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December 30, 2013

Wanting To Be Positive

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 8:03 am

Ending the season with a win in a bowl game — regardless of the level of the bowl — provides a certain level of positive energy. Heck, just finishing with a big win even without a bowl helps (13-9 being the ultimate proof).

Next season may be 9 months away. Training camp, 8 months from now. Spring practices aren’t until March. Signing day is about six weeks out.

But right now, it is a good feeling. Finishing the year 7-6 feels a lot better than 6-7. A 3-5 record in the ACC has more positives than a 3-4 record from the final year of the Big East. They aren’t huge steps forward, but there is some sense that there is improvement.

How much of that is the lingering positive energy of the win and how much is reality remains to be seen. You don’t have to be a blind follower to feel good right now about the team, the coach and the possibilities. You also don’t have have to be a complete hater to see the problems, the holes, the gaping questions that are all over. Both aspects are there. Both aspects are true.

“For the younger guys, for next year, it gives you something to build off of,” said Donald after Pitt’s 30-27 victory against MAC champion Bowling Green. “To know that the program is going to be back on top with coach Chryst. That’s a guarantee.”

Sorry, there are no guarantees in sports.

“Each year is a different year,” Chryst said.

For all the euphoria and smiles from players and coaches after an exhilarating victory, Chryst is a .500 coach (13-13) in his first two Pitt seasons. The team that beat Bowling Green lost four of its final six regular-season games. It also struggled on the local recruiting trail this year.

Still, the 2013 season marked a culture change for Pitt that Chryst should — but won’t — take credit for generating. No longer do players sit around feeling sorry for themselves, waiting for something bad to happen. Their coach won’t tolerate those who worry about matters out of their control.

Pitt played the bowl game without three starting offensive linemen, senior wide receiver Devin Street and junior Bryan Murphy, the team’s best defensive end. No problem. It totaled 487 yards of offense and a season-high seven quarterback sacks, most of it by underclassmen.

Four freshmen — quarterback Chad Voytik (a redshirt), wide receiver Tyler Boyd, running back James Conner and Blewitt — made the decisive plays.

“You definitely feel like the future is bright,” Conner said.

The culture change is important, and underrated. Not with the cleaning out of malcontents and holdovers of other coaches. It is much more about the mindset.

During the last year of Wannstedt’s reign, I remember Paul Zeise writing during a chat session or two — and I’m paraphrasing/working from memory — that the biggest problem with the Pitt team often seemed between the ears. That they were too easy to let something go wrong and snowball. Zeise was of the opinion that until those players were out of the program, there would be problems for this team.

I know many of you will want to default to the perpetual whipping boy (and often deserved and continually unsympathetic) Tino Sunseri. It’s easy to think that. He’s gone and suddenly Pitt had second-half comebacks that were not then given back. He was part of it, no question. But that was more than just the quarterback. The defense had similar issues. It was something the prior coaches couldn’t seem to change.

There has been a large amount of churn in the past year. Kids moving out of the program either by graduation or deciding/being pushed to finish their playing days elsewhere.

This is where I’m taking a leap of faith with Coach Chryst. I want to believe he and the staff has made a big change with that intangible. The “culture” around the team. That there is a perceptible change to the mindset among the players in how they approach the games. The practices. The conditioning. The film room.

Will the mindset make a difference in talent difference? Of course not. But we’ve seen all too often in the Big East that Pitt’s supposed better talent failed at key points. Both are needed to get beyond mediocrity.





@@@@@@

Pitt rising from a very low point. Culture
of the program as outlined is really the first
step toward respectability. PC has earned
a certain of criticism particularly in
personnel decisions. However he deserves
two more years at a minimum. The number
of seniors next year will be small. 2014
recruiting class needs a strong finish.

Comment by JR 12.30.13 @ 8:36 am

The most favorable aspect of ending the season on a winning up note is that it has put many of the “negative Nancys” into hibernation for the time being, Yeah!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.13 @ 8:39 am

A couple of points: First, while ending on a high note does give Pitt fans a great feeling for the offseason … remember that the 2007 ended in a 13-9 win but the 08 season began with a loss to Bowling Green. Pitt did go on to win 9 games in 08, but it took them a while to get into sync.

Second, while I agree to the faults mentioned above about Tino, you failed to mention the offensive line he was working behind, especially in 2011. When you fall behind and have to pass, the other team is going to come after the QB (we saw it this year vs Va Tech.) And with the minimum protection schemes that the current and previous head coaches believe in, the QB is going to be pressured.

Remember, in Tino’s first year 2010, the Pitt offense was more productive in the 2nd half, and especially in the 4th quarter.

But going back to the 1st point … this win provides legit hope for next year in that so many underclassmen and especially freshmen are stepping up.

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 8:51 am

I’m fine with the culture of Chryst but it must eventually lead to winning seasons. The bowl win was a good start. The culture above Chryst must change for his program to be truly successful. I have hope that with a new Chancellor it will.

Comment by TX Panther 12.30.13 @ 8:56 am

Chas – couldn’t agree more. I saw a positive “chipiness” on both sides of the ball. They just lined up with a “if I didn’t deliver on that play, it’s past, I’ll deliver of this one”. You are right, how many times have we seen one mistake completely kill any momentum on both sides of the ball.

Maybe having all the young guys take ownership of the team by allowing many of the upper classmen to “take a break” in early game preparation and practice. Maybe PC is getting into the heads of the young guys. This is now THEIR TEAM!

There were certainly some “holes in the dike”, but hopefully a new S&C and some recruiting surprises will bring some “fingers” to the cause!

As always – H2P!

Comment by CompLit 12.30.13 @ 9:02 am

All this positive energy will quickly evaporate unless the serious issue with special teams is addressed. They still need to hire a credible S&C coach. What happens in January and February will be the real momentum push for next season.

Comment by 2$Chuck 12.30.13 @ 9:07 am

I liked the attitude and intensity in that game as well. Need to carry that moxy over to next year.

Comment by TX Panther 12.30.13 @ 9:15 am

Guys I think we saw a preview of the future last Friday.

Sure there are some “if’s”.

If these young guys can continue to develop

If they bring it to the practice field and the playing field ever day

If some of the relative unknowns step up in the offseason and grab the opportunity that’s been handed to to them (esp on the D-Line!)

If Chryst can continue to reel in a few prize recruits and identify diamonds in the rough

Then we are going to be able to win games like this against our ACC foes – the North Carolinas, Virginia Techs and the Miami’s of the world – not just the undersized, yet scrappy MAC, C-USA and AAC teams we face.

Chryst is the Man to do it. Optimism abounds!

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.30.13 @ 9:17 am

2 Buck – just saw your post. Add special teams to the if’s.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.30.13 @ 9:17 am

Shady!

Comment by Gordo 12.30.13 @ 9:20 am

@ wwb, I would appreciate it, that in the future, if you insist on using that four letter expletive, if you would simply abbreviate it by writing “the T-word” instead. We really need to clean up the unnecessary profanity on this blog.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.13 @ 9:38 am

We beat Notre Dame and won our bowl game ending up with a winning record. 2 steps in the right direction. Hopefully we can have an arrest and injury free off season and be ready to make more progress in spring. Off of the good press maybe we can grab a defection or two.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 10:00 am

Hope everyone that celebrates, had a Merry Christmas and to others, a happy holiday season.

Back from my trip and back to work already. Seems like 2 minutes ago, I had a whole week ahead of me.

To you younger Blatherites, I will tell you, there is no more truer cliché, than, “where did the time go”. You try to stop it, you try to notice it, you try to be aware of it, and yet, it still gets behind you.

Anyhow, enjoyed the game. I know it was only Bowling Green, but, I thought it was important that it not become one of the long line of embarrassing loses. And it didn’t.

Actually ended up being a fun game to watch, I had a little more respect for Bowling Green when it was over, and a lot more for Pitt.

How fun was it to watch Voytek?? I’m not claiming he’s the next anything, but to make the Elite 11 camp, and win a couple of the daily awards there, you have to be some type of ball player.

