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December 20, 2014

What Constitutes “Go Big”

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 6:43 am

When I saw the FootballScoop.com story, I cringed. Not because I didn’t want Pitt to aim high. Not because I don’t think they couldn’t get a really good coach.

Simply because a story like that sets up disappointment and ridicule. Because when you look around the college football landscape, there aren’t that many realistic “go big” options for a head coach.

The landscape has changed. Fewer coaches are just chasing a big paycheck. The money gets absurd at the higher levels, but to some degree it flattens out. Coaches are looking as much at sustainability and the long-term.

The Dan Mullen thing has gone nowhere. Well, not quite nowhere. It seems to have just gone away. And after that?

That creates the question of what it means to “go big.” The story suggested a big name coach, and reasonably, most people seeing that phrase would think the same.

Yet outside of Dan Mullen, who is there that could fit the bill and is someone Pitt could legitimately hire away? I mean without going the route of the rumored “Godfather” offer from Michigan to Jim Harbaugh. Florida, which had once gone out and grabbed Urban Meyer, this time had to take Jim McElwain from Colorado State as the best option available in 2014.

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December 19, 2014

Going Big Or Not

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 10:35 am

I guess new Chancellor Gallegher is looking to make a huge mark early in his Pitt tenure. The “mutual” decision for Steve Pederson to resign wasn’t enough, the coaching search is going to take on mythic proportions.

Multiple industry sources told FootballScoop today that Pitt’s chancellor plans to “go big” with this hire.

We were told that Pitt plans to invest heavily in the program both in terms of dedication to staffing and to facilities and operations. Two sources said “significant new commitment to the program” will be announced in connection with the upcoming announcement once a new head coach comes on board.

Sources tell us not to expect Pitt to hire a coordinator. “Their initial list is all current and former head coaches.”

The name that came up — in no small part thanks to Fox Sports college football writer Bruce Feldman — is Dan Mullen. The current Mississippi State head coach. That would constitute a “go big” hire.

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Know Your Candidate: Doc Holliday

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Justin @ 10:34 am

One candidate that has stuck around as a potential head coach is Marshall’s Doc Holliday. While no name can be considered confirmed, the amount of smoke leads me to believe there’s a fire there. I do think the smoke is coming from Holliday’s camp and some of that desire is to stick it to WVU for not hiring him over Bill Stewart after Rich Rodriguez left.

Hates WVU? Check! (Not really, he’s a WVU grad, just roll with it) (more…)

December 18, 2014

The Day After

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Hire/Fire,Rumors — Justin @ 10:26 am

As the dust settles on one of the most eventful days Pitt Football has had in a long time, reflection feels unnecessary. The removal of Steve Pederson as Athletic Director was just as much about the future of Pitt as it was the past. While the questionable decisions of his tenure will never be fully vetted, the future suddenly looks a little brighter. Pitt Football looks ready to take a step up. The status quo was no longer acceptable to Chancellor Gallagher. The hope Dave Wannstedt brought when he promised a return to prominence doesn’t seem crazy anymore. While the who, how, when, and if are still up in the air, at least the questions feel like there could be an answer soon. (more…)

December 17, 2014

Time To Really Look

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:04 am

So Wisconsin has a press conference set for 6pm Central Time (7pm for those of us in the East) this evening.

Bastards. Just happens to be the same time Pitt tips against Manhattan, and I would always rather be focused on an actual game than all the other stuff.

On the bright side, there is no surprise at this point. No abrupt departure or hastily arranged press conferences. This has been the week-long build since Gary Andersen stunned Badgers everywhere by making the move to Oregon State.

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December 16, 2014

Just A Matter of Time

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:00 am

That’s what it feels like right now. Just waiting for the Wednesday deadline so the mandated charade can be ended.

Oh, Paul Chryst was down in Fort Worth for a couple hours to plug the Armed Forces Bowl. Ostensibly to promote the game and try and sell tickets. The press conference, however, had no live stream (or recording for later) and no transcript was available. Man, even Birmingham was better prepared than this.

Still in a bowl game that will likely have two interim coaches running the show, perhaps no real record is for the best.

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December 14, 2014

Just Say NO

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 11:32 am

As we wait for Wednesday and ultimately whether Paul Chryst returns to Madison, there is no way not to speculate on who could get the job.

That means listing possibilities. Listing pros and cons and all that. That’s boring after a while. And let’s face it, it is done by so many. So, in an effort to shake things up, I’m just going to list some of the names that get tossed out there that should not be allowed anywhere near the Pitt head coaching job.

These are just some of the bad calls that should be met with eye rolls and a dismissive wave.

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December 13, 2014

Justin had the run down/recap of where things stand. It’s… weird. And a bit uncomfortable.

We were all certain Chryst was gone yesterday morning. Now we are mostly certain. Thanks to the job posting laws for what is ostensibly a state job in Wisconsin, the hiring of Chryst can’t happen until at least Wednesday, December 17 — Happy Hanukkah everyone. (Yes, I know it starts the evening before but it is the first full day so roll with it.)

That means Chryst and Pitt is in a weird place. Pitt can’t fire him, because then they lose whatever buyout remains on his originial five-year deal. Not to mention, they can’t take the chance that somehow the Wisconsin thing falls through and suddenly they have to keep paying Chryst.

Conversely, Chryst can’t really resign because he doesn’t really have a job yet. He may have assurances and belief that the Wisconsin job is his, but there is nothing smart about giving up the present job until is a reality. So both sides have to pretend that the status quo is as it was a week prior. Even if everyone just wants a quick resolution so things can move forward.

