December 18, 2010

It seems that Pitt under HC Mike Haywood will have no hold-overs from the Wannstedt regime. I’m not totally surprised by this. Personally I would have liked to see Greg Gattuso and David Walker have remained on staff. I think Gattuso is an excellent coach and would have been a very vital bridge to the hyper-sensitive, good-old-boys network of Western PA high school coaches. That strikes me as risky. Walker is simply one of the best running backs coaches out there. Period.

Losing Jeff Hafley to Rutgers hurts from a recruiting perspective, but it can only help the secondary. Heck, even Rutgers fans are a little unsure about the cost of bringing Hafley aboard with that risk. Of course, Rutgers HC Greg Schiano hasn’t actually said where Hafley will coach. I would recommend Rutgers make him the Defensive Coordinator. Yeah. That’s what they need. That would be the best place for him.

In the immediate term, I expect Pitt to lose a couple of the recruits to Rutgers with the Hafley hiring. The complete turnover of Pitt coaches will mean more losses from the recruiting class that initially expected by a coaching change. There are obviously guys I would hate to lose. Simply from need or potential — Kyshoen Jarrett (CB), Terrell Chestnut (S), Marquise Wright (DT), Quintin Alston (LB), and Artie Rowell (C) — would suck. After that, it’s a little more vague. How many more RBs and DEs does Pitt need at the moment? More DTs? WRs?

As much as everyone was excited that Pitt was apparently pulling in a top-20 to -25 recruiting class, it is important to remember that this was a weak year for talent. Especially in Pennsylvania and NJ. Add in the fact that this was not a particularly large class — 18 players before Wannstedt was fired — and I’m having a hard time getting too worked up about this. It’s not like Pitt’s class was loaded with linebackers, O-linemen and defensive backs, quarterbacks. You know, the areas that were revealed this year to be Pitt’s most glaring problems.

Am I rationalizing? Justifying? Maybe. But even as Dokish pointed out pre-Wannstedt termination.

The problem, however, is that most of the best prospects are at the same positions. Wannstedt has had little trouble recruiting running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and defensive linemen. However, at quarterback, offensive line, linebacker, and defensive backs his track record has been very poor. The rankings of national recruiting websites don’t tell the whole story in that they have a mathematical formula to show how many top prospects you get. What they don’t tell you is how these players actually fit into your program.

I won’t pretend that not bringing back anyone from Wannstedt’s staff seems like the smart play to me. But, not because of this particular recruiting class.

Finally this. Among the dumber things I came across in the decision to hire Mike Haywood as Pitt’s head coach was a debate on ESPN between Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, Jr in the context of WVU hiring Holgorsen versus Haywood to Pitt. It wasn’t the topic itself. Since the two were essentially hired at the same time, the Backyard Brawl, and the issue of whether Pitt showed any interest in hiring Holgorsen. It’s having ESPN’s supposed NFL “draft experts” debating college football coaching hires. Exactly what in their alleged area of expertise says they should be having this conversation on camera? Water cooler, sure. Featured video debate? Not so much.

A lot of talk regarding discipline, 6am practices…and how recruits don’t want any part of that. Well I would rather have two and three star kids who want to play for Pitt rather than five-star kids who are simply auditioning for the NFL.

Remember, it’s about getting the most out of what you have…And Dave didn’t do that.

Comment by Gas 12.18.10 @ 4:50 pm

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Ennis. Mark Ennis said: RT @ChasRich27: In which I rationalize Pitt's recruiting losses with coaching change and dumping all assistants. link to […]

I agree with the professional comments above. Walker and Gattuso would be great keepers. So would Luke Getsey who did a pretty good job with Sunseri. Are we sure none of these persons will be kept or is that merely speculation? Rev. George

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 12.18.10 @ 5:16 pm

Maybe he will bring the old 70’s something old defensive coaches…. splash!

Comment by POLE 12.18.10 @ 5:25 pm

Did a pretty good job with sunseri?
What season were you watching rev?

Comment by DeVanzo 12.18.10 @ 5:48 pm

Not having seen the Steeler game last week, I clicked on at about 5 p.m. Sunday to hoepfully catch the highlights. At a link marked Steeler-Bengals highlihgts, I clicked only to get a 90 second recap from Carter (can’t remember his 1st name – former OSU WR) talking to another ESPN talking head. I then was able to to view the highlights by leaving ESPN and going to

I bring this up because of the self-importance the ESPN empire has in thinking that their personalities are supposedly more important than the actual game action itself.

The fact is that ESPN is mostly a large system of personalites and ex-jocks who interview each other and refer to each others as geniuses. While I do enjoy the large number of live football and basketball games ESPN telecasts, I have long thought too much of myself to indulge in the endless, mind-numbing ‘expert’ analyses that it provides.

Comment by wbb 12.18.10 @ 5:51 pm

Gary Nova – GONE!

Bring in players who want to play at a world-class university in a great city.

TCU’s recruiting class – ranked in the upper forties, at best. Ohio U. beat us. Bowling Green beat us. UConn beat us like a rented mule. Cinci owned us. Bring us players who will fight for their jobs, and then fight for the team.

Comment by Gas 12.18.10 @ 6:50 pm

QB Gary Nova just decommitted we are down to 8 ftom a class of 18 and you are wrong a bunch of 2 stars that are his boys will not win at this level I know he has to february but if he does not bring some of these boys back and pick up some outher 3 or 4 stars we are doomed. At this rate we wont have a recruiting class left. Like i said he has to feb but l am not feeling good abought this . And dont tell me 2 stars are ok .If Wanoustedt were bringin 2 stars you would be asking what the hell was wrong with him so dont say it is ok for this coach i know give him a chance . but i am a little worried.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.18.10 @ 6:56 pm

I had seen Zeise speculate that Lasala would be staying– not as much a coach as the others, but still someone from the “regime.” Did that not happen, either?