He may not have Marino’s or Elway’s arm, but, wow, it looks like he may have a lot of the intangibles.

The rest of the freshmen, the game calls, all looked promising. Nice to finish on an “upbeat” for a change.

Looking forward to spring ball.

Comment by Dan 12.30.13 @ 10:07 am

@ an, Voytik is the next “something”, Pitt’s next quarterback, at least for awhile. I have a feeling somebody 6’4″ tall is going to surplant him before too long however, so make the most of your time Chad. I sure liked what you showed us on Thursday. In that situation, more guys with the same experience and credentials would have choked than risen to the top as you did. Two thumbs up IMO.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.13 @ 10:18 am

Chryst did pretty well with an undersized QB at Wisconsin (Rusell Wilson). I think Chryst can develop Voytik into something special. The long pass to Boyd was great, but the the third down play to Garner was more impressive. Voytik displayed fantastic footwork and put great touch on that ball. It was the play of the game.

Comment by Omar 12.30.13 @ 10:33 am

Hopefully our guys will emulate Donald’s work ethic this off season and stay out of trouble.

A couple new impact players verbals would be nice.

Hard work can make some existing players those impact guys as well.

Comment by gc 12.30.13 @ 10:52 am

FRANKCAN is still here this negative nancy never left have been posting every day.

now i will tell you something that you wont belive i will try to explain i think chryst is a great coach for pitt he is honest he is a real man he looks the part he is a nice man a very good face for the pitt program.

my problem has never really been with chryst him self

it is with his picks for his staff the hire of house his method of recruiting it is the asst coachs over half suck most of thoes on the D SUCK.

this may not make sence to you but there it is chryst himself i like .

the people around him not so much.

Comment by Frankcan 12.30.13 @ 10:59 am

My wish for 2014? No punts or kickoffs run back against us for TDs. That alone would mean 2 or 3 more wins. I mean, really, is that too much to hope for?

Comment by 66Goat 12.30.13 @ 11:00 am

@ wwb, I would appreciate it, that in the future, if you insist on using that four letter expletive, if you would simply abbreviate it by writing “the T-word” instead. We really need to clean up the unnecessary profanity on this blog.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.13 @ 9:38 am

Hear Hear…..I second that !

Is there a 3rd ?

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:03 am

You can add beating Brian Kelly to the list of things that needed to change. The most exciting thing for me is that next year hopefully won’t be a sack fest. I know the O line has been shaky but Pitt has to be the most sacked team over the last 3 years, it kills momentum and leads to 3 instead of 7 points. Pitt has lost over 400 yards in sacks the last 2 years and I think the QB’s have to take some of the blame, Voytik may be the guy to buck this trend leading to more points on offence hiding some of the liabilities on the D. Thus beating the Navy’s, UNC, VT, and Georgia Tech’s that were close but no cigar this year.

Comment by Steve h 12.30.13 @ 11:05 am

lol Frankie.

Are you saying Santa and his elves should have brought PC, some new qualified asst’s. for Christmas ?

I believe Eastern Orthodox Christmas has yet to happen, so there’s still a chance for some Chrystmas gifts for PC.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:08 am

@ Steve h

That was a good feeling, finally beating that putz Brian Kelly. Although he did call AD, a one man wrecking crew. Very thoughtful of the putz. :-)

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:14 am

Steve h, thanks for making my point abou Pitt being the most sacked team the past 3 years.

Chas did not mention the offensive line — some of it has to do with talent, and the other part is it the minimum protection schemes that the coaches the last 3 years employed … and seem to not vary much from it. (meanwhile, both QBs took a major beating)

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 11:18 am

Emel, how great would it be if Kelly and O’Brian ended up in the state of Texas leaving both the golden whiners and crazy Pedo St fans crying

Comment by Steve h 12.30.13 @ 11:18 am

EMel careful or you could be called a negative nancy

Comment by Frankcan 12.30.13 @ 11:20 am

I think Freebeck & Bertke both get redshirted next year.

Both of them need to ‘fill out’ some and we have our mighty mite QB twosome for next year. They could also use Ronald Jones if need be.

Remember in 2011, Jones threw the best pass of the entire season against Iowa.

Voytik could really add a new dimension to PITT, since the O-line has had trouble pass blocking.

That boy can sure skedaddle. How’s that for a southernism. (think I’ve been here too long)

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:21 am

Steve h and Emel, Pitt beat Brian Kelly in 07, his first year with Cincy. That was Cincy’s 1st 10 win season since the 40s, and they were ranked.

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 11:23 am

@ steve h

2 Irishmen in the state of Texas. No way do I think Texas hires a Brian Kelly. You do know their color is orange (burnt or otherwise). lol

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:24 am

Wbb, watching the O line the lineman who doesn’t have someone lined up across from them seem to immediately go to a double team instead of looking to see who needs help and going to help. I don’t know if that is the scheme but I think that needs to change, it also lets late blitzing players run free to the QB

Comment by Steve h 12.30.13 @ 11:25 am

Can we talk recruiting? Jamil Kamara hat analysis: Is it just me or does the Pitt hat look slightly smaller than the other two? Is that good or bad?

link to twitter.com

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.30.13 @ 11:25 am

Thanks for reminding me, Frankie…

I’ll be sure to watch it…haha

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:25 am

Wait…is that a UVA jersey under the hat?

Damn.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.30.13 @ 11:26 am

lol Atl. Panther.

What is that, a youth Pitt hat ?

It sure is smaller.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:27 am

Of all the great things that came out of the Pizza Bowl the one I was most excited about was the play of Voytik, he looked sensational.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 11:28 am

@ wbb

Yea but in 2007 we hadn’t learned to hate Brian Kelly then. So that doesn’t count ~! :-)

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:30 am

You liked his beard then sos22 ?

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:31 am

@Emel I liked the relaxed under pressure, put the ball on the money, ran when he had to approach. If the D had faultered I bet he would have won it in OT. He showed a lot of poise and seemed pretty agile back there.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 11:36 am

Forget about Kamara, he’s not coming here (hope I’m wrong) … but got a better shot at Adonis Jennings

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 11:42 am

The Lady Panther’s beat the Dukes, Schiano gets fired – rumor has him going to to Pedo.

Comment by markp 12.30.13 @ 12:03 pm

Great win still ridding the high. saw some things that can make excited about next year. Can anybody tell me who the guys were that did not travel (because of personal reasons). and what their PERSONAL REASONS were?

Comment by davethedude 12.30.13 @ 12:30 pm

Actually Pitt beat Kelly’s Notre Dame teams two year’s in a row. They just got screwed by the officials in game in South Bend.

Comment by Justinian 12.30.13 @ 12:32 pm

are hat is in the middle i wonder if that means anything

Comment by Frankcan 12.30.13 @ 12:34 pm

Think of it like Goldilocks. The other hats are too big & the Pitt hat fits just right.

Comment by Nick 12.30.13 @ 12:39 pm

Aren’t we about due a “holy crap, that kid picked Pitt”???

Seems to go the other way often, aren’t we due at least one??

Comment by Dan 12.30.13 @ 1:04 pm

We’re due Dan. We’re most definitely due.

Comment by TX Panther 12.30.13 @ 1:12 pm

Sorry guys, but I have got to be realistic. It was the only way I could run a business. Had to see the total package and plan/expect the worst.

Yes, as has been said elsewhere, Pitt had a soft landing considering the coaching fiasco. We could have been 1-10.

Things going forward? Not so sure. Take a look at the sub tier one recruiting. Can’t beat FSU, Clemson,or Miami with Mac level players.

Boyd and the other top players won’t stay for four years.

The answer is recruiting and more recruiting!

Chryst doesn’t recruit well. (that’s not an original statment.) During the pizza bowel, we stated after the game we was going to take time off. WOW! Is he lazy? He kinda reminds me of a sloths, anyway.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.30.13 @ 1:13 pm

Dan you would think so we can hope

Comment by Frankcan 12.30.13 @ 1:13 pm

What happened to Murphy? Did we lose another player?

