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January 10, 2013

Leftover Legacies and Linkage

Filed under: Football,History — Chas @ 12:41 pm

I see there are articles and discussions on the topic of legacies with this senior class, and one player in particular. Some were probably ready to turn the page by halftime of the BBVA Bowl. Others will want to vent or defend for the next two years.

The one thing of which I feel certain, is that this particular class will be most linked with (blamed on) former coach Dave Wannstedt. I’m hoping it is the last of them. It should be. While there is one more more true Wannstedt classes to graduate, the 2008 and 2009 signing clases that make up this group seem to exemplify the promise and disappointment of the Wannstedt era.

This is really the last group to really feel that the ties to Wannstedt are still there. That draw reference to him.

“We wanted to start with a guy like coach Wannstedt, we believed in coach Wannstedt,” Sunseri said.

“For us to finish with a guy like coach Chryst, we feel like he’s the Dave Wannstedt kind of guy. Coach Chryst obviously is his own person and he brings different attributes to the table, but he’s one of those guys that loves this university, loves the players.”

When the comparisons are to Fraud Graham and Haywood, that can be considered in a positive light.

Yet, you look at the players from the 2008 and 2009 recruiting class and wonder about how many misses. How many failed/stagnated development. And the injuries. By the most important definition, this class goes down as near pure mediocrity. From 2010 to 2012, Pitt went 20-19. Wins and losses define your place in sports. Only if you were such a superlative talent that eclipsed all around you, can you begin to overcome what your team is. Oscar Robertson, Hank Greenberg, Larry Fitzgerald come to mind.

There are the “but” and “what ifs.” Especially for this group. Three head coaches, two interims and a two-week layover of a head coach in the past three seasons is quite the mitigator. And for everything these kids have been through, it can be argued that they were far better at handling the continual upheaval and turmoil around them, than they should be expected.

At the same time there is the fact that this was a group that could never win the close ones. Forget — if it’s possible — for the moment that the Pitt team went 0-13 when trailing at the half over the past three years. This was a group that was 3-10 (2-10 against 1-A teams) over the past three years in games decided by 7 points or less. There is no one reason for all the losses. Not all of it is Sunseri. Not all of it is the O-line, or the coaching, special teams or the defense. It was always something with team. Every other loss had something that made you think, “if only…”

So, yes, I’ll agree with Tino.

“I don’t know what [my legacy] is,” Sunseri said. “It’s whatever people make it. I have no control over that.”

I’ll also agree with this piece to a significant extent that the legacy of Sunseri is not as simple as it seems.

Sunseri may not have always been a strength of the Pitt football team over the last three years, but he was far from being the only weakness and shouldn’t take the full blame for the team’s record since 2010.

And there’s the matter of second-half comebacks. In Sunseri’s three years as a starter, the Panthers never won a game after trailing at halftime. Opponents are 13-0 against Pitt when they had a lead entering the third quarter since 2010. Many have looked at that stat and declared that it is indicative of Sunseri’s inability to lead his team to victory under pressure. It’s true, Sunseri never led Pitt to a second-half comeback. At the same time, Sunseri played a considerable role in giving Pitt the first-half leads it maintained in the 20 victories the Panthers amassed over the last three years.

Sunseri’s legacy would be more favorably viewed by Pitt fans if he had led more comebacks – or even just one – in his career, but the fact that he didn’t should not overshadow the fact that he was a contributing factor in generating the leads that led to victories.

And then there are the coaches. Sunseri played for three head coaches in his three years as the starter (six if you count interim head coaches and unintentional-interim Mike Haywood). Including interim play-callers, he had six offensive coordinators (seven if you count Matt Cavanaugh, who coached Sunseri when he redshirted as a freshman). The middle year of 2011 was doomed from the start, as Sunseri and head coach Todd Graham never saw eye to eye, but with a bit of stability, Sunseri probably could have improved over the years if he had more than one year as a starter with 2010 coordinator Frank Cignetti or 2012 coordinator Joe Rudolph.

Ultimately, Sunseri was a quarterback who needed an offensive coordinator who could understand how to tailor the offense to his skill set. With time, Cignetti likely would have drawn out Sunseri’s strengths, much as Rudolph, head coach Paul Chryst, and quarterback coach Brooks Bollinger did this season. But the instability and seemingly constant transition didn’t work in his favor. Sunseri needed to build on an offense, not learn a new one each year.

There were times when Sunseri had the offense clicking. Times when it looked like he might be able to drive the team down the field. Times when it all came together.

And then there were the other times. The times when he looked rattled and unable to play with the presence of mind that is needed to be a Division I quarterback. The times when he struggled to handle pressure and seemed to miss open receivers. The times when he took too many sacks.

Those are the times fans will remember. Those are the times that will define Pitt football circa 2010-12, the era that will be defined jointly by Tino Sunseri’s quarterback play and Pitt’s coaching carousel.

