I’ll start with this, not because I live in the South and it’s relevant to me, but because I think it nicely illustrates the point that no matter what happens with this OC search, and the Pitt team in general, there are going to be some fans that are unhappy.  That’s just a fact of life.


Of course I’m pretty sure all of these tweets are in jest, but with Crimson Tide fans you just never know.  A six pack of Busch + a couple of generations of too-close cousins + a cut-rate Android phone can make just about any night of the week interesting on the Twitter.

Okay on to more relevant Pitt Business.  If you haven’t heard, Pitt is searching for a new Offensive Coordinator.  This is arguably the second-most important coaching position on the staff and it’s kind of a big deal.

So what do we know so far?

There have been no concrete rumors, other than than a certain Matt Canada tidbit.  I think Brian Batko summed it up best in his recent football chat transcript:

SOMD Panther: Any updates on the new Head Coach of the Offense? 
Brian Batko: Are you asking if it will become one of those endowed positions, like the University of Pittsburgh Ron Cook Coordinator of Offense? I picked him because he seems to often be offensive to Pitt fans.

The only name I know for sure has had interest is Matt Canada, Part Deux. I know this because our very own Joe Starkey said it on his radio show yesterday afternoon. But it’s still unclear how much interest there is from either side of that equation, and I wonder if even Canada and Pat Narduzzi themselves quite know how interested each one is just yet. As I wrote earlier this week, it might be something of an awkward marriage for those two to get back together, but from a football perspective, it makes all the sense in the world to me.

It makes sense for me too.  Primarily because Watson was supposedly forced to keep Canada’s offensive terminology in place and adapt his playbook, instead of installing a third offense in three years.  (Noteworthy:  DC Phil Bennet also did this during the Wannstadt years, with much better success).  So you would think that there would be some instant upside next year if Canada and Narduzzi were to figure something out.

At the very least Canada is able to connect with Tight Ends

Of course the knock on Canada is that he’s got happy feet…

screen shot 2019-01-10 at 9.14.33 pm

PSN tells us that Canada did turn down a second stint at this Alma Mater (Indiana) reportedly due to lack of control over his assistants, and that he is “very much interested in the job and would love to return to Pitt, but would wants to be a head coach in the future”.

Which begs the question…is Canada holding out for the coveted NIU head coaching job?  (Which is still vacant at the time this article was written…)

Time will tell.

Speaking of time, if MC does come back, any tenure longer than one year should be considered a bonus (no matter how big the buyout…)

Another name that has surfaced is Toldeo’s Brian Wright, who presided over the nation’s 30th ranked offense last year (9th if you go by points scored).  There seems to be a fair amount of trepidation from the Pitt fanbase around hiring someone from ahem the Mid American Conference, but I will remind the good people of Pittsburgh that their third-favorite-quarterback-of-all-time (after Bradshaw and Marino of course) was also recruited from the MAC (I’m talking about Ben Roethlisberger here).   Ahem indeed.  I’ll also remind them that two of the four active coaches who have won national championships coached in the MAC (Saban and Meyer)…well technically Meyer is no longer active, but you get the idea.

The nice thing about Wright is that it appears that he is more than a one-trick pony.  From the Toledo Athletic Website:

Brian Wright is in his third season as the Rockets’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Under Wright’s guidance, UT has been at or near the top of the Mid-American Conference in virtually every offensive category in each of the past three years, with numerous school records falling in the process.

Additionally Mr. Wright (as opposed to Mr Wrong I suppose…) was also nominated for the Broyles Award in 2017, just a year after our own Matt Canada received the very same nomination.  Wright’s offenses at Toledo have never been ranked less than 19th in points scored, but it’s fair to point out that he did inherit a pretty strong offensive program.  Toledo averaged 34 points per game the four years prior to Wright taking the reins, and they averaged 38 points per game after Wright took over.  Assuming his immediate hire would add +4 points to Pitt’s per-game average (just like it did at Toledo), that would put us up to 29.6 PPG, which would have netted +2 wins if we could have achieved that in 2018 (UNC and Stanford).

Of course if Wright was interested, he probably would have been hired by now…

A possible third name (or it could also have been Wright) has been surfaced by Jim Hammet at Rivals.  It’s insider stuff, and I haven’t gotten around to signing up yet, but here is the link.  Out of professional courtesy for the good people at Pantherlair, I’ll ask you not to spill the beans if you are a member.

After that it’s all pure conjecture.

There is a random tweet that Pitt is ready to pony up…(apologies if you are on this board…makes it less random I suppose)

screen shot 2019-01-10 at 9.47.25 pm

There is a previous potential candidate who is no longer available…

screen shot 2019-01-10 at 9.49.54 pm

There is some pure speculation from Cardiac Hill...

I’ll admit there are a couple of interesting names on the Cardiac Hill list that I haven’t sen before, so kudos to author Mike Wilson for doing his homework.

There are also some other names circulating out there, but none with any credence… Mark Magino (shudder), Tee Martin (meh), Mike Uremovich (WTF?).

All I know for sure is that Narduzzi has historically taken his time on these types of things…or at least taken his time announcing them.  So don’t hold your breath Pitt fans, it could be a while.

Hail to Pitt


179 thoughts on “The OC Search

  1. I nominate Reed. He knows his QBs! šŸ‘

    Seriously, we really need a splash hire to get some excitement going for spring ball and next season.

    The pressure is on Coach Duzz…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Okay, if Iā€™m Coach Duzz Iā€™d interview a ton of OC candidates. Iā€™d pick their brains with a bunch of questions. Like if weā€™re getting a heavy pass rush against us, what can you do with play designs and play calls to slow it down?

    If the QB has itchy feet, how can you fix that? How can we incorporate very tall but somewhat lumbering tight ends in the pass game.

    How do you coach rollout passes that have the potential to gain more than 3 yards? Whatā€™s the secret to a good deep passing game?

