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February 24, 2012

Trying To Feel Bollinger

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 12:06 pm

I’m not all the way back in the swing, but I have to say that I need to post if for no other reason but to take my mind off some of the other crap. Thanks everyone for well-wishes and some suggestions regarding the vehicle search. I’ve got some things narrowed down. A new car is completely impractical right now. Couple that with two kids under the age of ten, and I could see my annoyance levels shooting through the roof as they do what kids do over time in the back seat of cars. Wait, that came out wrong.

Reed gave you the reassuring POV on Coach Paul Chryst and his approach. I don’t totally disagree. It is something a little different, and if it works then great.

Now onto the reported coaching hire. Still no word officially on a new running back coach. Honestly, I’m not that stressed about the speed at which a position assistant is hired. It would be nice to have someone in place with more than a couple weeks before spring practices start, but the running back spot is not a source of concern.

Then there is the apparent move to fill the other open position on the coaching staff with a QB Coach. The name that is being leaked as likely is Brooks Bollinger.

I’ve been mulling it over for a couple days. Giving it a bit of thought. And I just keep coming back to the same place.

WHAT? Brooks Bollinger? Another effin’ Wisconsin guy?

Look, I know Chryst apparently has a comfort zone and doesn’t like to venture too far from it with whom he works. But Brooks Bollinger?

I don’t care about his career of a journeyman, back-up QB. Or his career at Wisconsin. Those are just biographical details.

I care that Bollinger is from North Dakota and was coaching high school football in Minnesota for all of a year. I care that, that is the extent of his coaching history. I care that this is yet another guy with Wisconsin ties from the midwest — which seems to be the main criteria to be hired by Chryst. Another coach with no recruiting history or ties to the East Coast or South. And I’m sorry a couple years holding a clipboard for the NY Jets; and a couple years with the Florida UFL team do not count for East Coast or Southern ties.

The only coaches hired without direct ties to Chryst or Wisconsin are the strength and conditioning coach, Todd Rice, and WR Coach Bobby Engram. But even then, there is a rather familial connection. Rice played for Chryst’s father in college. Engram was an offensive assistant on the 49ers last season — where Chryst’s brother Geep, is the QB Coach.

I’m not trying to be negative — though, I probably am coming off that way. It is just that this is getting a little ridiculous. Chryst seems to be more concerned with ties, connections and personal relationships to every coach on this staff. That might be great for coaching chemistry and camaraderie, but it may not be the best thing for Pitt.

What if one of these coaches just can’t cut it? What if they are plain lousy? How willing will Chryst be to make a change when he has personal relationships with all of them? How will that effect his view of their actual job performance? Chryst has every right, and should have final say over his staff. But someone needs to have a talk with him about how far he is taking things.

It reminds me a little too much of the POV on hiring assistants of another Pitt HC.

“Usually, I have found that hiring people I am familiar with or I know has produced the best results, and this is no different. Obviously, I have a lot of people whose opinions I trust who I will look to.”

If I’m being honest, though, after the first few years it wasn’t Wannstedt’s assistants that was the problem.

As for the recruiting side of things, he can do all the personal touches, lots of research into kids before offering, and being more selective. That’s all great. The kids still have to commit, and that still requires having coaches who can recruit. Coaches who know areas, have relationships with the high school coaches, and can sell the kids on Pitt.

The fact is there is no coach on this staff that has any known recruiting connections and acumen for New Jersey and Maryland. I suppose Bobby Engram could handle Eastern PA based on being a PSU grad. But Engram is actually from South Carolina.

And, um, one other thing. Update the damn headshots for the coaches on Pitt’s site. Engram is still wearing a 49ers shirt while Breckterfield is in a UCLA shirt.





To play devil’s advocate, Brian Angelichio had absolutely no ties to Eastern PA before he came to Pitt and he became our best recruiter. Does it help to have ties to an area? Probably. But good recruiters can pull kids from any area. And if Bollinger can pick it up quickly, then I don’t see much of a problem that he doesn’t have contacts in a certain area.

The problem with the Maryland/Va area for Pitt isn’t that we don’t have a coach with contacts, but that we’ve never had a coach out there for any significant period of time. Get a good young coach out there for a few years and there’s no doubt he starts pulling blue-chippers from that area for Pitt.