Comment by Jason 12.18.10 @ 7:47 pm

Some info Cincinnati has 15 recruits that are 3 star. Louisville has 18 recruits that are 3 star. Rutgers has 15 that are 3 star. South Florida has 15 who are 3 star WVU 12 who are 3 star and a 4 star. Do some of these have a couple 2 stars yes do some have at least one 4 star yes but most are 3 star that is what you need at this level. Can you have 2 or 3 that are 2 stars that you know are going to be good sure but you cant have mostley 2 stars if you do you are doomed or damn luckey if you win.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.18.10 @ 7:57 pm

1 recruiting class is not the end of the world. There is a lot of talent on this team and if Haywood could get them to play to their potential, we should be able to win in a very mediocre Big East. Recruiting will pick up again next year with TCU coming to the Big East and this will all right itself.

Eternal Optimist?

Comment by Todd Gack 12.18.10 @ 8:05 pm

Frankcan, the correlation between recruiting-service rankings and actual college performace can be rather weak. Also, it’s pretty typical for recruits to decommit after a coaching change. A single recruiting class isn’t worth sweating over. Decommits also free up scholarships for next year so our new coach can take in more players who fit his system and philosophy. It’s just not worth worrying about.

Comment by Navy Panther 12.18.10 @ 8:08 pm

I understand that and know he has to feb but the ones who say 2 stars are ok freak me out. It is like they dont want to hold haywood to the standards they held dave to as far as recruiting. that make no sence he should get know slack. I know he has enough players to win this year. the reason daves old class the one falling apart wasrated so high was he had one 2 star and five 4 star and the rest 3 stars for a total of 18 nobody else in big east had more than one 4 star just dont want us to fall behind. I will wait to feb just passing along some info to think abought.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.18.10 @ 8:40 pm

ment to type no slack.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.18.10 @ 8:47 pm

Rivals Recruiting:

Pitt’s ranking = #42 (3rd best in the BE)
TCU’s ranking = #25 (twice as good as ours?)

The reality is our recruiting classes have been no better than anyone else’s in the BE. Regardless of how good we think our players are.

Texas and Alabama:

HAVE MORE 4 STAR RECRUITS THAN WE HAD TOTAL RECRUITS!!!!!!!!!!!! Before all the decommits.

We need to fight this delusion obsession that we have and were getting national championship caliber players.

Comment by Will 12.18.10 @ 9:25 pm

He may get a season or 2 better out of wanny’s kids but not having a good first or second year recruiting class to build a program around doesnt look good down the road. Also all of the kids we have now will have to learn a new system and terminology. But i guess all of you know this already…. Big Splash!

Comment by POLE 12.18.10 @ 9:58 pm

Just bring on the 2011 season for god sake!!!!

Comment by Pitt it Is 12.18.10 @ 10:10 pm

Just bring on the 2011 season for god sake!!!!

Comment by Pitt it Is 12.18.10 @ 10:10 pm

Look, I want all 5 stars, just like anyone else. But look at Cincinnati when they were winning, and WVU – we had the higher ranked recruits. And where did it get us? All I am saying is that unless you have players that feed into the system, you will go no where. Dan Matha, Shane Hale, Bostick, MacKenzie Mathews, Aundre Wright, Collier, and the best example of all, Baldwin. Tell me Baldwin was more of an asset this year than Shannahan. Puhlease!

Comment by Gas 12.18.10 @ 10:12 pm

Our ranking before we lost these kids was number 21 0r 25 in usa so i dont were your geting your info i remmber reading that. ask any one on this site what our ranking was 2 weeks ago it might have been 20 but it was good.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.18.10 @ 10:14 pm

I know for sure it was the best in big east. than not now.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.18.10 @ 10:25 pm

Hey FRANKCAN. I was getting my info from

All FBS: #42
link to

Comment by Will 12.18.10 @ 10:43 pm


Those numbers I mentioned above are from the Rivals website. They clearly do not have our recruits ranked anywhere near what ESPN has. The Scout website has us at 38.

Comment by Will 12.18.10 @ 10:46 pm

Rivals had Dave’s recruiting class at #16 .

Comment by Marty 12.18.10 @ 10:46 pm


Comment by FRANKCAN 12.18.10 @ 10:50 pm

Way to go marty iam glad some one remmbers

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.18.10 @ 10:55 pm

Recruiting rankings are fairly meaningless. I was at the Miami game years ago when we got blown out, as usual, on national TV. Heinz Field nearly empty by mid 3rd-quarter. Morelli decommited, Johnson decommited. I thought I should be depressed so pretended to be.

Sure I watch the recruiting rankings, but all they do is confuse me as to how it’s humanly possible that Ricky Jackson Jr. (a la Shane Hale) can’t get his 12-star talent on the field.

Let’s stop crying over spilled milk and let Haywood find some guys who might actually talk to each other on the sidelines when they’re losing. Or study some photos to see how they might actually play better in the moment.

At this point, unless you’ve still got blinders on and think the 2010 Panthers should have/could have been a top 15 team, I’d think you’d rather have three 1-star recruits under Haywood’s tutelage than fifteen 3-star recruits with Wannstadt. Been there. Done that.

Comment by Theweenis 12.18.10 @ 11:47 pm

I think Joe starkey’s artical hits in dead on!

link to

Comment by POLE 12.19.10 @ 12:17 am

Good points WEEN. Its easy to get caught up in all the numbers.

We ended up anywhere from the mid-20’s to the mid-30’s the last three or four years. With another 8 weeks, hopefully we’ll end up in the same general area. Coach Haywood has got some work to do for sure.

My overall point was that unless once you get past the top 15, it’s a wash up to 50.

With what happened this past season, I’d rather have a bunch of solid 3 OLs and DBs come in and contribute, than have three or four 4 star RBs/WRs come in and disappear on the depth chart until 2012.

Comment by Will 12.19.10 @ 12:41 am

This could turn into a disaster if he doesn’t win next year.

Comment by Chris 12.19.10 @ 12:45 am

We’re losing 6 starters to graduation + Baldwin. Anyone know how some of the other teams in the BE are looking in that department?

Comment by Will 12.19.10 @ 12:56 am

Pole – I just read Starkey’s article and he has some strong opinions… but the one thing he misses on is this… everything is relative.

He states “But it’s also true that if Wannstedt had gone 11-1, Pederson wouldn’t have been talking about finding a man “of the highest character” to replace him.”…

What he doesn’t follow through on is the fact that DW didn’t go 11-1, never went 11-1 and never won the Big East. It is easy to posit a theory if you spin the premise out of fantasy.

Whether the PITT administration could have, or would have, overlooked the off field problem is a moot point given these facts.