    I want Coach Duzz to get these answers for his own edification so that whoever he hires, we donā€™t have to see more of what Coach Watson was doing… Take good notes, Coach.

    Go Pitt.


  3. MM, thank you for continuing the fine work that Reed always produced. I appreciate it. I just saw on the news that Pitt is ending their womens’ tennis program this year, but then read that they are starting a lacrosse program in 2021 or 22 ( I forget which one). Facility-wise, this makes sense. I am continuing to be impressed with the decisions of AD Lyke. H2P!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. BTW… GREAT choice of pic M.

    The one thing is they look like they enjoy each other’s company just a little too much. Don’t know if this is good for the Pitt Football Program in the long run?


    1. Nothing wrong with sharing a laugh on the practice field…in the expanded pic (I cropped it) they are looking at Patā€™s phone I think


  5. Based on the amount of OC changes throughout college football this year it most likely will be someone not mentioned yet.

    Hopefully a guy that had success last year, not several years ago like Watson, Canada.


  6. Joe Rudolph’s name has been mentioned as he might be trying to break from Moose and forge his own identity with new concepts. Not sure if it would be considered a splash hire, but if you wipe away Joe’s loss to Houston in the bowl game then it might not be bad.

    He’s a good recruiter who would be in a region with not a whole lot of players.


    1. he has interviewed for the Temple job. He is a good recruiter but there is no evidence at all that he could develop a great passing game. Not saying that he can’t, just saying that hasn’t.


      1. clarification ā€¦ he interviewed for the HC position at Temple. Not sure why he would trade being an OC at Wisc (his alma mater) unless he wants to come home


        1. He might look to move because he’s running Moose’s dinosaur offense and might want to grow as a signal caller with more spread concepts.


            1. How in the world is that a stretch? Maybe he wants to break clean and run his own offense with new ideas. A coach can’t evolve?


            2. That is quite possible. Iā€™m just saying that going from a power running game to a spread is a stretch. Not saying he doesnā€™t want to evolve… on the other hand, if there is a competent quarterback and O-line involved the Chryst offense works pretty damn well. And there is something to be said to being the master of your craft


      2. He had his chance when originally offered the job, don’t see him making a lateral move. Especially with slim pickings in the WPIAL.


      1. Worst loss this decade for the program. I don’t care if winning meant a 7-6 record, the way that Pitt lost was just pathetic. That Houston team had an interim coach and didn’t even want to be there that day until it converted its first fourth-down play to ignite the comeback down 34-13.


  7. MM. great perspective and humor. Yes, no matter who is hired, some here will like him, others won’t.

    The ideal candidate (1) will be adept in both the running and passing attacks, (2) is a masterful recruiter, (3) is relatively young and very innovative, (4) is willing to take less money than someone of his (or her)qualifications is worth, (5) has never been fired but in fact has a record of increasing productivity, and (6) will stay at Pitt for a long time despite being very successful here and turning down large offers from top SEC or B1G schools which brings in twice the revenue that Pitt does.

    NO PROBLEMO! And if Narduzzi doesn’t find this guy, Heather should axe him or be fired herself.

    It’s simple


  8. Just got around to reading TT’s comments yesterday and need to inject why I think stability is important at Pitt.
    While I agree with him on the game day and day to day coaching, it is the recruiting that has been most hurt by coaching changes. It wouldn’t matter if Narduzzi was a stellar closer, but offensive recruiting has been far inferior as has been evident for the last two years. The opposite was true with Chryst. Maybe this is because both were coordinators before they came here, but since Pitt’s greatest challenge is recruiting more elite players, we need someone that can get that done.

    The successful programs can succeed with Changing Coordinators more often for two reasons, first, they have no problem recruiting the best players and second, they can attract the top coaches every time.

    With Pitt, each new coach is a crap shoot, and the new guy has to play with the hand dealt to him, which is usually not very strong. The exception was Canada, who was handed a full house and knew what to do with it.

    The new guy is going to have to build a brandy new line with inexperienced players. Develop a passing game with a flawed QB or an unknown, an average bunch of receivers, and below average bunch of tight ends.

    He will also have to pick from a group of inexperienced, but hopefully gifted running backs and fullbacks.

    So the reason we need stability is that we need to recruit better players on offense and Narduzzi hasn’t done it, and doesn’t appear able. When you have an OC with one foot out the door, what is his incentive to recruit?

    I think Heather recognizes this and was part of her thinking which precipitated the firing of Watson and Sherman. Neither was a successful recruiter. Not one four star lineman or receiver under their tenure.
    Another highly rated running back and QB are not going to be successful without a line in front of them and receivers and tight ends to throw to.

    Heather has allowed Capel to hire an amazing coaching staff. For whatever reason, Narduzzi need help in this area, I think she is going to give it to him.

    I think Dixon’s demise at Pitt was the downturn in his assistants and poor recruiting, hopefully we learn from History.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks Mike, great article and a few things:

    I suggest to the commenters to not stare at the picture in the header too long….. it’s scary. For some odd reason it reminds me of “The Wizard of Oz”

    It’s interesting to speculate on who may be the next OC but also as to how much Heather had to do with the firing of Watson and the next hiring. Frankly, we just don’t know how much of her hand is in all this? I guess I want her to be involved but I question if she is all that much?

    Meanwhile… I’m still thinking… << from an old Chuck Berry tune….(little queenie)… that this hire could be a splash hire and welcomed among this group of POVer’s?

    I also still think the offer to Canada a couple years back was legitimate and that money will be spent this time around.

    Football and basketball are only common in one aspect, they are both sports. Otherwise they are not very much alike. Comparing Narduzzi and Capel is a little unfair considering the arena they work in and by that, I don’t mean where they play but rather where they stand in their professions. Capel played at Duke, work at Duke, coached at a P-5 school prior to the PITT job where he stumbled upon the Griffen brothers and had a better network to start up at PITT. Plus basketball is far easier to turn a program around in.