And it still comes back to winning. Is there one signature win in the three years? One impressive victory over a good team? Even the win over VT this year, quickly was diminished with the evidence of how overrated the Hokies were coming into the game. I can’t think of a one. All I can think of are the ones that could have been.

We saw great growth from Bill Stull in his final year. Just as we saw significant growth from Sunseri in this past year. A big difference was the team around each. Stull had a veteran and stable offensive line to go with an amazing season from Dion Lewis. Sunseri had an injury (and suspension) ravaged O-line the last two years to go with injuries at the RB spot.

The secondary has been better the last couple of years, but you can’t compare the D-lines. The only consistency over the two recent eras: mediocre to poor special teams.

Sunseri was doomed the moment he was anointed the starter by Dave Wannstedt after the 2009 season. At the time, it probably didn’t seem that stupid in Wannstedt’s mind. The fall of 2009 had tons of reports of Sunseri often looking better than Stull in practices. The only competition was Pat Bostick, who Wannstedt clearly did not want to play. And Wannstedt has that old, old school philosophy of picking a QB and sticking with him.

But when you are anointed, you have to show why a coach would make such a leap of faith. Not just with play and practice, but how you lead the team.

Instead Pitt stumbled to a 2-3 record lowlighted by a national TV embarrassment against Miami. Sunseri’s play, to put it politely — stunk. He also had a demeanor on the sidelines of petulance. When you add up bad play on the field with sideline pouting, it’s perception hole from which he never could extract himself.

Then, with chances to still make the season count, Pitt bumbled to a listless 2-2 finish. As much as that season sealed the fate of Wannstedt, it put the perception of Sunseri in place. And unlike Bill Stull, Sunseri never was able to do anything to change it.

For the past three seasons fans (including myself) have wished and at times convinced ourselves that there was another QB on the roster better than Sunseri and ready to play.  Even as three different coaching staffs reached the same frustrating conclusion, “Sunseri gives Pitt the best chance to win.” Which may or may not end up on his tombstone.

It not only was difficult to accept, it reached a point where people didn’t care. Declaring that they would rather watch anyone else play back there, even if the outcome would be the same. Rationalize it as building for next year. Anything to get Sunseri off the field.

The best thing you can say about Sunseri is that he was tough. He took an ungodly number shots, sacks and hits over his three years, and kept getting up to take more. He didn’t miss a start. He didn’t get knocked out of games. And off-the-field, he absorbed abuse from all corners. He let it all go.

That hardly outweighs everything else. In the long-term, his legacy and this group of Pitt players will be that of not quite good enough.

I’d rather just forget about this era in Pitt football. And am relieved it’s over.

Don’t really want to think Pitt football until the spring.

It’s basketball season. Where we have a team with some potential upside. Something that wasn’t possible in the last 3 years with Pitt football.

Comment by Emel 01.10.13 @ 1:16 pm

He started every game for 3 yrs. Thats a feat in itself. The Lou Gerhig of Pitt.

Comment by alcofan 01.10.13 @ 1:17 pm

Sunseri was tough because he is a Sunseri. He won’t be defeated personally by adversity. As long as he feels he is doing the best he can do, he won’t be defeated by some fan in the stands, some newspaper media-type, or what someone writes in a blog comment. He knows better than any of us that if Pitt had someone better at his position the past years they would be playing. The fact is that Sunseri was the best QB on the roster during those years. If that’s sad, its not his fault. So long, Tino, and good luck. For the Panthers, there are better days ahead at QB…or is there?

Comment by PENGUIN 01.10.13 @ 1:24 pm

I think with the dismissal of Dave Wannstedt and the Heywood fiasco, cost Pitt a recruiting class. Then the move to spread offence with Graham recruiting players with different skill sets, then a move back to a pro type offence just made things too difficult to have any kind of success. For the 1st time since Wannstedt, Pitt should have some continuity. They look to be addressing their greatest needs with next year’s incoming freshman class.

Comment by Justinian 01.10.13 @ 1:31 pm

T… Tough as nails

I… Indecisive

N… Not a Winner

O… Overachieving despite limited athletic ability

Comment by PittofDreams 01.10.13 @ 1:41 pm

It’s time to turn the page and hope for better things. I, for one, would like to forget about this group.

Comment by Scott 78 01.10.13 @ 1:42 pm

The only thing that I found more frustrating than Tino’s meltdowns while under fire, especially when Pitt was trailing late in a game, was his undeniable toughness when taking punishment, again and again, in many instances.

This fact alone has resulted in this 3 year “Tino Legacy” of which we currently speak of in this thread. Almost anybody else would have gone down with injury, which would have opened the door for ABT. But Nnnnooooo, Sunseri has to be a hard head and remain consistantly tough as nails, extending his career into a full three years and 39 starts.