Comment by ej 02.24.12 @ 12:21 pm

Never buy new. Buy used after the depreciation hit. This approach has always served me well. And, you can’t beat a Honda or Toyota. Don’t buy FORD (Found On Road Dead, Fix Or Repaired Daily).

I think ties to recruiting areas is helpful but shouldn’t be a prerequisite. Pitt already has made connections to many high schools in NJ and MD. I would hope our new coaches could quickly reestablish ties and continue building the relationships.

However, I do agree that Chryst needs to get out of his comfort zone. I don’t want Pitt to become Wisky East. I want Pitt to be Pitt (without the disappointment).

Comment by TX Panther 02.24.12 @ 12:33 pm

Fair enough on Angelichio. At the same time, he worked his way up the coaching ladder.

link to pittsburghpanthers.com

That, however, is just the recruiting part, but there is the other aspect to Bollinger. He has no resume. Not even as a graduate assistant. One year coaching high school football in suburban St. Paul, and he would become the QB Coach for a 1-A, BCS program?

Maybe he’s a natural coach. But on its face, it sure seems that the only thing that got him the job is that he played QB at Wisconsin.

Comment by Chas 02.24.12 @ 12:40 pm

attached is the 2013 prospect page from Pantherlair .. althoughthere haven’t been many offers yet, you can see that many of them are from BE/ACC country, and most who aren’r are from neighboring Ohio … take it for what it’s worth

link to pittsburgh.scout.com

Comment by wbb 02.24.12 @ 12:44 pm

I for one would like Pitt to be like Wisky east, ten win season and in contention for the league title every year, major bowls. What is not to like, as for the Quarterback coach wonder if Bostick entered the conversation? no experience but a natural from what people in the know have said about him and his work ethic.

Comment by George H 02.24.12 @ 1:34 pm

Hey chas, if you want shoot me an email. Been following your site for quite a long time (few comments though) but i do work p/t at a place with about 500 cars. Worst case i can at least tell you whats junk/whats not and what type of interest rate you should get given the deal, etc..

Comment by Kyle 02.24.12 @ 1:39 pm

I too am disappointed that no coaches with NJ/MD/Fl/ OH ties have been hired. With all the Wisonsin ties on Chryst’s coaching staff this reminds of the knock on most of the Big Ten schools (PSU and Wisconsin in particular)when it comes to accademics and administration they are guilty of in-breeding. Only hiring candidates that are connected to their institution which limits an organization to bring in new and better ideas.
The hiring of this coaching staff is Big Ten thinking at its best. What is Rudolph’s background being from Belle vernon and yet coaching at Wisconsin ? He must have some tie to Wisky.

Comment by spindler's spirit 02.24.12 @ 1:45 pm

Every time I hear the name Rick Santorum I’m compelled to conjugate a Latin verb.

Comment by steve1 02.24.12 @ 1:46 pm

TX Panther, you’re dead wrong about Fords. Mine has 175k miles and I’m shooting for 300K.

Comment by steve1 02.24.12 @ 1:48 pm

Wisky-like results (except without those Bowl losses) but the Pitt way.

Pitt has a powerful brand name.

I hope we don’t hear talk like ‘this is how we did things at Wisky.’ What I want to hear is ‘we’ve developed our own way of doing things based on a variety of previous experiences and melded all the successful components into something that is unique and proven here at Pitt.’

I do wish Chryst obtains some coaches with experience outside Wisky from other successful programs. Variety is the spice of life.

Comment by TX Panther 02.24.12 @ 1:51 pm

I’m fine w/ Bollinger as long as Chryst brings in someone dynamic w/ a coordinator title, ie special team recruiting, so the money would be right. Foreman from Temple or Wright fromFIU.

Comment by Bones 02.24.12 @ 1:53 pm

My Explorer just had its transmission rebuilt and radiator replaced at 90k miles. Will never buy this POS brand again. I’ve owned Nissans, Toyota’s and Honda’s without issue. If my Ford treated me better after all the love I give it, I might not be as bitter. I still love her though.

