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May 31, 2011

That Duquesne Head Coach Ron Everhart may be a leading candidate to take over at Penn State is amusing. For what little attention is being paid to it,  the overall reaction to the news is essentially, meh. Everhart has done a nice job to make Duquesne competitve from their 3-25 record before he got there. But he has yet to win big games, and no NCAA appearances. Nor did he have NCAA appearances at McNeese St. or Northeastern on his coaching climb.

What makes the potential choice of Everhart odd is that he is coaching on the wrong side of the state. If PSU were pursuing the head coach of LaSalle or Penn, or a current or former assistant from Villanova it would make sense. There’s still more talent in Philly for basketball, and even if it doesn’t apply in basketball so much the Penn State name probably has more cache there.

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You can well imagine what dominated the conversations throughout Ohio yesterday. Everyone was buzzing everywhere about it. Here’s the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s frontpage for today.

Tressel’s downfall was death by a thousand papercuts. It was a slow painful process. He could not contain things. One more thing happened just as it seemed the worst was over. The Dohrman piece in Sports Illustrated was more of the same. Nothing so outrageous or damning by itself. Little that directly tied — only implied or strongly suggested — Tressel was well aware of much that was happening. It was just the final few nails for the coffin.

Ultimately the one thing that truly did Tressel in was back in March when he was forced to acknowledge that he had been alerted to what was happening.

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May 29, 2011

When Pitt appeared to show slow to no interest in Dana Holgorsen. Especially when WVU swooped in and nabbed the hottest OC in college football (well, maybe after Gus Malzahn), there was shall we say — some anger and frustration over the coaching search.

There were rumors that the Pitt administration had serious concerns about Holgorsen’s reputation for enjoying a few too many adult beverages and his behavior. But that was less than clear whether it was being blown out of proportion as counter-spin to justify not pursuing Holgorse and/or letting WVU nab him.

Now, it seems that there may have been a little more to this than any of us truly realized. Holgorsen the Barbarian appears to be venturing into Billy Gillispie territory.

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May 27, 2011

No, it isn’t likely to hear Gil Brown, Brad Wanamaker or Gary McGhee’s names called on the night of the NBA Draft. More likely is the chance for playing in the summer league and a non-guaranteed free agent deal. Followed by signing in Europe. I think we are all reasonably realistic on that issue.

That doesn’t mean that they aren’t practicing, working out for teams and doing all that they can do to merit consideration by teams. To say nothing of their representation making sure they promote them.

Wanamaker signed with IMG. They also represent DeJuan Blair.

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May 26, 2011

Let me offer the executive summary on what all the stories and updates really mean:

If you want the details, they’re after the jump.

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May 25, 2011

This is a guy that lived in a hotel for his single year in Stillwater. A guy regularly pounding Red Bulls during games. A bachelor. A disciple of Mike Leach. A guy already with a reputation for enjoying the party a bit. Oh, and he works at a school that already employs Bob Huggins.

With all of that, does anyone really think that he is facing any real problems? Or is he simply trying to fit in?

Multiple sources told the Charleston Daily Mail Holgorsen was removed from Mardi Gras Casino & Resort after 3 a.m. May 18. Holgorsen had been at a Mountaineer Athletic Club function earlier in the day in Logan before spending the evening at the casino with other university representatives.

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Stupid, foolish, careless and the sort of thing that happens to plenty of people. My feelings on Marijuana and it being illegal aside (pro-legalization), it is still a misdemeanor¬† criminal offense to possess it. That’s what Anthony Gonzalez is facing back home.

Bethlehem police said that Anthony Gonzalez was arrested early Friday on a charge of marijuana possession in Bethlehem. Gonzalez and two other men were arrested at 12:46 a.m. Friday at E. 3rd and Hobart streets in Bethlehem, police said. All three men are 19 and from Bethlehem, police said.

While not specified, the story lists the amount of marijuana on Gonzalez and the other two as “small.”

This is the context to explain the press release from Pitt last night saying that Gonzalez had been suspended indefinitely for violations of team rules.

Do I think he should be suspended right now? Yes. Dismissed from the team? Hardly. This is a misdemeanor offense of a victimless crime. A one point penalty in the Fulmer Cup.

Unfortunately, Pitt football may be in a zero tolerance situation. So the outcome of Gonzalez’s fate with Pitt is very much a question mark right now.

May 24, 2011

Graham Understands Expectations

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Graham — Chas @ 1:42 pm

Todd Graham is down in Florida with Pitt’s contingent for Big East meetings. Not much for him to do other than talk to the media. He’s doing that.

Maybe it’s bravado. Maybe a touch of irrationality. I don’t know and I don’t care. Coach Todd Graham is not trying to lower expectations in his first year.

Pitt’s Todd Graham: “Our expectation is to win the Big East. Anything less than that & we’ll be disappointed.”

I choose to believe first that it is simply in his personality that he expects to win. To succeed at Pitt. The other part is that he does get that there are expectations. That the fans don’t want to have them tamped down. Especially not even before the first preview guides hit the newsstands. He knows what is expected, and he’s not going to pretend that it is unachievable.

It’s also got just a touch of wiggle room. Winning the Big East this year. Not going to the BCS Championship. Not running the table in the non-con. Winning the Big East.