That in itself, sums up Tino’s legacy, not talented to avoid unnecessary punishment, too tough to get knocked out of the game.

At this point I’m looking forward to the next guy. I have a sneaking suspecion, that no matter what the growing pains are that the next QB goes through, very few observers will ever draw comparisions to Mr. Sunseri while recalling the good old days when Pitt was blessed with such an experienced signal caller.

Thank you for your services Tino, but I can’t express in print how excited I am to utter the following thought,,,,,NEXT!!!!

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.10.13 @ 1:44 pm

This entire post makes me sick (sorry Chas – love ya). The entire post could have stopped with “underperformed, underachieved…” whatever you choose. To read through this entire thing made me relive every sickeningly frustrating Thursday, Friday or Saturday I spent watching Sunseri take the field.

Good for him that he is a “Sunseri”, that he didn’t bite back. Shame on Pitt, Wannstadt, Graham, whoever for not having a better product to put on the field.

I’m moving on to basketball and looking forward to Spring ball. I was done with this season, this class, this era, Sunseri as I disgustingly walked out of Legion Field after the 3rd Quarter.


Comment by Pitt it IS 01.10.13 @ 1:47 pm

In fairness, there were some transfers (out) due to Wanny’s firing as well as an apparently highly rated incoming 2011 class that would have provided depth to this class. Further, the recruting budget was cut in 09 and as a result, only two players (both from same high school) cae from Florida in 09 and 010 (look it up.)

Chas does make a good point about Tino. In my 40 years of watching football, I’m quite sure that I have never seen a QB take such a beating, especially a frequent number of blindsided sacks by unabated rushers.

Comment by wbb 01.10.13 @ 1:50 pm

Chas, I’m sorry I just couldn’t read all your bull shit. I stopped after the first comment about Sumseri.

Sumseri should not have played quarterback at Pitt. Wannstedt did terrible job of picking QB’s. That was his biggest weakness. Do all of you remember the QB’S Harris brought in? Every year we had a “good” one, ending with Rutherford and Palko. And Harris was just a “fair” recruiter.

I don’t believe Wannstedt ever thought QB’S were important to his offenses. That was his weakness and cost him his job.

Of course Peterson compounded the demise of Pitt’s football program by his incompetence. The lack of ability of these academics amaze me. In hindsight, a little thinking outside of the box would have gone a long way . Keeping Wannstedt as the “head” recruiter/coach and insisting on an offensive genius like a Harris would have been a novel approach. Instead we start all over again with an average coach/recruiter. We are all happy if he just stays!

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 01.10.13 @ 1:53 pm

With Wanny fired by Marrone, will Chryst hire him?

Stranger things have happened.

Stay tuned.

Comment by steve1 01.10.13 @ 2:11 pm

Can anyone post the entire recruiting classes and the stars(rankings) each player had coming out of high school? That would be interesting to look over

Comment by notrocketscience 01.10.13 @ 2:14 pm

from ESPN 2008 class….pretty funny read

Signing day storylines: If this article had teams in order of the best recruiting classes, Pitt would be at the top. The Panthers have the best shot among the Big East teams to finish with a top-25 class. In his three-year tenure, head coach Dave Wannstedt has established himself as a recruiting force in western Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas. A native of Pittsburgh and an alumni of Pitt, the former NFL head coach has really done an excellent job of selling Pitt history and the importance of roots. While he has recruited well, he has been unable to translate that talent into consistent wins. While he did a notch a huge upset win over rival West Virginia this year, the Panthers finished 5-7 and sixth in the Big East again.
Despite a lack of wins (16-19 in his tenure) Wannstedt has a contract extension in hand, likely a result of his recruiting ability. With the promise of stability, recruiting success should continue. If they can start to produce wins, the Panthers would also have on-field success to sell and could solidify themselves as the recruiting power in the Big East. It is time though for the talent to start resulting in Ws.

Top prospect: The Panthers battled some high-profile programs like Miami (FL) to land the talented Jonathan Baldwin (Aliquippa, Pa.). Baldwin’s pledge once again showed Wannstedt has what it takes to keep top in-state talent. Also — and more importantly — Baldwin offers a player with the ability to provide productivity right away and help Pitt rack up some needed wins.

Baldwin at one time was the nation’s No. 1-rated tight end but was changed to a wide receiver prospect and now is the nation’s No. 8 receiver. It is likely he will at least start his career as a wide receiver, and that facilitated the position change. Despite a less glamorous ranking, Baldwin is an excellent talent and could develop into a Larry Fitzgerald-type target for the Panthers. If he does not pan out at receiver, he could still be an excellent tight end not only as a receiver, but also a blocker. Baldwin, the son of a former Pitt football player, is a safe bet to be a good one for the Panthers.