And, Chas, make sure you get financing before you begin dealing with the F&I manager at the store. I’ve had good experiences dealing with the Internet Sales departments at dealerships. Become educated on what rates you qualify for based on your credit score know the value of the vehicle you are interested in purchasing (what the dealer paid for it). Edmunds dot com will get you started. Best of luck.

Comment by TX Panther 02.24.12 @ 1:59 pm

Come to think of it Tx, the records that came with my PI show that its transmission was replaced at 80K miles.

I took it as tough handling by Staties but…

In the words of Gilda, “Never mind!”

Comment by steve1 02.24.12 @ 2:14 pm

Look are HChas a plan i was like you could not understand why he wasent doeing things like the outher schools our like are old coachs
but i understand now he is going to do it like they do at wisconsin.
he doesent care if they have a ACC back ground our if the know people in maryland.

he is not going to recruit that way he says PITT will sell it self kind of if you want to come come but he is not going to run all around and chase every one.

i dont know if it will work but it worked at wisconsin so we have to give him a chance we must wait and see i know it seams a strange way to do it and lst week i was up set abuoght it read the old posts but now that i know that he has a plan and not just siting on his ass i say give him till LOIday and see how it works out he might know
what he is doing.

that is just the way it is to him he cares mostley abought PA and OHIO dont think he will recruit many players from to many outher states when it is all said and done i bet 90 percent of signed players are from thoes 2 states

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.24.12 @ 2:17 pm

Best car I ever owned, a Ford Taurus 313,000 miles!

Comment by Jim from Dallas 02.24.12 @ 2:40 pm

Do people really think that coaches can’t recruit anywhere but where they went to school or where they’ve already recruited? That’s nonsense. These guys move around all the time and have to make new contacts. If they couldn’t do that effectively, they wouldn’t have the contacts they have. The assumption that they are only going to recruit state A and B because that’s where they recruited a lot in their last job is ridiculous. I would certainly expect them to take advantage of the contacts they already have, but I wouldn’t assume that’s all they are going to do.

People here are making way too many unfounded assumptions. Frankly, I could care less if they “do things the Wisky way” if it produces the same level of play as Wisconsin has had.

Comment by Steve 02.24.12 @ 2:46 pm

Any chance the head of the Pitt Athletic Department might step in and suggest at least one of the two coaching vacancies be filled with someone who has a recruiting pedigree? Especially if Chryst is set on Bollinger for his QB’s.

Comment by JCE 02.24.12 @ 2:53 pm

Look Bollinger if he takes the job wil be great
4 years playing QB for wisconsin 6 years as a pro
he can teach them all they did to know.
you all werent bitching when it was goining to be a TE coach coaching them who is now are new OC.
if one good thing came out of this move it is that we will have a real QB coaching are QBS and with are QBS that is a good thing.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.24.12 @ 3:02 pm

The only reason that i worry abought the RB coach is this the players have had weeks to look at the new play book
the outher coachs have to and if the coachs are from wisconsin they all ready know them as
bollinger will if he comes to pitt but if he hires aRB coach who is not from WISCONSIN his players will know more plays then him come the spring game so he neefds to hire one soon.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.24.12 @ 3:22 pm

I still want to know what coaches are going to recruit EPA, NJ, VA and MD. We need our best recruiters in those places. WPA is Pitt’s backyard and Ohio is owned by the Buckeyes and Wolverines. Not to say we can’t poach there but we really need to make some inroads in ACC territory and to take advantage of State Penn’s and Butger’s misfortunes.

Comment by TX Panther 02.24.12 @ 3:40 pm

I didn’t have any connections to the area where I went to college, but I didn’t have a problem “closing the deal”, if you know what i mean. Sometimes it’s an advantage being the new kid in town. I think we should give the guy a chance, after all…he seems willing to give us a chance.

Comment by ECH 02.24.12 @ 3:41 pm

The ladies on Liberty Ave don’t count.

Comment by TX Panther 02.24.12 @ 3:49 pm

Who cares about ties. It’s about hiring the best coaches. Good coaches make good programs which recruit themselves. How did Wanny’s ties work out?

