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January 24, 2012

Not Sure Pitt Can Be This Picky

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 1:55 pm

Brandyn Cook is a consensus  3-star center out of Ohio. He was one of the earlier commits to Pitt. But while Coach Chryst stated that all scholarships would be honored, that did not mean he wouldn’t make it clear what kind of opportunities would (or in this case would not) be available to actually play.

Cook, 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, said new Pitt coach Paul Chryst suggested he look elsewhere because of his height.

“He didn’t think I would be able to get a fair shot at Pitt, basically because of my height,” Cook said. “Being a competitor, I wanted to go where I can play and to a place where I am needed and a place where I am wanted.”

Cook said he committed to Graham two days after receiving a scholarship offer and did not entertain further offers.

“I am a man of my word,” Cook said. “I shut it down.”

So Cook is heading to Miami (Ohio) instead.


Cook’s weight, on the recruiting sites, is listed at 265 to 290.

I realize you could and very legitimately argue this is no big deal. Losing a 3-star player that is now heading to the MAC hardly seems like losing a stud. And there has to be a level of trust that the coach knows what he is doing — and what he wants from the center spot.

But I admit, this one has me a little surprised for a few reasons. The first is that Pitt needs centers. Yes, Ryan Turnley turned out to be a revelation, and at 6-6, 320 pounds is probably more along the lines of what Chyrst and OC Bostad want. But after Turnley — and especially for the future things are not that simple.

Backing up Turnley would be Chris Jacobson (6-3, 295 pounds) — assuming Jacobson gets that 6th year. But that only covers next season as both will be seniors. Otherwise, the only other center listed on the 2-deep from last year is Left Guard Ryan Schlieper (6-4, 305). I have no idea what he can actually do at the spot, as he has never actually played center.

The second issue is that Pitt has only one actual center on the squad — by which I mean he was actually was recruited to play center. Artie Rowell, from the 2010 class.  Rowell redshirted this past season, but guess what? He might have gotten bigger in mass from his 275 pounds freshman weight, but I doubt he grew beyond his 6-2 frame.

Rowell cannot be looking at what Cook says as a good sign for his own future. Basically Rowell and Cook are the same height and reasonably close in weight.

I’m sure that Chryst and Bostad have some plan. Maybe they have a JUCO in mind for this class or next year. And I know that the O-line is a big deal for both of them. I also know that the O-line has been a complete question mark nearly every year this millennium. Even cutting loose an average recruit from that area seems extra risky at this point.

I’ll take a tie.

Comment by TX Panther 01.25.12 @ 10:17 am

for the umpteenth time, I don’t think Tino is a very good QB .. and I have said many times that I hope someone beats him out due to his physical limitations.

What I’m saying is that the offesne this past year had MANY, MANY more issues than just the QB .. and both the OL and the WRs were every bit as pathetic than the QB

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 10:27 am

Have to wonder though if the OL and WRs would have been as bad if not for Fraud’s offense

Comment by giveitarest 01.25.12 @ 10:31 am

I’ve been out of circulation for a few days, it looks like Pitt’s recruiting has taken a very positive turn. Things are looking up. Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Justinian 01.25.12 @ 11:05 am

Good to very good Pitt QB’s I have seen play

Alex Van Pelt
Pete Gonzalez
Dan Marino
Rod Rutherford
Tyler Palko

I hope I can add a current roster player to this list. Time will tell

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 01.25.12 @ 11:12 am

Bossdaws you are the man.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.25.12 @ 11:22 am

The fact that high profile recruit Yuri Wright posted some dirty stuff on twitter will be remembered as a key thing for Pitt. since he lost his scholarship offer at Michigan he decided to go with Colorado. it sealed the deal for Ryan Lewis then picking Pitt over Colorado as Colorado’s defensive backfield was filling up.

Really excited about Ryan Lewis- looks fast, athletic, and has a family football background so he’ll probably come in working hard- I think he was a steal

Comment by Chicken little 01.25.12 @ 11:34 am


Comment by Dan 01.25.12 @ 11:36 am

Good post Chicken little. I’m upbeat on him too. Interesting how that might have helped send him our way.

Comment by Dan 01.25.12 @ 11:42 am

Have to wonder though if the OL and WRs would have been as bad if not for Fraud’s offense

That should be obvious … Shanahan had more drops in the 1st half vs USF than he had his entire 1st 2 years. This entire offense was out of sorts, playig without any confidence .. and missing blocking and route assignments.

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 11:56 am

Looks like the biggest difference in the offense was the number of sacks 63 in 2011 vs 23 in 2010. That big of an increase could be a combination of QB, OL, WR and coaching. Poor all the way around. Hopefully we will have improved the coaching. Have we done enough to improve the other issues?

Comment by Houston Panther 01.25.12 @ 12:04 pm

Sounded like Frauds blocking schemes where extremely complex which created a huge problem (Tino gets his fair share of the blame too) I agree the WRs had too many drops and where not a great fit to that offense as well. I have faith he we return and have much success.