Class highlights: Besides Baldwin, running back Chris Burns (New Wilmington, Pa./Wilmington Area) offers promise. The Panthers already have the exciting LeSean McCoy, but Burns could offer a wonderful second option. He combines workhorse qualities with scatback, change-of-direction skills.

The offensive line also receives a boost with the addition of the big, athletic offensive tackle Luke Nix (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson). Wannstedt has recruited well, but Nix offers his best land yet at the offensive tackle position.

Pitt also landed talented in-state quarterback Tino Sunseri, the one-time Louisville commit. A coach’s son and a gunslinger, this could prove to be a great pick-up a little down the road. Mike Cruz (Johnstown, Pa. / Bishop McCort) is a big tight end with deceptive athleticism who catches pretty much anything near him. The defense also recently got a good addition with the commitment of Shayne Hale (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) a linebacker prospect who will likely develop into a defensive end. A pair of talented athlete prospects, A.J. Alexander (Altoona, Pa.) and Cameron Saddler (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway), have potential.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.10.13 @ 2:18 pm

cristobal will be miamis next hc when golden goes to nd,chas just wants a 200 hit topic , slow time?

Comment by paul shannon 01.10.13 @ 2:19 pm

“gunslinger?” I guess more accurate than “rifle-armed.”

(This was back when the NRA had clout)

Comment by steve1 01.10.13 @ 2:22 pm

Wanny was over-rated as a recruiter, did not recruit depth, could not recruit a QB to save his life, was attracted to over-hyped high school prospects, didn’t know how to effectively use what he recruited. I could go on.

But, it also proves that many of these rating organizations don’t know squat.

Comment by TX Panther 01.10.13 @ 2:23 pm

In an off topic, upbeat item, Sam Werner in his most recent Redshirt Diaries gives his 10 best players list for 2012 Pitt Football. I love the fact that only three in the list were seniors, and there were multiple freshman or RSF on the list. IMO this bodes very well for the future of Pitt Football.

Especially in light of how well this current recruiting class is addressing the glaring issue of the thin line corps on both sides of the ball, I’m feeling optimistic going into the ACC in nine months.

The key that remains to be discovered in this upcoming group that is so dispertly needed, is team leadership. It was lacking this year and because of that, the team had many let down games in it’s underachieving 6-7 season. We find some guys who want to pick up the Pitt Banner and lead by example consistantly from this point forward and Pitt has the opportunity to make a big splash in it’s inaugural season in the ACC.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.10.13 @ 2:24 pm

Some of the 2008 names that actually played….

Baldwin, Holley, Reed, Saddler, Shanahan, Hale, Harper, Nix, Houser, Sunseri, Taglianetti, Trebitz, Turnley, Manny Willimas, Greg Cross.

A few slightly above average players…mostly below average for four years of playing time. Zero impact players.
Wannstedt’s weakness was player development.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.10.13 @ 2:30 pm

Old Pitt Grad, Yes, Wanny never did give the quarterback position the proper attention. I think it hurt him not only here but on his other head coaching positions. I thought he was a good orginization guy, a good recruiter and good with alumni and highschool coaches. Walt Harris was the opposite, he was a quarterback focused guy and didn’t have Dave’s people skills. Comments have been made that Paul Chryst is a lot like Wannstedt. That’s true to a degree, but Wannestedt was a defensive guy and Chryst an offensive coordinator who’s been good at handling and evaluating quarterbacks.

Comment by Justinian 01.10.13 @ 2:31 pm

Any news on our new DC? I was hoping we would find out this week.

Comment by Rex 01.10.13 @ 2:46 pm

Wannstedt coaching career summed up as follows…

“We just gotta run faster.”

Comment by PittofDreams 01.10.13 @ 3:06 pm

Really difficult to take this seriously when this same fan base said the same things about Bill Stull en route to a 10-3 record which was the best in nearly 30 years. Wannstedt chose Tino as starter in 2010. It is hard to justify that as a wrong decision given that supposed offensive geniuses Graham and Chryst also started Tino. The glass half empty crowd needs to let go of this era. Instead of complaining about back to back 6-7 seasons (under Graham and Chryst), just be happy that the bottom never completely fell off during a very tumultuous time for a football program over three seasons and we avoided 1-11 type seasons like some programs. Tino and the players from this era deserve at least some appreciation for that. Afterall, they didn’t sign up for what happened to this program and they had offers from other schools but chose Pitt.

I hope this thread marks the end for the contingent of people who constantly criticized Wannstedt and Tino. Just let it go.

Comment by matt42 01.10.13 @ 3:07 pm

I really don’t appreciate 6-6 seasons and excuses. And, the players signed up for their performance on the field which was mediocre at best. I expect more from this program. Id do like where Chryst is headed however. If only we had a new AD and a BOT interested in athletics.