Did the coaching staff do it again?

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.30.13 @ 1:18 pm

Murphy and Rotheram did not attend the game due to personal reasons .. no more information given.

But on his blog during the game, Sam Werner said that he was told by Pitt people that Rotheram was nothing to worry about (whatever that means.) I hope so, he was best OL this year.

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 1:35 pm

WBB you need glasses if you think that.

Comment by pd 12.30.13 @ 1:44 pm

Funny stuff. Just googled “Bill O’Brien”, picked an article and read it, then read the comments section!!!!!

Some saying he did a great job for two years keeping stability in a tough situation, many saying he’s just another lying coach if he leaves. LOL

They are all pretty much agreed that O’Brien is gone.

The AD is reportedly flying to Tampa to talk to Schiano, who absolutely nobody at Penn State wants. I can understand this. Had a decent or two season at Rutgers, but, overall he is like 47-52 in college, and two lousy years at Tampa.

Anyhow, they are in a panic that their AD is going to hire the guy, that nobody wants!!!

Also, worried about recruits leaving if he leaves.

Here’s the one I read, comments section at the bottom.

If you have a minute, enjoy. I can see some names on here, including mine, filled right in for some of the arguments they’re having. LOL

link to pennlive.com

Comment by Dan 12.30.13 @ 1:45 pm

Hey, anyone hear what the “personal reasons” are for the big Michigan State linebacker, team captain, being suspended were?

Comment by Dan 12.30.13 @ 1:46 pm

Here you go Frankcan, just so you can see that even I can be a Debbie Downer with a comment,,, @ Dan regarding his, “holy crap, that kid picked Pitt”??? comment. Last last time that kind of recruiting moment happened, we picked up a record breaking running back named Rushel Shell, how did that work out for us, I forget?

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.13 @ 1:48 pm

pd, don’t know what you mean

If it’s about Rotheram being best lineman, note that he made honorable mention ACC, which is more than can be said aboout any other OL. I thought Rowell played well also

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 1:50 pm

@Doc, ya, you’re right. I meant it for purely a selfish reason, just to get one. Just to be surprised.

Does Shell get to play this year, or does he have to sit another one out?

Holgy’s got enough going on though, with or without him. Heard their last two home games, stadium wasn’t even half filled.

Doesn’t matter where you go, just win baby.

Comment by Dan 12.30.13 @ 1:55 pm

I’m hoping for only the best for Bill O’Brien. It is his destiny to coach in the NFL. Good luck to him.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.13 @ 1:56 pm

Shell can play in 2014. But I understand that he is only making himself available to play in those games when the temperature is between 65 to 75 degrees and the humidity is below 80%. Word out is that he doesn’t care to become overheated and perhaps be in danger of breaking out in a sweat.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.13 @ 2:00 pm

Anybody happen to notice we have our first ever ACC hoop game scheduled for Saturday at NC St.? The Wolfpack has a very talent rich inexperienced team. Since we haven’t played a true road game this could be a tough opener. Some of you might remember how poorly we played in our first road game last year at Rutgers. NC St. has a lot of talent but has developed a habit of shooting themselves in the foot at crunch time. We are playing a lot of minutes with freshman ourselves and I’m not sure playing our first road game in conference is very smart.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 2:15 pm

Dr. Tom, wholly crap! You made me bust out laughing at that. That is too funny.

Comment by outoftown 12.30.13 @ 2:17 pm

Schell is joining a crowd of running backs at WVU and I wouldn’t be real surprised to see him get beat out after sitting out a year. I bet he didn’t kill himself staying in top shape and we know how he loves spring ball.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 2:33 pm

With Schiano getting fired in Tampa Bay…that puts HCPC old buddy Bob Bostad in the unemployment line.
Pick’em up. Everyone thought was the brains anyways.

Comment by opitt 12.30.13 @ 2:35 pm

@sos22 – the ACC sets the schedule and, due to the number of teams, has some obvious limits.

That’s the price for playing Duke and ND only once each (and at the Pete!).

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.30.13 @ 2:38 pm

WBB, Rotheram & Rowell are the 2 weak links. Never saw a 6’6″ 330lb guy get rag-dolled on every pass play.

Comment by pd 12.30.13 @ 2:41 pm

PittDad, That doesn’t mean we can’t play a road game in the non/con to get the bugs out. This is the 2nd year in a row that we play our first road game in conference. I don’t think that is a very good strategy and won’t be surprised if we lose a game we should win just like last year.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 2:46 pm

pd, I think maybe you’re the one that needs glasses. Without question, Rotheram was the best OL this year. As I said previously, he was honorable mention mention ACC … no other Pitt OL got votes.

Certainly, neither of the OTs would qualify as they were beaten often, especially early in the years. But in fairness, this was the 1st year for both of them.

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 2:48 pm

spirit, agree with you, they need to play one true road game in non-con. The did play poorly at Rutgers last year.

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 2:51 pm

CLEMMINGS

Comment by pd 12.30.13 @ 2:53 pm

sos22 – ok. Now I see your point. Although I would hope that abomination of a neutral site game against Cincy at MSG was enough to get rid of any “bugs”.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.30.13 @ 3:19 pm

By the end of the year, Clemmings may well have been the best.

opitt, good point about Bostad. Also wonder if Hafley would consider coming back – we need a defensive recruiter in the worst way.

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 3:21 pm

What are the odds of Wanny ending up at PSU with his old buddy Schiano?

Comment by 2$Chuck 12.30.13 @ 3:25 pm

Wanstadt is looking for work.

Before the game Vegas line was BG -4.5 for the entire game. Line for first half was pick-em. Does this say anything about the real monies opinion of our coaching staff working against a decimated BG staff?

Comment by rb 12.30.13 @ 3:30 pm

T.J Clemmings…

Predicted success for him in the switch to offense long before the season began.

Turns out he was without question the most reliable O-Lineman throughout the season and got steadily better as the games went on.

Great size and quick feet with an attitude… Clemmings will gain recognition next year.

He’ll hear his name called in the 2015 NFL draft, likely a third but possibly a second round pick.

You heard it here first.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.30.13 @ 3:34 pm

Has anyone yet called for Wanny to replace Chryst?

You know it’s just a matter of time.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.30.13 @ 3:38 pm

Might as well fuel the fire Wanny & Schiano to UPS!!!

Comment by pd 12.30.13 @ 3:44 pm

I like our chances in 16 if they hire either of them.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 3:47 pm

One can hope

Comment by pd 12.30.13 @ 3:48 pm

I like Clemmings.

Patterson (NJ) Catholic grad. Has no Academic problems that I know of. (Murphy did-from Don Bosco, so called, better academic school).

Clemmings is a hard working good kid. He will get something out of a Pitt education. I believe Woodhall will also.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.30.13 @ 3:53 pm

This is priceless:

link to nj.com

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.30.13 @ 3:55 pm

And this (especially the comments section):

link to pennlive.com

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.30.13 @ 3:57 pm

i would really like it if the penn state coach went to the NFL.

Comment by Frankcan 12.30.13 @ 4:11 pm

Schiano actually did a very good job at Rutgers. Look at where the program started. New stadium and all kinds of facilities since he took over. In spite of the fact, the State of New Jersey doesn’t like to spend money on higher education, let alone sports teams.

Different story at Penn State its rep is built on football. He would be a good fit.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.30.13 @ 4:11 pm

Seems pretty obvious that Connor will be carrying the rock next year.

Even though Connor is a proven commodity, some are still in denial because he’s not exactly your prototypical tailback.

You just can’t assume the freshmen backs James and Ollison are going to be able to step right in and have an immediate impact.

Out of the two, James looks to be more of a sure thing.

Ollison has a lot of finesse for a BIG Back. But, need to see how his game translates to D-1. Do not see the kind of explosiveness you often see with backs his size.

Believe there is reason to be concerned about his toughness and ability to withstand a lot of punishment which he will do at the next level.

Easy to look good when you’re 225 and playing against smaller and slower players at a small class High School.

