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April 14, 2014

It seems assistant basketball coach Barry Rohrssen has been the rumored target to replace Orlando Antigua on John Calipari’s Kentucky bench. Granted it has been a slow week-long rumble, but everyone is presuming it will happen (and thank you KSR comment kids for demonstrating that Kentucky fans have little basketball knowledge outside their own team).

For Rohrssen it is almost a no-brainer. Kentucky is a blue-blood job with huge exposure. No, John Calipari assistants haven’t had the greatest success rates, but they get opportunities. Rohrssen obviously wants another crack at being a head coach. His odds increase being on a staff like Kentucky  This may shock some, but the money may have very little to do with it.

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February 20, 2014

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.

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February 14, 2014

Interesting.

The move to hire Troy Douglas as Defensive Backs Coach was made official. But with it, a little bit of adjusting to the coaching duties.

Chryst also streamlined positional assignments for Pitt’s defensive staff. In addition to coordinating the defense, Matt House will work with the linebackers. Chris Haering will coach the outside linebackers and serve as special teams coordinator. On the defensive line, Inoke Breckterfield will continue to coach the tackles and John Palermo will focus on the ends.

Chryst additionally announced that Desmond Robinson, who served as player personnel director this past season, will not be returning to Pitt’s staff.

Question. When did “streamline” become popular verbiage in football circles? Living in the Cleveland area I couldn’t help but absorb the Browns-Jimmy Haslam stuff this week. Haslam kept emphasizing the front office being streamlined. There was one position eliminated (CEO spot held by Joe Banner). Two people fired, but only one position eliminated.

Now Pitt has “streamlined” essentially be completing the phase out of Desmond Robinson. Otherwise, I’m not seeing “streamlined.”

Sorry, bit of a tangent but this was bothering me.

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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.

Coachingsearch.com 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 ESPN.com 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.

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February 7, 2014

The other side of the coin on signing day is that within days afterwards you see assistant and especially position coaches fired or move on to another job. Those that stay through signing day are the ones that have key relationships with recruits and the head coach doesn’t want to have anything change at the last minute.

But after signing day…

Rumors about WR Coach Bobby Engram swirled on signing day. That he was one of three candidates for the WR Coach with the Baltimore Ravens. Naturally Head Coach Paul Chryst claimed not to know anything about it when asked at the signing day press conference. The question had to be asked, even if the non-denial was fully expected.

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January 8, 2014

The Unqualified Hire

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 10:00 pm

It is permissible to like Paul Chryst as a coach at Pitt and still hate hiring decisions. That is the state I find myself once again this offseason.

Ross Kolodziej, who played seven years in the National Football League following a distinguished collegiate career at Wisconsin, has been named head football strength and conditioning coach at Pitt, it was announced by Coach Paul Chryst today.

Kolodziej (pronounced ka-la-gee) was promoted to the post after serving the Panthers as an assistant strength and conditioning coach this past season.

I said it on Monday that this would be a bad hire, based purely on his resume.

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Morning, everyone. The deep freeze may be coming to an end but a third day of no school for the kids further disrupts life.

Amidst the hoopla for the last BCS Championship game, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) released their Freshman All-American Team.

Tyler Boyd made the squad, so one more accolade for him and this Pitt squad.

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January 6, 2014

Okay. You may be ready to panic and scream if you saw this:

KolodziejS&C

CoachingSearch.com doesn’t do permalinks, so it is in their ticker for today.

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In theory, there might be a reason to tell a commit that if he is making the commitment, then he should not still be taking recruiting trips to other schools. This despite the fact that a verbal commitment is non-binding. One of those reasons might be a promise by the coach of the program not to recruit any more players at the same position.  A show of good faith by both sides.

But when you are  a program getting ready to leap from the Big East to the Big Ten. When you are a coach that has seen strained relations with your local recruits and some of the coaches in the area. You might want to be a little more flexible.

Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood is not that kind of flexible. It has cost him a few de-commits this year with his belief that recruits need to shut down visits even as he keeps recruiting others. Back in November, that cost him Adonis Jennings.

Pitt was the source of the rift then, as Jennings took an unofficial visit to Pitt for the Notre Dame-Pitt game. Pitt was the final beneficiary last night.

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January 1, 2014

New Changes In Happy Valley

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 11:46 pm

Yes, we all know that Bill O’Brien has left Penn State after two years.

Yes, this was a devastating piece on some of the things behind his departure by David Jones. Penn State has a particularly virulent,  nasty and visible group that has been able to gain extra influence. At the same time there is no major (and most minor ones) college program that doesn’t have a batshit crazy wing of fans/boosters. It’s really only a question of how much noise and influence they have.

Those are Penn State’s problems. How they deal or ignore their problems are something about which I don’t care to waste my time.

As a Pitt fan my concern is purely about self-interest.

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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.

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December 20, 2013

And no, this has nothing to do with Fraud Graham.

Pitt has shed it’s strength and conditioning coach.

Strength and conditioning coach Todd Rice has resigned from his position, a Pitt spokesman confirmed tonight. Rice spent the last two years as Pitt’s head strength and conditioning coach, and previously held the same title at N.C. State, Boston College and Cal.

Pitt did not provide a reason for the resignation, and said that it will hire a full-time replacement some time after Jan. 1.

Most of the reviews I heard from current and former players about Rice were not necessarily glowing, and Pitt dealt with a spate of back injuries (usually, though not always, indicative of a conditioning issue) along the offensive line. Left guard Cory King and left tackle Adam Bisnowaty both missed multiple games with back injuries this season.

Not glowing reviews. That may be putting it mildly considering the first source that put out word that Rice was out.

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Defense Under Pressure

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 8:24 am

Even before the recruiting miss yesterday there was going to be pressure on Matt House and the defense. There was the Miami game to end the season.

The defense allowed the same amount of points it surrendered in the opener against Florida State, a team that advanced to the national championship game.

Miami is good, but far from the Seminoles’ caliber, and the poor performance could be seen as an indication of a lack of progress on Pitt’s defense this season.

“I feel like we got embarrassed out there,” Donald said of an effort in which Pitt (6-6) allowed five touchdowns and 476 yards of total offense in its 12th game.

“Could be seen as an indication of a lack of progress?” Could be?

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December 19, 2013

No Luck With Nicholson

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 3:07 pm

Defensive back Montae Nicholson. A 4-star stud that Pitt really needed for the secondary opted for Michigan State today. If it wasn’t for the loss of Dravon Henry, I probably wouldn’t be too upset. Losing two potential big-time players from your own backyard. At a position you know will need help very soon. That isn’t good.

In Nicholson’s case, there was the extra knife twisting that he mentioned that his final two were Michigan State and Florida State.

I can’t fault a defensive player for choosing Michigan State. They play a hellacious defense and it is a huge emphasis. But it is impossible not to be disappointed.

And along with that disappointment, the urge to cast blame.

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November 30, 2013

When you spot a good opponent 14 points and you miss an easy FG, you won’t win many games. Those mistakes gave Miami a 17 point cushion and the final was only a 10 point difference. It’d be infuriating if it wasn’t so common. For some reason, this program likes to start games slow then try to crawl back. Unfortunately, they just aren’t good enough to do that. Maybe in a year or two they will be, but not yet. There were some positives and many negatives, but let’s look at both. (more…)

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