This firing wasn’t just this one side or that one side – it was a culmination of both the mediocre play where we continually choked in highly visible games and never won anything of note, combined with the startling discipline problems we faced this year… PITT saw a program sliding downhill fast in both areas and stopped it.

Can anyone state with a straight face that they think PITT would have played any better and won the BE championship next year after watching what we just did from the 2009 Cincy game until now? There’s more chance we’d keep getting worse on the field than there was we’d miraculously do something DW hadn’t been able to accomplish when things were going well for him off the field in the previous five years.

I had to laugh when I read Starkey point to “Four players arrested” which is true on the face of it while he ignores the other issues… Elijah Fields being dismissed after publicly alluding to being paid to play, two recent player suspensions for the bowl game and the self-reported NCAA rules violations.

Tally them up and that is eight reported incidents that occurred, which is very unusual for PITT – yes, even PITT under a DW coached team which might be the telling point. And that is just the stuff that were formal actions – throw in all the stuff we now know and watched happen, Baldwin’s outburst, the players essentially quitting during the two most important games of the season and other things that didn’t find their way into the media and you have clear evidence that there was some serious lack of institutional control there.

Starkey, and PITT fans, like to say “It was all about wins and losses” but can’t, or won’t, see that the break down of discipline in the program directly impacted on our wins and losses – the combination led to PITT’s decision making.

Comment by Reed 12.19.10 @ 5:22 am

Coach Haywood better get on the phone RIGHT NOW:

“Issaka said Saturday he had yet to hear from either Haywood, who was hired after a successful season at Miami-Ohio, or Hafley, who is expected to hit the recruiting trail right away for Rutgers.

“All the recruits (committed to Pitt) are reconsidering for the most part,” said Issaka, one of five New Jersey products who Hafley helped lure to Pitt for the 2011 recruiting class. “(The coaching change) really took a toll on me. It’s nothing against Pitt itself because I like everything about the school. Coach Hafley told me that no matter who coaches it’s going to be a great class. But I really felt comfortable playing for Coach Wannstedt. It’s crazy that it happened like that.”

link to

Comment by steve 12.19.10 @ 7:23 am

actually, I heard an interview on Friday on ‘The Fan’ that Haywood actually needs a release from the NCAA to be able to talk to the recruits … since the previous staff is still employed at Pitt

Hopefully, Mahwood can win a few of the decommits back … I agree with Chas with the list of whom were the most critical

Comment by wbb 12.19.10 @ 8:15 am

get rid of all wanny asst coaches and any recruits who are wavering-enough talk..I want results

Comment by scoocher 12.19.10 @ 8:27 am

The players went into the season believing their ranking, and thinking it was going to be a glorious year. The minute I saw that #15ranking, I felt sick. It was completely ridiculous. Small, or inexperienced secondary. New QB. Did you follow the releases from camp? Not inspiring, even though they were internal. Small, inexperienced OL. Loss of two TEs to the Pros. There was/is a lot of potential talent, but by the time the players realized that the ranking was crap, they were hearing that any mistakes could cost DW his job. You can’t get better playing scared. Except for Baldwin, who was clearly focused on his pro career, I’m not sure they quit. I think despair might be a better description of what really pushed them down, and the leadership from the coaches was not there to lift them up.

Comment by Pwmcdupitt 12.19.10 @ 10:14 am

Myers was the 11th best QB prospect in the country with the 4th strongest arm. Yet he would have sat behind Sunseri for 3 years. No way would Wanny sit down the son of his buddy. Wanny was just so gosh darn nice. We’ll see whether Haywood has an eye for talent and how to apply it.

Comment by 66Goat 12.19.10 @ 10:34 am

Wannstedt had great recruiting classes over the past 6 years…what did all of those top notch recruits equal = ZERO Big East Titles and one big win (wvu).

Recruiting is over-hyped. Unless you are talking 5 stars, there is not much difference between the 2s,3s, and 4s except maybe pure athleticism.

I will take a loss of one recruiting class to know that DW will never coach another game at Pitt. Lets not have short memories. DW had one decent season in 6 years and choked when it counted most.

Comment by Coach Ditka 12.19.10 @ 10:47 am

Right on, 66G. Dispiriting to both teammates and us.

Comment by steve 12.19.10 @ 11:02 am

Anyone else go to the basketball game last night? Haywood seems all right, I shook his hand & wished him well, congrats & good luck. He doesn’t seem like a warm guy, I’ll admit, he seemed tired.

Comment by Rieur1114 12.19.10 @ 11:34 am

Here is a nice article on comparing actual team rankings (end of season) and average recruiting ranking of the schools.

link to

All of this can’t be interpreted many way but what clearly jumps out is that the top 5 schools tend to get the best recruits (5 stars not 3 stars) and they get a lot of them.

Now what isnt taken into accounts is the following.

School like Ohio State, Florida, and Texas has budgets and resources that dwarf most schools. As a result they have facilities that rivals profession clubs etc. Are they always going to have stellar recruiting classes bases on this fact alone. If you can afford (indirectly) to attract the 5 stars recruits aren’t you naturally going to be at an advantage?

My problem with Dave Wannstedt is that when comparing apple and apples (comparing him to other B.E. schools) we always overachieve in recruiting relative to the WVU’s, Cincinnati’s and now UConn’s but consistently underachieved in end of the year results (B.E. championship, BCS birth, AP/BCS rankings). So I ask, what good is it to get better recruits if you can’t win with them?

My final point is probably the most interesting for me. IS there really a difference between a 3 star or 2 star recruit? If we were losing 5 star recruits then I would be very concerned. We are losing 3 stars. The difference between a 3,2,1 star recruit is less substantial. It is the difference between a ford, chevy, vw, and honda. They are not mercedes, ferrari’s, bentleys.

What I like about Coach Haywood is that he understands that recruiting is key. My guess is that he understands that gettng a bunch of 3 stars is fine. We will beat MAC teams with them. But in order to win on a national level and dominate the B.E. we must consistently get the 4-5 Stars (not just one or two 4 stars).

In the period between 1974-1984 we were getting 4-5 STAR recruts (Marino, Doleman, Fralic, Iron-head, Gadson, Dorsett, May). We arent getting those guys anymore and if we want to win the quality of the recruits must change.

