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June 4, 2014

Football Notes, 6/4

Filed under: Alumni,Football,Good,Injury,Lists — Chas @ 7:27 am

Scott McKillop is done with professional football. Now it is time to give coaching a go.

After he was released this year by the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League, he decided to pursue a career in coaching. He said his familiarity with the Pitt program led him there.

“It’s definitely something I am looking forward to doing,” said McKillop, a graduate of Kiski Area. “I have to get my feet wet and prove I can do it and work my way up.”

McKillop was an All-America linebacker and Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.

Due to NCAA restrictions, he won’t be permitted to instruct players on the field, but he will help in other areas.

“He can be a life coach,” Chryst said. “Here’s a guy who walked it and did a good job doing it.”

McKillop is taking a volunteer coaching position. He can help with breaking down film and work off-the-field with players.  As McKillop says, it is the starting point.

For Pitt and Coach Chryst, this is very good. Having one of Pitt’s best players from the last decade around the players and program is the sort of thing they should want. Between the coaching chaos that had happened and trying to change a lot of things around the program, bringing in a former player it arguably should have been a priority sooner.

McKillop was part of the 2004 recruiting class under Walt Harris. A class known as much for who didn’t sign that year, as for having McKillop and Darrelle Revis among those who did.

The same story also gives an update on injured players

Chryst said senior running back Isaac Bennett is recovering so well from shoulder surgery that trainers must ensure against his premature return to practice.

“Isaac has been pretty good,” Chryst said. “I think (head athletic trainer) Rob (Blanc) was getting nervous because he’s ahead (of the rehabilitation schedule). You don’t want a guy to do too much too soon.”

Bennett, who rushed for 1,175 yards in his first three seasons, sprained his left shoulder during spring drills and had surgery in April.

“He shouldn’t be (ready for the start of training camp), but I think he will be,” Chryst said. “So that means don’t do anything stupid with him. He shouldn’t really be doing much in camp. We’ll see.”

I’ve parsed that last quote a few times. I alternate between annoyance and open laughter at what he did and didn’t say.

James Connor seems to be fine at this point. Adam Bisnowaty may actually be ready for camp. It was a back injury, though, so predicting what will happens right now is not a great idea.

Speaking of James Conner. As the off-season has everyone trying to make or find some content. Even NFL.com needs something. So, a list of the “14 toughest players in college.” Conner is number 9.

Conner was a star running back and defensive end in high school in Erie, Pa., and most schools recruited him as a defensive end. Pitt liked him as a running back, though, and while sharing time at tailback as a true freshman last season, he rushed for a team-high 799 yards and eight TDs. He doesn’t have much burst, but he is a punishing inside runner (five of his TD runs covered three or fewer yards), a throwback of sorts to the 1970s-style back. But Conner didn’t abandon his defensive roots. He saw some time as a pass-rushing defensive end and drew a holding call late in the game to help Pitt subdue Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

To which, Conner found motivation.





Scott McKillop was an overachiever. Really anticipated the play and filled the hole and wrapped up. Had the intangibles, always took the right angle to the ball carrier. Great to have him involved.

Nice pub for Conner, if he stays healthy he is going to have a big year. Rotherham and Clemmings going to open some nice holes for him.

Comment by gc 06.04.14 @ 8:36 am

gc – don’t forget Dorian Johnson. He was a mauler in the BG game if I remember correctly. If we can get our left tackle healthy we might actually have a decent line this year.

Agree that it’s great to have McKillop involved. I’m noticing that Chryst seems to be bringing in younger Pitt guys – Poteat, McKillop. Something that other coaches maybe didn’t do. Or maybe it just didn’t get publicized. Anyway, I like hearing about it. Good for the program.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 06.04.14 @ 9:19 am

Love the attitude from young Mr. Conner, It’s a challenge, not a “put-down”.

Comment by Complit 06.04.14 @ 9:24 am

Great to hear about McKillop. Hope he has a long and successful coaching career – at Pitt!

This is interesting too – link to espn.go.com

Comment by Pitt Dad 06.04.14 @ 9:30 am

I met Scott and his parents at the Holiday Inn in Va after the VA debacle a few years ago.Really nice guy and parents to match. Wish him nothing but the best. Great way to start !
Says a Loy about HCPC that he would make it happen .