Comment by giveitarest 01.25.12 @ 12:24 pm

Just thinking i wonder we have at pitt one of the best OL coachs in the game this is true.
but we have no OL commits there are 5 good one out there still taking vists 3 of them 4 stars and 2 of them 3 stars and 3 of them are to vist wisconsin and one has WVU on his list.

but they are not visting here and are coachs
in the past have talked to them when they were at wisconsin and you know were JJ Denmen went

so my point is if you have the best coach then they should at least vist or denmen should be here unless they know something we dont is our OL
COACH goin to the bears pitt never came out and said he wasent. no offical statement.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.25.12 @ 12:28 pm

Run more, Pass less. Tino is very good at handing the ball off. Bring Meyers in when you need to pass.

Comment by TX Panther 01.25.12 @ 12:35 pm

we might even fool them once in a while have Myers hand off

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 12:39 pm

The Badgers have had excellent O-lines for years, and Chryst and company did very well at continuing that tradition. So, I’m willing to defer to their judgement on this.

I just hope that they are actually able to land the kinds of kids that they want in that regard, or it will be a short tenure. The O-line has been the major problem with Pitt teams now for a number of years, and that’s a big reason why I’ve advocated getting away from pro-style offenses here, which don’t work if you can’t consistenly get the really big boys up-front. Hopefully these guys will prove me wrong.

Comment by SDS 01.25.12 @ 1:09 pm

not counting new recruits, here is what Bostad (hopefully) has to work with:

54 Chris Jacobson OG Sr. RS 6-3/295 Pittsburgh, PA (Keystone Oaks )
55 Tom Ricketts OT Fr. RS 6-6/285 Pittsburgh, PA (North Allegheny)
56 Arthur Doakes OT Fr. RS 6-6/360 Lebanon, PA (Lebanon)
57 Artie Rowell C Fr. 6-2/275 Harrisburg, PA (Central Dauphin)
58 Kevin Barthelemy LS So. RS 6-3/240 Moon Township, PA (Moon Area)
64 Shane Johnson OG Fr. RS 6-5/325 Fort Washington, MD (DeMatha Catholic)
66 Justin Virbitsky OT Jr. RS 6-4/280 Jermyn, PA (Lakeland)
70 Juantez Hollins OG So. RS 6-5/305 Aliquippa, PA (Aliquippa)
74 Matt Rotheram OG Fr. RS 6-6/350 North Olmsted, OH (North Olmsted)
75 Ryan Turnley C Jr. RS 6-6/320 Hopewell, PA (Hopewell)
76 Ryan Schlieper OG So. RS 6-5/305 Wexford, PA (North Allegheny)
77 Zenel Demhasaj OG Jr. 6-7/330 Brooklyn, NY (New Utrecht H.S.)

Comment by wbb 01.25.12 @ 3:36 pm

SDS, I think you are asking a very good question. You have to have the right players for any system to work. The best summary that I saw on one of the blogs:
Big, slow players-run pro style
Small, fast players-run the spread
Big, fast players-system doesn’t matter, you’ll win
Small, slow players-system doesn’t matter, you’ll lose
It remains to be seen if he can get the players he needs to run his system.

Comment by Houston Panther 01.25.12 @ 3:42 pm

WBB – we tend to agree on some things when discussing Tino Sunseri. The fact that his 4th quarter play was so visibly worst in 2011 than it was in 2010 is very interesting from a psychological standpoint also.

It was like this last season his mind just went completely blank under pressure from both the DL and from just the circumstances of the game itself. He made mistakes that even Pee Wee players know not to make.

I’ll still say that Sunseri has the physical tools to succeed at QB in college – except for his deep throws. Not being able to do that though allows defenses to adapt their play to stopping him in other ways and that hurt him and us last year.

I think the best thing Chryst and staff can do with him is let him know in no uncertain terms that he is at the same starting point as all the other QBs on the roster in competing for the starting spot.

Then, if he wins it, and you know he probably will, let him know that they expect the same level of effort and production as any other member of the starting offense.

I think Graham put way too much pressure on Sunseri’s head and it got to him in a big way.

Comment by Reed 01.25.12 @ 5:18 pm

Also, I’ve a good feeling about how our OL is going to fare in 2012.

I think we have a pretty decent set of returning personnel there and if Jacobson can come back that’s a bonus. Turnley was very good at Center. Rotheram, if he stays healthy might just blow up with increased playing time and Ricketts is well though of also.

However, I don’t expect a miracle and all of a sudden we’ll be as good as Wisconsin has been over the last decade, but I think Chryst will ID the potential starters, simplify the blocking schemes and adapt the offense to function behind those guys.

If we can get to the level of how the OL was functioning in the latter DW years then I think we’ll do well. McCoy, Lewis and Graham didn’t pick up all those yards on their own you know.

Comment by Reed 01.25.12 @ 5:27 pm

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