Dave Wannstedt’s recruiting efforts were good (for the Big East) and he still underachieved as a coach. Let’s be honest, his recruiting effort were not good relative to the BCS contenders.

Comment by PITT fan in Atlanta 12.19.10 @ 11:36 am

There’s nothing left to do. I wish Coach all the best. I believe Nordenberg and Steve botched this again. I will be in my seats next year.

I will watch the opening games very closely. I’m in no mood for a 2 or 3 year rebuilding program again.

Many will say, how can you tell after a couple games, what makes you smart that you know x’s and o’s better than them, or any of us.

I don’t. What I do know, is I’ve watched football for 35 years, and the terms I’ve used the past couple months, will easily be put to my own test, that seems to work whether watching Pitt, Steelers, Iowa, Redskins, Clemson, Patriots, etc. etc. etc..

Is there still ineptness, and fog permeating the Pitt football program, that was part of spawning the famous, “Same Old Pitt” saying. You will not need scores or anaylysts or anyone else to tell whether the fog has been lifted. I, and most of you will be able to tell within a couple games.

No, I am no mystic, I am no card reader, but, believe me, I know the “Fog of Pitt”, and I will no in september whether I have been used again as a mark.

I will not go through it again. Period.

I hope that I am pleasantly suprised.

Comment by Dan 12.19.10 @ 11:40 am

@REED i agree with half of your statement, but when it comes down to it is about the person or player himself i work in a maximum security prison ,people chose to be good or bad. have you ever been to college it is really easy to get caught up in partying hanging out and not doing the things that you shouldnt be doing its had to judge caracter of a man (or boy) at the age of 18-20. I would laugh at every on here that holds them selves at a higher standard knowing damn well that some or most of the people on here did stupid stuff when they was young. and yes Disapline is good (Iam a veteran served in the army helped me grow up alot) lets just hope it is not too much of a shock to the current players. I would also take the best players also but coach haywood needs to win some battles early so he better get on the phone and make some phone calls, so if you watched the basketball game yesterday i will ease up on my statements from the otherday seems like he has a plan i just wish he would share it with everyone.Wins will cure all, but until then all we have to root for is wins in recruting. In the last few years you have the recruting shows, websites,youtube, press conferences amd T.V. high school games that get people excited who didnt get excied over dorin dickerson, larry fitzgerald and pat bostick to name a few. Time will tell until then we can come to the site and argue it out.

Comment by POLE 12.19.10 @ 11:50 am

It’s also not just PITT i live in Florida and hate all florida teams!

Meyer has been criticized by some commentators because thirty of his players have been arrested during his nearly six years as the Gators’ coach. The seriousness of the charges has varied widely among the thirty players, from seemingly minor offenses such as possession of alcohol by a minor to the very serious charge of possession of a concealed weapon, and many of the charges were ultimately dismissed. Meyer’s punishments have also varied with the severity of the charge, with some players never missing game time and others being kicked off the team.

In September 2010, after Gator receiver Chris Rainey was arrested for sending a threatening text message to a former girlfriend, Meyer stated that he was “real upset about that. After a while, enough’s enough. If there’s something that we can improve on, we’re certainly looking into that. It’s like if our graduation rate stinks then we gotta improve that. If there’s other issues in a program, that’s our job to get it better. It’s people making stupid mistakes, that’s something we gotta correct.”

Which lead him besides the health issues to (retire)

Comment by POLE 12.19.10 @ 11:56 am

Pole – my post wasn’t about the character issues of the players themselves. That is left up to people who actually know them to comment on. I firmly believe anyone who is of that age should get second or possibly third chance even. My point was that it did happen with regularity this season and that naturally reflects on the state of the football program this year and the guy leading it… and it also helped lead to the rather pathetic performance we saw out of the team on the field this year. But more importantly the PITT administration itself felt that way…

Things will start working themselves out once the new staff is in place and they can start doing damage control with the prospective recruits – we’ll lose some for sure, some will stay committed and we’ll pick up some kids we didn’t have before. Since recruiting such a crap shoot anyway – I’ll worry about more immediate things for 2011 like the OL, DBs and and LB to name a few.

Comment by Reed 12.19.10 @ 12:07 pm

Now that the dust is settling, I find myself on the “glass half full” side of things. I wanted Wannyball gone so bad I think I would have embraced Rich Kotite as his replacement. Note I said Wannyball, not Wanny the ambassador. Anyway, the more I read about this guy I think Pitt may have hit a home run. For those old enough to remember, the Wannstedt saga was Foge the sequel. Everybody loved him and there was an big brouhaha with many of the boosters when he was canned. The players revolted because Foge was the big brother they never had. Unfortunately, the next regime never had a chance because Posvar implemented an academic first policy which hampered recruiting big time. This, of course, began the demise of Pitt football as we knew it. Nordy is no Posvar. He signed off on the Wanny marching orders because he wants to retire with Pitt on top. I think Haywood is a gamble, no doubt. But I think if you read his resume, there is reason for optimism. I am already pumped for September.

Comment by wally 12.19.10 @ 12:13 pm

Decommitts=available scholarships. Think about it, you are seeing these kids who are facing adversity (coaching change) dealing with it by throwing in the towel. Is that the type of recruit that YOU would want on your football team in the 1st place? Pitt is still the same University, offering the same education, still located in the same city, with the same facilities, in the same conference. So if the only reason these recruits were coming to Pitt was because of Wannstedt and staff, then they were set up for future disappointment and failure anyhow, because I guarantee you that Wannstedt was on borrowed time here, with a firing down the road in any case. So these kids end up being future transfers down the road anyhow. When the sh*t hits the fan, how you react to that situation shows a lot about one’s character, these decommitts are showing me that they’re quitters in my opinion. Good riddance to them. It will be interesting to see if Haywood has a persuasive response for these kid’s reaction to the coaching turn over to get them to rethink their current change of heart. This may happen once he has the opportunity to reach out to them on a personal visit. In any case, Haywood is going to have to convince everybody on this team, current players as well as current recruits that his way is going to be worth buying into or his tenure is doomed for failure from the get go. No better time to rid the program of unwanted baggage than before they’re even on board. It’s the old saying “my way or the highway”. If I’m the head coach lets clean house quickly so that we can get down to the task at hand with those who want to participate in the process. I was concerned about Wannstedt’s class of recruits this coming season because of the lack of players at the “positions of need”. That issue seems to be taking care of itself with the apparent availability of scholarships being created by the decommitts. It will be process for Haywood, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bring in a few recruits of his own quickly, especially junior college guys to step into the competition to fill some of the glaring gaps in current team’s weak spots. Lots of changes of course, this is what happens when you rock the boat, we got what we’ve been screamin for, Wanny’s gone. Now it’s time to see what the future holds.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.19.10 @ 12:26 pm

Rieur – I wa also at the bball game last night and took the opportunity to meet the new coach. He was pleasant enough but I expect that a guy with his intensity would much rather be in the film room assessing his team than out glad-handing with the fanbase. THis might explain the lack of warmth. Regardless, I’d settle for a guy with zero charm who kicks butt on Saturday afternoons.

