Monday, December 19, 2011

A few thoughts (not scoops) about the search

While it's no secret that I think Mario Cristobal would be the best hire for Pitt, I don't think it would be the end of the world if they hire Luke Fickell.  However, hiring Paul Chryst would be a mistake, in my opinion, and I don't see why Pitt wouldn't at least talk to Teryl Austin.

I already wrote about a lot of the reasons why I think Cristobal is the best choice, but the main reason I like him more than Fickell is simply because he's further along.  To me, Cristobal is a "four star recruit", where as Fickell is a "three star recruit'.  But I think their upsides are pretty equal.  The difference is just that Cristobal is closer to being a finished product than Fickell.  Cristobal is still a mediocre game coach but he's getting better.  He should be the finished product in a year or two.  Fickell, on the other hand, was very overmatched this season at Ohio State.  It's not surprising that Fickell would not be as good as Cristobal as a game coach because he's been a head coach for one season and Cristobal has been a head coach for five seasons.  So basically I see Fickell being a finished product in three or four years.  That's when he could be a special head coach.  So it's not that I don't think Finkell can't be great, and I don't think Cristobal is a definite home run.  I think their potential is the same.  It will just take Fickell longer to get to where Pitt needs him and I'm not sure Pitt can wait.  But, if Fickell is the choice, I don't think Pitt fans should be upset.

As for Chryst, he's a great offensive coordinator.  But Foge Fazio was a great defensive coordinator, too.    Some people just weren't made for being the man.  I may be wrong that he could be the man, but there's a reason why he was turned down by Illinois, Minnesota, and Kansas, not to mention Pitt last year.  While those are all major college programs, that's not exactly the elite.  Yet despite his unbelievably resume, nobody saw him as their head coach.  That's very telling.

As for Austin, if he went somewhere other than Pitt, nobody would want him to be the Pitt head coach, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't at least get an interview.  He could definitely be a good head coach.  I wouldn't want him above Cristobal or Fickell, and I don't think he would give the good buzz the program needs, but he's at least worth a serious look.  At the end of the day, his resume would not be good enough (just one year as a coordinator and none as a head coach), but it says a lot about Steve Pederson that he won't even look at him, except for last year when he was basically forced to look at him.

76 comments:

  1. I agree with you on your "star" ratings for Christobal and Fickell. Using that logic, Austin would be a "two star". Possibly great upside but he hasn't been a HC before. Think Greg Romeus-great upside but only played HS ball for a yr or two before PITT. I think the real problem for Austin is that PITT can't wait till the Ravens season is over to hire him. They may lose the whole recruiting class(or a lot of it). Even if Pederson wanted to hire him(sounds like he doesn't) he doesn't have the time to wait. Thanks for the hard work you put into the blog Chris. I always enjoy reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chris:

    I guess Mario is the exciting choice, but I've had enough excitement over the last year, thank you very much. But I'm sure he'd be fine. I'm ok with Fickell too, despite the reservations you describe.

    But why have Bud Foster (ACC experience, blue-collar type guy, stable) and KC Keeler (long-time head coach, spread offense, also stable) not gotten a look?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Am I justified to be nervous about Cristoball's wife adjusting to Pittsburgh winters?

    ReplyDelete
  4. only 3 interviews? cristobal is a fine choice....but only 3 interviews? I know it is a rush job and they interviewed a lot last year...but only 3???? Was the Pitt job that unattractive or is this another let Steve Pederson rush in a quick fix with no consequences again?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Foster is not a dynamic personality either and I think that hurts him, too, when it comes to interviews. Keeler has not been in major college football, and while Jim Tressel made the switch very successfully, in most cases that transition doesn't translate. So he's even more of a risk.

    As for Cristobal's wife, she may very well hate it here. All Pitt can do is look him in the eye and tell him that they just got burned in a similar situation, and they want to have his word that he can do this. He may very well lie, but all you can do is hope he's not a worm like Graham.

