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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.

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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