On recruiting, he reminded me that until Jan.3 he is limited to phone contact with recruits. But he also indicated that we’d be OK on the recruiting front. What else would you expect him to say, I guess. But I liked his positive approach.

Comment by Dock71 12.19.10 @ 12:28 pm

Recruiting is not over hyped it is just that Wannstedt did not know to do with the good recruits . Wanny was not a game day coach on side lines he did not know what to do and they had no discipline. But the games they won were because of talent not good coaching. If he would have had 2 stars he would lost all the games. Give haywood a chance yes we need to do that. But to say Haywood can make us better with a team filled with all 2 stars is nonsense. As far as recruiting we need to hold him to the same standreds we held dave to. And if dave went 7 and 5 with this team and now haywood is going to bring good side line coaching and discipline there is no reason they cant win 9 or 10 games. Yes i want to give him a chance but dont say it is ok for him get players with no stars or 2 stars and tell me we are going to the next level that way . I have no problem with the coach right now my problem is that you all want to lower the standreds of the players he brings in do you want mediocrty to live at pitt foot ball not me i want the best team and you dont do that bye saying he is a new coach so a team of 2 stars is ok. no he is better at the outher stuff and you say to him you also need to be better at recruiting than dave was not that it is ok to do worse. demand better and we will get better dont say it is ok to do less.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.19.10 @ 12:44 pm

@ Frankcan wanny was not a really good gameday coach to say the least but he was a good recruiter, everyone has to admit that.

Comment by POLE 12.19.10 @ 1:19 pm

Count your blessings. If you are belly aching over our process (which I believe was deliberate and well thought out and managed with care from a PR perspective) then you should read what they are saying about you brother to the south (fighting brother that is)

link to

Comment by PITT fan in Atlanta 12.19.10 @ 1:38 pm

I don’t hold anything against any of the recruits who decided to decommit. It’s a smart decision really. You have a bunch of other schools knocking on your door again. You get opportunities to talk to people about playing sooner and playing the position you want to play. This is as much about their future as it is about what we want to blab about for our team. They only have 6 weeks to figure out how what’s best for the next four years of their lives. Screw that loyalty nonsense. If anyone of us was offered another job making $50k more a year by another company, we’d hurt ourselves looking for a pen to sign the contract. I suppose, though, it makes us feel better to think of them as soft or cowards or disloyal. I don’t mind having them decommit (which also means releasing us from our obligation) and let Coach Haywood meet them and decide if they are right for his system.

Comment by Will 12.19.10 @ 1:41 pm

Yes, recruiting guru’s, and espn recruiting and rivals certainly can get, and are, over hyped and full of chance… a point.

They also give a pretty good idea of where the athlete is, in his development. Things can change, coaching, dedication, discipline.

However, even with a players over rating, or a player being a diamond in the rough in the end, it would take me all of one second, to tell you my choice, if I was given the option of having a team of 2 or 3 star players or a team with 4 or 5 star players.

Yes, some of the 2 or 3 star players have overcome size, are disciplined and have an unbelievable work ethic. GUESS WHAT, so do the 4 or 5 star recruits, and GUESS WHAT ELSE, they are about 4″-5″ inches taller, and 30 to 50 lbs heavier, and a second or three faster.

Can, on any given Saturday little St.Joes Prepatory beat the might Notre Dame and Knute Rockne??? Sure, we see it happen, App St upsets Michigan, James Madison over Virginia Tech. Every year on the first couple of Saturdays in September, when most of the non-conference cupcaking takes place, every Saturday you will usually have a couple upsets, maybe a big upset and maybe even a huge upset. Ok, thats 3 or 4 a Saturday, remember the reverse, for every Appalachian St over Michigan, there are about 40 little sisters of the poor getting absolutely drubbed and manhandled.

All I’m saying, don’t get into the “a coach with heart can take 2 or 3 star recruits to the zenith” becoming our mantra. A coach with 2 or 3 stars can upset an occaisional Michigan or Virgina Tech, but you don’t want to make a season or career out of it. The season will be long, the career will be short.

Comment by Dan 12.19.10 @ 2:19 pm

Watch Wanny’s recruiting pitch. Much of it stresses the fact that he knows everybody in the NFL, sticks to a pro set, and if you sign with Pitt no question he can open doors for you. You can be the next Revis or Fitzgerald. Your NFL dream awaits. Who cares if the team loses? No wonder these recruits decommit. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Comment by 66Goat 12.19.10 @ 2:55 pm

Dan that is what i was saying you are right you dont live long on 2 stars. Here is something i think we can all agree on this team that went 7 and 5 and under acheived has 17 starters back. It all so has 24 red shirts from last years highly rated class. Plus what ever he gets this year and because he is a better side line coach and has discipline that there is no reason for him not to win 9 or 10 games. There is no reason to say 8 is enough because it is not enough.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.19.10 @ 3:08 pm

Leach to Maryland. I bet they GAIN recruits.