    If Heather is knee deep in this hiring process, we can only hope she goes on vacation very soon and plucks out another winner.. C’mon queenies, “Let Get With It”


    1. There are similarities in all sports and how to be successful. Mostly you need star players and good coaching staffs that can get them and coach em up. No doubt football is more difficult because there are more moving parts and it is more expensive.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Gordon Conn (and others) – No offense but that’s too safe an approach to winning. To be successful you have to take risks. You worry about the present. What happens after the season happens and you deal with it then. Pitt fans are a scorned bunch and I think it’s warped reality a bit. Change is good. If our coaches are being poached that means Pitt is successful. The higher up the mountain Pitt gets the less coaches will want to leave but Pitt has to climb the mountain too.

    Replacing coaches doesn’t even affect recruiting too much unless it’s a head coach. And even then, it’s really the initial class because you only have 30 days to close.

    I don’t know why people think Pitt still needs stability. We’re entering year 5 of Duzz. Lol. That’s pretty f’ing stable. It’s not 2011 anymore. Stability is not an issue at Pitt. We have a popular AD in her third year or approaching her third year, a 5 year football head coach and a popular basketball coach.

    Stop worrying about stability. Y’all are making up problems. Pitt’s football problems are because the offense sucked not because of coaching stability.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m not worried about stability, I’m concerned about below the line recruiting on the offensive side.
      Tell me how a new OC every year fixes that. It seems that Narduzzi is a pretty good judge of defensive talent, with young guys having an impact. Not so much on the O.

      Some say it is not the talent but the coaching, one reason two were just fired. With a new coach this year, and all Narduzzi era players, we will see. I just don’t see enough talent, but time will tell.


  11. I doubt Heather is very involved in the hiring process. Having an AD down your neck would not equate to good working relationship. She may have state of the program discussions with him and back it up with fan data and show her preference but I’m guessing Duzz has full authority to make this hire as he sees fit. If he wants that $1M to spend he’s going to have to sell the hire though.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rudolph is a good coach but, man, I have no interest in that type of offense again. The entire reason I disliked Chryst, and still do, is that 20th century offense. Besides, he’s looking at HC spots now. I doubt he leaves Chryst for anything less. If he is looking, Duzz would be a fool not to touch base but my personal preference is a pass. Just not the aesthetic I want to see on the field. No offense to Wisc but that’s just not my thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Canada was offered that $1M after he already verbally accepted the LSU job at $1.5M.


    I don’t think he’s worth $1M now because there is no Peterman, Q. Henderson, Conner, Weah, and a great TE in Orndoff…along with a fantastic OL in having Biz, Johnson, Officer, Bookser and O’Neill make all of it happen next year or in ’20.

    That superb talent is what got us that great offense under Canada, not just Canada himself.

    He didn’t have that overall talent at LSU (27.2 ppg / 76th) or Maryland (28.5 ppg / 69th) and it showed. The 2019 offensive players won’t be anywhere near what that 2016 talent was.

    I’d take Canada s OC but not for a million…which we won’t offer anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I donā€™t believe anyone predicted how good the starters would be in 2016 prior to training camp.

      If my memory serves me correct, Conner was not nearly 100% to start the season after his knee injury and cancer battle. And Peterman did not overly impress the fan base in 2015.

      So, why not 2019?

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Dooz is going to want someone who has experience. Dooz doesnt know offense and needs someone who isnt going to learn on the job and make mistakes. He probably will have to spend close to $1M on someone if he wants job protection since a 28-24 record isnt cutting it given his own compensation and expectations by fans (win a damn bowl game, be ranked come years end).

    I also figure he’s going to want someone that can recruit in their footprint so having familiarity and ties to regional (PA, OH, NJ, MD, VA) high schools is important. He’s going to want someone who can develop QB’s since that position alone will make or break you. And finally, he’s going to want someone who can run a scheme that doesnt score too quickly but can sustain drives or else his defense will be gassed.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. TT…single wing, straight T, wingT, power I, wishbone,veer, PRO, RPO (notice PRO and RPO are the same but the P and R change places???LMAO) Just mentioning the evolution of the styles of offensive football played through the years..don’t know how many more variations coaches can create using 11 players…Today, the game is all about creating open spaces and weakness while early football which many of us participated in was to line up and go head to head. We didnt do very well at creating separation or attacking empty spots through the air-we we down-right terrible and made no progress through-out the year…really hope recruiting skills are a big part of the prospective OC’s resume’ …that’s my biggest concern…I hope Duzz and Heather see the need for better recruiting on the O side of the ball…I feel Duzz is doing well on the D side developing his recruits…need that on offense….just my thoughts…would like a buzz hire to get us excited over the winter and more imprortantly produce results in ’19

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Biggie, we were discussing a combo offense at one of the tailgates…wishbone and single wing…called the bone-in wing.
    Seemed like a good idea at the time. šŸ˜Ž

    Liked by 2 people

  17. No way do I think Canada is worth 1 million bucks right now. imo the offer was legitimate and yes it was after MC went to LSU. That said, the offer was in hope that the nomad may have wanted to stay at a job for more than a year or two. Turns out he likes to move. He ain’t no boll weevil.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. BigB – Kind of my point. The 2016 team did not have much better talent than the 2018 team, if at all. Just look at how improved the offense was from 2015 to 2016. The big change was OC … And creative play calling. Despite UGA’s success, you don’t hear much crying from the fan base about losing Chaney.

    If that was directed at my Wisc comment, that’s just my personal preference. I just don’t enjoy watching a game manager qb, run heavy offense. Add a dynamic QB and run heavy and I’m all in. I just prefer a QB driven team. More fun, IMO. I’m not a very nostalgic person so I don’t long for how football used to be played. I’ve enjoyed the evolution of the sport. To each their own.

