Defensive Coordinator Matt House hasn’t covered himself in early glory. His co-defensive coordinator audition in the Compass Bowl didn’t wow anyone, but that was probably an unfair standard.
His debut in the season opener was more disturbing. The biggest criticism of his gameplan was having the defensive backs play off the receivers and have the linebackers do more to help in the pass coverage. It suggested a coach who either doesn’t understand his own personnel — the linebackers are the most obvious weakness on the defense while the secondary is a strength — or one that out thought himself.
Needless to say, House had some questions to answer. It was a mixed bag.
On the bright side, House acknowledges that he needs to improve (mostly).
House said coaches and players share blame for the ease in which Florida State dismantled the Pitt defense.
“From front to back, we have to execute and be more relentless, including the coaches,” said House, a first-time coordinator.
“We could have challenged some different things in different ways and, moving forward, we are going to make some different adjustments.”
The biggest problem was Pitt’s inability to stop Florida State on third down. The Seminoles converted seven of 11. In the second quarter, Winston responded to a third-and-17 with a 20-yard completion to wide receiver Rashad Greene.
House said: “I can make a better call and we have to execute better.
“Certainly, when you don’t play well, you have to take a look at yourself, along with everything else. But it’s no time to panic after game one, either.”
Throughout the game, there appeared to be wide gulfs between defenders and pass catchers. Senior cornerback K’Waun Williams said that was part of the game plan.
“We could have played tighter in certain situations,” he said.
House said the plan called for off and press coverage.
“There were certain times in the game that we thought, well, we are going to play off and rally up and tackle the throw,” he said. “And there were other times where we are going to be in press and get up in their face.”
Okay, that comment by K’Wuan Williams about playing tighter isn’t the ringing endorsement, but I’m sure House has more to say to at least keep things contained.
Defensive coordinator Matt House, promoted from secondary coach in the offseason, said he liked what he saw out of the newcomers.
“The freshmen that played in the secondary aren’t the reason that we didn’t play well on defense,” he said. “They may not have played the perfect game, but we had a lot of people that [didn't].”
House also downplayed the notion that the Panthers’ coverage against Florida State’s receivers was too soft.
“I know that’s an easy blanket statement to make, but it’s not necessarily the situation that was happening on the field,” he said.
/lifts face off the keyboard
No? It wasn’t “necessarily the situation?” It might have been in places. It may have seemed that way to the untrained eye — or everyone watching the game. But “not necessarily.”
Often against the Seminoles, the Pitt defense relied on linebackers in pass coverage, and that unit also struggled to make life difficult for the Florida State receivers.
And still no commitment to play linebacker Todd Thomas more, because he has to, “earn the right.”
Any other players or their execution, House would like to blame?
Pitt managed just two sacks on the night and often took players out of pass coverage with blitzes that House admitted were not effective.
“Truthfully, when we blitzed, we didn’t land our blitzes,” House said. “We had some mis-executions in the coverage when we blitzed. When we rushed four, I did think that that was the one encouraging thing that there were some times where we applied pressure with just a four-man rush.”
Look, there is no question that there were some definite problems with Pitt’s execution on defense. Bad tackling. Poor angles. Those were obvious. They are for the most part (and god help me for typing this) correctable mistakes.
And as said before, they faced a really good team.
But really, dude. You are a first-time, first year defensive coordinator. It was a widely-panned decision. The last thing you should be harping on is the poor execution or to point out players didn’t do a great job.
You need to take the full brunt and talk about what you need to be doing better. Whether it is re-emphasizing the fundamentals in tackling and angles on plays. Whether it is the schemes run by the defense and the lack of adjustments being made.
The good thing for Matt House, is he is employed by a head coach that is not in the twilight of his career and his own job hanging in the balance.
CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman has confirmed a report from Orangebloods.com that Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been fired.
The Longhorns gave up 679 yards of total offense against BYU on Saturday night, with the Cougars rushing for 550 yards. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill finished with 259 yards rushing while running back Jamaal Williams had 182 yards of his own.
It was an embarrassing performance for a Texas defense that had high expectations coming into the season as nine starters returned from last year’s team.
Diaz came to Texas in 2011 from Mississippi State. In 2012 the Longhorns defense gave up 403.4 yards per game, the worst number in school history. Obviously, after Saturday night’s performance Mack Brown was worried about seeing a repeat performance this year.
As for Diaz’s replacement, CBSSports.com also confirmed that it will be Greg Robinson. Robinson last coached at Michigan as a defensive coordinator for two seasons and was the head coach at Syracuse from 2005 to 2008. Before that he was Texas’ defensive coordinator in the 2004 season.
Maybe Diaz should have pursued that FIU job a little harder. Two years ago Diaz was not just one of the hottest DC’s in college football, he was widely considered to be fast-tracked for a BCS-level head coaching job. Now he’s fired two games into the season and replaced by Greg Robinson.
Replaced by Greg Robinson. I can’t even type that without giggling. Robinson was beyond incompetent at Syracuse. He was pathetic as the DC for Michigan. He’s the guy Mack Brown is turning to to fix the defense because of one good year in 2004.
That said, this isn’t House’s situation. Coach Chryst is not going to fire anyone mid-season. He’s definitely not going to fire the guy he picked in-house to run the defense. Chryst has more job security that he can take longer to evaluate House and give him a chance.
Plus, this week Pitt faces a New Mexico team that is 1-1. Their offense is completely one-dimensional. They can only run the ball. Really. In two games their QBs have passed for a total of 172 yards and have a sub-50% completion rate. If there is a team for the Pitt defense to rebuild the confidence, this better be the squad.