Jan 2 (Tue) 9:00 PMACC at LouisvilleLouisville, KYTV: ESPNURadio: 93.7 The Fan
Let’s not kid ourselves here – there was an flung wide open door for Josh Conklin to walk through on his way to Wofford College. A Defensive Coordinator at a Power 5 school doesn’t jump down in professional status unless there is a pressing need to do so. Make no mistake about it, dropping to the HC position in the FCS Southern Conference isn’t a bright spot on any coach’s resume’ in this day and age.
As anyone who has been in the position of firing an executive knows there are many ways to do it so the departing can save face. One way is to sit him down and say ‘Look, it isn’t working here so find a job ASAP so we can say you left on your own volition, if not we’ll let you go in 30 days” (or whatever). In college ball that is usually done before all the National Coaches Conferences are held as those are the meet and greet venues for job hunting for staff and assistant coaches.
And truth be told it should have happened at least a year ago; I would have preferred before the 2016 season if I had my choice – which I don’t, but as you all know I was damned vocal about wanting it to happen. I believe the ‘pat on the back and thank you for your service note’ to Conklin was done for two reasons…
First because Pat Narduzzi realized that lightning only strikes few and far between and he had that happen with an amazing record-setting offense in 2016. Put that in perspective – Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Curtis Martin, etc… were all great offensive players at Pitt yet we set offensive records in ’16. It was a once in a career year for some head coaches.
That happened because after his initial season as HC at Pitt, and coming of a truly not so bad defense he had the pieces in place, especially at QB with Nate Peterman, at RB with James Conner returning and a very talented and experienced offensive line to make some serious points show up on the scoreboard.
Following his initial 8-5 season, which is a great start for any HC let alone a Pitt HC, he was poised to possibly break the double-digit win ceiling – as long as his defense progressed to learning how to stop the other team from also scoring huge points. But that didn’t happened and Conklin’s defense dropped to the horrible level.
It was as big a missed opportunity as I have seen in all the years I have been following Pitt football.