Comment by Tony C 02.24.12 @ 3:55 pm

Some things you need to know
chryst does not care if his coachs have ACC ties
most of next recruiting class will come from PA
some from ohio there will be very little from outher states.
he will not offer 50 players he offer say 20 and
work them hopeing to get the 12 he really wants

he wont chase 50 players he wants to offer and have them say yes he wants pitt to sell it self
this will be wisconsin west and that is ok
his ol will allways be huge when he gets his own
players his OTS will allways be 6 foot 6 or taller

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.24.12 @ 4:39 pm

Frank,
Pitt will be Wisconsin East.

Comment by spindler's spirit 02.24.12 @ 4:56 pm

spindlers spirit ok just ment this is western pa
but ok i would not mind haveing wisconsin record every year wisconsin east is ok

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.24.12 @ 5:09 pm

Pitt would be STUPID not to mine the talent in NJ, VA, and MD. And what about picking up a few from FL.

Pitt needs to make ties to states with the talent. It’s probably not a huge issue if a coach doesn’t have existing ties to ACC country but they better quickly make them.

I want Pitt to be Pitt. I want Pitt to smack around those Hokies each year and I want Pitt to put those Duke douche bags in their place.

Comment by TX Panther 02.24.12 @ 5:14 pm

What I don’t get is why people aren’t more worried about the Todd Rice hire. To me thats the only real botched hire so far. The other guys are at worst question marks.. Rice just isn’t any good.

Comment by Hurriquake 02.24.12 @ 5:22 pm

TX PANTHER HE MIGHT GET ONE OR TWO FROM THOES PLACES BUT HE HAS SAID PA IS HIS MAIN TARGET AND YOU CAN SEE HE WORKS OHIO.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.24.12 @ 5:23 pm

The point is chryst has his way of doeing things i think we need to give him time and stop bitching
we can bitch on LOI day if it doesent work.
just becuse it is different from all the outher schools like ohio state does not mean it is wrong
give him time.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.24.12 @ 5:39 pm

After reading these threads, I can’t figure out what last longer – a Ford or a Pitt head coach?

Comment by Winedogs 02.24.12 @ 6:05 pm

Chas the only way i would want him to leave his comfort zone as you say is if bollinger turned him down.than i would say find a good coach and hire him becuse you cant wait for ever to find one who played for wisconsin. than you would be right he would be takeing the winsonsin thing to far. it would be time to move on from that.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.24.12 @ 6:14 pm

Chas and others, please do buy Ford. I have no idea if they are good cars or not but I own tons of stock in them (bought at 1.50 in Nov ’08) and need to have it keep rising so I can stay retired.

Thanks for your consideration in this matter.

Comment by Reed 02.24.12 @ 6:41 pm

LOL, Winedog

Comment by steve1 02.24.12 @ 7:04 pm

Actually several of the past years, Ford has topped the Japanese cars in JD Powers reliability surveys of customers. First time thats happened in 20 years or so. Ford and Lincoln.

I’m unbiased, drive a Dodge Truck (company vehicle).

Whatever you do Chas, buy the extended warranty. Make sure it is not an aftermarket, or “in house” warranty. Get the factory one, a little more money, a lot less hassle. Even on a used car.

Problem with “in house” warranties, you ever need to take it to another dealer, or out of town, those dealers will say, “hey, that’s Joe Smith Nissan’s warranty, we don’t honor that, that’s not a Nissan warranty”.

That’s my two cents, good luck with whatever you purchase.

As for Bollinger and all of the Wisky hires, remember, there may be a few guys he way have wanted, or still wants, that just couldn’t come right now.

And look, he’s a football guy, he knows he needs players, he knows about DC MD VA. Maybe Bobby Ingram will be that guy, who knows.

Also, we don’t know that none of these coaches, don’t know anyone from that area. Maybe some of these guys do know some people down there.

Also, first year, I’m happy with letting it play out and see. He could have some changes next year, we don’t know that.

****spend a little, buy the factory warranty****
you’ll get loaners vehicles and the service advisors will be much happier to deal with you!!!