Comment by TX Panther 01.10.13 @ 3:18 pm

In Wanny’s last 3 years, Pitt had its best 3 year run since 1981-3. Not sure what would have happened if he wasn’t fired but my guess that they would certainly have been better than 6 and 7.

Nonetheles, this is all recent history … I see promise in Chryst and hope, beyond anything, that he provides stability (something I bitched about when Wanny was let go.)

I will see even more promise in Chryst if he hires a DC with some Florida ties.

Comment by wbb 01.10.13 @ 3:23 pm

Just curious… what constitutes “the bottom” completely falling off?

The Death Penalty? Coaches arrested for years of child sex abuse? The tearing down of the school’s football stadium? Three years at the BBVA Compass Bowl? Losing to Youngstown State?

Comment by PittofDreams 01.10.13 @ 3:24 pm

I think you meant to say, the fan base said that about Bill Stull before that season.

After that season, most people I remember, said, “what a great season, wow, did Stull have a great year or what”.

He proved himself.

Comment by Dan 01.10.13 @ 3:29 pm

Nix – Thomas – Houser – Malecki – Pinkston

It shouldn’t be any coincidence that in 09, Stull had its best year and natural freshman Lewis had 1700 yards. The above OL was Pitt’s best in years and stayed healthy the entire year until the bowl when Lumpy (in his 1st start) replaced an injured Thomas

Comment by wbb 01.10.13 @ 3:34 pm

Forgot one. Being rated No.1 by Sports Illustrated when it comes to players facing criminal charges?

Oh, that’s right. That was Wannstedt.

Comment by PittofDreams 01.10.13 @ 3:37 pm

I do have to say, Tino kept the stiff upper lip on one of his last interviews, was very pro Pitt, very pro about the future of the team.

Nothing negative. Did say, he wished he could have played for Chryst for a couple more years.

Comment by Dan 01.10.13 @ 3:41 pm

Lets sum things up, the whole post walt harris era was full of hype, underacievement and disappointment. One lone bright spot: 16-9 at wvu.

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.10.13 @ 4:21 pm

Well we have Talent comming in… Savage was an U.S. Army All-American

Chad was an elite 11 qb

and Chapman is a workhorse (4star guy)

So this maybe the most talented stable of QB’s Pitt has had in a while.

Granted there are a lot of questions…
When was the last time Savage played ?
Can Chad compete for the starting Job ?
Is chapman the real deal ?

Remember Bostick was a 5 star recruit.

Comment by Snala The Panther 01.10.13 @ 4:37 pm

While I agree that it was full of hype, underachievement and disappointment, I wouldn’t call the 13-9 the SOLE bright spot. Again, 2008-10 was the best 3 year run since 81-3.

I am curious to see that now in the ACC if the Pitt admin actually provides full support of its FB program on an extended basis … something that it hadn’t done.

Comment by wbb 01.10.13 @ 4:37 pm

wbb, the best run sunce the 80’s in the weakest conference in football and still couldnt get into a BCS game. Again, disappointment, hype and underachievement. I would have to add one other bright spot though and that was watching Lesean McCoy run. He was probably one of the best college backs I’d ever seen. He was one of those guys that everyone knew he was getting the ball and he still couldnt be stopped. very doresett-esque!

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.10.13 @ 4:45 pm

No Div 1 school should ever have to go through Bill Stull followed by Tino Sunseri. What did we ever do to deserve this fate?

Comment by Jackagain 01.10.13 @ 4:48 pm

Point is… we’ve hit bottom. But in many ways we’ve been in denial.

Yes, there are signs to suggest we’ve started our way back. A high-character quality coach like Chryst… the young players already here and the ones coming… all give reason to think a Top Ten ranked team may not be that many years away.

But to me, there’s a missing piece that will forever stand in the way of Pitt regaining the prominence it once had. That is a new Pitt Stadium to call home.

It’s amazing how some believe the glory of the past is possible without it.

Comment by PittofDreams 01.10.13 @ 4:56 pm

Devin Street just announced on Twitter that he’s coming back for his senior season.

Comment by PatMac 01.10.13 @ 5:09 pm

Yep…smart move. He knows all about Savage…

link to

Comment by Jackagain 01.10.13 @ 5:17 pm

Tino took 64 sacks LY……he is a tough guy! Not his fault
there wasn’t an alternative available. Better times ahead.

Comment by JR 01.10.13 @ 5:17 pm

Tino Sunseri was not, in my opinion, an outstanding college QB. But, why state the obvious. In my book, and I do not know the lad, he is an EXEMPLARY HUMAN BEING> I, for one, welcome him into the ranks of the Pitt alums. He showed more class in how he faced the slings and arrows of ourageous fortune(thakyou, Bill Shakespears) than most of his critics. Now he is one of us. The disillusiuoned, but always hopeful, Panther fans. I would criss the street to shake his hand. I would thank him for his services and continued loyalty to his (and mine( ALMA MATER. No, Tino. you dis not bring a championship to the STeel City, but you have shownm at least some of us, that losing with dignity CAN BE better than winning when few expected you would ever lose! I wish you God speed in the years ahead and continuing success in the “game called life”. Rev. George from Columbus.

