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February 11, 2014

Since everyone is working from essentially the same news and reports, here’s what we have

Pitt’s most obvious opening is to replace Bobby Engram at the WR Coach spot. Yet, the first breaking news was that Pitt has made a play to bring Troy Douglas from Iowa State to be the Defensive Backs Coach.

Iowa State secondary coach Troy Douglas has been offered a spot on the Pittsburgh staff, but Douglas has not decided if he’ll take the position yet, according to a source. reported that Douglas will join the Panthers’ staff on Wednesday.

Douglas spent the last three seasons with the Cyclones. He previously worked with ISU defensive coordinator Wally Burnham at South Florida from 2006-08.

But now, Brett McMurphy of is tweeting that as of this morning it is a done deal.

Douglas coached DBs in the ACC for a couple years while at North Carolina. He appears to be a solid recruiter and a good DB coach. Considering the spot was essentially coached last year by a graduate assistant (love you Hank Poteat, but you should not have been put in that position) this looks to be a very good move.

As for the Wide Receivers Coach, the name that is getting the most play is Erik Campbell.

Campbell was somewhat surprisingly let go by Iowa after the 2012 season as their WR Coach (but not, it turns out, so HC Kirk Ferentz’s son Brian could be moved to WR Coach). Campbell seemed to have been the scapegoat coach rather than the new Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis following a disastrous offensive season. Campbell, in fact, had been one of the leading candidates to become the OC before Davis got the gig in February 2012.

Campbell doesn’t have a reputation as an ace recruiter, but he is considered a very good coach. That was why it was somewhat surprising that he ended up in the CFL as a WR coach.

Neither has any clear ties of coaching with Paul Chryst or his usual circle, so that can be seen as a positive. Obviously, Chryst saw first hand what Campbell was doing with the Iowa WRs when he was coaching at Wisconsin.

Getting Douglas would appear to be a very good move for recruiting and also because he brings more coaching experience to the side of the ball that was getting the short shrift on experienced coaches.

Both Douglas and Campbell are about the same age as Chryst which is somewhat interesting but probably just a coincidence.

By the way, “why should the Steelers upset and insult Terry by bringing in another quarterback?”

(when the Steelers drafted Terry Bradshaw first and Terry Hannrity was the current QB) :>)

Comment by pittman4ever 02.12.14 @ 8:04 am

Dr Tom, there is positive energy on this site because we have been shown reasons recently that, unlike last year at this time, PC and staff are showing that they intend to improve:

– it may have been a meaningless bowl game but it provided hope to the fans and more importantly the team, primarily due to the fact that so many underclassmen played major roles, including the new QB

– unlike a year ago, they have already offered many targeted players and even have a few promsising commits

– they QUICKLY hired a QUALIFIED assistant and seem on the verge of hiring another

Comment by wbb 02.12.14 @ 8:14 am

Dr Tom nailed it. Of course, Chryst is going to say that we do not have to have Wittek. He needs to stand behind Voytik as our guy, not look like we have no confidence that Voytik can do the job. But, Chryst has to know that any help we can get at the QB spot is a positive. Let’s not be faked up by the media speak.

H2P and H2Voytik

Comment by pmdH2P 02.12.14 @ 8:27 am

Obviously we could really use another qb on the roster, preferably one with experience as opposed to another freshman, and Wittek fits the bill. However, there are some ‘out there’ comments on here- yikes. Wittek seems to have some of the same positives as Savage, but his stats aren’t great and he’s thrown his share of interceptions. I like Voytik’s leadership & decision making qualities. It’s been a long time since we’ve had both of these qualities in a qb. Deep down, I hope Wittek goes elsewhere.

Comment by 1618mt 02.12.14 @ 8:55 am

Let’s see, Wittek is being courted by Texas, Ohio State, VA Tech, and Louisville. Glad to see Chryst is smart enough not to piss off Voytik for a pig in a poke. Does anyone really think we could win a bidding war against those guys?

Where would we be if Voytik gets pissed off and decides to transfer just like Wittek. Wittek is transferring because he wants to start.

Wittek threw 3 tds and 6 int’s at USC. The rap on him is he can’t adjust to the speed of the college game.

Hanratty was under contract and could not leave.

Comment by gc 02.12.14 @ 8:56 am

gc, you are right. The bidding war will be that at least one of those schools is going to essentially promise Wittek the starting job in order to get him.

I didn’t think about Voytik transfering but that is a great point. Cause as soon as Wittek is announced to be coming to Pitt that means he is the favorite to be the starter. Voytik could transfer and still have a few years of elgibility left.