With his athleticism, he could be really good if he can pass the test.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.30.13 @ 4:11 pm

Is Ollison’s level of competition any lower than Conner’s was at Erie.

Comment by pd 12.30.13 @ 4:24 pm

Erie McDowell played in the AAAA north of the WPIAL in Conner’s sophomore & junior years. They held their own against some tough teams. Going back to district 10 for his senior year was a step down, but not terrible.

Comment by Nick 12.30.13 @ 4:28 pm

If O’Brien leaves I think that is a serious blow to Penn St. Any change is bound to hurt recruiting as O’Brien has been amazing in that area. It could be a long time before Penn St. football fully recovers from the Sandusky/Paterno nightmare. Here at Pitt we have been wandering in the desert for over 30 years off of losing Jack Sherrill. It’s OK with me if they suffer long and hard at Happy Valley too.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 4:31 pm

sos22 – no wonder I’m always soooo thirsty watching Pitt football – now I understand!

Comment by CompLit 12.30.13 @ 5:01 pm

@Complit,lmao

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 5:12 pm

Good article Chas. The program is evolving in a good direction and that needs to crystalize next year with more wins…

… still no good excuse for losing 2-3 of those games this year… and if they can win those next year they are an 8 win team and a better bowl and that would be excellent progress.

And while recruiting better is needed, this stuff about them being lousy recruiters is too much and off base.

Oh, didn’t 4 freshmen + just show a bright future… PC’s first recruit class?

What about two top linemen studs choosing Pitt this year from WPIAL that we always use to lose in the past to PS, OS, etc?

2 recruits from the promise land of FL… including and Florida State targeted QB at one point.

4 star running back.

… so sure better recruiting is needed… but realistically that mainly comes from Winning… and fully removing the toxic culture (accomplished it appears).

I am tired of whining about these last 3 recruits….

1. McKenzie is a head case and was not really wanted ( as exemplified by the recruiting of 3 other RBs including a 4 star)… he will be B$#%ing in V. Tech soon enough.

2. The gateway kid wants to run track and MI State is now a top program in football and track.

3. Henry is a headscratcher and clearly it comes down to the mother… how often does a parent dominate their kids news conference.. while the kid is almost apologetic and hoping folks are upset with how they handled it. She will be B$%^ing soon enough in WVU land too…

1. culture change. 2. continued coaching staff experience/growth, 3. 8+ wins will equal very good recruiting in 2015…

At least those seem realistic to achieve now
H2P

Comment by Pittscript 12.30.13 @ 5:51 pm

Pittscript, you have the Henry situation a bit wrong. Going into the final weekend when both WVU and Pitt came to their home for visit, Henry preferred WVU and his mom preferred Pitt. Apparently, House didn’t answer the questions to their satisfaction and she flipped to WVU. (Not sure if she was just supporting her son’s decision, or she was really turned off by House.)

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 6:01 pm

@wbb

Have his mom go to Morgantown on her own and see how she is treated. An African American kid in WV is only honored as long as he performs up to their expectations on the football field. After that, the doors are closed and the redneck culture emerges. Let’s hope that he made good football decision—he did not make a good “culture” decision.

More importantly, the kids who are coming to Pitt want to be here and we are going to kick ass.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 12.30.13 @ 6:14 pm

Pittscript, “I am tired of whining about these last 3 recruits” promptly followed by an excuse for each , give us a break. Life will be fine with what we have as you are correct we appear to be “evolving.” Recruits ,no matter how prized , will one day be judged by performance. This past year I liked the performance of our freshman a lot better than WVU’s or VTech’s freshman. I don’t know much about the Spartans but my guess is we did better than them too. I think you are reaching a bit to assume 8+ wins next year. I think it more likely we will have at least one more year of struggling to beat .500. I think it will take this staff another year to build depth and experience levels to the point that we can count on 8 or 9 wins. Remember our special teams were flimsy and our defense has along way to go. Remember Navy controlling the ball most of the 2nd half. You are right we are evolving, but at a more Darwinian pace. I hope the offense we saw in Detroit in the 2nd half is what we can look forward to but I think the line will probably have to mature a little more before we can count on that. Evolving yes, evolved ’15 maybe ’1.6

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 6:21 pm

@pmd H2P, I can understand those questioning why Henry’s Mama is at the forefront of the conversation but your culture angle doesn’t hold water. The hoopies are plenty open minded towards athletes and we have lots of red necks that know how to close doors too. When it comes to culture some prefer inbreeding and tooth decay and who are we to speak agin’ it.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 6:31 pm

Hey if Schiano ends up at Creepy Valley as Head Ped, does DW go with him. lmao

That would be a kick in the head.

But that’s how crazy college coaching is.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 6:39 pm

Never did understand why TB hired Schiano.
Mr. Hair Cut did quite the bang up job though.
Even got the GM fired along with him, a guy that was at TB for 20 years.

“He wasn’t popular with the fans and rankled others around the NFL with an aggressive approach to certain aspects of the game (such as crashing the victory formation).”

I can’t imagine why ! lol

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 6:57 pm

I can’t believe anyone on PItt’s O-line made all ACC anything. Honorable mention, whatever.

These guys nearly got Savage mangled, decapitated, maimed or flat out killed.

Kid has been gimping around since the UVA game.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 7:09 pm

@Emel, It is the new order of athletic recognition. They didn’t actually block anyone ,someone just “mentioned” that it might be “honorable” to try it sometime.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 7:17 pm

@Emel, Speaking of Honorable Mentions” I thought it was pretty honorable of Savage to not mention what a crappy job his line did of blocking all year. He was a pretty stand up kid. He was lucky to survive.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.30.13 @ 7:23 pm

I think the coaches let the kids play all out in the bowl. No prisoners taken. I hope that kind of play happens next year in every game. Then we may get better than 6 wins.

Comment by Frank MD 12.30.13 @ 7:54 pm

off topic but interesting reading on ACC BB

link to cbssports.com

Comment by wbb 12.30.13 @ 8:08 pm

lol sos22….now that’s funny !

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 8:20 pm

I was thinking of going to the opener down here at NC State. Is anyone going ?

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 8:21 pm

Me thinks that their student body might still be on ‘holiday break’.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 8:22 pm

Yep sos22…..Savage appeared to me, as to be ‘paying some dues’.

He is now NFL ready !

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 8:23 pm

With Henry I am just going by the reporting from the news conference and clips I saw along with the vibe from the summer. End of the day I think it is rational to argue that football wise he did not make a good decision, and the way his mom trashed Pitt with her BS statements about ‘researching the D’ etc., blah blah blah. meanwhile talking up Gibson… says it all.

obviously not a great recruiting year but it is not terrible either… nor was last year (as we just saw).

bottom line to my point is the staff will be recruiting champs… suddenly… when the program starts winning… it’s hard to recruit when what you have to offer is the last 3 years.

8 wins comes from winning the 2-3 games we should not have lost this year… and honestly there is just no excuse for it.

North Carolina, Navy, Georgia Tech are just games we need to win… even this year I am not giving a pass on those games.

next year if Pitt cannot win those types of games then there are going to be problems…

It’s plausible that the coaching will continue to evolve is well. They all showed that this year already.

Comment by Pittscript 12.30.13 @ 8:25 pm

Bring wanny in to coach special teams or as an assistant def.coordinator and have Smiley appologize to him a hundred times over. Then have Bostad come in and get this ground game going on a consistent basis.

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.30.13 @ 8:30 pm

Better yet replace Smiley with Wanny. We need a Pitt guy to run the athletic department. Pitt guys wouldn’t have moved off campus, removed the script, changed the colors, or hired a lady beater and shameless fraud. Wanny bleeds blue and gold…not the Vegas kind. Smiley is a Cornhusker and they haven’t yet recovered from what Cornhole did to alienate their fan base and boosters. Love that stache.

Comment by TX Panther 12.30.13 @ 9:06 pm

If Bostad is available, get him before someone makes the mistake of hiring Schiano. Hello Ped State.

Ante up some of that ACC newfound money Cornhole.