    I’m not super invested in Canada but if he’s available and interested in coming back, Pitt would be remiss to not explore it. And if you want him to stay, $1M may do it. Probably more than he’d get at NIU as HC. Or close to it.

    Canada is absolutely worth $1M. He didn’t have the freedom to run his offense at LSU. The Swamp Monster coach didn’t like pre-snap movement. Lol. And why did you hire Canada, again? Maryland was a pretty unique situation that shouldn’t be looked at in a vacuum.


      1. My worth point is relative. If that’s what it takes then he’s worth it if you want it. I hate putting a value on something in comparison to the status quo. If you’re always waiting for a discount, sometimes stuff is gone before it goes on sale. Then you end up with a Walmart version that may be okay but not exactly what you wanted.


      2. Reed… Back when Pickett first came to campus and was competing head to head with DiNucci, I remember you being pretty high on Pickett based upon the way he threw the Ball in practice.

        Curious as to why that has not really transferred itself to his performance as a Starter?

        Is it Pickett himself… the Offensive Scheme… a lack of adequate Protection… a lack of adequate Quarterback Tutelage… a lack of adequate Wideouts and Tight Ends… or something else I’ve missed?

        Appreciate your thoughts.


        1. Above his shoulders.

          There was no pressure on him at the end of ’17. Not so as a full starter and I wonder if that was the problem.

          I think it didn’t help him any that everyone and his brother anointed him as the Savior…

          I don’t think his arm is the problem ..


          1. If itā€™s above his shoulders, then perhaps a new start with a new OC (and new WR coach) is just what KP needs.

            We can hope – cause we have invested a lot in this kid…

            Go Pitt.


          2. The problems Pickett had were many. The QB position was basically bare and he was the best of the bunch. He did not have a year or two to learn that college football is not like High School. Lastly he and the team were saddled with an OC and RC who were below average and they certainly did not help the passing game but rather stymied it. Hopefully Pitt gets an OC who has a diverse offensive philosophy predicated upon gaining yards and scores.

            Liked by 1 person

  19. I still don’t understand the nomad concerns. Who cares?

    Now, Canada is not known as a recruiter. It’s why Lockley got the gig over him despite a truly God awful head coaching track record.

    If you value recruiting over play calling, I would disagree but not be dumbfounded. I can totally understand that rationale.

    I just can’t wrap my head around this stability thing. I just don’t get it. It’s not how the sport works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Iā€™m still waiting for someone to remind me of a Pitt OC who was recognized as a good recruiter. I canā€™t remember one. I donā€™t think Cav recruited at all, did he?

      And on Joe Rudolph, I would be highly suspect of hiring him as OC. Heā€™s a great guy but has he been the OC or is PC really the OC for all the years theyā€™ve been together?

      Go Pitt.


      1. Rudolph was a really good OL recruiter.

        He isn’t leaving Wisconsin for Pitt. That will never happen unless it is for a HC job.


            1. Palermo ā€” he clearly had connections with The Godfather. He made those OL recruits an offer they couldnā€™t refuse! šŸ˜Š

              Go Pitt.

              Liked by 2 people

  20. TT, were are talking about 3* QB’s that need coached up. Confusion with the playbook deters any growth that may have happened in the previous year or two. I also prefer the term continuity over stability and here is why. Continuity expresses a consistent flow while stability means staying the same. Not the same thing imo.


  21. Ike – I don’t think that’s very relevant in CFB. The best offenses are simple. The play calling and creating match ups is the important part. Make a creative hire. If they do well, they will be poached. Whether it’s Canada or someone else. Then you try to make another creative hire. It’s just life. I manage sales. Sales people leave all the time. Usually depends on their quota. Especially successful ones. I don’t hire based on next year. I hire in the present and worry about next year, next year. By the way, sometimes they even come back … And I take them with open arms if they left amicably.

    If Pitt wants to be successful, they have to be willing to pay for top talent, not be conservative, and worry about now … not the future.


  22. Here are some possible OC hires. The names may not be familiar to anyone in the Pitt nation because these guys haven’t accomplished much on the big stage as of late, but if you follow football hardcore you may know them.

    1) Mike Haywood: had a terrific tenure as the head coach of Miami of Ohio in the MAC, was noted not only for molding a quality team on the field but for also emphasizing a proper moral lifestyle off the field, his personable attitude may help in recruiting

    2) Todd Graham, former hc at Tulsa and Arizona State, I once watched a press conference with Todd and he talked about a high octane offense, this would work very well with Kenny Pickett’s skill set, additionally Todd’s wife Penny has a skin condition that makes it hard for them to withstand southern weather so the gray skies of Pittsburgh should do them both well

    3) Joe Walton, former hc for the NY Jets and Robert Morris, former Steelers OC, Joe transformed the Steelers into a offensive powerhouse in the early’s 90’s by helping transform Bubby Brister into the quarterback we all know and love today…the possibilities with Joe calling plays are endless

    Liked by 5 people

    1. When a post makes you laugh for a few seconds and then you reread it and you laugh some more, it is a great post.
      Different great than “Pitt can’t El Paso” but great nonetheless.


  23. To be clear on Canada. Not saying I don’t want him or I would be upset by his hire, the truth is, I’m just not sure how good he is. Just like NCS, LSU and Maryland wasn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ike – Canada’s been accused of being difficult to work with. Duzz did not have that complaint, to my knowledge. Chemistry is important.


  25. The challenge moving forward will be the coastal division. Diaz seems to be surrounding himself with some highly talented coaches. GAtech looks like they are also on the upswing not to mention UNC. Next year will be a struggle to an even winning record.
    Not looking for a splash hire in our OC. The past is a good predictor of the future and judging PNs history it will likely be someone we never heard of…..hope iā€™m Wrong….