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December 12, 2014

It has been a crazy day. I woke up to text messages, Facebook posts, and tweets that all say Chryst is gone. While this is still the likely scenario, there’s a tinge of hope. Let’s go over some facts of what we know:

  1. Chryst is a candidate for the Wisconsin job and at worst the leader for the job. Most reports indicate the job is his if he accepts if he hasn’t already.
  2. Wisconsin cannot formally announce a hire until Wednesday due to some legal job posting rule, so no formal announcement can occur until then.
  3. Chryst met with Chancellor Gallagher and only Gallagher today. Pederson was not a party in this meeting.
  4. Chryst attended practice today with the team and a meeting was held before. At this meeting he did not tell the team he was leaving.
  5. Jordan Whitehead said he’s still committed to Pitt. This isn’t relevant to any of the above other than THANK YOU BABY JESUS!!!

Take all of that in. What could it all mean? (more…)

And so it seems the era of Chryst ends with the balance and even keel he preached. A 19-19 record after three years. Perfect balance.

I can’t be particularly angry at Chryst for choosing to go back to his alma mater. His state. Where all his ties are. I can be pissed at everything else around it, but not the decision.

It’s just hard to believe that with such “meh” results, Pitt is staring at yet another coaching search. I had hoped that if the program had to start looking this soon it would be because of success. Not Wisconsin giving Pitt a run for its dysfunction.

Technically it is not official. Yet, it seems to be all but. Paul Chryst will leave Pitt and return to Wisconsin.

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December 10, 2014

The Wisconsin Thing

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire,Rumors — Chas @ 9:03 pm

Last week Nebraska surprised everyone with the hire of Mike Riley from Oregon State to replace Bo Pelini. That was a stunner no one saw coming. That is until late this afternoon when Oregon State hired Dave Andersen from Wisconsin.

Now, Wisconsin has to hire a new coach and Paul Chryst sits right smack dab in the middle of the speculation.

Just as it made sense for speculating on him when Bielema left for Arkansas two years, ago it still holds true today. A native of Wisconsin. Lots of ties to the AD and the school itself. And in much the same way Ohio State fans held Walt Harris in higher esteem than many Pitt fans did after a time, Wisconsin fans still hold Paul Chryst in a semi-revered status for his work as an OC.

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Pressure For All In 2015, Part 1

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 8:41 am

That Pitt rallied enough to finish 6-6 and gets to play in a minor bowl is a bit of a positive. At the same time, it can’t be said that this was a good season. It wasn’t a debacle — though, it sure came close — but it was a definite step back. How much of a step back is really one that won’t be settled until next year.

When Pitt was sitting at 4-6, it was looking with a high degree of certainty that Pitt would finish the year having taken a big step backwards. With an easier schedule, Pitt was performing worse and it showed in the wins and losses.

The season felt over before Thanksgiving. Pitt would probably beat Syracuse, but going down to Miami seemed like a waste at that point. Pitt football was remaining in the doldrums.

A bit from USA Today writer Dan Wolken from his weekly Misery Index on Pitt at that point probably summed up the fears/feelings growing in a lot of fans.

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December 3, 2014

The Price of Stability

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire,Rumors — Chas @ 8:03 pm

You would think with a career coaching record of 19-19; coming off a 6-6 season — again; home losses to Youngstown State and Akron on the resume; and a recruiting style best described as laid back, that Paul Chryst would not be in the annual coaching carousel discussion for December 2014.

And but for one big red N, that would be true. There are plenty of rumors and ruminations all day that Nebraska at the very least has interest in talking to Chryst.

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November 24, 2014

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

POSITIVES

1.  Any RB not named James Conner, again. What a great supporting cast at RB we have. Conner gets a hip pointer and is pulled after tying the ACC TD record and chasing hard after Famous Tony Dorsett’s record and our running game doesn’t skip a beat.  We were up against a Syracuse defense that wasn’t too bad against the run (139 ypg & 30th nationally) and pretty much had our way with the.  True FR Chris James was the lead horse but the other two RBs certainly chipped in when needed.  The box score reads like this:

James: 19-122, 6.4ypc;  Bennett: 11-75, 6,8 ypc;  Ibrahim: 3-23, 7.7 ypc.  When you have three backs that average above  6.4 ypc over the course of 33 carries both the backs and the OL are clicking.

Bennett had a nice 9 yard ramble on a 2nd & 3 yards play that got us a 1st down and led directly to Voytik’s TD pass to Ford to make it 17-0 and an easier game to play. But all three of those guys had very nice running skills and are a mixture of some power, Bennett and James particularly and shiftiness (all three).

We all want Conner healthy and able to set some records of his own against Miami this week but it helps us fans to know that we have some pretty reliable backs behind him.  I thought earlier this season that if Conner had gone down with an injury it would be a loss but we would also have the OL and the RBs to still mount a successful rushing game.  Glad that it didn’t happen for many reason and on is that having Conner behind Voytik has allowed this staff to bring Voytik along slowly and that has paid dividends in the second half of this season.

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November 22, 2014

PITT 30 – Syracuse 7

Filed under: Coaches,Football — Reed @ 8:22 pm

Can we talk about this like adults?  ( I just heard that for the first time in 33 years of marriage and thought I’d share).

Hey, we played a football game today against a long time rival and won convincingly. Let’s devote at least some time to it.

Defense played well, offense was efficient and there were enough weird plays for us PITT fans to debate .

Personally I think 5-6 sounds a lot better than 4-7.  We actually have a shot at a post-season game based on Paul Chryst’s personality – you know that the bowl game sponsors are dying to get him for their event, he’ll put butts in the seats for sure!!

So what say you?

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