    I know Pitt fans are very gun shy now because of Graham but people take jobs very different from their hometown all the time. There's probably tens of millions of people in the world, if not more, who have taken jobs different from their hometown and it's not the end of the world. I'm from a little town of 3,000 people and I moved to the Upper East Side of Manhattan for seven years. I preferred western PA but I adapted and did what I had to do. I'm one of many who do these things. I don't see why Cristobal and his wife couldn't suck it up for 4 or 5 years, or more.

    And don't forget that Jamie Dixon now lives Pittsburgh and he's from SoCal. So you never know. If I were Pitt it wouldn't prevent me and if I were Cristobal it would not prevent me. If he wants to improve his career, he's going to have to move up a step and he's not just going to sit there and wait for Al Golden to leave. He may not leave for a long time and even when he did leave, Cristobal may not be so hot anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It may be three interviews because they just interviewed people last year. They may have liked Cristobal and Chryst from last year and thought there was no point to look beyond that point, except for Fickell who just came on the scene this past year. They may feel people like Foster and Austin weren't as good as Cristobal and Chryst so there was no point. And I'm guessing they like Dan Doering but they don't want to take a coach who has been at his school for one year, for obvious reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Unbelievable --

    Graham takes another job already.

    http://www.pittscriptblog.com/

    ReplyDelete
  8. I believe Cristobal would be the best hire for Pitt. While I do think Austin or Fickell would do well, I think Pitt needs to go with someone who is most prepared to be a head coach, and Cristobal has the most experience.

    This program needs stability, and I think choosing someone with the most head coaching experience is what Pitt needs right now. Cristobal's a dynamic, strong personality, with what appears to be strong character, and after Graham, Pitt needs someone like him.

    Of course, every hire is a crapshoot, so who really knows?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Didn't Meyer say that the most important thing was the players and not the system. If players are primarilly the difference between winning and losing, I'd think you'd have to rank recruiting as a very important attribute for a coach.

    Therefore, I would think the best recruiters are the ones that have the dynamic personalities but who also don't come across as slick sales types.

    I would also think that game time management and running a program is something you get better at with experience and that getting some good X's and O's coaching assistants can make or break your season.

    I wouldn't mind Fickell if he could possibly get an experienced assistant head coach for the short term and bring along some excellent coordinators. I hear that Fickell has the personality, the passion and the hunger.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Fickell does have those things. So does Cristobal. But Cristobal has more experience as a head coach. That's really the only difference to me personally. He's just a little further along. And I do think Cristobal may actually be a hair better of a recruiter at Pitt. Fickell is an excellent recruiter but he's at Ohio State. Much easier there. Cristobal had to do it at FIU. So to me it's just a little better with Cristobal on a few categories.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Why is everyone so high on Fickell? I watched a few OSU games this year, and quite frankly they looked terrible and not totally prepared.

    Not sure where this is all coming from... based on his one year trial I'm not impressed.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think he'll be very good eventually, maybe 3,4,5 years down the road. He's just not ready yet. It seems too risky for Pitt to let him learn on the job so that's why I prefer Cristobal.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Chris, if you were on the selection committee, would you have placed a discrete call to the agent(s) of (say) a Les Miles or a Nick Saban, just to ask what their number was? Pitt has a lot of new ACC money coming in soon, and you gotta spend money to make money.

    Those are the proven guys, big splash guys (the 5-star guys in your analogy).

    Pitt is no longer in a place where they must settle for an unproven coordinator or -- worse yet, position coach (Pitt guy or not) -- with zero HC experience.

    Point being, long-shot to be sure, but to me that makes more sense than talking to yet one more green-as-grass OC, DC or CBs coach.

    ReplyDelete
  14. There's a better chance of Jock Sutherland being the head coach and he's dead. They would have to sell the Cathedral of Learning just to get the money it would take for them to leave the SEC for Pitt.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Cathedral of Learning...~~~~....Nick Saban...I say - DO IT!

