It has been nearly nine years since Pitt failed to score a touchdown in a football game. Nine years. Last time it was without a head coach. (BBVA Compass Bowl III. Pitt lost to SMU 28-6.)
If only that were the case now.
Speculation is rampant on how much Narduzzi’s buyout would actually cost. The high estimate is $16 M. The low estimate is, well, something less than that. Either way, everyone is ready for a change.
The trendy opinion is that Narduzzi will be forced to clean house, and he’ll get at least one more year while Pitt figures out where to come up with the money. That’s like a band-aid on a gaping wound, but it’s something. It starts with Whipple of course. Andre Powell too. Tim Salem. Dave Borbley. You probably keep Beatty if only for his recruiting. But then again, maybe you let him go because of the drops. The defensive staff probably stays intact. Maybe shake up the secondary coaches. Still, Bob Smizik’s comments are relevant. Who is going to come to Pitt (of all places) to help out a coach who is clearly on the hot seat?
Option three of course would be to fire Whipple now, heading into the bye. That would appease some fans, but it doesn’t really solve many problems. You’d ostensibly elevate Beatty in Whip’s place (Beatty was the OC at Hampton for a season.) Pitt already has experimented with Tim Salem. (Anybody remember the Navy game in 2015? Although you could argue that right now 28 points sounds pretty damn good…). Assuming it’s Beatty then you’d hope that play calling improves. But it still doesn’t stop the QB running to the sideline. Right now Pitt has no system for signaling plays. So in two weeks the new OC would first have to devise a system, and then teach it to all the quarterbacks, and then implement it flawlessly on the road against Florida State. Whipple’s current terminology is reported to be extremely complicated, by the way. Anybody think that’s going to happen?
Option four is to do nothing. This is the cheapest option, and, if you think about it probably the most likely. The whole season is a mulligan anyway. Yes, the fans (and probably boosters) would mutiny, but when you are only allowed to have 8000 people in the stadium and nobody can watch the ACC network it may not matter. The revenue loss would still be less than a multi-million dollar Narduzzi buyout.
A long kiss goodnight indeed.
Hail to Pitt