Brief Basketball Notes

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Recruiting — Chas @ 12:08 pm

I usually leave that school located in the middle of Pennsylvania out of my posts. The news, though, that Ed DeChellis left for Navy at the end of May… Wow. Keep in mind Navy lost its head coach because the guy who was there found the job so tough he went back to being an assistant at Villanova. Ed DeChellis not only left a Big 10 program for a service academy in the Colonial Patriot. He took a big paycut. He also left his alma mater. Dana O’Neill (who is a PSU alum) really lays into Penn St.

There’s a good argument that despite taking a pay cut from $650-700 K to $450 K is misleading. He got no extension and was heading to the last year of the contract, probably saved his job this past season, and likely would be out of work after yet another go-round of rebuilding. So jumping now probably gives him more long-term stability and money than just going one more year in Happy Valley and having to go back to being an assistant somewhere else for $100-200 K/year. Still, there’s no good way for Penn State to spin this as a positive reflection on their basketball program.

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May 23, 2011

Let’s see, Coach Todd Graham has been doing the rubber-chicken circuit this spring. Going to alumni club events and selling the program.

“Coach Graham’s speech was one of the best talks I have heard from a Pitt coach in several years,” said Mon Valley Panthers Club President Dr. Randy Rodriguez. “It wasn’t a ‘rah-rah speech.’ It was from the heart. He was very sincere. He’s a great motivator.

“When he said he wants to graduate 100 percent of his players, that tells you something about the guy. He cares.”

I can’t honestly be certain if the coverage and some attention paid to these events in media is because of a new coach and little other news. Or if there is some energy not seen in a few years. I remember similar excitement during the first spring/summer of Dave Wannstedt hitting the rubber chicken circuit. Either way, positive attention is welcome.

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Finally. This has been a frustrating few days. Not able to post a damn thing. Just spinning wheels and looking at other options for a hosting company. The system started coming back on Saturday and is allegedly fully restored now.

As I’m sure most of you are aware, Kolby Gray and Dan Schneider are leaving the Pitt program. Dan Schneider sustained a shoulder injury that will not let him play football any longer. Kolby Gray is transferring to Baylor. Part of it is driven by being closer to home, pursuing a music career, and the fact that the DC at Baylor is his former DC here at Pitt: Phil Bennett.

Pitt has taken in one JUCO and three transfers this offseason. Transfer Brendon Felder is possible to get a hardship waiver to play this season, and JUCO Josh Brinson is obviously eligible. But the oddity is that Pitt has yet to actually have a verbal for the 2012 recruiting class as the end of May looms.

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May 19, 2011

Downtime

Filed under: Admin — Chas @ 3:37 pm

Finally, sort of, slowly. You probably noticed this site was unavailable today. Or perhaps you caught me complaining on Twitter. The site had a second straight day of server issues.

This was a miserable issue — I’m told — and is still being worked on. So the site may go right back down.

Needless to say, I’m definitely looking forward to going to the Map Room for a beer and a chance to meet some other Pitt folk in the Cleveland area tonight.

May 18, 2011

Thanksgiving in Philly

Filed under: Basketball,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 10:35 pm

Okay, so maybe you are heading to Morgantown on Friday after Thanksgiving this year for the Backyard Brawl.

There is another option. Pitt basketball will be playing in Philly that same weekend. Pitt takes part in the Philly Hoop Group Classic.

On Friday night, Pitt will play Penn at the Palestra. Yep. A football-basketball doubleheader on the day after Thanksgiving.

No, this is not a marquee tournament. Pitt was kind of due, unfortunately, for a less than high-profile early season tournament after the past couple of years. This one fits that description with other participants (of which two will come to the Pete to play) include: James Madison, Rider, LaSalle and Robert Morris.

The only upside is that Philly area Pitt fans get to see Pitt play in the historic Palestra.

In other non-con basketball scheduling news, tomorrow ESPN will announce the pairings (and the four Big East teams excluded) in the all-new, revamped Big East/SEC Challenge — courtesy of ESPN PR guy and Pitt grad Mike Humes.

J.J. Returns to Houston

Filed under: Basketball,Transfer — Chas @ 10:43 am

I see it as a sign of how far the basketball talent at Pitt has improved. Even a few years ago, an undersized, but gritty and hard-working center/forward like J.J. Richardson would be an important part of Pitt’s team. Looking at significant minutes.

Instead, the talent ahead of him and coming in this year made his playing time prospects dim. He likely would have seen some early chances, but as the season progressed those minutes would diminish as the experience of Khem Birch and Malcolm Gilbert increased their minutes. This had him looking for an opportunity to play more than minor reserve minutes.

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Forgetting the Past

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Graham — Chas @ 10:09 am

Coach Todd Graham gets a front page piece from Rivals.com. He discusses the challenge of changing systems.

At Rice and Tulsa, he learned a few lessons, and with the Panthers, he still is in the process of changing old habits and putting his own stamp on the program.

“You ever watch ‘Men in Black,’ where they take that little wand and they kind of beep it and it makes them forget everything?” Graham says. “I wish we could do that a little bit.”

Graham wishes he could wipe the memories of the old offensive and defensive schemes from his players’ minds, and he probably wouldn’t mind erasing any memories of Pittsburgh’s tumultuous coaching search as well. In reality, the Panthers had two coaching searches, and Graham basically was Pittsburgh’s fourth coach between Dec. 7 and Jan. 10.

Safe to say it isn’t just the players who could use the memories of the last 10 months or so of Pitt football wiped.

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