Vindicated… Pederson is a buffoon as well

link to

Comment by DeVanzo 12.19.10 @ 3:23 pm

It’s all about winning. We go 10-2 and win the BE next year and the current recruiting issue takes care of itself. The problem with these current decommits is totally about worrying of the unknown. They have been handed a switcheroo and those who have decommitted are just saying “not so fast my friend, this isn’t what I signed on for”. Thats a natural reaction. Lets just see how Mr. Haywood handles these recruits once he has had the chance to present his philosophy to them. He can meet personally with them and their families after the turn of the year. This year’s recruits will have very little effect on next year’s team record anyhow so lets not commit harakiri just yet. The ironic thing is that with Haywood now on board these very same recruits probably now have a better opportunity to actually compete for immediate playing time than when Wannstedt was at the helm. Remember??? Wanny was the play the experienced guy stickler, with all the other talent taking a red shirt and waiting their turn a couple years down the road. Haywood has already demonstrated in his history that he is not afraid to play youth IF they demonstrate the talent and are responsible enough to carry that load. I hope that he himself itemizes those coaching philosophy differences during his visits since it is a selling point to any recruit that has no desire to ride the bench for a couple of years before playing. Oh the drama, the intrigue, exciting isn’t it? As I always say….We’ll see.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.19.10 @ 3:59 pm

Good point DR. Tom the intrigue this is fun the spectulation. who were what.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.19.10 @ 4:31 pm


Can’t quite recall which side of the Leach spectrum you were on. I would say Leach going to Maryland is a vindication that he is an overrated, troublesome coach that is a good fit for third tier ACC school that has been in the news for NCAA violations or has had players arrested for sexual assault or breaking & entering every other year since the mid ’90s. Not to mention finishing 2-10 a year ago. Leach has had players arrested in DEA/FBI stings, so he’ll fit right in at Maryland.

Comment by Chris 12.19.10 @ 5:38 pm

Whatever, just get on the freakin’ phone Mr. Clean.

Comment by steve 12.19.10 @ 5:40 pm

Agreed. Pederson f’ed this up really bad.

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.19.10 @ 5:44 pm

Does anyone know how much Haywood is getting? Joe Schad at ESPN said $1.6 million. Joe Starkey at the Trib said about 1.1.??

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.19.10 @ 5:45 pm

I heard $26.00/hr starting salary and a big gift certificate at Eat n Park as a signing bonus. Of course he gets to eat free at the Dirty “O” anyhow no questions asked. Those kinds of perks just come with the territory when you’re the head coach at Pitt.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.19.10 @ 5:54 pm

That Pederson knows how to pinch a penny while still driving a hard bargain you know.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.19.10 @ 5:55 pm

Nuthin’ like Eat n Park latkes.

Comment by steve 12.19.10 @ 6:08 pm

Over on PantherLair. Quinton Alston “recommitted” last night to Coach Haywood via phone and Terrell Chestnut is still committed, pending a visit mid January.

Comment by Chris 12.19.10 @ 6:13 pm

You’ve heard stories about people being abducted by aliens? Listen to my tale of woo:

Friday night I was standing outside the “O” waiting the young coeds go by. A white van suddenly screeches to a stop. The side door slides open and two of the biggest dudes I have ever seen in my life jump out, grab me and throw me into the van.

I am injected with some substance, bound, gagged and have a hood thrown over my head.

We ride.

Suddenly the van stops and I all dragged out. I am whoozie from the injection and I am placed into a chair and secured with rope. A high intensity light comes on and I am not sweating bullets.

I hear a voice. “I have been reading your postings on the PITT BLATHER and I’m not happy.”

Out from behind the light comes SP. What happens next words cannot describe. After two days I have been released and I have this to say:

“Mediocrity is NOT a bad thing! It can be good when used for the right purpose! I love the selection of Coach Haywood and he will be a GREAT addition to our school. We didn’t need a big named coach and we didn’t need to spend a lot of money to get the RIGHT GUY at the RIGHT TIME. We don’t need to have a great recruiting class. We don’t. In a couple of years, we’ll win the MAC out right and prove that SP is the smartest AD in the whole country. Say I BELIEVE brothers and sisters. Amen!”

All you nay-sayers get with the program. I have changed my moniker to reflect that. I am no longer WH, I am WH-Lovin’ MEDIOCRITY.

That is all.

Comment by WH-Lovin' MEDIOCRITY' 12.19.10 @ 6:16 pm


Comment by Chris 12.19.10 @ 6:20 pm

Please let Mike Leach go… How many good positions in BCS conferences have opened up without a hint of interest in him? (Pitt, Miami, WVU, Vanderbilt just off the top of my head.) The guy was never more than modestly successful at Texas Tech, and has a ton of baggage. Leach to Maryland is a desperation hire by a bad program. We are not a bad program, and don’t need to be desperate.

Comment by Navy Panther 12.19.10 @ 6:25 pm

Too bad it wasn’t a lethal injection.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.19.10 @ 7:40 pm

Lethal Injection? I’m an anesthesiologist. Give me a chance and I’ll get it right. Scout’s honor.

Comment by Gas 12.19.10 @ 7:44 pm

WH lovin mediocrity you are killing me i laughed so hard i spilled my coffee on my desk and burnt my leg but the worst part is it probley happend just like you said watch out for white vans.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.19.10 @ 7:51 pm


Thank you. I’ve grown tired of reading about Leach and how it’s some sort of shock to the system of the Pitt fan base that he didn’t come here. I failed to find one legitimate report that had Leach tied to the Florida job when Meyer stepped back, and Florida is almost unanimously considered to be one of the pantheon coaching jobs. If Leach was that good and that innovative and the real-life second coming that some act like he is, why wasn’t he mentioned?

Perhaps the better indication is the Miami job. The Canes terminate a Miami man, a class act and a decent coach who cleaned up the program and in the press conference to announce said termination declared publicly that it was now about winning national championships. Yet not one serious report of the Immortal Leach was tied to the now-vacant Miami job.

Two jobs whose openings at least paralleled in part the Pitt vacancy and are considered to be higher in profile than Wannstedt’s old post, yet neither of them took Leach seriously.

I certainly wouldn’t have been disappointed had Pitt hired Leach. Leach was more a pipe dream of mine as a head coach and he would’ve represented a complete 180 from Wannyball. Maybe that’s what had fans so excited about the mere thought of him being available as an option for this job. But Leach always was likely nothing more than a pipe dream.

Comment by Stoosh 12.19.10 @ 10:42 pm

Maryland is an AAU member, so, one of the top 63 research universites in the country, so, if they were willing to take a chance????????