Hueber/Huebner is over the hill.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 9:13 pm

PC should be on the phone or visit Cornhole in person, get the money and immediately get on the horn with his Wisconsin bud, Bostad.

Bostad probably was the key to Wisky’s vaunted running attack. He was only Running Game Coordinator for all the year they ran roughshod in the Big Joke.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 9:15 pm

Bostad being about half of Hueber/Huebner’s age might also be a better recruiter and better to communicate with the kids. Ya think !

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 9:17 pm

7 ACC teams beat Pitt in recruiting rankings…no cause for concern, right? Even when Virginia and NCS make the cut but Pitt doesn’t?
link to insider.espn.go.com

Miami is #3 in the nation.

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.30.13 @ 9:34 pm

Pitt hoops #38 in latest AP poll; 27 in USA Today Coaches poll.

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.30.13 @ 9:36 pm

Stanford did beat #10 Uconn right. At Uconn right.

And Pitt did clean Stanford’s clock right(by 21 points)

Why is Uconn still ranked, I thought Pitt has played no one, therefore Stanford is a no one. So therefore Uconn is NOT worthy of being ranked like Pitt.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 9:44 pm

Oh my bad….I almost forgot. Uconn is one of the ‘anointed’ ones and PITT is not.

Again my bad.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 9:46 pm

So just how many decades does PITT have to finish with the best winning % in the toughest conference to get some respect.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 9:47 pm

Emel,
Confirmed. They are still on student break. I’m going to try to get out of a prior commitment and go…I have some NC State friends who want to go. They probably want to sacrifice me.

Comment by panther94 12.30.13 @ 9:47 pm

lol panther94

Hungry like the Wolf, eh. Be careful ! lol

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 9:49 pm

exactly…lol

Comment by panther94 12.30.13 @ 10:04 pm

panther94 EMel just a thought lat time chryst hired a coach he waited and all that was left was house at least that is the way it seamed to me.
i dont know abought this time but i do go to sites like football scoop and outhers and i have saw 4 or more strength coaching hires bye teams who have new coachs.

the point is i hope he does not wait to the last second once ageian and all the good coachs are going like last time.

Comment by Frankcan 12.30.13 @ 10:26 pm

Frankcan, I’d have to say there was more left than House. Now, I’m no expert, so I’m only speculating that it had to be something other than that. I agree, though, that if he wants a good S&C coach, he should move ASAP.

Comment by panther94 12.30.13 @ 10:36 pm

lol Frankie,

Based on past history. Chances are….we wait.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 10:47 pm

Bostad would be an awesome addition and I hope that occurs.

Wanny as AD right now is a pipe dream. Nordy drew the line in the sand between Wanny and Cornflake Stevehole. Wanny got the short straw. Would do great as an AD for perception, not for actually doing all the work (see alvarez, osbourne). Faces of the program. Others do the work.

Of interest, many of the PSU recruits are already saying that they will still commit to PSU. Does that say anything about the head coach in recruiting or more about the assistants? Perhaps many are too quick to give credit to a head coach for great recruiting or blaming a head coach for poor recruiting. Same thing at Texas. Mac Brown is out, but no players flipping….yet, and they haven’t even named the next coach. So is it on the head coach or the program as a whole? My sense is that the program is more important than the coach and kids commit to programs more than a particular coach. Strong athletic departments help. We don’t have one of them. Wanny as AD would be such a bonus for Pitt. It would also be a great idea to hire Hugh Green and Chris Doleman as consultants in the alumni relations departments. Pay them a real nice salary and let them bump into the new recruits and explain that Pitt takes care of its panthers!

Here’s hoping that PSU gets their 4th coach in three years (Paterno, Bradley, Obrien and Next).

Comment by dhuffdaddy 12.30.13 @ 10:51 pm

Plenty of Bowl Action today & tomorrow.

I forgot they were on today. I’ve only seen the Pizza Bowl. I’m becoming like Tarhole fans in hoops, they ONLY watch their OWN games.

I see Toad Graham’s current team is on now.

Oregon sent Mack Brown out a LOSER. 30-7
GT lost to Ole Miss, I guess not much of a surprise there. Navy got a free pass against a scrub. Anchors Away…….

Funny I use to watch nearly all these games, they don’t seem to offer much interest to me anymore.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 10:52 pm

@ d-daddy

Wanny would be a great figurehead AD. But we all know that battle was lost in 2010. Like the idea with Doleman and Green, we’d have to have a sea change in the AD dept for that to occur. I really think they are content to play in minor bowls, as long as not many player off field shenanigans go on.

They don’t seem to understand, how much money, a good football program could additionally bring into the school. Or don’t care.

Other than bringing back DW, everything they’ve done in the last 30 years……shouts it, loud & clear.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:00 pm

I betcha Arkansas snatches up Bostad! They will out pay good old Smiley!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.30.13 @ 11:09 pm

Congrats to Suzie and our Lady Panthers for taking the City Game from the Dukes. Really didn’t think that good things would start to happen so fast with that program! Kudos to Keisel for going over 1000 points and she is only a junior!
Days ago he calls HCPC a “bum”, now he’s reportedly akin to a sloth, hmm, are you trying to hurt Chryst’s feelings? Can’t wait to see what the genius comes up with next to call him! Keep checking the Dr. Seuss library you 8 year old. H2P! UPone

Comment by UPone 12.30.13 @ 11:10 pm

Good call Sweets, lol

hopefully your wear a skirt.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:29 pm

NC State barely won tonight….

link to scores.espn.go.com

Schiano absolutely hates Pitt…that would make a great rivalry even better. I read on another Central PA paper that Texas wants to decide tomorrow (Tuesday) on their coach hire.

Comment by Jackagain 12.30.13 @ 11:32 pm

I would love to see Bostad here. But remember he was our offensive coordinator for about a week before he went to Tampa. Not sure he would come back in any capacity less than that.

Hoping Pedo St hires Schiano. Franklin or Golden are both very good coaches. Want nothing but the worst for those arrogant creeps.

Comment by Pap76 12.30.13 @ 11:33 pm

Maybe we can get Bostad for 2 weeks this ‘go round’.

After about a decade or two, we might be able to keep for an entire year.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:41 pm

NC State will probably also be ‘in the loop’ for Bostad’s services. With Doeren being an ex-Wisky coach.

Which means unless Cornhole suddenly opens up his
Fendi, Bostad won’t be coming to da Burg anytime soon. Unless it’s a connecting flight.

Comment by Emel 12.30.13 @ 11:50 pm

Didn’t UNCG just beat Wake Forest? Not that Wake is very good, but it does mean that UNCG may not be that bad.

Comment by panther94 12.31.13 @ 12:19 am

TG just lost his bowl game i like that.

Comment by Frankcan 12.31.13 @ 12:28 am

It’s still in the 3rd, isn’t it?

Comment by panther94 12.31.13 @ 12:43 am

Sounding more and more that landing Kamara is not happening. Makes Adonis Jennings an almost must get.

Really hoping Chryst can finish recruiting up strong and try to keep building momentum heading into next season…

Comment by Pap76 12.31.13 @ 12:58 am

Fraud losing 34 20. 5 and change left in 3rd

Comment by Pap76 12.31.13 @ 1:00 am

I’m loving all the Fraud Graham bashing going on on Twitter currently. And it’s mostly ASU people:

“I’m confused. Is Todd Graham a football coach? Drill sergeant? Britney Spears backup dancer? #ASUvsTTU #HolidayBowl”

“Punting? Go f*** yourself Todd Graham”

“Did Todd Graham get that headset from N*Sync?”

“@CoachGrahamASU Yeah just keep blitzing man. It’ll work eventually. #d***head”

“Todd Graham will probably make sure that kid who dropped the TD pass will know it’s his fault when Graham accepts a new job later tonight”

“@CoachGrahamASU Way to lay the blame on everyone but yourself including your QB. Look in the mirror bud”

“Nice job by Todd Graham throwing his kids under the bus with no acknowledgment of a poor coaching decision.”