Savage is a completely different situation than Wittek. He started a year at Rutgers and had some success. He also go to sit out a year to learn Pitt’s offense. Wittek has had no success in college and wants to play as soon as he gets to the school.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.12.14 @ 9:11 am

I like what I saw from Chad Voytik in the Bowling Green game. He showed a lot moxie and his mobility made a difference. The Bowling Green pass rushers were teeing off on Savage. Paul Chryst showed the adaptability to incorporate Wilson’s abilities into Wisconsin’s offense when he was there. I would imagine he will do similar things with Voytik.

Comment by Justinian 02.12.14 @ 9:19 am

Actually everything at this point is pure speculation. Paul Chryst realizes his situation and imagine that he will keep his cards close to vest. Wittek is no doubt looking for a situation where he can come in and start right away. I don’t think that’s the situation here at Pitt. The best he could get here is the opportunity to compete for the starting job with no promises. I don’t realistically think that will be good enough for him. Only time will tell.

Comment by Justinian 02.12.14 @ 9:27 am

FWIW, Terry Bradshaw was the #1 pick n the ’70 draft because the Steelers were 1-13 in ’69, which included Hanratty’s 5 winless starts. Even then, it took until early ’74 for Bradshaw to become the fulltime starter (Gilliam actually started the season) … but Pitt doesn’t have such luxury.

Comment by wbb 02.12.14 @ 9:46 am

Programs like Texas, OSU, VA Tech will have more competition than Pitt at the QB spot so Pitt would have to look good.
If Voytik wants to transfer because the coach brought in competition then they should be happy for him to leave. Evey other player on the team faces competition for their position…why would QB be any different? If you have a chance to grab talent, you grab it.
Maybe I missed it, but has Wittek redshirted yet?
If he has the same eligibility as Voytik, it would be ideal for him to redshirt if he has not done so.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.12.14 @ 9:54 am

Why these silly speculations about Voytik transferring? We could just as easily speculate that ‘If Wittek needs to land someplace where he perceives there to be the least amount of competition because he is too insecure due to his interception history, then I guess we should be happy if he chooses another school’. Fair is fair.

Comment by 1618mt 02.12.14 @ 10:02 am

wbb If I recall the Steelers followed the 1969 1-13 season with 4 wins in 1970 and went 7-7 in 71. The break-out season was in 72 when they went 10 and 4 and then beat Oakland in the play-off immaculate reception game.

Comment by Justinian 02.12.14 @ 10:23 am

notrocketscience, if you google Wittek you’ll find out he was already redshirted. He will be a redshirt junior who wants to start in the fall. By your logic, why should Pitt even welcome Wittek since he wasn’t able to handle competition at USC?

I don’t think it’s silly speculation to say Voytik might transfer if Wittek comes to Pitt. If Wittek comes to Pitt then that means Chryst told him he is very likely to start. Why would Voytik be a backup for 2 more years and then maybe start his senior year?

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.12.14 @ 10:33 am

Of course it is all speculation and opinion. Thst is what we do here. What is a fact is that Voytik stayed when Graham left and helped to keep the recruiting class together. He showed great loyalty to his school.

Wittek, took a redshirt, got beat out, has two years of eligibility left, has decided to quit his school and look for greener pastures. The other QB could go down in the first game, but Wittek is not patient or loyal enough to stick it out, does not sound like a character guy to me.

While it is fair for Voytik to compete with incoming freshmen and those on the team, because of a stupid NCAA loophole he might have to compete with a Johnny come lately. Put yourself in his shoes. If you think Pitt should be happy for him to leave under these circumstances that is sad. That would leave us in the same position without depth, and send a very bad signal to current and future players

Sometimes people just need to do the right thing. I think Chryst will. The NCAA should eliminate the rule or at least make the transfer sit out a year.

Transferring is not speculation, it is rampant.

Comment by gc 02.12.14 @ 10:45 am

Too bad Berke isn’t able to come in early. It would have been nice to have him here for spring football. Paul Chryst made the earlier comment on Signing day that they were staying with what they had. He said it would be good for them because both quarterbacks would get plenty of work in the spring.

Comment by Justinian 02.12.14 @ 10:46 am

The silly part is to speculate that he’s afraid of competition. He’s already proven himself in this area. No need for negatives. More realistic that he leaves if he doesn’t feel he’s given a fair shake. It happens.

Comment by 1618mt 02.12.14 @ 10:46 am

While at Wisconsin, Coach Chryst told Russell Wilson that he would have to compete for the starting QB job just like the other QBs on the roster if he chose to be a Badger. I don’t think he’ll change this mindset for Wittek and ‘promise’ him the job.

And unless CV is totally void of any competitive genes, I believe he stays regardless of what Wittek does. The Wittek situation is different than Savage’s in that TS had more than a year to learn the offense prior to starting, Wittek won’t have that luxury.

