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December 9, 2009

Maybe it’s the plunging temperatures, freezing rain and overall grayness of the day. Maybe I’m just in a downer mood. Not sure, but for some reason the Big East honors did not do much to cheer me.

It should surprise no one that Pitt kicked ass in this. Four players made the 2nd Team All-Big East and ten made the 1st Team.

2nd Team All-Big East players from Pitt were: TE Nate Byham, K Dan Hutchins, DT Gus Mustakas and S Dom DeCicco.

1st Team All-Big East players from Pitt were: WR Jonathan Baldwin, OG John Malecki, OT Jason Pinkston, TE Dorin Dickerson, QB Bill Stull, RB Dion Lewis, DE Greg Romeus, LB Adam Gunn, DT Mick Williams and CB Aaron Berry.

Dion Lewis and Greg Romeus were unanimous picks at their spots.

In addition, Dion Lewis was unanimously chosen as Big East rookie of the year and named the offensive player of the year. The first Pitt player chosen for the offensive PoY since Larry Fitzgerald.

Greg Romeus and Mick Williams were named co-defensive players of the year in the Big East. The third time in the last four years that Pitt players have taken that honor.

The ten 1st team spots is as many as WVU and Cinci had combined. Yet Pitt finishes behind both of them.

So while I am happy for the deserved recognition for the Pitt players. Especially for what Dion Lewis has done this year, it makes the finish to the season just a little more bitter at the moment.





amen

Comment by quaziemoto3 12.09.09 @ 4:05 pm

Before the season started no one thought Pitt could win more than 8 or 9 games. Enormous concerns revolved around Stull’s abilities, the void with Shady’s early departure, the Sun Bowl performance, and the introduction of a new offensive coordinator. This season was something to build the program on, lets win our 10th game on 12/26. Build on last season’s 9 wins with 10 now. For 2010 we build toward winning 11 games. A lot of good was accomplished in 2009 ! Sure we all want more, and there could have been more, 2010 will bring more under DW.

Comment by Marty 12.09.09 @ 5:08 pm

We had poy,s Cincy had coach of the yr. Look who won.

Comment by alcofan 12.09.09 @ 5:16 pm

We don’t have any of those POYs if not for 1) Wanny’s recruiting and 2) Wanny’s philosophy (i.e. strength in the trenches and a consistent running game).

Comment by quaziemoto3 12.09.09 @ 5:46 pm

Mark my words, from now until he leaves Dave Wannstedt will ensure that there are more players from Pitt in the NFL than from any other team in the Big East.

It just needs to translate into a more representative amount of success on Saturdays.

Speaking of which, CBS has Stull listed as the 9th best QB entering the draft and projects him to be a 6th round pick: link to cbssports.com

Not so sure about that one….

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my Dad 12.09.09 @ 5:50 pm

BTW, Dickerson’s listed as a fullback in those rankings.

I know he’s a hybrid/h-back type, but doesn’t he make more sense as a tight end in the NFL?

Hell, if he were maybe 10 lbs lighter he’d basically just be a WR.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my Dad 12.09.09 @ 5:54 pm

Marty

Wasn’t Pitt picked to win the Big East preseason?

Pitt has talent, it is very evident, too bad bone head coaching cost them 3 games!!!!

Comment by Vito 12.09.09 @ 6:00 pm

Still got to get after UNC before I consider the season is over. It would be nice to send off the senior class with a final win. Another hidden benefit recently detailed in the press to Wannstedt’s tenure. Graduation % is sky high for the senior class. Now that stat is actually relevant and important in the scope of the real world the majority of these players will cope with in the coming years after college.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.09.09 @ 7:15 pm

Lots of optimism on the board about the bowl game with little or no discussion around the possibility Pitt will lose the game. If they win, it obviously takes a little of the bad taste out of our mouths. And let’s hope that is exactly what happens.