  26. Concerning Heather, I hope her role right now is to reinforce strongly to Coach Duzz that he needs to make an exciting hire. The offense last season was at times embarrassing and he needs to fix that problem and give both the players and the fans something to get pumped-up about.

    And that she will back him up by finding the bucks.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 5 people

  27. TT..wasn’t taking exception with your Wisky comment..BigB enjoys everyone POV…just sayin’ we need a recruiter and an offensive creative mind…I was getting so frustrated with Watson’s play calling or lack of might be more appropriate and absolutely no QB growth..I love a physical running game but we have to have someone who can coach the passing game and that involves creating separation, space and miss-matches…..I don’t think I saw one screen pass all year or even a delayed release by the tight-end….turn on any other game minus GT, Army and Navy and their offences look totally different and I wonder “what the heck is the matter with us.”….with any semblance of a passing game we beat Stanford by at least 2 TDs..anyway, always enjoy your thoughts TT…

    Liked by 1 person

  28. BigB – I get the recruiting concern. I just don’t get the stability concern. I agree on a simple offense with creative play calling. I also like a physical running game but not at the expense of rendering the QB a game manager.


  29. Concerning Oā€™ Canada:
    When I put myself in HIS shoes I canā€™t find fault with him leaving for LSU for way more money and a crazed sold out fan base in the SEC. For us old Pitt POVers we canā€™t understand why a guy who has no ties to the Burg wouldnā€™t want to stay here, heck, for free even! But if I was in his shoes I also certainly would have jumped on that LSU opportunity faster that you can say ā€œCajun Gumboā€! Would I consider him again now? Yes I would. But I think Pitt needs a new young guy looking OC (like a Cliff Kingsbury) with newer ideas and recruiting ability rather than another oldish guy on staff. We currently have a caveman offense, which I believe is what the defense minded Duzz wants and Watson was told to do. Which is one problem with having a formerly only DC with zero experience for your HC.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Pittman – I think Duzz wants an offense that can compliment the defense but I don’t think he wants a cave man. His messaging has always been”attacking” offense.


    2. I agree with you pittman about getting a young OC. Brian Wright from Toledo has down a great job with both the running and passing attacks. His offenses are balanced and produce yards. He has be there for three years and earns $148,000. Who knows he could do good at Pitt being young and hungry to get to the Power 5 level. It is about time to think outside of the box when it comes to a new OC and their football philosophy.


  30. TT,
    I donā€™t know…….if an attacking cave man was coming at me with his club in one hand and a jaw bone in the other I believe that would be a pretty effective offense!!!! :>)

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I would not judge Canada on his last 2 years. He went to LSU which has been offense challenged for years and was fired before the year ended ,,, as if he had a decent chance to turn things around. Then he came to Maryland, and due to turmoil, he had to become interim HC when he wasn’t even in the program for 6 whole months! How anyone can judge him on the last 2 years is beyond me.

    I do agree with Reed that he was given much talent here at Pitt, But to his credit, he optimized it, Pitt wasn’t running an offense based on jet sweeps, shuttle passes, etc before he came here, But he saw his assets and assigned the near perfect offense for it.

    All 3 OCs hired by PN has had plenty of experience, all with successes and failures. And guess what? the same will go for whomever he hires next. Even Brian Wright ā€¦. did you know he was fired by Partridge after a few years at FAU?


    1. apparently, Partridge decided to go with a new style of offense which backfired because he was fired before the season ended

      NTL, Wright then went to Toledo where he has had 3 good years. Granted, Toledo already had good offense when he arrived but it has improved a little after his arrival


  32. ^^ Soo wwb, does anyone expect PITT to hire Wright after their top asst to the head coach already fired him once? Go after Fedora!


  33. From down here in Maryland….Canda inherited the Maryland Head Coach job after the dismissal of their HC for letting a kid die from heat at practice. Acoording to players and Alums he did a terrific job and by all accounts, should have been hired full time. Then the MD BOT stepped in and desired to hire the ā€œcavemanoffinsive coordinatorā€ from Bama.

    Based on what I saw, I would replace Duzz wCanada tomorrow as head coach thus I donā€™t think Duzz will ever hire him again. Heā€™s a great recruiter and very likable.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Joe Rudolph and Mark Whipple(age 61) on Narduzzi’s interested list as per Chris Peak at pantherlair. Rudolph apparently is an OC in name only both at Pitt and Wisconsin as Chryst calls the plays. And Whipple with a lot of experience but little to show for it based on his resume IMO.


  35. Totally agree with TT. There is no stability in college football coaching. Hire a guy that will be great next year.

    Now, it wouldn’t hurt to hire a guy and make sure a position coach is learning the ropes from him as the season goes on. Hell, didn’t PSU just do that after Moorehead left. Some teams pull that off.


  36. I would be truly shocked if PN did not hire someone that ran a Wisconsin like pro style offense.

    I don’t think he will ever hire a modern day, spread, RPO, air raid offense. It will never happen. It is a bummer to me.


    1. No, but I remember some Steeler players saying Walton’s offense was to difficult to learn. Later he installed it at RMU and the players there laughed at the notion it was hard and had great success with it.


  37. Mike Locksley, Alabama OC, is going to MD as HC. The Bama QB coach, Enos, was thought to be Locksley replacement but has just been hired by Miami. I assume it will cost Miami an arm and a leg to outbid Bama, but Miami probably can afford him since Richt who was making well > $4M quit (not fired).