    ReplyDelete
  16. of the candidates out there that pitt is interested in cristobal fits what pitt is looking for in a coach. are there better candidates for the job out there somewhere? maybe. but pitt isn't looking at them or they are not interested in this job at this time. cristobal has 5 years of being head coach under his belt, is very passionate about the game, has that "it" factor about him, his players love and respect him, and can recruit like few others can. as far as him being a game coach he is better at this point than anyone else on the list and will only get better at it. to be honest i have seen a few games of his and don't really think that knock on him is as bad as people make it out to be. an issue...yes but a problem...no.

    ReplyDelete
  17. One thing you underestimate about Chryst is his understanding of X's and O's in game situation. He also comes from winning program with capability of competing at high level. He also demonstrates ability to know what to do with offensive talent. I believe Chryst would be best gameday coach who can hit ground running. Though his personality may seem somewhat less engaging, that is not requirement for head coach. Coordinators and head recruiter can fill in gaps. Pitt has never had problems with recruiting regardless of head coach so personality is less of concern. I can't imagine recruits opted for Pitt because of Graham's sincerity. Pitt needs stability going forward and credibility on gameday. Chryst delivers both day one. The others I am sure would make fine head coaches. Chryst brings maturity and stability desperately needed. I am not concerned that other programs turned him down especially when you look at some of the bad coaches actually hired over the years. You can't hold the fact that other programs turned him down against him. Look what Pitt has done in past 13 months.

    ReplyDelete
  18. sorry but if you think personality has nothing to do with being a head coach you are very naive. it helps with recruiting, with the media, and with the boosters and alumni. and you are just plain being ignorant when you say pitt has never had trouble recruiting no matter the head coach. you see them playing nationally ranked schools over the years and you can plainly see the difference in the athletes on the field. they get a few good ones here and there but not near enough to stay competitive with the big boys for very long. the difference is night and day. and you should be concerned when teams that arguably are way worse off than pitt passed the man up for a head coaching job. that is very telling and has red flag written all over it. you are wanting the safe pick and basically hoping things stay status quo for the football program. you have to want better and be willing to do what is needed to get there. you sound like a person who goes to baskin robbins and ends up getting vanilla ice cream to me.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Doke:

    Do you think that Pederson will make this decision by himself or will Cochran and the Chancellor have a major say in who is selected as the next head coach? I would be incredulous if they let the Loose Cannon make this decision alone, given his horrendous record in hiring head coaches at both Pitt and Nebraska. I certainly hope that he's on a very short leash.

    Also, do you think there is any chance that, if Cristobal is the next head coach, he might hire Austin as his defensive coordinator? Austin does have experience as a DC, he is an outstanding recruiter (even though you downplayed his success in this regard at Michigan), and he could be groomed as the next head coach, assuming that Cristobal would move on in a few years. Do you think there is any chance of this?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Pederson seems to be the point man on this, but I sure as hell would hope that this time Pederson and Cochran make the final decision and do the due diligence on their own.


    As for Austin as the DC, I think if Orlando wants to come, then he would be the choice. If Cristobal did make Austin the DC, that would take a lot of guts. No coach wants a fan favorite, and alum, right behind him. Every bad decision he made, the fans would scream "fire him and make Austin the head coach!!".

    ReplyDelete
  21. there is no chance in hell that pederson is making this choice by himself and hopefully they make him sit in a corner with a dunce cap on in his office til this whole thing is over. if he has any control in this process then the big wigs and him should all be fired.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Here's the deal - Hire Cristobal as the HC - make sure he brings along Orlando as his DC and hire Austin as the recruiting coordinator.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Chris - You ready for the Pitt v. SfPA game? Another Jamie Dixon gem in the ooc.