My biggest fear is they won’t win. Tough circumstances: day after Christmas, Charlotte in December (may as well be in Allentown), essentially a home game for the Tar Heels, and -most fearful of all- a good coach on the other sideline. If you have one more of those JB Tees my guess is 31-13 Heels. And I hope like hell I am wrong.

Comment by wally 12.09.09 @ 7:21 pm

the BE nedia was one of the few that picked Pitt as BE favorite, which I recall, was met with much cynicism here. Actually,mots of the preseason polls had WVU or Rutgers as the favorite … although all voting was close,and it was supposed to be a crapshoot among 4 or 5 teams

Comment by wbb 12.09.09 @ 8:04 pm

Stull will never be drafted – mark my words. He will never shine at the combine the way others will. He will be extremely lucky to get picked up as a free agent.

Wally, I said several times that I look for UNC to beat us easily. How do you get a depressed, uninterested, uninspired team that just suffered one of their worst losses in recent history ready to play a third tier bowl game? Their bodies might be in Charlotte but their minds are still sitting at Heinz Field replaying the Cinci game.

By the way, I hope am proven wrong but dont see it.

Comment by Coach Ditka 12.09.09 @ 8:25 pm

If its all about the coaching, as some of you like to suggest, and DW is suchg a horrible coach, and Brian Kelly is a far superior coach to DW…Why then did this brilliant coach, whose team was ranked 11 spots higher than Pitt, need to pull a rabbit out of his you-know-what to barely beat this terribly coached Pitt team? Should Cinci not have won by 3 or 4 TD’s? By your definition of these coaches, it was DW who outcoached Brian Kelly on Saturday. Otherwise how do you explain a superior coach needing a miracle win to beat a horribly coached team. The “DW Sucks” thing is over. The guy is a great coach, and the University of Pittsburgh is LUCKY to have him. I hope he pulls a JoePA and stays until he is pooping his pants on the sideline! 18-6 over the past two years…19 of 19 seniors on track to earn degrees in May. Nothing but upside for next year. Yes, it was very disappointing to lose to WVU and Cinci. We are right on the edge of something special. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Comment by HbgFrank 12.09.09 @ 8:36 pm

God help us if we lose to UNC.

It will be the worst internet message board meltdown of all time around here.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my Dad 12.09.09 @ 8:58 pm

If you are looking for a coach that will win right away, then you are going to get a smarme jerkface who only cares about the destination job, your players will not graduate, and recruiting violations will plague the program.

Wanny has a longer view of things, but he does it right. He’s establishing a program here that can be strong for years, can consistently compete and he cares about the students and the university.

He had a slow start here and I think that’s frustrated a lot of people, but he’s built something that can last.

Comment by Silv 12.09.09 @ 9:46 pm

off topic but have you seen Sportscenter promo with Larry Fitzgerald? .. pretty funny

Darnell Dodson playig for Kentucky on tv right now against UConn

Comment by wbb 12.09.09 @ 10:06 pm

I have to admit knowing Wannstedt isn’t going to jump to ‘the next big thing’ is nice to know while building a program. Wanny is building the mentality at Pitt (slowly but surely). The alternative is to have a coach like Kelly who is here and gone in a flash. Cinci will reap the benefits from these past two seasons, but in the following years, I’m willing to bet they’ll be seen as former child stars. I’ll take the bumps in the road for a sustainable product in the long run.

HTscriptP

Comment by Cool Hand Nuke 12.10.09 @ 12:27 am

Like alcofan said above, I’d rather have the coach of the year. I still believe that Wanny will trust Cig more and the team will be better in upcoming years. Lets win the bowl game!!!

Comment by Pittastic 12.10.09 @ 6:34 am

Lots of things to comment on:

1) Happy for the Big East selections. I think the kids earned it. I think coaching let them down in the end in terms of season results, but there were a lot of good performances that were rightfully rewarded on the player’s side.

2) The Bowl game will be a crap shoot. Hopefully they will find a way to motivate. It won’t be easy given all the reasons posted above. I don’t think the board will melt down – it seems like many are emotionally drained win or lose.