Comment by Dan 72 06.04.14 @ 10:22 am

McKillop was responsible for the key 4th Q Pittstop when WVU tried to run right up the middle in the 13-9 game. He came to play every day, every game. Built in the image of the typical HCPC image of the ideal football player.

Welcome home Scott!

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.04.14 @ 10:35 am

Patiently awaiting the deluge of Pitt recruiting commitments that have, in the past, occurred after summer camps during June. Let’s hope that we reel on some speed and talent from places like Florida over the next couple weeks. I’m getting sick and tired of only hearing about Franklins supposed recruiting successes at Penn State.

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.04.14 @ 10:38 am

Glad to see McKillop involved with the program. If he coaches with half the motivation with which he played, he’ll be an asset.

Agree, Dr. Tom – I too wait patiently, for now, based on what happened last June with the deluge of recruits. I am trying to not be distressed that Franklin appears to be doing what he said he would do, beating out Pitt among others for the top PA recruits. PSU has signed 6 of the top 12 in the state. Of course its not like all of those kids would have chosen Pitt, but maybe one or two would have.

Bad enough losing recruiting battles to Ped St. before; losing them to Franklin just makes it more aggravating.

Comment by Iron Duke 06.04.14 @ 11:28 am

Good to see McKillop back. Best wishes on a bright future in coaching!

Comment by Tomas 06.04.14 @ 12:07 pm

I agree with the positive comments on Scott McKillop. He was a lot of fun to watch – true “Old School” type of player – reminded me of a Pat Tillman type – gritty, tough.

Best of wishes to him and welcome home!

Hail!

Comment by Mill 06.04.14 @ 2:30 pm

Pitt has received a verbal commitment from Malik Henderson, a cornerback from Hallandale, Florida.

Aside from an offer from Pitt, he had offers from Arkansas and Indiana, amongst some lesser-named schools.

247: 3 stars
Rivals: 2 stars
ESPN: No grade

Comment by Mailman 06.04.14 @ 2:34 pm

Comment by wbb 06.04.14 @ 2:47 pm

I am a little confused as to why McKillop cannot instruct players on field. I’m assuming since it says that he is a volunteer he is not an actual graduate assistant? Would like to see him become a GA, but glad he is back in any capacity. He was an over achiever who didn’t possess all the physical tools, but with hard work and a great understanding for the game he excelled. For those reasons I think he has a chance to be a good coach. Always great to see a Pitt guy back in the fold.

Dr. Tom and Iron Duke, I too sit patiently/nervously waiting for the verbals to start coming in. Last year the flood of recruits started on June 14th when safety Jalen Williams committed. So it’s not time to panic…yet. I will say if the number of verbals by the end of July does not increase from 3 to at least 12-15, it may be time to panic.

Also on the sitting waiting patiently front, any news on a replacement for Slice?

Hail to Pitt!!

Comment by Pap76 06.04.14 @ 2:52 pm

link to 247sports.com

link to hudl.com

Chris Peak Twitter:
Just confirmed with Florida CB Malik Henderson that he committed to #Pitt. Plans to visit Pitt on June 20.

Comment by wbb 06.04.14 @ 2:52 pm

@ Mailman and wbb:

Thanks for the info on Henderson. While not a stud recruit as far as rankings go, awesome to see us land a kid from Florida.

This class needs defensive help and a stud QB, so aside from being from Florida, also good it is on the defensive side of the ball.

Anyone know who his primary recruiter was? I think almost all of us agree that we desperately need to make recruiting inroads in the south and Florida especially….

Comment by Pap76 06.04.14 @ 3:02 pm

Pap76

It was Inoke.

Comment by Gordo 06.04.14 @ 3:03 pm

and Douglas was involved being his position coach.

Comment by Gordo 06.04.14 @ 3:04 pm

Thanks Gordo.

I think Douglas can be our man in Florida. His familiarity with that area was one of the reasons I loved the hire.

Inoke Brecterfeld has helped land us a few nice recruits and when you coach a position that boasted one of the best players in the counry, you must be doing something right.

Here’s hoping this signing gets the ball rolling on the verbals. This is a very important year for this program on the field and in recruiting. If they don’t extend coach Chryst before the season starts, they have to make a decision on him after this year. I just don’t know if this program can absorb another coaching change.

