January 8, 2016

Annexing Canada

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:51 pm

I had no choice. I tried to type something simple, like, “Matt Canada Hired as New OC.” But it went through the Mandatory Wordplay Headline Generator  and came out as “Pitt Fans Prepping to Blame Canada.” Another simple explanatory headline on his joining the coaching staff came out as, “Canada Invades Pitt.” So, embrace the bad wordplay and all it entails.

Almost as soon as the surprising announcement of Matt Canada being fired from NC State less than a week ago, the possibility of Canada becoming Pitt’s OC made a lot of sense. There was some prior history between Canada and Head Coach Pat Narduzzi on the Northern Illinois University staff for a couple of years. Canada has a solid rep as an OC, and his offensive style meshes with what Narduzzi wants. Add in the fact that Canada was not just a power 5 OC, but one within the ACC.


June 25, 2015

I knew Pitt had a lot of players getting some off-season surgery, but I didn’t know it was this many.

[Pitt Coach Jamie] Dixon, who has three players out with surgeries and at least five others recovering from previous surgeries or nagging injuries, said the changes to NCAA rules also played a part in the decision.

“The rules have changed to where you could only have two players from one college team on each of the summer league teams,” Dixon said. “That sort of made it difficult with only so many Division I players available to have the kind of competitive league you are looking for.

“Hopefully, it is something we can revisit for next year, but, for this year, it just didn’t seem like it was going to be able to work out.”

Josh Newkirk earlier followed by James Robinson and incoming transfer, Sterling Smith, recently had off-season surgies.


April 23, 2015

New AD Today?

Filed under: Athletic Department,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:47 am

Yesterday was the ACC football coaches teleconference. Coach Pat Narduzzi was asked about the possibility of the Backyard Brawl returning. This was based on comments made by WVU’s new AD speaking on the topic.

Narduzzi gave the standard type of answer. Respecting the history. Speaking positively of such a game

“Obviously, you love to have those rivalries, and West Virginia is a great team in a great conference,” Narduzzi said. “We want to play the best. So we’re always going to schedule some of the best opponents we can and really embrace future and past rivalries.”

…but making no commitment.

“That’s something the new AD will have to answer,” Narduzzi said Wednesday. “We will have those conversations when he gets here and with chancellor (Patrick) Gallagher, as well.

I don’t know if its related, but there have been lots of tweets and rumors that Pitt will be announcing the new AD today. Not sure one way or another, but since we are nearing the start of the dead time, why not?

Open thread on the AD stuff. Hopefully there will be real news.

And if not, there is the topic of the Backyard Brawl and the non-con. On the matter, I can’t help but think that it would be nice to have some sort of round-robin in the non-con. A way to rotate partners for the schedule. Say, Syracuse and Pitt from the ACC with PSU and  WVU. Rotate home-and-homes with each. As much as I prefer the idea of annually battling the Nits, I like the Brawl. It’s good to have hate.

February 11, 2015

Say this for Chancellor Gallagher. He knows football still drives everything. Pitt announced its search committee for a new Athletic Director. There are 14 members and a search firm to boot.

Members of the search committee are:

Randy Juhl: Search Committee Chairperson; Vice Chancellor; Acting Athletic Director; Distinguished Service Professor of Pharmacy

Dave DeJong:   Vice Provost, Academic Planning and Resources Management; Senate Athletics Committee; Chair, Student Athletes Admissions Advisory Committee; Professor of Economics

Al Novak: Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

Jay Irrgang: Co-Chair, Senate Athletics Committee; Professor of Orthopedic Surgery

Susan Albrecht: Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR); Student-Athletes Admissions Advisory Committee member; Associate Professor of Nursing

Wendy Meyers: Executive Associate Athletic Director and Athletics Chief Financial Officer

Justin Acierno: Assistant Athletic Director, Ticket Sales and Operations; former Pitt football student-athlete

Jen Tuscano: Assistant Director of Academic Support Services, Academic Counselor

Artie Rowell: President, Pitt Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC); Pitt football student-athlete

Lindsay Offutt: Pitt Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Officer; Pitt gymnastics student-athlete

Alonzo Webb: Pitt Track and Field/Cross Country Head Coach

Suzie McConnell-Serio: Pitt Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Bryant Salter:   Pitt Board of Trustees; former Pitt football student-athlete

James Covert:  Pitt Board of Trustees; former Pitt football student-athlete

There are three former and one present member of the football team.

The search firm that will help the committee is DHR International. Specifically, Glenn Sugiyama, Global Head of Sports, and Pat Richter, Executive Vice President, Education and Sports Practice.

Artie Rowell is just building one hell of a resume even before he leaves Pitt.

Neither Jamie Dixon or Pat Narduzzi are on the search committee. I’m sure they will have input and their opinions will be solicited, but not direct influence on the search.

Reports are that Pitt has had as slew of applicants with the majority being sitting ADs.

I really don’t expect them to have a new AD in place until at least June.

January 14, 2015

Before the trying to pretend he didn’t know anything about his players exchanging gear for tattoos and other services, Jim Tressel was consistently getting outstanding recruiting classes to Columbus. His recruiting coordinator for much of that time was John Peterson.

