting the Panthers on the winning track.
“I’m going to be here, I have had very good conversations with the chancellor,” an upbeat Wannstedt said yesterday.
“We’ve spoken about the direction of the program and what we are trying to accomplish, and he’s been very supportive. We are doing things the right way, but ultimately, we have to start winning some games, and nobody understands that better than I do. I know if we can get a few more good recruiting classes here, we’ll get to where we need to be.”
It is all informal at this point. I don’t think an extension is going to happen at this point. Again, that whole lack of an AD thing.
Then there’s the obligatory article on how a lack of an extension could be a drag on recruiting from a recruiting analyst. Of course a lack of winning is also a drag on recruiting so…
Ron Cook decides that Wannstedt should get an extension. In a very tepid way.
This is going to sound insane, but this is the time Nordenberg should be thinking about an extension for Wannstedt. Not a five- or 10-year deal, but one year. If Nordenberg believes Wannstedt still is his man, he has to do it. That would carry more weight than a vote of confidence. That wouldn’t just help Pitt’s recruiting. It would let Pittsburgh know the Pitt administration is prepared to ride out the storm with Wannstedt.
That’s not easy to do — public sentiment has turned dramatically against Wannstedt since the horrible home losses to Connecticut and Navy the past three weeks — but that kind of strength has been known to pay off. I’m thinking of Greg Schiano at Rutgers. His first four teams went 2-9, 1-11, 5-7 and 4-7, but Rutgers stuck with him. I’m also thinking of Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. His first six teams went 2-9, 3-8, 6-4-1, 6-5, 5-6 and 2-8-1.
It’s nice to think Wannstedt also will reward that same kind of patience.
Oh, please. Times are different, and the programs he is comparing them to were in completely different places. Not to mention that there was still some improvement on those records, with at worst a minor step back. Not this.
A one year extension seems almost like a reasonable compromise, I will concede, but I just don’t see the point or necessity. It still screams out, “coach on the hot seat,” only it has the subtext of concern for recruiting. Yippee.
Really, the most surprising thing is that Cook is now ready to give up the ghost on Rhoads.
I’m always hesitant to put too much blame on coordinators because the head coach is the boss and has responsibility for the product. There’s no excuse for Pitt’s defense to play so poorly when Wannstedt has such a strong defensive background. But defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads always has said he should be blamed if his defense doesn’t respond to him. Well, it’s not responding and hasn’t for a few years.
Wannstedt wouldn’t comment about Rhoads or any of his coaches yesterday, including offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, who took big-time heat for his play calling at the end of the Navy game, or offensive line coach Paul Dunn, who has his critics. But, after saying he has “all the confidence in the world” in his staff, Wannstedt acknowledged, “I’ll sit down after the season and make the decisions that are in the best interests of the Pitt program, not in the best interests of Dave Wannstedt. I’m not 35 years old trying to make a name for myself. I’m going to do what’s right for Pitt.”
Cook wants to blame Wannstedt for this defense, but has just argued that Wanny needs more time. That only leaves Rhoads. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
Interesting sidenote. Pitt has never comeback from a halftime deficit under Wannstedt. Guess who else has not?
And his 0-15 mark when trailing at halftime is hilarious. One day soon, we’ll look back on this 2007 season and study just how poorly Callahan handled these Huskers in practice and on gameday.
One more Wanny-Callahan comparison, courtesy of Orson Swindle at EDSBS.
Neither coach did what Pete Carroll openly admits he had to do in what he believed to be his last shot at coaching success: change. Both are now in deep danger of losing their jobs. Species that donâ€™t change, disappearâ€“this rule applies to NFL coaches heading to the college ranks as much as it applies to college coaches heading to the NFL. When Merrill Hoge sneers at the next college coach to fail in the â€œmanâ€™s leagueâ€ that is the NFL, let that 7-6 nightmare and the reigns of Gailey/Callahan/Wannstedt stand as testimony that failure is a two-way street.
Disturbingly true on so many levels. Wannstedt hasn’t tried to change anything in his approach. He remains wedded to his system, his way and his losses.Â The belief/hope that when Wannstedt was hired he’d be a lot like Pete Carroll because they were both “rah-rah, players coaches” whose schtick just didn’t work in the NFL, but college would be different. It ignores that Carroll has changed things in his approach and style. Not being a player’s coach and semi-cheerleader, rather the substance of the practices and preparing the players.
When Carroll says the best player starts regardless of class status — it’s true. Not so with Wannstedt who still overvalues experience and upperclassmen despite what he says.