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 12.31.13 @ 2:02 am

I know that I should have moved on after two years but I still love watching Fraud fail.

Three touchdown favorite ASU loses by two touchdowns to a 7-5 TT team on PAC-12 turf. TT had lost five straight down the stretch. Fraud’s D (he calls the shots) gave up more than 400 yards passing to a freshman QB. Fraud’s team scored ten points off of two TT fumbles. Fraud’s team failed to convert a first and goal inside the TT five into any points just before halftime. Fraud has always liked to call defensive timeouts and ran out of those.

Fraud’s team is crushed big time in the PAC-12 championship on its home field.

Fraud’s team lost to ND.

I can’t help myself. I will continue to enjoy his failures and look forward to his involuntary termination at ASU.

Comment by Barvo 12.31.13 @ 6:14 am

Fraud will carry the Pitt curse everywhere he goes.

Comment by TX Panther 12.31.13 @ 7:19 am

Appropriate Karma

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.31.13 @ 7:30 am

It all points to just how soft the pAC12 South was this year. Stanford, Oregon and Wash are the 3 best teams and all in the North. In the South, USC was half decent after Kiffin’s firing and UCLA started strong but folded down the stretch but that was it.

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 7:32 am

Wanny, Fralic and possibly Buddy may be off limits while Smiley is still here (actually Wanny has attended some BB games since), but former Pitt players can still be an asset. Fitz and Shady (who played for Wanny) are always tweeting positive things about Pitt when they are playing well .. as do many other former players.

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 7:39 am

Pitt needs to get their former greats more involved and that goes for all sports. Just tough when your AD alienates people. We need a uniter. We need an athletic vision and some aggressive goals. Former players help showcase our colorful history and are a connection with our proud past. They are a huge asset severely underutilized.

Comment by TX Panther 12.31.13 @ 7:52 am

I guess I can see putting a Pitt guy in the AD position — if he is otherwise qualified as well — but I am not sure what Wannstedt has done to merit such consideration. He is loyal, and he can schmooze with the best, but that is only about half the equation (and loyalty doesn’t count for much.) If you ask me, just based on watching him coach, his decision making abilities are dubious at best. And that is where you REALLY want your AD to excel.

Comment by JCE 12.31.13 @ 8:29 am

Can his decisions being any worse than the incumbent?

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 8:37 am

a positve article for the New Year

link to cardiachill.com

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 8:40 am

Wanna as AD? That is hilarious. Get over the old time Pitt guys to fill positions.

Comment by Notrocketscience 12.31.13 @ 9:15 am

Wanny

Comment by Notrocketscience 12.31.13 @ 9:16 am

Getting former Pitt greats involved is a great idea. Definitely would help. PC seems like the type that would go for that… hope someone is reading this.

I always thought Wanny would have made a great Associate AD or something focused on football… be Pitt’s ‘ambassador’/face of the program. That was always his strength and gets away from his weakness which was game day.

I really thought that could have been an option if not right when he ‘retired’ then about now.

however how he handled the situation at the end (whether he deserved it or not, right/wrong) makes that a non-starter… the old adage never burn a bridge, well he burned down the building.

Too bad because he does have the perfect skill set for this… we need it, and he would have thrived at it.

Comment by Pittscript 12.31.13 @ 9:24 am

Nice article wbb.

Not sure why there seems to be so much nostalgia for Wanny and Buddy. IMO, it is time to move forward and find up and coming talent.

We have to trust Chryst to do it his way and hope he is the guy to take us to the promised land.

I have joined in on the critique of House and special teams performance. So far defensive recruiting has not been stellar.

But it has not been all bad. At times the defense played well. They certainly contributed to the 7 wins. We have to hope that Chryst knows potential, sees it in House and that he will live up to it.

We will see how he does without Donald, Ezell, Hendricks and Williams this year.

I really liked the blitzes he put in for the bowl game and hope that he is a fast learner. I don’t know if the decision to use Conner was his, but he was used well. His use of Vinopal was inspired as well.

Let’s hope the aggressiveness of the bowl game is a harbinger of things to come.

Go get a few more impact players before signing day.

Hail to Pitt and Happy New Year!

Comment by gc 12.31.13 @ 9:31 am

notrocketscience, while no guarantee Wanny would be a great AD, I’ll guarantee if he was, House wouldn’t be the DC right how …. and Wanny would be lobbying like hell for an increase to the FB budget

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 9:36 am

… and oh yea, we likely would have Henry and/or Nicholsen as commits

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 9:42 am

And we would have our OCS in 5 years and our Pitt script back. I can dream can’t I? :)

Comment by TX Panther 12.31.13 @ 9:51 am

It would be great to bring in the greats. Imagine having Ditka working with the tight ends for a week, Grimm and May working with the O-line, Doleman and Sheard working the Ends, Green and Jackson working with the linebackers, Dorsett, Shady, and Lewis, etc. Fitz, Revis …

Then recognize them at the game.

The logistics would be tough but what an experience for the players and coaches.

Comment by gc 12.31.13 @ 9:53 am

wanny would be a great AD the asst could do the paper work.
and wanny could so the big things like raiseing mony makeing football and basketball great and fireing house.

Comment by Frankcan 12.31.13 @ 9:53 am

Probably NCAA rules forbids it

Comment by gc 12.31.13 @ 9:55 am

Let’s not canonize Wanny, he missed on plenty of recruits, Pryor comes to mind.

If the stars didn’t align with Shady and Bostick and RichRod leaving, he would have gone without 13-9.

He lost all the big games including the biggest to Cinci on his own turf.

Hell, he played Tino over Bostick and sealed his own fate.

He inherited a decent team from Harris and had crap results, much worse than Chryst.

His last team made the cover of SI and in the worst possible way.

Revisionist History, Give me a break.

Comment by gc 12.31.13 @ 10:03 am

An AD has to raise money and have the respect of former players, fans and boosters. He then has to make hiring decisions on head coaches and have the department break even. The only good thing about our current AD is that he can stay out of the red. He does this by being cheap.

Comment by TX Panther 12.31.13 @ 10:34 am

This sites constant gush over everything Wannstead baffles me. His record wasn’t any better than what we have and his players couldn’t stay out of jail. Suggesting him as an AD seems crazy to me. Sure he would be loyal to the football team but the guy was no braniac, and his tenure yielded one great win and not much else. Other than the fact that anything would be an improvement over Smilin’ Steve I don’t understand the attraction.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.31.13 @ 10:47 am

GC, I would like to see a more agressive defense as well. I thought Wanny was too conservative in that regard during his tenure at Pitt. With Dick Lebeau right next door, House doesn’t have too far to get the program.

Comment by Justinian 12.31.13 @ 10:51 am

To some of the Doubters and Haters who LOVE to jump CHRYST on his mistakes.

I challenge you to identify an IN-GAME mistake made by Chryst that compares to the MAJOR BLUNDER by Toddy GRAHAM in the midst of the BEAT-DOWN his team took against Texas Tech last night.

In case some are unaware… with time running down in the first half and THIRD DOWN and GOAL from around the seven… GRAHAM, in all of his “GENIUS”… rushed the field goal team out in a frantic state to put three points on the board before time expired. The kick went WIDE LEFT!

Amazingly, it did not occur to GRAHAM to have his Quarterback take another shot at the End Zone or simply Clock the ball to stop the clock and allow plenty of time for the field goal attempt.

It was SO BAD, SO AMATEURISH… that it drew the scorn of not one but all of the ESPN Hosts at Half Time including Mark May.

Who here believes Chryst, on his WORST DAY… would ever be guilty of such a Coaching BLUNDER?

The fact is… few Coaches ever would.

This should put to rest once and for all the RIDICULOUS NOTION put forth by some of the Chryst Doubters and Haters that somehow GRAHAM was the FOOTBALL GENIUS that got away.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.31.13 @ 10:56 am

Wanny was/is a diehard Pitt guy who has a deep love for the University. That’s his strong point, but if you’re looking for a former coach to take the reigns of the Pitt AD job, I’d be allover Mike Ditka to take the job. Talk about a former Pitt guy that would have the respect of the wider college football community!