    ReplyDelete
  24. All this talk of coaching and such has really made me focus on what I think makes a coach successful to extremely successful. If I could put it into two words it would be execution and then recruiting.
    I think to many people confuse execution with scheme, but there are very different concepts. Look at Navy. Navy runs the flexbone option, and despite that being an archaic offense , Navy consistently is one of the better offensive teams in football. They do this despite not having the talent that many of their opponents have. What Navy does very well, is execute their scheme close to perfection. Their players do not miss assignments, blocks, and make the right reads. When you combine this with few penalties and turnovers, you are going to have a football team that is a tough opponent. When Navy loses, it is overwhelmingly the case that they do not have the athletes to compare with. Look at another team, Oregon. Everyone love's Chip Kelly's up tempo attack but few fans will realize that the Ducks offense is really built off two plays, with the 1 play, the inside zone read being their bread and butter play. It's a simple play where the back lines up along side the qb with the intent of him getting the ball to the B gap on the side opposite of where he lined up. Prior to getting the ball, the qb will read if the backside defender is crashing down or maintaining his position, with the qb keeping the ball if the defender , who by design is not blocked, crashes down the line. The funny thing is every team that Oregon faces knows that they have this tendency, and will shift their defense if they see Oregon in this formation. Despite that, few teams can stop it and Oregon routinely torches teams with this simple play. Again, Oregon's execution is excellent and when combined with the speed/talent they have, it makes for an elite offense year in and year out.
    Unfortunately, I have no faith that our AD realizes this. The hire of TG really made me question his football acumen, because TG is the exact opposite of what I wanted in a coach. Compare TG's offensive style with man of his peers. TG bragged of how complex his offense was stating that it would take years for players to fully understand it. The Oregon Offense is very basic as is the offense that Paul Johnson runs at Ga Tech (Johnson confessed recently that he only has 11 plays he runs per game). If you think that unusual, Mike Leach has a similar philosophy. Mind you , we are talking about three very different schemes from three different coaches but all of them share one thing in common, less was better. They did this because they emphasize execution rather than complexity or deception. Even in the plays we ran, TG still favored deception over execution. Not surprisingly, Pitt ran the Inside Zone read as well. This should have been a staple play, and should have been a play to rely on in short yardage situations. Well, how many times did Pitt line up in this formation in short yardage, and yet turn to Tino to throw the ball or run a trick play instead? Even if we account for the vast differences in talent , do we really think Chip Kelly would have Thomas throw on those downs rather than give the ball to James?
    While TG is gone, I think Steve P's other hires shared this same flaw. He fired Solich, in part, because he thought that Nebraska's offensive system was backward. He brought in Callahan , a West Coast disciple, since he would 'upgrade' the Husker's offense. The result was a disaster.
    When it comes to the current list of coaches, I think Fickell embodies this the best. I state this since he is by rights an excellent recruiter and he was hired/retained by two coaches who emphasized execution & recruiting. Cristoball , I think, is another Schiano or Dave clone. I will admit that Cristobal might be the safer coach, but I think Fickell has better potential. Of course, the better question is why did we just settle on these three coaches and why should Steve P be involved at all.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I hope they fire Pederson after the coaching search is over. I am really tired of his tired act. The only thing saving him is that the Chancellor has his back, which might be another way of saving that the Chancellor is trying to save face since he's the one who brought him back to Pitt. I was thrilled when he left, so I almost died when he came back. I will give him credit for what he has done with facilities, but that part of his responsibilities is now finished. However, personnel administration is ongoing and he is a disaster with that.