I am cautiously optimistic things are heading in the right direction. A few nice verbals and an 8 win season would go a long way in validating that good times are on the horizon.

Hail to Pitt!!

Comment by Pap76 06.04.14 @ 3:14 pm

Yinz are way too serious. Take a break:

Bubba went to Ole Miss on a football scholarship. He was a terrific player, home grown, but a poor student.

With graduation day approaching, Bubba didn’t have enough credits. But he was a great football star and the students held a rally, demanding the dean give him a diploma anyway. They were so insistent that the dean agreed, on one condition. If Bubba could answer a single question correctly, he would get his diploma.

The one-question test was held in the auditorium, and students packed the place until there was standing room only. The dean was on the stage and told Bubba to come up. The dean held a diploma in his hand and said, “Bubba, if you can answer this question correctly, I’ll give you your diploma.”

Bubba said he was ready and the dean asked him the question. “Bubba,” he said, “How much is three times seven?”

Bubba looked up at the ceiling and then down at his shoes, pondering the question. He fidgeted, shifted from foot to foot, and started to sweat.

The students began chanting, “Graduate him anyway! Graduate him anyway!”

Then Bubba held up his hand and the crowd went silent. Bubba cleared his throat and said, “I think I know the answer. Three times seven is twenty-one.”

A hush fell over the auditorium.

Then the students began another chant. “Give him another chance!”

“Give him another Chance!”

Comment by steve1 06.04.14 @ 3:23 pm

@Steve1 -good one!

Go Rangers!

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 06.04.14 @ 3:56 pm

I don’t get it.

Comment by Jeff 06.04.14 @ 4:14 pm

@Steve, hilarious. A small critique though. Couldn’t you have substituted WVU for Ole Miss??

@Jeff, you’re kidding, right?

Comment by Dan 06.04.14 @ 4:20 pm

Here’s the film on Henderson. Looks like he’s got decent speed, some good length, and he’s pretty physical for a corner. Good hands too. I also saw he carries a 3.8 GPA and a 21 ACT. Solid Paul Chryst recruit. Smart, tough, dependable. Welcome to the team Malik!

link to hudl.com

Comment by Atlanta Panther 06.04.14 @ 4:31 pm

Darn, Dan, yes I goofed. You sound like my wife!

Comment by steve1 06.04.14 @ 5:10 pm

Nice to get a Fla DB. Not surprised he is a good student. That seems to be the philosophy now. He committed without a visit, so he must have really been sold on the coaches involved in his recruitment.

Comment by Iron Duke 06.04.14 @ 6:53 pm

And he’s also a Steeler fan:

link to pittsburgh.sportswar.com

Comment by Iron Duke 06.04.14 @ 6:56 pm

McDonald’s the vendor at the Staples Center?

Rangers in five.

Comment by steve1 06.04.14 @ 7:03 pm

Unfortunately @Steve1 that joke has already been served up….and I doubt you will like the school they choose to make the joke about..

link to mbd.scout.com

Comment by opitt 06.04.14 @ 9:04 pm

This guy is a consensus 2 star recruit another project. Pitt has recruited poorly and it shows on the field. This guy will be lucky to see the field by 2016, too many projects on the entire roster. Looks like another 6 or 7 win season, mediocre. Pitt is a top 35 to 40 program under Chryst and talent wins games we have some but not enough.

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat!! 06.04.14 @ 9:39 pm

First off, he is not a consensus 2 star (3 star in Scout) … and Pitt is, at best, a Top 35 to 40 program, and has been since 09. Live with it!

I do suspect, howevere, that the program will be a bit better with stability …. like 7 to 9 win seasons

Comment by wbb 06.05.14 @ 7:12 am

Correction .. he is a 3-star in 247

link to 247sports.com

Comment by wbb 06.05.14 @ 7:14 am

opitt — Thanks for that enjoyable link. I love how the guy explaining the joke, nit7777, says “Thus, instead of insulting Pitt for a dumb **** QB, the insult is too the entire student body.”

Ummmm…maybe you mean “to the entire student body” Mr proud PedState alum!! Ha ha ha…joke’s on you…priceless.

Comment by Hank the Tank 06.05.14 @ 10:52 am

McKillop should have been given a full time job and send a couple of great grandfathers on the staff back into retirement.

Comment by PittMan 06.11.14 @ 8:23 am

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