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 01.10.13 @ 5:32 pm

OK….now that Tino has no chance to ever throw another pass in a Pitt uniform I don’t mind him so much 🙂

Maybe he can join us here on Blather too now…lol

Comment by Jackagain 01.10.13 @ 5:43 pm

If Wannstadt isn’t fired:

2011: 8-4, bowl loss. Four players arrested.
2012: 7-5, bowl win. Six players arrested.

No Voytik, No Chapman, No Savage.

We’re in a better place for the long haul with Chryst.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 01.10.13 @ 5:49 pm

I for one would like to see Chapman come in and wow Chryst, can run and throw, Russell Wilson type. Hey, I can dream can’t I?

Comment by Moe Greene 01.10.13 @ 6:51 pm

I asked this question in another blog and I do not want to talk about tino for awhile now but Pitt received some good news today that Street is coming back. I have read a bunch of stuff that people have wrote on the state of our WR corps for next year and no one has talked about that WR transfer from Wisc, Garner. Is he any good and will he sniff the field or become the next Ricketts? Garner’s size (6’2 200lbs)physicality, and knowledge of PC playbook has lead me to believe that good things are in store for him as a possession wideout. Can someone shed info on him please.

Comment by Beantown-Sean 01.10.13 @ 7:17 pm

@ matt42, as for me personally sir, can depend on my vow to never criticize Tino on his future performances in a Pitt uniform. And for that I simply say, Amen.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.10.13 @ 7:36 pm

looking forward, I believe Pitt is ranked 24th best class in Scout and 32 in Rivals. I know, I know … these rankings must be taken with a grain of salt; you never know how a 17 yr old will be at 20 or 21.

But there is hope … and my big hope is that this program can finally find some stability with Chryst and staff. I have longed for a Pitt HC to stay for a dozen years or more (never come close to happening in my lifetime)

Comment by wbb 01.10.13 @ 7:40 pm

I know many are all about Savage being next. Give me a young mobile QB the team can grow with.

Comment by notrocketscience 01.10.13 @ 8:15 pm

Some very profound statements by Pitt of Dreams, Rev George, Dr. Tom and others.

One must respect Sunseri for hanging in there with the conditions placed upon him by an ass of an AD. Remember Tino was at his mom and dad’s school. He wanted to live up to whatever their visions and memory of Pitt are. No easy feat. He just wasn’t the QB for the program Pitt wanted to become.

PittofDreams, yes we do need our own stadium in the long run. I just don’t see the money coming until Pitt has a long steady history of winning.

By the way, does the SEC play by different rules to be as good as they are? Can the NCAA work on making the system a bit more equal?

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 01.10.13 @ 8:20 pm

I agree that Sunseri hung in there and onto the ball forever through sack, after sack, after sack! Will be glad to arrive at Heinz next season without “get rid of the da– football” in my vocabulary! The SEC core takes football seriously! Life and death! Look at the crazy tree poisioning incident @ Auburn or listen to the Finebaum show for a couple of days! No tricks involved. I respect their zeal not pretenders like ND and USC! Texas A&M would have made the Title game at least competative. Hail to Pitt! UPone

Comment by UPone 01.10.13 @ 10:05 pm

Excellent analysis, Chas.

Comment by TonyinHouston 01.10.13 @ 10:13 pm

day 27 no DC

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.10.13 @ 10:47 pm

I share many of the feelings here and then I remember these players are just college kids. We forget that sometimes when we see these big guys in pads… and watch a key player do precisely the wrong thing at the perfectly wrong time.

So I wish all of these young men good luck in the future… and I certainly glad to turn the page and look forward to watching Chryst use his experience and level headed demeanor to calmly work his plan and strategy!

Wanny was supposedly the adult and he turned out to be a terrible for us for the reasons above… and the fact that he did everything he could to burn down the house as he hysterically freak’d out like a jilted, psycho girlfriend who got dumped when she thought she was getting married…

Add Pederson, shake vigorously… voila… disaster…

but that is all over now.

Comment by PittScript 01.10.13 @ 11:00 pm

link to

A video to introduce our newest Panthers. Hail to Pitt

Comment by Dan35 01.11.13 @ 1:16 am

we are not even close to spending the $ to be in the top ten,did anyone notice no spread in the champ game,ran the ball down their throats,will the qb stats count next year?ej borghetti will soon be someones ad,penguin nice post

Comment by paul shannon 01.11.13 @ 7:31 am

Street coming back is good news. But Donald is really needed back and he wants to test the waters. Chryst should find his man if he hasn’t already. Probably just going over the contract details and cheap Pitt is holding things up. A few good winning seasons could generate enough broad based excitement and support for an on campus stadium. But, we could get there sooner with some big booster support, a new AD and that damn feasibility study. I’m still interested in seeing those designs. I expect to be wowed. Most needed thing for the program right now is stability. Then a new AD. New stadium is probably just outside the top 5. Pitt script at number 5.