    ReplyDelete
  26. BW...please tell me what Pitt games you have been watching in past 10 years. How many teams has Pitt lost to with inferior talent over the years? You speak of top-talent. We are talking about Big East and relatively straight forward non-conference games. Pitt has shown no ability to rise above mediocrity despite having strong talent. You talk as if we are playing SEC ball. Go to Baskin and Robbins and leave this blog for people that know what they speak of. You talk about personality helping with media, alumni and boosters? Who cares what local media thinks? They'll fall into place with wins. Who cares what alumni think when games are played in front of empty stadium? Wins will fix that. Who cares what boosters think when checks aren't being written? Wins will fix boosters. Quit repeating what others say about Christobal, etc. Chryst is only 1 of 3 who can deliver wins and maximize talent of program. Pitt needs wins and a coach focused on game plan rather than cheap talking. Maybe you should follow suit.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm not sure how anyone would know what Chryst would deliver as a HC consider he's never been one. I would understand if this was Iowa, but Pittsburghers and frankly, anyone recruiting to a city school needs to have some level of personality. I don't see how it works otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  28. How does Pederson wriggle out of responsibility after all the bad stuff about Graham now comes out?

    He blames the search firm. There was an item in reports that Pitt would not use a search firm this time. Naturally, those reporting the story have neglected this fact.

    The responsibility of the search firm is to find out all the bad stuff about your candidates, especially the top candidate (s). Clearly, Pitt was woefully uninformed about Graham -- all the stuff about Rice players planning to graduate rather than play for him, Forde posted a great story on Yahoo about how Graham promised him 'total access' -- which was revoked when Tulsa lost (and, Forde was told by a graduate assistant), etc. You are telling me someone can't get the word from Malzahn about what Graham is really all about?

    You gotta talk to the people who aren't Graham loyalists, people with axes to grind, not just his list of references.

    Clearly the firm hired last time failed utterly in their task (unless they didn't and Pederson ignored their report).

    Of course it is a mistake for Pitt not to use a firm or consultants -- since Pederson and Cochran can't possibly get all the dirt on Cristobal and Fickell and whoever else might be a top candidate.

    But it is telling that Pitt has dropped the search firm. It is also a bad sign that Pitt has not found a competent group to help them with their investigation (unless they did and aren't revealing that).

    How about asking your friends at Pitt what was in the search firm report on Graham? Might be interesting to hear the response (since you won't get the info)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Chris Dokish,

    It seems there is much less media speculation about Pitt coach now vs. last year. Ziese, in particular seems a lot more quiet. Any sense as to why that is? More experience, less candidates being interviewed, no search firm? Also, do you get any sense there may be "sleeper" candidate in works that no one is talking about? Appreciate your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I don't know of any sleeper candidates. As for being more quiet, I don't know if there's much to say. There aren't a lot of people who truly know what's going and Pitt and their candidates are keeping quiet, as they should.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Zeise said Chryst is gaining momentum, whatever that means. Hopefully it is just BS or a smokescreen or something.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm not even sure what that means. I'm thinking Pitt is trying to keep Zeise off the scent. I'm getting similar tactics.

    ReplyDelete
  33. anonymous you need to get your facts straight. pitt has had a few top talent players but they are very few and far between. that is why the football program is and has been the disappointment it has been over the years. they aren't getting the recruits needed to make this program a national power again. i said it in my post earlier there huckleberry that the difference in talent level between pitt and the top teams is like night and day. maybe you went to Wisconsin and your reading comprehension skills are sorely lacking. your the one that seems enamored with and have a man crush on Chryst. you just want a guy with ties to a big name school. you get him here and you have the same type of coach that you have had here before and lost those games to those teams who had less talent than pitt. plus you are the one who said that pitt has had strong talent. where and when was this. even in the sorry ass big east there are other teams with more talent over all than pitt and when they did play strong non conference teams they got beat more often than not and again the difference in talent was obvious to everyone. pitts didn't compare well at all. you slappy are the one who seems to think we are playing SEC ball. if you don't think that winning over the media, boosters,alumni, and the fan base in general doesn't matter then you are naive and a fool of the highest order who knows nothing about NCAAfootball and how things work. you think i'm repeating what others say about the coach's? you sound like you have taken Chryst's profile right off the badgers website. everyone here is basically repeating things they have heard about the candidates. unless you are personal friends with any of them then what else are we to do. at least do some research on your own so you stop making a fool of yourself. you have a computer so use it for something other than looking up asian midget porn. you think Chryst can deliver wins and maximize talent? how when what he does with the badgers needs talent especially on the line which pitt doesn't have right now and the way he recruits they won't have for awhile if ever ya dope. if i didn't know any better i'd swear you are ron cook. you are right about one thing wins make everything better. and if you get your way and your guy gets the job things won't be better for a long time. and by the way there are many here that know what they are talking about but you surely are not one of them chim chim. you can't even spell cristobal right. spell check bud. learn it, live it, love it.