    But a bigger bonus for Miami is that back-up QB Jalen Hurts is speculated to follow Enos. And anyone who followed Miami knows that Miami needs a QB even more than Pitt does.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. As all of you know, I hate the pro-style… But Whipple would be a very good hire. Don’t look at his age. Look at his results. He’s been successful and successful fast at every stop. He runs a fun pro-style that is friendly to QBs. I’m confident that Pitt would have a top 30 offense under him. He’s runs multiple formations and sets. Uses both under center and shot gun. I know on paper it doesn’t look inspired but if Duzz is set on the pro-style, he’s probably a top 5 pro style OC.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. No recruits except the best Blue Chip kids decommit if an asst coach leaves a program.

    You have to realize for the majority of 4* recruits and almost all of the 3* recruits have nowhere to go this late in the recruiting process.

    All the other D1 programs have their recruiting classes set already.

    Recruits and their parents know that staff coaches turn over all the time.

    HCs are a different story and even then most stick with their commitment.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Miami is undoubtedly going to be Pitt’s biggest hurdle in the Coastal Division going forward. Miami is certainly in a great a place for recruiting compared to the rest of their Coastal opponents.


  41. Tossing, stability is important to high school relationship building, and in Pitt’s Western PA back yard they need to improve relationships with the high school coaches. I think this is where BigB is coming from. This has been seriously lacking, and the lack of recruiting results is obvious with the many lost 4 stars. I’m sure your best sales people have good relationships with their customers.

    You focus on Narduzzi’s 5 yr. tenure at Pitt, but ignore the impact of Pitt’s OC/DC and position coach changes on recruiting. If we were Alabama or OSU, the brand alone would substitute for these relationships; any OSU coach is welcomed by a HS coach at a school with open arms. Not so for the Pitt coaches who must recruit Western PA and don’t appear to have the best relationships overall. It took a coaching change at Aliquippa, for example, before Pitt could get back in there.

    If assistant coaches aren’t doing the job, of course fire them! But as Ike says, coaching up 3 stars requires repetition and continuity so that hopefully the sum of the parts exceeds the individual skill sets.


  42. First you hire who will get you good results ON the field.

    All other considerations are secondary…recruiting, player development, public relations, etc. are important but results in the primary tasking of the job is first and foremost.

    Liked by 3 people

  43. Now that Reeds mind is free from the POV, sort of…….. He’s back and hells bells, I’m agreeing with him again.. great to see.

    My point is that it would good to see a fresh face who’s looking to move on in the future but not tomorrow and I think a splash hire would be for the best as long as the new hire can move the offense. Isn’t it about winning the dam game that’s next on your schedule? << That’s really not a question.


  44. “Splash hires” especially young ones would bolt in an instant after one very good season at Pitt. But then again maybe one very good season is all we are hoping for at this point.


  45. Maybe I am mistaken but did;t the ACC finish 6 – 4 in the bowls games and win the CFP. The media loves the big state schools even it they stink when playing the ACC schools.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Although I agree results are #1, I think that recruiting is the means to that end. In other words, separating recruiting from coaching in college sports is a mistake.

    For this reason, finding an OC with a strong recruiting reputation and good offensive results is optimal. However, recruiting at ND or THE Ohio Fake, or any other 100k fan stadium is easy and I wouldn’t put much stock in whom they recruited at schools like these. Those schools recruit themselves, for the most part.

    I’m always impressed with the players at Cincinnati, given that they are not a P5 conference and do not have much of a fan base with a small stadium. For this reason, I’d go hard after the Cincinnait OC, and let the chips fall where they may if he leaves because he does a great job and takes Pitt to the next level.

    Liked by 4 people

  47. Here’s what I find the most interesting discussion concerning PITT football…. Seems like we “slightly” older PITT fans that experienced a national championship (1976) are even a little more patient than the young crowd who have only experienced losing seasons and heartaches? You would think the opposite would be true? Shouldn’t we be the ones stomping our feet in disgust for losing? Weren’t we the spoiled ones from the 33-3 record early 80’s?

    PITT won the ACC coastal this year but I get the feeling that’s not good enough for the younger PITT fans…. I get that and believe me, the end of this past season wasn’t close to how I would have liked to have watched PITT finish this season with the 3 losses and all. The taste of winning is sweet but if you haven’t tasted it, how do you know what you’re missing? So at the same time, I see the baby steps. Not understanding why some feel PITT football is entitled to win anything at this point. The program has been sabotaged by a former AD and the entire PITT administration while including the BOT. My love for the PITT football program supersedes any particular loss or boneheaded decision that a coach may have made.

    So I’ll sum up here. I do kinda of get the frustration from the young PITT fans for one simple reason. I would think and no one would blame them, for turning and running for ze mountains as opposed to rallying behind the PITT Panthers football team for all the losing the past 35 years. << Which they have not done, you have earned the right to bitch bitch bitch.. I choose to stand beside you all and root again next year for continued good times and to know when it happens. It’s what we PITT fans do!! . . …. ..ike

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For any former student like myself who was witness to the 90’s, we deserve some recognition for staying fans. Football was averaging 3 win seasons and there was serious talk about dropping down a level.

      Thank you ike for understanding generational differences in attitudes towards the program.

      To me it was like experiencing football success similar to today’s Alabama as a child, only to experience Rutgers performance as a student. Only the Pitt BoT could find a way to make an elite program totally irrelevant and a laughing stock in such a short time span.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, and most Pitt fans refuse to believe the Pitt’s program was on thin ice as far as D1 status went back then.

        But even then it wasn’t the big ass business it is today.

        Ike…I think a lot of schools have AD turnover in a 10 year period. Blaming SP for what is taking place today is deflection IMO.

        The difference between 7 or 8 wins and 10 or 11 wins in a season is really the HC’s deal. If he’s as good as advertised…and I mean any HC…then he’ll succeed to that higher level.

        We haven’t seen that in almost a decade.

        Really, if any Pitt HC had reason to complain about the AD, inherited circumstances and an inherited roster it would have been PC.

        Narduzzi’s situation has been a walk in the park compared to what Chryst had to deal with.