Comment by TX Panther 01.11.13 @ 7:39 am

PittScript, what are you talking about? Wanny was asked to announce that he was stepping down — something he clearly wasn’t in favor of. Then at his announcement, he clearly was overcome by emotion when his players came into the room … and those who think that this was premeditated are out of their minds.

In no way, shape or form, should he have been put into that situation, and further, the whole situation was requested by the guy who fired him so as to make him not to look the bad guy.

One of the primary job descriptions of an AD is hiring and firing coaches, and this AD totally screwed up both .. and not the first time either

Comment by wbb 01.11.13 @ 8:13 am

How stevie handled wannys dismissal was despicable. Wanny deserved his fate but not to be treated that way. Another reason why stevie must go. Bama is able to do so much because their AD united boosters, fans, alum and the community. It took time but he got it done. He is a bama alumnus and didn’t destroy tradition and shot for the moon and wasn’t cheap on the way there. Now look at the results.

Comment by TX Panther 01.11.13 @ 8:33 am

Not sure what all this early love for Savage is all about. Highly prized recruit that couldn’t make it at Rutgers (for various reasons), lands to us with one year eligability. I’ll wait till spring practice to see who shines. At least we will have a competition with multiple viable candidates not just an average at best incombant and even worse back-ups.

Comment by Pitt it IS 01.11.13 @ 8:48 am

Wanny the Whiny….

How do you fire a coach? In public or in private? Just as you said wbb that talked to him in private… precisely, they gave him the opportunity to step back and leave and not be publically fired… (because the right decision was made to move on from his regime).

… they gave him the unprecedented opportunity,
AFTER being told he was gone – in private – to have not 1… but 2 press conferences!

… and then they let him set his time table to leave and let him decide if he would coach the bowl game or not!!

When have you seen that when a head coach is being terminated?

It was W. who created that mess and screwed his existing players in the process by making it about Him, and not them.

he was gone, changes were going to be made. He is the one that took it public, did the speech with the players behind him… and then put us through 2 weeks of BS during bowl prep when he would not say whether he would coach or not,…. blah, blah, blah…

Oh, and then right before the bowl we get the drama queen’s last ‘news conference’ where he does not coach the team, etc. etc.

meanwhile during that time all the assistant coaches maneuvered for new jobs (OK) AND took our best recruits with them…

So what should Pitt have done at first when they were going to get rid of him … fire him publically? In hind sight they should have and then never given him the opportunity to be the jilted girlfriend for 2+ weeks.

Comment by PittScript 01.11.13 @ 8:54 am

wbb… doubt that there is much blame to be laid at the feet of Peterson regarding the mishandling of Wanny’s departure. However, you have to admit that Wanny did not handle it with much dignity. I will give him a pass for the emotional news conference, but he then subsequently took his sweet time deciding on whether or not to coach the bowl game while he had a snit about it.

Comment by JCE 01.11.13 @ 9:02 am

hey just to be clear was not directing that past post anyone, wbb, in particular… just mentioning his reference…

sorry for the wanny rant as we all try to move on but that whole situation obviously stuck with me over time. after that soup opera trying to get coaches and recruits was a mess. not giving a pass to others involved either but W. turned it into the soap opera it was.

Comment by PittScript 01.11.13 @ 9:21 am

PittScript thanks for refreshing everyone on the FACTS of what went down.

Comment by PittofDreams 01.11.13 @ 10:39 am

Remember Pat Bostick was the QB for both Pitt big wins since Harris era WVU 13-9 scored on QB sneak and 4 OT’s At ND.
Yet Wanny didn’t like him.

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 01.11.13 @ 11:17 am

Thanks Dan for those video of some of Pitt’s recruits. I was excited about the 2013 sceduke. NOW I’m even more excited!!! Rev. George from Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 01.11.13 @ 12:41 pm

all you guys can continue to blame Wanny and Tino for all of the program’s problems because apparently that makes you feel very good … but you’re going to have to start coming up with new fall guys pretty quickly.

Just remember this:

1) I was right about Stull back in Sept 09 when just about everyone else wanted Tino to replace him (go ahead look it up in the archives.)