3) The good thing about Wanny is that he may be here for a long time. That bad thing is that… well… he may be here for a long time. He has liabilities, but he has built a clean program and he wants to be at Pitt. That’s more than a lot of coaches in the Big East can say. I’d be more worried about Cignetti leaving at some point in the near term.

Comment by Figures... 12.10.09 @ 8:41 am

It seems to be Wanny is getting more criticism than acclaim for his players’ Big East honors. It certainly is a double-edged sword.

One thing that has to be said … in the past two decades, there has been too many years when a close loss at WVU and a 1 point loss to the 5th ranked team would have been considered to be a big success.

Comment by wbb 12.10.09 @ 8:52 am

Wanny will be criticized regardless of what the team does – it is the Pittsburgh way of things (unless your team NEVER makes ANY mistakes). He did create some of the negative feelings though by first turning down the job, saying we would have a national championship in 3 years, and bad losses. However, I don’t see the administration making a change unless the program does not win. Right now it is.

Many congrats to the team and players for these awards. Regardless of how the season ends it was a very entertaining, good building step season. sure things could have been better but they could have been alot worse (think “back to the future”).

Comment by Greg 12.10.09 @ 9:15 am

In my opinion, Brian Kelly is the better coach because he gets more from less where as Wanny gets less from more. Can you imagine Brian Kelly with Pitts defense, Baldwin, Lewis, and Dickerson??? That would be frightening. Kelly reminds me of Walt Harris in some ways, completely built on offense and seems to get the most out of lesser talent.

Dont get me wrong, I like Wanny. I think he is a great guy, a good guy for the University, and hes certainly committed to Pitt. But he is not the best coach.

Comment by Coach Ditka 12.10.09 @ 9:17 am

Something else that I think needs to be mentioned is how much better the O line played this year. particularly Jason Pinkston. The growth in that position is tangible and impressive.

Comment by Greg 12.10.09 @ 9:19 am

Unfortunately in major college sports the bottom line always comes down to the win/loss stats. This even caught up to Bobby Bowden in the end. He didn’t get the love he deserved form Florida State administration this year, did he? (I hope nobody puts forth the argument that his liabilities outweighed his assests, he built that program!). So all the great traits that Coach Wannstedt possesses are seen as relevant only when he wins consistantly. Apparently a 9-3 regular season just isn’t cutting it nowdays. Don’t get me wrong I’m pissed we let both of those games get away from us, we should be the BE Champs! I’m just not holding the Coach responsible for everything that turns to sh*t. Ultimately, the players have to make the plays. Until that magic happens without fail, we’re going to drop some games. What stokes me about Wannsstedt and in my opinion makes him the best coach for Pitt irrespective of his W-L record is first,his love and commitment to both the University and the city. Second, his priority to recruit the type of player that has talent but is also capable of being a student/athlete at the major college level. Wannstedt has produced a program that can compete with anybody and at the same time is building his players into men that will be prepared for life after college football. Yea, Pitt once again is becoming a pipeline for the NFL, but lets get real, most Pitt players have to go get a job when they are done at Pitt. Wannstedt gets that and it helps tremendously in his recruiting because the families of those kids he is recruiting appreciate the fact that he has their Son’s future best interest at heart, the same as they do. It is refreshing listening to the senior leaders of this team giving interviews and comunicating in complete sentences without interjecting “you know” between every third word. As long as Wannstedt keeps those priorities first in his philosophy I’ll support him for as long as he wants to keep his thankless job as head coach of the University of Pittsburgh football team.

Comment by Dr Tom 12.10.09 @ 9:46 am

A bigger picture:

I would fully trust sending my son to Pitt to be coached by DW and his staff.

If 19 of 19 seniors indeed graduate, that is a tremendous achievement.

DW is a Pitt man. Most of previous Pitt-men coaches who come to mind were class acts even if their records may have been questionable (e.g. John Michelosen, Foge Fazio and now, DW). Some of the non-Pitt-men coaches were men of character. Some were not.

