For the fifth time in eight years Pat Narduzzi will be hiring a new Offensive Coordinator, and for the fifth time in eight years the process is shrouded in mystery.
As usual, a familiar name was bandied about. As usual, it turned out to be a dead end.
Well, so much for that. The Offensive Coordinator Search Drags on, but ever-astute Johnny McGonigal did make a great callout:
I was going down a similar line of thinking around hire timing and here is what I found:
- Chaney – Jan 11th, 2015 – Sunday
- Canada – Jan 8th, 2016 – Friday
- Watson – Feb 2nd, 2017 – Thursday
- Whipple – Jan 14th, 2019 – Monday
In addition to that, this year’s AFCA convention is January 9th – 11th (Sunday to Tuesday). And sooo… if we look at the past dates of the AFCA and and correlate the hire dates above…we learn absolutely nothing.
- 2015 Convention: Jan 6th – Jan 9th
- Chaney Announced: Jan 11th
- 2016 Convention: Jan 10th – Jan 13th
- Canada Announced: Jan 8th
- 2017 Convention: Jan 8th – Jan 11th
- Watson Announced: Feb 2nd
- 2019 Convention: Jan 5th – Jan 9th
- Whipple Announced: Jan 14th
Well that’s not entirely true. We learned a couple of things. First, Canada was an outlier, and was hired before the convention. But then again, Matt and Pat had a longstanding relationship:
“I’ve known Matt and his family for a very long time and I feel very fortunate to bring him to Pittsburgh,” Narduzzi said. “Matt is an innovative offensive mind, excellent teacher of quarterback play and strong recruiter and evaluator. He is a great leader who will provide our team and staff with a real spark. Most importantly, Matt is a tremendously loyal person who will be a great fit for Pitt.” – Pat Narduzzi via Accsports.com. No wonder there was bad blood after Canada left. For a refresher on the drama, please click here.
Second, we can infer that Watson probably was not hired at the convention, although that doesn’t mean that talks were not had at the convention between Watson and Narduzzi. Or, if you want to go down that rabbit hole you could infer that Pat and Pitt were a bit radioactive after two one-and-dones? My own opinion is that Pat was desperate for Stability, and Watson offered just that, if little else (although it could be argued that the transition to a run-heavy offense under Watson and Borbley unlocked Pitt’s first Coastal Division championship for whatever that’s worth. It can also be more credibly argued that Pickett would NEVER have been a projected first round draft pick and carried Pitt to great heights if Watson had been allowed to stick around for 5 years.)
Third, we can see that both Chaney and Whipple were announced within a week of the convention, so we can assume that the convention played a role.
Looking at all the OC’s above you can also see that all of them had experience running an offense at the Power 5 level (You’ll remember that Whipple was Miami’s OC for two seasons). We also know that 3 of 4 of them were on the open market prior to being hired by Pitt. Chaney had been let go by Arkansas, Canada had been let go by NC State and Whipple had just gotten fired as the head coach of UMass. Additionally, Watson was languishing as a Quality Control Assistant at Indiana, which is about as close to being unemployed as a former Offensive Coordinator can be.
So what’s the punchline here? Pitt will hire someone experience. Pitt will hire someone unemployed (or close to it). And there is close to a 100% chance Pitt will hire an offense Coordinator in the next 30 days, and a 50% chance it will be in the next two weeks. Other than that, it’s anybody’s guess.
Hail to Pitt