Will be very interesting around here the next few years. I’ve always, in my head, considered the big universities close to Pitt, to be WVU, Penn St of course, and I’ve always watched what Ohio St. 3 hrs to the west, and from where I’m at, Maryland 3 hrs to the SE are doing.

Boring will be Ohio St.. Penn St, interesting with JoePa’s situation.

And if Maryland gets Leach, will be a nice little thing to watch in two or three years, exactly where the programs are.

I will say this, hope the kids are boy scouts, but, anything short of my university being put on probation, not really my deal. Hope everything is great, but some kids getting arrested, that’s a shame, but, their decision, and really not my main concern with the FOOTBALL program. I hope they represent the university well, and if 60 kids represent the program well, and a couple bad apples mess up, last on my list.

Win at all costs, no, just said I don’t want probation, but, some kids getting in some trouble, that they would have gotten into wherever they went, nope, sorry. So, this will be interesting.

Where will the football teams be in 2 or 3 years, strictly speaking football, other than probation, could care less if Maryland has 8 players arressted, WVU 5 and Pitt only 3. That’s not how they do the standings, and neither do I.

Where will they be, who will be ranked in the top 10 and going to BCS games?? All of them, none of them, or some of them??? Like a geometry exam…..


Only time will tell, September will be here quicker than you know!!!!!!!!

Comment by Dan 12.19.10 @ 11:34 pm

Maryland recruits a lot against WVU, and they one upped the hoopies by getting the teacher instead of the student. Maryland didn’t do bad under Friedgen,
yes, they did have the bad year in 2009. But overall Ralphie boy did a pretty good job at Maryland. The Twerps were 8-4 this year. Had the real bad year in 2009 at 2-10, here’s the rest:

2008 8-5 Bowl Game
2007 6-6 Bowl Game
2006 9-4 Bowl Game
2005 & 2004 5-6 (very wannyesque)
2003 10-3 Gator Bowl
2002 11-3 Chick Fil-A Bowl
2001 10-2 Orange Bowl

Overall he was 74-50 probably very similar to Pitt over the last 10 years. Maryland like Pitt was horrendous in the 1990’s. They had 1 winning season from 1991-2000, Pitt had 2. After checking this out, I find Pitt was 74-49 over the same time period of the Friedgen era at Maryland.
Almost identical to Maryland. So let’s say Maryland is a 2nd tier ACC program not 3rd tier as someone mentioned.

Comment by B 12.20.10 @ 2:57 am

If you don’t want to spend money, you’re not going to have a Top 20 program. One only has to look at our (Pitt) basketball program. Other than a couple years from 1988-1992 and the Elite 8 year of 1974, Pitt basketball was the definition of mediocrity.

They made a huge investment in the Peterson Events Center, what like over $200 Million with having to redo the roof and whatnot. That money invested has reaped huge rewards for Pitt basketball.

No such investment has been made on the football side sans the shared South Side practice facility.
Don’t really know how much Pitt paid for that.
Anyone, want to chime in? Bottom line, you get what you pay for. 58th in HC salary in BCS and 6th or 7th in the Big Easy is a joke.

My opinion is we won’t be a football power until we spend some money and actually build another on campus stadium. Even L’Ville, Uconn, Rutgers have all outspent us on the football side of things. TCU is the process of spending a fortune on upgrading their football stadium in Ft. Worth.
You want to go cheap, you get cheap.

Comment by B 12.20.10 @ 3:07 am

Dan, you wrote: “I will say this, hope the kids are boy scouts, but, anything short of my university being put on probation, not really my deal. Hope everything is great, but some kids getting arrested, that’s a shame, but, their decision, and really not my main concern with the FOOTBALL program. I hope they represent the university well, and if 60 kids represent the program well, and a couple bad apples mess up, last on my list.”

I think us PITT football fans can make our lives a lot easier, and following the team more understandable, if we look at it through the lens of what the PITT administration wants rather than what we want… after all, they are the ones making the decisions and pulling the triggers.

Did you notice that all through these last two weeks not on word was uttered about “The Next Level” or “Need to win BE Championships”?

There was a succinct reason for that – 1) it backfired last time they had a HC change and 2) that wasn’t the reason for the change.

This firing/hiring was done, I’m now firmly convinced, to address off the field issues more so than to remove a coach who hadn’t taken the team to a BCS bowl.

Sometimes when there is doubt look at PITT’s history – both Harris and Wannstedt were fired after winning co-championships. Both Harris and Wannstedt were fired after there were major off the field problems in the program… that embarrassed the University both locally and nationally.

I think PITT looks at how we’ve done on the field and says ‘Well, we seem to have a limit to where we go as far as actual football playing – might as well have a clean program while doing it’. Of course, in doing this they also forget, I think, that they hired pretty crappy ‘football’ coaches also.

I oversimplify, but if you’ve listened to anything out of Peterson and Haywood’s mouths in the last two weeks you’ll remember that what has been said has been 95% accountability and discipline and about 5% winning.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure the PITT administration would love to field a championship team, everyone would, but given the parameters they themselves impose on the position (i.e. salary cap) they will target a coach who will give a program that represents the University well in all aspects first.

Comment by Reed 12.20.10 @ 4:01 am

What is the word on Haywood’s staff? Who will be the O and D coordinators? Is he keeping the guys from Miami?

Comment by notrocketscience 12.20.10 @ 9:33 am

Has anyone heard anything about the two players who were supposedly suspended for the bowl game? Zeise mentioned it on Friday in his blog, but I don’t recall hearing anything about who they are or what the infractions were (although there have been rumors of failed drug tests).

Comment by Pantherman13 12.20.10 @ 10:29 am

Excellent point Reed. Ya, like I said, that’s just my view and what I would like. A few days ago or week ago I posted something about me having an ephiphany at work, that finally really got through my thick skull, I think Nordy HOPES the football team does well, but, not on the top of his list. Oh, I remember it now, I realized that Wanny was not fired for a mediocre season, and the fans ire, it finally dawned on me, it was a coincidence, Nordy was more upset with the distractions of the football program than with the w-l’s.

Comment by Dan 12.20.10 @ 11:53 am

Also, why, I’m making a rational decision of not renewing my season tickets. Just going to buy single game tickets. How simple. Same ol’ same ol’, then I won’t be stuck. If they improve over the next few years, I’ll get season tix again. If they still look they’re in the fog next September-October, I won’t have to worry about November.