        And after four full years we have a 53% W/L with no bowl wins record by PN as opposed to a 50% record and a bowl win from PN.

        In other words…both of them = blah, blah, blah.

        And both of those track records aren’t that much different than what TG, DW and WH did before them.

        In other words no matter how thinly we parse Pitt football it really is always SOP.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I keep asking and never seem to get an answer: what was this huge mess Chryst inherited?

          He kicked most kids out who didn’t fit his system, not because they were bad seeds. He had a bunch of terrific kids who stuck with a university where the crummy leadership gave those kids three coaches in three years. Quite embarrassing if you ask most people.

          Fact is Chryst lost a lot of games he should have won. YSU and Akron come to mind first. He was mediocre at Pitt and always would have been because he isn’t good enough to overcome the little things the program lacks.


  48. CBS sports opinion piece about conference strength….really who cares? Usually you rely on data and info that matter Reed.

    Listened to the talking heads at the site needing an 8 team playoff which IMO is garbage. Rare there is ever more than 2 to 4 teams deserving. If they went to 6 it would be always enough to include deserving teams.


  49. The way I figure it, an eight team playoff is only one more game for two teams who advance. They already have four weeks off before their first playoff game. Maybe eliminate a meaningless regular season game if that helps?


  50. Agree, tvax1…the whole point of the playoff was to make sure the top 2 teams are in…I can see an argument between 1 and 2, or 2 and 3 or even 4, but an argument between who is number 1 and 2 and who is 5,6,7, and 8? Cā€™mon man, that is just adding a round of playoffs for a money grab. All that will do is eventually allow some 2 or 3 loss team to get hot at the end of the year and win a ā€œchampionshipā€. No thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. a few thoughts

    — IMO Pitt has made what can be termed 2 splash hires this decade ā€¦. Todd Graham and Jeff Capel

    — it is ‘Friday’ evening and no announcement yet. My guess that one offer has been made (Canada) which has been put on hold, and meanwhile other prospects are being interviewed. PLEASE NOTE that this is only a guess!

    — the different between 8 and 10 wins can be an HC issue; it also can be a schedule issue (Syracuse)

    P5 OOC opponents with 10+ wins last 4 years
    Pitt 7
    PSU 0
    WVU 0
    P5 opponents with winning records last 4 years
    Pitt 31
    WVU 26
    PSU 23
    Opponents with 8+ wins 2018
    Pitt 8
    PSU 6
    WVU 4
    SYR 4

    Liked by 3 people

  52. Good move by Steelers IMO

    Adam Schefter@AdamSchefter
    Steelers hired former Bengalsā€™ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin as senior defensive assistant with a focus on the secondary, per source.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Purge all Pedos from the Steelers
      Damn Rooneys failed to draft Marino
      Failed to move up 1 spot to draft Reevis
      When will the minority ownership group buy out Rooneys share, move the team to Cranberry, build a retractable domed stadium, and force Pitt into building an OCS?


      1. Please, Cranberry has become crowded enough!

        and screw Cranberry anyway. I probably see more PSU apparel being worn around here than Pitt. In fact, in the Cracker Barrell gift shop on Rte 228, you can find PSU shirts and caps ā€¦ but no Pitt gear


  53. ike – I personally like the idea of a ten team playoff. Seriously, who cares about #11?

    It would be basically a wild card weekend with 7 thru 10 playing each other. Treat it like the NFL where the top seeds always play the lower seeds after the wild card round.

    4 week playoff with the top teams only playing 3 weekends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They would have to play during the week so as not to interfere with the NFL Playoffs. Or play earlier in December.


      1. It would have to start the week after the conference championship games and still end with the championship game the first Monday after New Years.


    2. Wow, this bracket is head and shoulders above most brackets I’ve seen. Clearly you had academic training in this area TT.


  54. Temple has just hired Neal Carey as HC, opening the door for Canada as HC at Northern Illinois ā€¦. if they want each other


  55. Ike, we old timers are running out of years for Pittā€™s return to glory. We got a taste those many years ago with Majors and Sherrill, and honestly thought another national championship was not so far away. So now there is a sense of urgancy here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fran, that was one clever comment. “I hear ya voice” Don’t say that out-loud in front of your wife or she will have you on the couch in her office.. LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  56. As I see it, the decision to hire Foge was the turning point that lead to 35 years in the wilderness. Who made that decision and why did a top nationally recognized program pick an assistant coach with so little experience? Was it arrogance that most anyone could run the program?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Two devastating decisions made in the 1980s, both by Bozo Bozik I think.

      Hiring Foge instead of opening it up to the best candidate (Jimmy Johnson, George Welsh)
      Firing Gottfried and hiring another long-time assistant

      Both were cheap hires, Pitt style.

      The chance to coach Marino and the preseason No. 1 team should have gone to a guy like George Welsh, who according to Beano Cook wanted the job as a Penn. native and a successful coach at Navy looking for the next challenge.

      Talk about being Mr. Stability, Welsh coached at Virginia from 1982-00 and won seven-plus games from 1987-99. Tough to do at a school much better academically than Pitt. Welsh was so proud that he stayed at the school all those years and resisted other offers. Virginia won a grand total of 32 ACC games in the previous 28 years before his arrival.

      I want to give Narduzzi all the time possible to turn it around unless he has back to back losing seasons in the future, which I don’t see. The 2020 season is the one where Pitt could make a push with its doable non conference schedule, Pickett being a senior and the O-line mostly returning along with a host of other players.


    1. More money? There is already a ton…what do you need?

      And BTW, I am all for paying players and guaranteeing them 4 or 5 years of tuition, room and board. And allow them 10 year window to complete their studies while doing 12 credits during season.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Under the same criteria as the University student body?
      Hahahahaha, then everyone may as well forget about much more than mediocrity at Pitt.