Although I get totally frustrated by losses, especially when one or two plays keep them from being W’s, having former players be productive after graduation is more important to me. (I have to keep reminding myself of that because I am still quite aggravated about the NC State, WVU and Cinci losses.)

Comment by BigGuy 12.10.09 @ 10:14 am

Dr. Tom, if I would have known that you were going to post your piece, I would have saved time by not writing my blurb.

Comment by BigGuy 12.10.09 @ 10:18 am

Joke of the day, what would Kelly do with Pitt’s defense. His team gave up at least 100 -120 points in the last three games. Wait till they play Flordia, you will need an adding machine.

Comment by joel 12.10.09 @ 10:19 am

The cupboard was not empty when Kelly took over at Cincy …note that Dantonio would not have been hired at MSU had he not done a good job at Cincy, which included recruiting the likes of Pike and Gilyard. I think there is credence to having a program that will much more often than not compete for the league title with a stable coach with a great academic record.

This calendar year, we were a total of 3 points away from a Final 4 and BCS Bowl … disappointing?: very much so …… dire?: not even close.

Comment by wbb 12.10.09 @ 10:56 am

ND looking at Edsall. I guess not 100% on Kelly.

Comment by alcofan 12.10.09 @ 11:18 am

Thanks BigGuy. I respect Wannstedt, hold in high esteem the class act players he has coming to Pitt and love the entire football program and University as it stands now. As I mentioned a few days ago, I bleed Blue and Gold, always have since my schooldays there back in the 70s. Lost a lot of blood last weekend but I’m still here. Looking forward to driving down to Charlotte and rooting Pitt on to one more win to send this senior class out on a high note with a bowl victory, I hope! In any case, Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr Tom 12.10.09 @ 11:25 am

read the most recent post at firewanny.blogspot.com
then tell me about the great 9 win regular season we had. wanny is paid to win games, not put kids in the NFL. all that talent isn’t enough to overcome wanny’s game day ineptitude. gilyard is still running.

Comment by wilk 12.10.09 @ 11:58 am

Wannstedt is a terrific coach in everything except play calling. Easy test – let DW play Madden 09 against any Pitt student chosen at random. If DW loses, he delegates all game-day play calling to his assistants (or maybe to that student!) smile.

Comment by 66Goat 12.10.09 @ 12:02 pm

Look, Wanny lives in my neighborhood. He is a class guy in all respects. My biggest (and only) problem with him is his inability to recognize his weakness as a game day coach. Or, if he does recognize it, his inability to pass the torch to better people on his staff to serve in that capacity. Special teams blunders cost us the BE championship. Presumably, DW made the call to try a way too long field goal, to pooch kick to the country’s best return man, to kick it at all to the same guy right before half with a 3 TD lead. Those are the type of things that drive those of us who love the man to hate the game day coach. I do believe the future is bright and I can’t wait to see what Bostick or Tino can do with that corp of receivers next year and with Lewis and Graham in that backfield. Our offense is going to be potent next year.

Comment by Bobby 12.10.09 @ 12:08 pm

That’s right, Gilyard is still running…because he was the best “football” player on the field that day. It kills me that no respect is given to Gilyards talent, its all about the coach on the sideline being terrible. Special teams played the biggest role in the Cinci loss, but there is enough blame to go around. I would not have tried the FG, would have went for it on 4th down instead. The “pooch” kick was not to Gilyard, he ran from his back position to the ball, the Cinci upmen parted like the red sea, and Gilyard caught it in full stride. Tip of the hat to Cinci’s coaches for that plan. I’m guessing if we did kick the ball to the other side on kickoffs, they would have just run a reverse, because Gilyard was the best football player on the field that day. What I really wish is that we had a kicker who could put the ball well into the end zone on a regular basis. I’ll bet we are looking for one now. I thought we had one (at least he was advertised that way). By the way, this team has played hard all year long. I think they will come on to that field against NC looking for redemption.