I would like to add another QB due to depth issues so I’m all for bringing in Wittek.

Comment by pghFred 02.12.14 @ 10:49 am

Justinian, correct, but my point was that Bradshaw did not establish himself a franchise starter until mid 74, as Gilliam actually beat him out at the beginning. Bradshaw would not probably be given 4 years today.

I think PC has a comfort factor with Voytik that he doesn’t have with Wittek, and it is too late for Wittek to enroll and take part in spring practices. The argument is the lack of depth not that Voytik isn’t capable. To me, it is Wittik who would have to be willing to sit since he would come in raw and only have 3 weeks practice prior to the start of the season.

Comment by wbb 02.12.14 @ 10:51 am

Where is Blue/Gold game this year?

Comment by DC33 02.12.14 @ 11:17 am

pghFred, that’s why I think Chryst is being honest when he says he isn’t going after Wittek. He’s not going to promise him anything. And it would seem very unlikely for him to master the offense, while getting second string snaps, in 3 weeks of practice. 3 weeks vs. 2.5 years is a huge difference.

When I say Voytik would possibly transfer it would be because he doesn’t believe he is getting a fair shake and will think a decision has already been made to start Wittek. It has nothing to do with some nonexistent fear of competition.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.12.14 @ 11:22 am

From everything that I’ve read, heard through the grapevine and seen with my own eyes tells me that Chad Voytik is both a competitor and a winner. That said, that kind of individual doesn’t throw in the towel when the going gets tuff, and adding QB depth for the betterment of the team is hardly steep climb for Chad this year, considering what the kid has already been through up to this point in his Pitt career.

I’m feeling that Voytik is going to impress all of us enough that we won’t be wishing for a QB replacement come October. The real issue is what happens if our up and comer QB goes down with an injury.

That is where a guy like Wittek comes in. If he decides he wants to come to Pitt, Chryst will welcome him without providing promises and Chad will go about his business of preparing to be our starting QB. It’s his job to lose IMO.

Everything is not a crisis situation just because we are talking about it being a Pitt issue here.

Thanks for your help Savage,,,,long live Voytik!

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.12.14 @ 11:41 am

wbb, as usual good point by you. I was thinking that Wittek could come for Spring practice. No chance of him winning the job in the fall.

Then it is up to Voytik to keep his job for the season. I am OK with that.

Still think it is a stupid rule that allows graduates to transfer without penalty.

Comment by gc 02.12.14 @ 12:53 pm

gc, I can see your point, but if a guy graduates and still has eligibility, he becomes a free agent so to speak. If a school can pull a schollie from a guy before he graduates and/or his eligibility is used up, then he should be allowed to move on after he has his degree.

This is kind of like the anger created when a coach jumps ship from one school before his contract ends. If schools can exercise the option of firing the coach before the contract ends, then coaches can do the same … and contracts are written these days to include both scenarios.

On the other hand, if schools extend the 4-year schollie instead of the normal one year with a unilateral option to renew, then the kid cannot transfer or leave after graduation.

Comment by wbb 02.12.14 @ 1:48 pm

I know it tough to go through a season without some bumps and bruses. Heck during the Nation Championship year in 76 Haygood was the starting quarterback until he got hurt then Cavanaugh and for a few games Usick started, before Cavanaugh came back to finish the season.

Comment by Justinian 02.12.14 @ 3:21 pm

You may remember .. In ’77, we lost to eventual national champs ND in the opener when Cavanaugh broke his wrist on the play that Pitt grabbed a 9-0 lead. We put in anexperienced QB after that and ND eventually won the game as Pitt not only didn’t score any more ponts, it may not have gotten any more 1st downs.

In 07, Stull was hurt the first games with 2 inexperienced QBs backing. K Smith started a couple of games but was then replaced by P Bostick who played half decent, engineering upsets at ND, at WVU, and Cincy at home … but could have easily won games vs Rutgers, Lville and Navy with just one more executed play. Also lost close game at Mich St by 4.

But fell short winning only 5 games (defense deserved more.)

Comment by wbb 02.12.14 @ 4:01 pm

WBB, Lost $20 bucks on the ND game and I was certain it was a sure thing.Here is how I remember it. The lead was 7-0 not 9-0 and we carried that lead into the 4th quarter even though our replacement QB kept fumbling in our own territory. Finally the Irish took the lead late and added a meaningless touchdown at the end to win 16-7. They won the national championship that year so I think it is reasonable to assume that broken arm cost us one. Our defense was good enough that I don’t think Notre Dame would have scored at all. We should have romped. It made last nights basketball loss look like small potatoes.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.13.14 @ 6:37 pm

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