Comment by Dan 12.20.10 @ 12:27 pm

I shouldn’t have used the word “stuck”, season tickets are not expensive, actually exceptionally reasonable, I’ll give Pitt that. More of just not wanting to be one of their marks anymore.

Comment by Dan 12.20.10 @ 12:29 pm

If Wannstedt were still so committed to the university why wasn’t he on the phone with all his commits and convincing them to stay put? I’ll tell you what the problem with all of them is. It’s the knowledge that they are going to have to wake up for 6 am practices. I was a swimmer and we did it on MWF mornings and, let me tell you, it sucks. Swimmers are a slightly different demographic and that was a different era, though. I wish him all the luck in the world, but it is going to take a few years to get his kind of player in place. Next year is not going to be good, just as his first year at Miami wasn’t good.

Comment by Bobby 12.20.10 @ 12:44 pm

Zeise has not posted any thing new no info on oc or dc or recruting or the two players is he on vacation or is the CIA running the AD dept. my be the white van got him if you dont get that read WH post.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.20.10 @ 12:57 pm

If the people that post on the Pitt blogs put half as much energy into supporting the team (at the game and financially) as they do complaining about the team and administration Pitt would be a top ten program.

Comment by notrocketscience 12.20.10 @ 12:57 pm

We do go to the games we do the $$ thing and we care do you or do you just drink the cool aid. If the administration would pay the bucks we would be top ten program.

Comment by FRANKCAN 12.20.10 @ 1:24 pm

I’m supporting the Haywood hire and want him to suceed, but wondering about how Maryland has money to pay Leach a reported 2.5 Million and Pitt can’t pursue a bigger name coach. Do they have that more more support?

Comment by Pittastic 12.20.10 @ 1:40 pm


you are wrong haha

despite what you think, the applause-o-meter doesnt win games… and if you think im happy about writing Steve Pederson checks so he can pay executive search firms you are out of your GD mind

good program management and coaching sets the tone

also… dont see WVU/MIAMI/FLORIDA reecruits leaving en masse?

maybe the recruits did what many of the vindicated pitt fans on this board did with the pederson process… a collective huh??

that whole crew big leagued us in their hire and how they handled it… so embarassing to be part of this program… comedy of errors

Comment by DeVanzo 12.20.10 @ 2:21 pm

NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, you picked the wrong blog to post on. Most of us go to the games, and have given tons of money on here. Personally,my Dad had season tickets in his name since 1969, I took them over in 1991. We have more blue and gold Pitt crap in our house than the the campus store. Have gone to three bowl games over the years, and had panther club seats for 2 years.

I’m sure there are many others on here that have spent and contributed a ton more than I, but, for me, I’ve invested a lot of money into the University of Pittsburgh, and the Pitt Panther Football Program.

I posted I am only buying single game tickets earlier today, so, if the fog is still permeating the program, I can call the shots.

Admittedley, I am still slightly wavering, only because I don’t want to be the one that ends our family’s streak from ’69. Allthough, I’m sure my Dad is looking down, saying enough is enough, don’t worry about it.

Comment by Dan 12.20.10 @ 3:49 pm

p.s. I’m sure there are many older fans and out of town fans that cannot make the games, and I’m sure they cheer for Pitt just as hard as anyone, I certainly welcome their opinion, whether I agree or disagree.

Perhaps if the football program gave back to the fans as much as it has received the last 30 years, maybe our fan base would be a little bigger. Works both ways.

Comment by Dan 12.20.10 @ 4:02 pm

No, no Dan, no wavering. Don’t waver… Cancel…you want to cancel…you are getting sleepy… You want to cancel.

Comment by Pwmcdupitt 12.20.10 @ 5:56 pm

I find it extremely amusing and quite annoying btw, that the same people who whined, cried and threw a temper tantrum that Wanny had to go, no matter what. This the guy who had led Pitt to the best back to back seasons since the Dan Marino years (a lot of the posters on here weren’t even born yet) and the highest final season ranking since 1982 at #15 in 2009, now aren’t going to buy season tickets next year. LMAO ……let me guess you were expecting Bill Cowher or Vince Lombardi.

Well I say GOOD riddance, it was nice to know ya. And throw all that blue & gold Pitt crap out, will ya, I don’t really want to hear about it again. You really should have never had it in the first place.

Comment by GhostofDW 12.20.10 @ 8:58 pm

GhostofDw, I find it quite amusing that your post has no real points, and frankly I haven’t seen you post on here before at all.

I would say, you are definitely one of the people that has opinions, but has never probably even gone to a game. Yes, yes, I bet you are stricly a t.v. game watcher, absolutely no support, but you’ll tell other people how to think!!! ha ha LMAO

As for my comments, they were a reply to someone challenging many of us that are critical of DW, and the hiring.

Ya, I never really should of had it in the first place, after 35 years of attending games, you make me howl.

You’ve never been to a game, huh?? LMAO

No, I wasn’t expecting Bill Cowher or Vince Lombardi, but, I guess I wasn’t quite ready for a non-experienced (2 years, paa-lease, one of them 1-11) head coach, with almost next to nothing on his resume’ except being chased from Notre Dame.

You got me, I was expecting more than a coach from a MAC school. Yep, you win, got me!! ha ha LMAO!!!!

What did you think, we just wanted Wanny gone, and go ahead and throw the Woodland Hills coach in there??? ha ha

Next time, make some valid points, say something about the program, offer an opinion, you sound like you might be the 17 year old nephew of Wanny.

Let me know if you ever go to your first game, I’ll buy you a milky!! lol

Comment by Dan 12.20.10 @ 11:03 pm

Actually Ghost, I think you might work in the A.D., that’s how Pitt fans have been treated over the years. Poor football, don’t want to hear fans opinions, if you don’t like it, just go away, we don’t care!! Change ticket policies on the fly, etc. etc.. Are you by chance an intern??? he he he

Comment by Dan 12.20.10 @ 11:07 pm

[…] say that Wannstedt already had a top 25 class arriving next season, but according to most experts, next years field is not a supremely talented one. The 2012 local class looks to be very skilled though, especially with third ranked national […]

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