I think that Ditka’s no nonsense attiudes could get things done also, although in contrast, he may have to refine his smoozing skill set to keep the traditional Pitt highroller contributors and others happy too.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.31.13 @ 11:02 am

Questionable playcalling, disciplinary issues leading to a renegade program, inept evaluation and coaching of THE MOST IMPORTANT POSITION ON THE TEAM, and using nepotism TO FILL THAT SAME POSITION. And yet yinzers still want to see Wannstedt back? He shouldn’t even be coaching high-school football!

Comment by Joshua 12.31.13 @ 11:12 am

Joshua, then is Graham and Chryst guilty of the same nepotism? Cut me a break!

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 11:19 am

Well, they tried replacing him (Trey Anderson come to mind?), but realized that Wanny left them with NOTHING!

Comment by Joshua 12.31.13 @ 11:20 am

Wanny was also accused of unnecessary timeouts and punting on the plus side of the field … things that Graham did inspaeds while he was here. In fact, wasn’t the nepotistic QB the leading punter for a while?

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 11:21 am

Miami has a top 5 recruiting class. I think it will be a while fore we compete with them.

Comment by DocJLK 12.31.13 @ 11:23 am

There were 3 4-star QBs on the roster when Wanny left, and none of them were Tino. They all became alienated with the new regime

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 11:24 am

@wbb, that Cardiac Hill article was good, but he left out a lot of true Freshmen in his article that should have been mentioned. Rachid Abrahim, came through, at just the right critical times, big in a couple games and you can’t discount the contributions that Matt Galambos and Shakir Soto made this year on a team thin at DE and LB depth.

Last but not least, Chris Blewitt, IMO, was stellar this season as our kicker. Now I think that he still has a way to go to be a great one, not enough kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks and too many low, driving kicks when not needed begging for blocks. However, overall significant proficiency from a true Freshman. Not being on the radar for comments sometimes is a sincere compliment regarding a kicker’s effort though. They tend to be invisible until they miss! Then everbody is screaming about how he Blewitt!(pun intended) Didn’t hear that bad pun much this season.

Yes the future looks promising but I’m still not sold on this recruiting class as it currently stands. An additional DL or LB recruit would have been nice and we have a critical need to land either Kamara or Jennings at the WR position.

If we get just one of those two and it upgrades this class significantly IMO. We get both and I’d consider that a homerun in the WR department! If we miss on both, then I’m concerned, because we dearly need a second premier star WR to compliment Boyd. I don’t see that guy on our current roster or in this recruiting class so far. It has to be a “get” this year too, because unless Boyd loses a year to injury, he goes to the NFL without a doubt after his junior year, just two short years, so we need to develop that complimenting WR next season.

Come on Pitt, sell these guys on the opportunity to play early opposite a future legend and probable Biletnikoff Award winner while you can!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.31.13 @ 11:25 am

Doesn’t change the fact that Graham tried replacing Sunseri multiple times and Chryst was limited by Wanny’s recruiting miscues, mistakes, and outright crimes against football to Sunseri and a true freshman in Voytik, who was redshirted. Heck, why do you think Chryst had to bring in a guy who was transferring to his third school in five years?!

Comment by Joshua 12.31.13 @ 11:25 am

Dr Tom, You are often a voice of reason here. Sometimes you have a way of presenting sensible ideas that give us food for thought. Then every once in awhile you suggest something really boneheaded. The Ditka post strikes me as category 3. Not only would Mike Ditka have no interest in the job but he has no qualifications to do it. If you add Wanny and Ditka and Smilin’ Steve’s brains together you are still a few lobes short of smart, and that is what the job requires.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.31.13 @ 11:26 am

Who, the RS freshmen Mark Myers and Anthony Gonzalez? What have they turned into? Haven’t exactly been Joe Flaccos!

Comment by Joshua 12.31.13 @ 11:27 am

I agree that having a Pitt alum as AD would be most desireable but I don’t think we want re-tread coaches in that position. Here are a few off the top of my head Pitt alums (or former Pitt students who may not have graduated) I think would be great in the job even though most might not want it:

Mark Cuban
Billy Knight
Curtis Martin
Marty Schottenheimer
Susan Arnold
Orrin Hatch
Chip Yablonsky

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.31.13 @ 11:32 am

Joshua, Graham tried to replace Sunseri because he wasn’t fit to run Grahm’s system … nor was any other QB on the roster (aside from Andrson) recruited for that style … are you that dense???

Yet, when PC came in and returned to the pro style, Sunseri had >3000 yds (more than Savage) with 21 Tds and 3 Ints. He wasn’t a great QB by no means but much better than what he was put through the previous season.

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 11:33 am

I meant re-tread Pitt coaches not re-tread coaches in general.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.31.13 @ 11:34 am

SofS22 you fully understand my point! I’ll qualify my suggestion by referring you to my previous quote, “if you’re looking for a former coach”.

I don’t think that Wanny has any qaulifications for the AD job either, but if that is the premise for selecting an AD, who is a Pitt guy who has been a head coach, who would you prefer, Ditka or Wanny? That was my point. I’d take Ditka any day of the week.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.31.13 @ 11:36 am

Yeah, there’s a phrase for what Tino did. It’s called “binging on bad teams”. He also got sacked a lot, which tells me his pocket awareness was garbage.

link to espn.go.com

Comment by Joshua 12.31.13 @ 11:41 am

Joshua, binging on bad teams, huh? Here are his numbers against the BEST 5 teams they played last year (all bowl teams):

09/15/12 Virginia Tech
W 35-17 28 19 67.9 3 1 180.98
10/05/12 @ Syracuse
L 13-14 33 25 75.8 0 0 156.96
10/13/12 13 Louisville
L 35-45 37 28 75.7 2 0 158.68
11/03/12 @ 4 Notre Dame
L 26-29 29 19 65.5 1 0 124.40
11/24/12 Rutgers
W 27-6 39 21 53.8 2 0 119.67

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 11:50 am

The last figure is the QB rating … so, Joshua, just quit with your stigmas because they are all overblown

Bottom line, you see the actual data above … and

Wanny had the best 3 year run that Pitt has had in 3 decades

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 11:54 am

wbb…that he did, but it took him 4 years to have a winning record, and had 2 good years, followed by a not so good 7-5 record which got him fired.

Pittsburgh Panthers (Big East Conference) (2005–2010)
2005 Pittsburgh 5–6 4–3 T–3rd
2006 Pittsburgh 6–6 2–5 6th
2007 Pittsburgh 5–7 3–4 T–3rd
2008 Pittsburgh 9–4 5–2 T–2nd L Sun
2009 Pittsburgh 10–3 5–2 T–2nd W Meineke Car Care 15 15
2010 Pittsburgh 7–5 5–2 T–1st BBVA Compass BowlA
Pittsburgh: 42–31 24–18

Comment by markp 12.31.13 @ 12:04 pm

But his last 3 years inlcudng the 7-5 was part of the best 3 year run.

He also, in his first 3 years, had the circumstance of facing WVU, Lousiville and Rutgers … all who had the best 3year run in the history of their programs. And also, Cincy did the very same from 07-09.

But don’t believe me …. LOOK IT UP!!

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 12:10 pm

Listen, I’m not saying Wanny was God’s gift to coaching, or that Sunseri was the same to QBing … all I have been saying for the past few years is that all of the stigmas against these 2 are ludicrous

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 12:18 pm

@wbb “the best 3 year run at in the last 3 decades” That is like being crowned king of the winged monkeys.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.31.13 @ 12:18 pm

and until proven differently, I contend that Wanny’s firing wasa big mistake.