Comment by Dan 02.24.12 @ 7:13 pm

I don’t believe you “Bloggers”! Our new coach has NEVER called a Pitt game, has never run a spring practice, and, of course, has never been defeated as the HEAD PANTHER. Yet, what I read in the PG is gripes about the assistants and complaints about the recruiting. This is getting out of control. Please stop the negatives, “FANS: or at least restrain yourselves ultil after the first game. Is that asking too much? Rev. George from the land of “OZ” in central Ohio

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 02.24.12 @ 9:52 pm

our new coaches’ thought on the ACC

link to pittsburgh.scout.com

ACC = GM
Big East = Ford
Big 10 = Chrysler

Comment by wbb 02.25.12 @ 8:02 am

I dont know why you all keep obsessing over florida. If you think that, right now, pitt can go into florida and pull out a top recruit from florida then you need to get a grip. I thought before that filling these two spots with guys with ties to md or nj was crucial, but im not so sure. Does anybody know how much a rb or qb coach actually recruits? Im fine with this hire from a coaching standpoint, but idk about recruiting. Part of me believes what others have said above, that if the guy can recruit he can recruit anywhere.

Comment by Pk 02.25.12 @ 8:31 am

Frank, what made you want to ease of chryst and give him time? I must have missed something

Comment by Pk 02.25.12 @ 8:34 am

some insight on Steve Adams

link to sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Comment by wbb 02.25.12 @ 8:58 am

As to all the comments about Pitt becoming Wisky east, or New Jersey and DC ties, all I can give you is a quote from Al Davis.

“Just win, baby, just win.”

Everything else will take care of itself.

Comment by Justinian 02.25.12 @ 9:23 am

Patrick kugler to michigan

Comment by Pk 02.25.12 @ 11:11 am

In other news 4 star ot dorian johnson is visiting pitt today.

Comment by Pk 02.25.12 @ 11:32 am

Hey, we went nuts when they hired O’Brien and after several weeks he’s put together a staff that appears to have the drive and desire of our HC. Everyone likes where the program is going today from the S&C workouts, to the attitude of the coaches, to the new openness and the recruiting. So give the guy and his staff a chance-he certainly appears to be better than the last three you had.

Comment by NitCrazy 02.25.12 @ 4:01 pm

Didn’t the guy at Panthers Prey, say Kugler was a sure thing for PITT. Scratch that one.

On the SI article on Steve Adams. They have him listed as 6’10” and only 210lbs. Is the kid shrinking or something, I thought he was a 7 footer and like 240lbs. Maybe they have a different scale in New Zealand. Also SI has him listed as a “Power Forward”. We are not going to have to go thru that again are we? Is he or is he not playing Center at ND Prep? If he is, why does SI have him listed as a PF, or are they just effn with us.

Comment by Emel 02.25.12 @ 5:50 pm

Emel, thats not updated. Adams said in an interview about a month ago that he was just under 7′ and about 240 lbs

Comment by Pk 02.25.12 @ 6:19 pm

The Panther Prey guy, Dokish, is like many on this site, a passionate Pitt fan with some delusions of grandeur, and most likely 4 or years from now will be calling for Chryst’s ouster

Comment by wbb 02.25.12 @ 6:21 pm

Not once did Dokish say Kugler was a sure thing. I swear to God some of you people are off your rockers..LOL

Comment by Mike 02.25.12 @ 9:57 pm

Here is what Dokish posted on Feb 10 on Kugler:

He has offers from Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, Miami, Virginia tech, Tennessee, Stanford, Stanford, Boise State, Washington, and South Carolina already and many more will follow. But this is one player that Pitt can’t afford to lose and quite frankly there’s no reason to lose him. They have maybe the best college offensive line coach in the country in Bob Bostad right down the road and Kugler’s father will surely know that.
————-
Of course, things may have changed when the ‘best offesnive line coach’ left, but there are some indications now that Kugler was never interested in Pitt. Maybe he was well aware that UM plays in front of >100,000 weekly (as opposed to 20,000 yellow seats)

Comment by wbb 02.26.12 @ 9:12 am

Chryst doesn’t need a pass. As far as Bollinger is concerned, I will make this one comment. He has stuck his hands under the butt of the center more than 90% of the people who coach that position. Everyone is young once.

Comment by SFPitt 02.27.12 @ 2:43 am

[…] already made my point of discomfort with the move. Not for any personal reason against Bollinger, but because of his minimal experience and that Coach […]


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