Okay, I’m trying to be back. It’s been a rough few weeks in the offline world, and a lot of the crap has been coming to a head this week. That’s why I’ve been largely silent this entire week. Hopefully I’ll get things back in order soon.
I know there’s a lot of stuff to cover. Right now, I’ll just discuss my feelings on the changes in position coaches.
To recap. Brooks Bollinger resigned from his position as QB Coach at Pitt. He is not taking a job elsewhere in D-1, but has decided to pursue a lifestyle that lets him actually spend time with his family.
This one seems to be close to reality, rather than some coachspeak.
First of all, on Brooks Bollinger’s departure, I think this really is a case where “pursuing other opportunities” can be taken at face value. Bollinger never seemed to have a zeal for the recruiting side of being a college coach, particularly the way it tends to totally dominate your life and leave little time for a young family. Bollinger’s 34, married and has three kids. It’s totally understandable that he wants a career that, as Chryst put it, “lets him put down roots in a community.” It sounds like this had been brewing for some time and, after signing day, Bollinger took some time to think about it and decided he wanted to move back home. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pop up as a high school coach within the next few years.
When he was hired by Chryst to be the QB Coach, he was just getting settled back in Minnesota and coached one year of HS football. It seemed a somewhat dubious hire at the time. Based on the results of Tom Savage and even Tino Sunseri last year, though, I was happy to be wrong with my doubts — at least as far as his coaching ability.
Head Coach Paul Chryst has announced he will take over QB Coaching duties as well. I don’t think anyone really has a problem with this since that is part of what Chryst does so well.
That freed up another position coaching spot. Did Chryst bring in another guy with Wisconsin ties? Yes. Is anyone really going to complain about this particular hire? I hope not.
John Settle, a former NFL running back who has 20 years of experience coaching in the college and pro ranks, has been named running backs coach at Pitt by Paul Chryst.
Settle spent the past three years coaching running backs in the NFL, including this past season with the Cleveland Browns. He served in that same capacity with the Carolina Panthers in 2011 and ’12.
“John Settle has a tremendous football background as both a player and coach,” Chryst said. “He knows what it takes to be an outstanding running back. His track record brings immediate credibility from a coaching and recruiting standpoint. We are fortunate and excited to bring his talents to Pitt.”
Prior to Carolina, Settle spent five seasons as running backs coach at the University of Wisconsin (2006-10), where he teamed with Chryst — then the Badgers’ offensive coordinator — to produce one of the country’s most prolific rushing attacks. Settle coached three players who combined for six 1,000-yard rushing seasons: P.J. Hill (three 1,000-yard campaigns), John Clay (two) and James White (one).
In 2010, Wisconsin nearly became the first team in FBS history to have three different players rush for at least 1,000 yards in the same season. White (1,052 yards), Clay (1,012) and Montee Ball (996) spearheaded the attack as Wisconsin set a Big Ten record with 48 rushing touchdowns.
Settle is an excellent running back coach with a clear track record of success. I’m so happy about this hire, I won’t even make Wisconsin East jokes.
Instead I’ll focus on the Appalachian State mafia that is forming. Settle was teammates with Troy Douglas, Pitt’s new DB Coach. Both at least met Linebacker Coach John Palmero when he was coaching at App St.
I also like that both Settle and Douglas have ties that work much better for recruiting in ACC territory.
As for Pitt’s new Wide Receivers’ Coach, Greg Lewis. Yes, he is a Big Ten alum (Illinois), but he’s actually got some experience. He spent the last two years coaching wide receivers on the West Coast.
Lewis, 34, launched his coaching career as an intern with the [Philadelphia] Eagles in 2012 before guiding wide receivers at the University of San Diego that season. He was the San Jose State wide receivers coach last season, including first-team All-Mountain West receiver Chandler Jones.
“Greg really impressed us with his knowledge, energy and desire to teach the game,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. “His background as a college and NFL receiver will serve our players and staff well.”
He seems like a promising hire. He has NFL experience to sell recruits. He’s obviously got ambition. Lewis moved to SJSU from USD because his boss at USD (Ron Caragher) was hired at SJSU and thought enough of Lewis to bring him.
No one at this point should expect Chryst to look to make a splashy hire. They are going to be understated and almost strangely timed — Pitt formally announced Settle’s hiring and Bollinger resigning mid-afternoon on a Friday. Prime time for releasing some bad or embarrassing news. Not coaching moves.