Coincidentally, the Plain Dealer headlines today are “Browns are finding that hiring a coach is much harder than firing a coach”

something our AD should have learned while at Nebraska

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 12:23 pm

VT was a fluke, and you know it. Tino had zero TDs against Syracuse, meaning his stats were empty in that game. Louisville and Notre Dame were choke jobs. And the rest of the Big East was the definition of a mediocre conference last year, especially when looking at their bowl records (Cinci was neck-and-neck with Duke until the end and probably would have lost had Renfree been completely healthy. Syracuse played against Geno Smith, which should say everything about that game. Louisville had an overrated UF team to play. Rutgers losing to VT and Pitt wetting the bed completely against Ole Miss tell me more about the conference than the three wins. 16-32 against OLE F’N MISS isn’t going to cut it). Had Sunseri been playing against the ACC last season, his stats would have been closer to the Ole Miss game. Why do you think he’s stuck in Saskatchewan after his “record-setting” season?

And one more thing: college QB rating means nothing to me. I’m frankly surprised that the metric being used isn’t the same as the pro QB rating.

As it is, doesn’t matter, because the main reason Wanny isn’t Pitt’s coach is because his players couldn’t stop getting arrested. Just ask Jovani Chappel, who nearly ran me over on the sidewalk on Meyran with his car. Don’t believe me? Just look at his arrest record from April 2010, which includes assault on a parking-enforcement officer.

Comment by Joshua 12.31.13 @ 12:27 pm

When Wanny refused to suspend Jabaal Sheard, that was a fireable offense.

Comment by Joshua 12.31.13 @ 12:29 pm

And before you get on me about “double secret probation”, sorry, doesn’t count.

Comment by Joshua 12.31.13 @ 12:30 pm

Addendum to Chappel comment: I was witness to the assault. His crime against me was “reckless driving without regard to life”.

Comment by Joshua 12.31.13 @ 12:33 pm

wbb – his 2005 team was one year removed from the Fiesta Bowl – and it took him 4 seasons to produce a winner. HCPC 1st year had back-to-back coaching changes yet was .500 and was against 4 ranked opponents, and was a winner his second year with his 1st real recruiting class…I liked DW but he proved time and time again he wasn’t cut out to be a head coach.

Comment by markp 12.31.13 @ 12:38 pm

So Louisville was fluke even though they dominated in a BCS bowl game.
Same for Syracuse which had it best team in years, and dominated Geno, Steamandand Tavon in its bowl
ND last year beat Oklahoma, Stanford, USC, Mich and Mich St
And last year’s Ole Miss would have beaten this year’s Bowling Green by at least 3 TDs … not even close

If you want to make the case that wanny should have been fired because of the off-the-field problems, fine! (I believe he should have been given a year to clean it up) But regardless, don’t throw those stigmas at me when he was more successful that anyother coach we had since the 80s … not to mention his loyalty.

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 12:40 pm

Jabaal Sheard was just nominated as the Browns’ Walter Payron Man of the Year. He served no jail time despite throwing a guy thru a glass door in front of 2 policemen … so you tell me who the protagonist was in that incident!!!

markp, in 05, Pitt was forced to start natural freshmen on both the OL and DL in the very first game (Davis and Mustakas) .. doesn’t sound too stocked up to me. And that ‘BCS” 04 team won a 4-team tiebreaker in a 7-team league, which had 2 doormats (and first year D1 UConn wasn’t even one of thedoormats.) That 04 Pitt team was not good; the 06 team which had to compete with 4 ranked BE teams, 3 of which finished in the Top 12, was better than the 04 team

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 12:48 pm

@wbb, His record didn’t get him fired although it was nothing special. The kids were out of control. The problem was what they replaced him with.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.31.13 @ 12:53 pm

exactly .. if you’re going to fire a coach who had the best 3 year run decades, you better darn replace him with a pretty good coach.

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 12:55 pm

wbb – let it go – he’s gone – he had his shot (and Blewit!)…HCPC is the head coach – support him and Pitt!

Comment by markp 12.31.13 @ 12:57 pm

trouble is that everyone here is expecting the next Saban, MajorsI or even Brian Kelly. Aint’ gonna happen! This is not Bama, Pitt of the 1970s, and you can see the trouble Kelly is now having (people seem to forget that he came to a Cincy program built up by Mark Dantonio)

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 12:57 pm

I have a season ticket and have to travel 2.5 hrs one way to the game … don’t tell me I don’t support Pitt

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 12:59 pm

We’d have to hire Keyshawn Johnson to keep Ditka awake: link to chicagonow.com

Comment by panther94 12.31.13 @ 1:05 pm

@WBB, I thought he deserved to get fired and his kids let him down with the criminal activity. The administration did a bad job replacing him in reaction to addressing the problem. They also did it on the cheap. Chryst has done well considering his experience level and situation he inherited. I am not questioning your support but I do agree it is time to let it go. Short of a radical change in the administration Pitt as a football power will happen only by miracle.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.31.13 @ 1:12 pm

Wannstedt was let go, not just because of the player arrests… but because he was a HORRIBLE In-Game Coach.

The one thing Wanny can be credited with is his relentless pursuit of LeSean McCoy after USC, Miami and the others backed off following the ankle injury his senior year in high school.

Take away McCoy… and there’s NO victory in South Bend… NO Upset in Morgantown… NO Contract Extension.

The fact is Wannstedt would have been out the door long before the Sports Illustrated Cover Story… if it weren’t for his good fortune in landing the current NFL Rushing Champ and a likely future first ballot Hall of Famer.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.31.13 @ 4:38 pm

Pittofdreams, for the umpteenth time, even though he may not be the best in-game coach

WHAT PART OF HE HAD THE BEST 3 YEAR RUN IN THE PAST 3 DECADES DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?? (faults and all!)

Why is this so hard for people to comprehend – I don’t get it!!

Comment by wbb 12.31.13 @ 4:51 pm

Now as far as the job of Athletic Director goes… being the nice guy he is and his passion for Pitt and sports would make him an interesting candidate.

However, his involvement in the Player Arrests Scandal SADLY TRUMP any of the positives that might make him a viable choice… and that’s really a shame.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.31.13 @ 4:55 pm

Wbb i am with you they just dont get it and chryst is just as bad of a game day coach one the ball is kiced off .
he has not much better then wanny

Comment by Frankcan 12.31.13 @ 4:57 pm

Let’s support our AD. Smug is making sure Pitt follows his plan which will lead to mediocrity in all sports. The ACC needs a school that can be beaten with ease. However, I will credit him with picking up the phone when the ACC called and for saying HELL YES. Thanks BC.

Chryst does deserve our support. But he does need help and I’d be upset if no coaching changes occur. Let’s parlay this bowl win into better times to come.

Love Wanny and Ditka as ambassadors. Maybe as lead fundraisers for Pitt’s new OCS? :)

Comment by TX Panther 12.31.13 @ 4:58 pm

What? No votes for Matt Cavanaugh, LOL. Be realistic.

Comment by Notrocketscience 12.31.13 @ 5:04 pm

chryst had 2 players liveing with a drug dealer
and one who while not kicked off was suspened he had a player who choked a female and went to trail and jail. so this shit happens not juat to wanny .
kids get in fights kids get drunk in 1980 it was just covered up give me a brake

Comment by Frankcan 12.31.13 @ 5:05 pm

@spirit..spot on! Also, had no problem with Wanny being fired. Just a complete shit show following it. No real plan, and went cheap with Haywood.

Still have some reservations about Chryst and his staff, but we may have lucked out. Could have had some one or two win seasons through this nonsense.

If Chryst cannot get it done and is ultimately let go, we still might.

Happy New Year everyone and Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Pap76 12.31.13 @ 5:09 pm

Pitt alumn Gust Avrakotos

We could take scouting to a new level.

Comment by Notrocketscience 12.31.13 @ 5:12 pm

Happy New Year to all of my Pitt brethren. Now push back from that keyboard and start focusing on bringing in the new year with some spirit. Your pick,,,,,

Scotch, Wiskey, vodka etc! Drink to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.31.13 @ 5:23 pm

Good call Dr. Tom. #H2Pitt #HNY !!!!

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 12.31.13 @ 5:45 pm

vodka .

Comment by Frankcan 12.31.13 @ 6:05 pm

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