Comment by HbgFrank 12.10.09 @ 12:58 pm

Gilyard could have easily been offensive player of the year and was special teams player of the year. Pike could have easily been offensive player of the year had he not been hurt. Don’t kid yourself and make the comparison between these teams and say u’d rather have the COY than POY because Cincy essentially had two POY’s on offense, it wasn’t this enormous gap in talent that people are talking about. It was also 1 point. Wanny has been building and building the program and I’d take him over, Kelly any day because I want a good program not 3 years and bolt.

Comment by PITTapotamus 12.10.09 @ 2:10 pm

There’s a fire wanny blog? Maybe they’re on to something. Perhaps Pitt can have an exploratory committee headed by the ND guy that hired Weis and the Michigan guy that hired RichRod. Of course, those are two of the country’s most storied programs, and they have the resources to select and hire the best coaches in the entire country.

On second thought, I think that we ought stay with our guy and be grateful that we got him.

Comment by BigGuy 12.10.09 @ 2:32 pm

Ben Franklin once said, ” Half the truth is often a great lie.” I have taken the time to read all the posts to this point and agree with many of the negatives, as well as the positives, but in the end, although I wouldn’t get rid of Wannstedt because he has a lot of great attributes, I certainly would never put him in the category of a good head coach. He has a good personality, has integrity, recruits well, values education, treats his players with respect, knows the game of football from his perspective, loves Pitt, but. It’s the buts that cause Wannstedt to be criticized as a head coach at Pitt, as well as everywhere else he’s been. Wannstedt is great assist coach material, but average at best, head coaching material. If he would swallow his pride, and allow his qualified staff to make decisions in their areas of expertise, he would be much better served on game day decisions. Where would we be this year without Cigetti? I am not being totally fair to DW, because I don’t truly know how much he influences the decisions of the defensive and offensive coordinators, but I assume it is significant. I can’t believe Pitt will ever place more players on the first and second teams of the BE conference, and still we don’t win a championship. Players make mistakes throughout games that reflect on the outcome, but so do coaches. Without belaboring the issue, many of Wannstedt’s in game decisions effect the results far more than any of the mistakes the players make. Yes, we will win with Wannstedt at the helm, but sadly to say we will rarely be champs. So, we will have to learn to take the good with the bad, which is much better than we had pre Wanny.

Comment by ltl 12.10.09 @ 2:42 pm

you guys who criticize kicking to Gilyard with the score 31 -10 are classic Monday Morning Morons. That kick marked the 6th time Pitt kicked off in the game, and the previous five, 3 by Gilyard, was never returned past the 30. And of course, if Pitt would have squibbed or pooched it, and Pike would have led Cincy to a score on a short field, you would have criticized Wanny for that.

(1) it is most often more about execution than it is about strategy, and (2) sometimes you just have to tip your hat when great players make great plays.

I certainly don’t remember Dixon getting much criticsm for the ole’ defense against Scotty Reynolds!!

Comment by wbb 12.10.09 @ 3:32 pm

wally:
Add to your list: playing the game after 3-week break. We haven’t done so well after breaks – just look at the difference in performance against WVU then one week later against Cincy when we were revving on all cylinders.

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.10.09 @ 6:18 pm

Vito,
Not once in the history of the Big East Conference has the pre-season pick won the Conference championship so it was the kiss of death for Pitt to be picked in 2009.

Comment by Marty 12.10.09 @ 9:56 pm

Vito,

Pitt may have been the preseason pick to win the Big East but we didn’t have the most 1st place votes among the voters. We received more 2nd place votes than anyone else, that is why we were picked to win the conference because we were mostly picked second. Interestingly that’s where we finished! No shame in that, this team will get better in the future!

Don’t draw on the fact that we did’t win, focus on the fact that we almost won in what should be deemed a rebuilding season!

Comment by Mr Pitt 2001 12.11.09 @ 11:55 am

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