2) I was right about Wanny when he was fired when I immediately pointed out how the stability of the program would be affected , and the fact that the AD did not have a replacement in place that was better (Go ahead, look it up)

3) I was the first to use the snake oil salesmen reference right after Graham’s hiring press conference, while most all of you treated him like he was God (until the 2nd week in December 2011)

4) While I never once said that Tino was a good QB, I did say time and again that with decent pass protection and in the right system, he could be productive .. and like it or not, 20 Tds, 2 ints and > 3300 yards … and it wasn’t all against Gardner Webb. Check out his stats vs Va Tech, Louisville, Rutgers and even Syracuse.

But of course, you will never acknowledge anything psoitive about Tino and Wanny ….. just like you never even thought about that Tino, in his first year as a starter UNDER Wanny won 8 games … and they didn’t even play any D2 opponents!! But f course, the fact that Pitt won only 6 these past 2 years was all Tino’s fault!!


Comment by wbb 01.11.13 @ 12:55 pm

meanwhile during that time all the assistant coaches maneuvered for new jobs (OK) AND took our best recruits with them…

Pittscript, this is from your post above and just show how biased you are vs Wanny. The fact is that these coaches would have done the same whether Wanny stayed to coach or not. (Facts my ass, Pittofdreams.)

In fact, what was the big deal anyway whether Wanny stayed to coach .. Pederson went on to hire a new coach .. Wanny was no impediment, it was just more anti-Wanny rhetoric,

Comment by wbb 01.11.13 @ 1:04 pm

@wbb, I do not dispute your facts about his regime (talking about his W-L record is a different subject one can debate)… it’s like talking about Tino’s stats… always different ways to look at them.

Nor have I been a Tino critic… note my statement above about the fact these these players are kids, not pro men.

My point was simple and the facts were correct:

Wanny the Whiner firebombed his way out the door…

like a psycho jilted girlfriend… and there was no excuse for it.

for assistants to go is one thing… try to take a recruit sure… but for the ex.head coach to still be ‘in charge’ and facilitate that activity by those people while they are still in the building is BS… he also made sure he created such a ‘s$%^ storm that recruits would be turned off and that the next coach had headaches with the remaining players.

He screwed Pitt on the way out the door because of his emotions towards Pederson…. and the program became serious ‘collateral damage’.

classic example of why when you terminate someone you just do it quickly, and escort them from the building… trying to be nice to Mr. Drama Queen screwed Pitt….

…talking the ‘loyalty’ crap while doing it made me want to puke.

It was at that point he lost me.

Comment by Pittscript 01.11.13 @ 1:51 pm

My point is this … whether he announced he would stayed until the bow game or left immediately was pretty much ado about nothing.

1) Immediately on wanny’s firing or dismissal (whatever), the AD made inquiries about Hlgerson and Golden, and then contacted Graham and Sumlin, and then hired Haywood all with a 10 day span

2) whether Wany stayed or not, the assisatn coaches that wanted to stay did so at the bequest of the AD. You may remember that Heywood interviewed many of them but only wa sinterested in Hafley who had already made up his mind that he was going to Ryutgers (even if Wanny wasb’t fired.)

Thus, all of this hullaboo about when Wanny would leave meant nothing … he was not an impediment at all. Again, the AD conducted the search and hired a coach, and Wanny stayed on for all of the practices but didn’t make the bowl trip and the team beat a 6-6 SEC team (sound familar) by 17 pts.

Thus, all of this so called drama queen business affecting the Pitt FB operations was just nothing but fuel for the ant-Wanny sentiment .. in acutality it was absolutely nothing!!

Comment by wbb 01.11.13 @ 2:12 pm


12/6/10 – Wanny fired in the mroning; press conference in the afternoon
12/16/10 – Haywood hired, official announcement on 12/17
1/2/11 – Haywood fired
1/3/11 – Pitt leaves for BBVA Compass, Wanny doesn’t go as to not be a distraction *
1/8/11 – Pitt beats UK 27-10

* fact is that if he was a drama queen, he would have gone on the trip and would have likely been the center of attention at the press ocnferences

Comment by wbb 01.11.13 @ 2:33 pm

45-44, and loss to nd,really helped kelly get to where he is today, he owes pitt

Comment by paul shannon 01.11.13 @ 3:03 pm

As philly coach, he needs to draft all Pitt players. That would be good payment and reciprication.

Comment by TX Panther 01.11.13 @ 8:45 pm

Kelly owes the official on the ND Payroll, who made the phantom interference call on Pitt and handed ND the opportunity to win a game that was lost at that point.

And ….can we move past further discussion of the Wanny fiasco and “what’s his name” who was at QB the last 3 years?

Comment by Dan 72 01.11.13 @ 8:58 pm

good points wbb… that whole situation just left a bad taste in my mouth and was convoluted… and Dan72 has a good point.. enough on “legacy, legacies, and linkages”.

Comment by PittScript 01.11.13 @ 10:29 pm

Yes there should be no more talk ever of the man with the stache or the boy with the candy ass arm and balloon head.

Comment by TX Panther 01.12.13 @ 11:56 am

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