A former Ohio State offensive lineman. He had been climbing the coaching ranks as a OL Coach. First at Akron (1995-98), then at Miami (Ohio) under Terry Hoeppner until 2003. Then he was  hired to be the O-line coach at Arizona. That changed quickly when his alma mater came calling in the spring. Tressel hired him to be the recruiting coordinator and TE Coach at OSU.


January 12, 2015

Strong Move on OC

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 7:07 am

I’ll be throwing up an open thread for the college football playoff championship game tonight. If for no other reason, everyone can wax rhapsodic over the analysis, insight and way Pat Narduzzi sells Pitt in the ESPN Film Room on ESPN2.

In the mean time, I guess we can pour over the news of Pitt’s new offensive coordinator. His name is Jim Chaney and he has been the Arkansas OC for the past two years.

Chaney spent the past two years with the Razorbacks, calling plays in their pro-style offense. This year, Arkansas ranked 26th in Division I-A with 218 rushing yards per game. He had two running backs surpass 1,000 yards in Jonathan Williams (1,190 yards) and Alex Collins (1,100 yards).

By the end of the season, Arkansas’ offense put up more than 30 points on top-30 defenses Texas and Mississippi. The Razorbacks scored 30 on the Rebels, who ended the season with Division I-A’s best scoring defense.

Arkansas finished the season 42nd in scoring offense, averaging 31.9 points per game.

Narduzzi said Saturday he prefers an offensive coordinator with play-calling experience, and Chaney fills that requirement. The move should also ensure a relatively smooth transition, as Chaney’s offense appears to be relatively similar to the one the Panthers ran under former coach Paul Chryst.

There were reportedly issues by the end of the year with Arkansas Head Coach Brett Bielema and Chaney. Chaney wanted a more balanced offensive attack, while Bielema wants to just run the football. So, from that standpoint the move for Chaney makes sense as HCPN has stated he does not want to meddle with the OC and play calling.


January 9, 2015

The names have been floating out there for a couple days. I’m sure many have been getting antsy about Head Coach Pat Narduzzi naming a staff. Especially since during the Armed Forces Bowl, he indicated he hoped to name the assistants and coordinators by about today.

Instead, it was very quiet and no real concrete — or even vaguely sure — info on who would be on the staff. Something that P-G beat writer, Sam Werner addressed in his weekly chat.

Comment From KatPanther13: Has local media lost all of their connections in the Athletic Department/Football team? None of you have any scoops PG, Trib, Local Broadcast News, what’s up man?

Sam Werner: Believe me, I wish I had more information to give you regarding the coaching staff. Not as an excuse, but Pitt’s leadership is in a great state of flux right now. A new chancellor came in August, and they’re in the midst of a transition at athletic director. That means that a lot of people who used to be in the loop aren’t necessarily anymore, and people might be less willing to talk because the future of the athletic department is a little more unsettled.

Pitt has always been very hard to crack when it comes to leaks and movement. (more…)

December 29, 2014

A little more than a week ago, the anticipation on the head coach hire was strongly leaning towards the idea that Pitt was going to get an experienced head coach. That turned out not to be the case, but for my own amusement I find it worth reviewing some of the names that may or may not have been legitimately linked to the Pitt job. And why they didn’t happen.

Not included are guys that really (or likely) were interviewed like Doc Holliday, P.J. Fleck and Justin Fuente. All three signed extensions, but the extensions were aided either because Pitt showed interest or had already talked to them and they knew there was no chance.


December 26, 2014

Open Thread: Welcome Narduzzi

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 3:29 pm

Once more into the introductory press conference, dear friends. Once more.

Pat Narduzzi will be introduced in a few minutes as Pitt’s newest football head coach. Here’s the link for the live stream of the presser.

I look forward to believing.


December 24, 2014

Per Joe Schad, Narduzzi has signed his contract.

Pat Narduzzi has agreed to become Pittsburgh’s next head coach. Narduzzi was def. coordinator at Michigan St. for 8 years. (via @schadjoe)

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 24, 2014

Paul Zeise reports the press conference will be Friday. Now that this has settled, the next step is filling out the staff. MSU SBnation writer Hondo Carpenter has tweeted out some great nuggets on that and the two best recent nuggets are after the jump. (more…)

December 23, 2014

…Well, that Tom Bradley hiring comes to mind. Whoops. Bad example.

I’m not saying that Pat Narduzzi will be the next head coach for Pitt football. I am, however, trying to determine the appropriate shortening of his last name as a nickname. Is it “the Nard,” “Nardy,” “Duzz (pronounced doo-zz)” or “Duzzi?”


December 22, 2014

No News Is… No News

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:05 am

Not a lot of concrete information.

Here are the basics:

— We know Michigan State DC Pat Narduzzi has been in for an interview. He has also interviewed with Colorado State (who has been without an AD since firing him back in August). Folks up in East Lansing think he only leaves for Pitt.

— Doc Holliday, Marshall’s head caoch, has probably/possibly been interviewed. Amusingly here’s a story where the columnist tries to rationalize why Holliday wouldn’t want the Pitt job.

— The players have been supportive of Paul Chryst going to Wisconsin. Amazing how being mostly up front with people and not feeding lies to their face can make a difference. The players have made their case to the powers that be in favor of the still OC Joe Rudolph becoming the next head coach.


December 20, 2014

What Constitutes “Go Big”

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

When I saw the 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.


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.


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…)

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