  57. If you look at recent Pitt APR scores for both FB and BB. then that is exactly what Pitt has been doing ā€¦. bringing in STUDENT-Athletes. I assume it is the same for the other sports


  58. If I remember correctly, Pitt’s criteria for athletes enrollment is pretty much on the same level as most schools. Where and what gets lost is the fact that PITT requires that those standards be upheld throughout the student athlete’s career where other schools give the athlete more slack.. Yes, I have a source.


    1. Pitt also doesnt create special classes just for athletes
      But every athlete has access to tutors and special help if needed
      I’m assuming Pitt’s athletes take their own tests


  59. That’s encouraging to know.

    My feelings on this go back to knowing twin Brothers who had GOOD but probably not Straight A Grades in High School and probably a GOOD but not great SAT.

    Both had the dream of studying Engineering at Duke.

    Neither got in.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. Not sure the APR is a very high bar as only 17 programs in the country were prohibited from participating in post-season tournaments as a result of their 2016 scores. Consider that just Pitt has 17 and PSU has 29 programs rated.


    1. APR is a function of academic eligibility & retention. The NCAA doesn’t care if the team is composed of 4.0 GPA physicists or 1.6 GPA basket weavers. APR measures if the student athletic is making progress towards a degree academically & if the school is retaining that student (transfers).

      Liked by 1 person

  61. Having been a student-athlete in an era when demands on the athlete weren’t nearly as rigorous, I am amazed that more kids don’t flunk out let alone maintain eligibility. The number that graduate early is also amazing to me.These kids have to be smarter and more disciplined than we were and the tutoring programs which hardly existed back them have to be really strong.


  62. Tx, I get the fact we all have a different minds eye when it comes to PITT football as we all come from different times and space. This is way OT but a story I think relates to how I approach PITT football and life in general. First a couple of ikeism’s:

    Blowing out a candle doesn’t make a wish come true….. only time can..

    Variety is called the spice of life but continuity is the foundation in which life is built upon.

    For the story. Growing up in Greensburg we were told of a reservoir in New Florence where the water was so clear and pristine you could see the bottom standing at the edge. Turns out that was almost true. We would drive out there a dozen times or so on the hot summer days in my teenage years. When we drove down rt 30 and the road would split into two going towards the mountains, big boulders could be seen on the roadside. On the biggest boulder there was a painted message and on it read.

    “If you love something you must let it go, if it comes back to you, then it is yours forever” << This on a big rock I drove by many many times. They are words that stuck in my head all these years and words I try and live by.

    ^^ This is how I view PITT football, it keeps coming back to me, so I love it unconditionally. … ike

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate that ike

      I love my alma mater. I dont plan on letting it go though. With Pitt, you let something go and its lost forever. My case in point – Jackie Sherrill and Pitt football.

      Pitt will never be the team I grew up cheering for as a kid. But that doesnt mean they cant string some 10 win seasons together and win some damn bowl games.

      Love needs to be reciprocated. Pitt fans never let Pitt football go. Pitt football left with Jackie. And then was completely gone once Pitt stadium was razed…the house that Jackie built.

      If Pitt football comes back, I will welcome it but I need to know they are here to stay.


  63. Here is an interesting tidbit ā€¦

    If the Colts, Chargers, Eagles and Rams win this weekend ā€¦ not likely but certainly not out of the realm ā€¦ then both LA teams will host the conference championship. This means the Chargers will have to play in their 28,000 seat soccer stadium.

    If you remember about 8 or 10 years ago, Villanova was denied entrance into BE FB because of their 19k stadium. They were told by the conference that all league stadiums had to have a minimum 30k.

    It’s ironic that NFL is playing this year in a stadium rejected by the BE, but it will be freakin hilarious if the have to play the AFL Championship there. I hope it happens!


    1. obviously the NFL will most likely pay an arm and a leg to rent out the Rose Bowl but I find it funny that the almighty NFL may be in this situation


  64. I call BS on Pitt doesn’t create special classes for athletes. Well in the 90’s anyways. I took a very hush hush under the radar class title along the lines of “Introduction To Intramural Sports”. I was one of two non-athletes in the class. The best part, is it was a way to get paid and get my friends paid. I ran Pitt’s summer softball circuit and racquetball tournaments as well as in-semester soccer leagues. I also was able hire my friends as officials and umpires and umpires. All the athletes had similar assignments. I was paid, essentially, to take the class. I got something like $750 a semester (which was awesome as a college kid) plus what every hourly rates I worked up as a ref.

    I got registered in the class because of a tip from a football player. We literally got graded on creating brackets in class. LOL. I run an awesome NCAA bracket because of this. Haha. Our final was creating a 30 sec “commercial” that you did as a speech in front of the class. Every 5 secs you were off you went down half a grade. So if you did a 21 sec commercial with a 30 sec time limit you still got an A-.

    Oh man, be careful what you say Pitt does and doesn’t do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Man what a great post. Who knows if this is still going on, but honestly every school with a legit athletics program should also have a legit sports major that isn’t super academic heavy but does prepare athletes to be coaches at the high school or jr high level. It’s a strategic advantage for getting the right athletes and it’s a strategic advantage because it seeds local area high schools with alumni. I think it’s also incumbent upon colleges to realize that not all intelligence is “book” intelligence and to adapt to that for people who excel in the non-book areas, with a modicum of academics built in.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This would be a GREAT article. I’ve had this discussion with friends. How do schools like Alabama or Clemson or DUKE and UNC not have professional athlete majors? Even Pitt sends a ton of basketball players overseas as professional athletes. You could legit build an entire curriculum around it. We thought of so many classes that would be relevant, and not just relevant for a professional athlete, but good life skills. Finance, communications (broadcasting), public speaking, some physical therapy stuff … the list goes on and on. If you had a curriculum designed for athletes with professional aspirations it would eliminate a lot of other baggage plus make you an attractive option for a serious athlete.


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