    ReplyDelete
  34. TX Panther, you said...

    "Therefore, I would think the best recruiters are the ones that have the dynamic personalities but who also don't come across as slick sales types."

    While I agree in principal, and hate to be in any position to defend Todd Graham at all, his 'slick' personality served him very well in recruiting these last two classes.

    That wasn't his problem at all. You guys and Chris know more about these candidates than I do I think but I do believe that a Head Coach has to be at least personable and energetic... and can't turn his nose up at local schools and the players in those schools.

    The one factor to weigh in all this is that both Chyrst and Fickell are coming from much stronger programs than PITT. Soemtimes that is a problem in comparison.

    But really, and especially compared to the last two HCs we have had in haywood and Graham - all three are refreshing.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm not sure what it means either. DiPaola had an article this AM saying Chryst has support amongst boosters. I think they are just trying to cover all their bases and not make it seem like a done deal. We should have a pretty good idea by tomorrow morning. There will be no reason to play coy tomorrow since FIUs game will be over.

    ReplyDelete
  36. At worst, we should have a clear front runner tomorrow if not the information on an offer - hopefully to Cristobal in my view.

    If it is indeed Cristobal, Pitt must have a serios buyout clause to prevent him from bolting because it's very evident, the Cristobals are firmly entrenched in the south Florida area.

    ReplyDelete
  37. So quiet, that it seems obvious that they are waiting for Cristobal to get through his game tonight and resolve whether he's the coach one way or the other. If one of the other two was the choice, we'd have had the press conference already.

    ReplyDelete
  38. BW...you are definitely representative of the negative Pitt fan that gives the organization around college ball its bad reputation. Looks like your lack of sleep by posting at 3 am is affecting your ability to comprehend what the grown ups are saying. Please tell me what spell check would have Cristobal in it. Please name for me the Big East teams in past five years that have outrecruited Pitt and have had better talent than Pitt. Pitt fans have watched (yes in empty stadiums) bone crushing losses to average teams with average coaches. How many times have we seen bad game day decisions and lack of adjustments from Pitt coaches over the years - Harris, Wannstedt and even your boy Graham (why speak of Hackett, Fazio, Majors II)? Pitt certainly has had enough talent to win Big East outright at least once but failed to do so. Pitt is not in position to allow coach to learn "gameday" on the job. They need solid coach who can lead program and provide long-term stability. Chryst has demonstrable and sustained resume of his offenses competing at high level against strong opponents. Cristobal sounds great on paper but why should Pitt accept coach that needs time to learn to be gameday coach (which has been the knock on him) along with concerns of him longing for FL? Chryst can deliver credibility with recruits plus offers Pitt the best potential success and stability in next 5 years. Wisconsin is a highly respected name in Pitt's traditional recruiting territories. Chryst's asst and recruiting coordinator will most certainly play large role to maximize the feed of talent. Cristobal again will make fine coach someday but I don't feel that his net upside outweighs Chryst's.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Chryst will have to learn to be a game day coach, too. Calling plays is one thing, and he's excellent at that, but many great coordinators have failed as head coaches because it's very different. If Cristobal, Fickell, an Chryst are batting for a recruit, I would be shocked if Chryst came out with the kid. Kids love personality and relatability, and that's not going to be Chryst.

    It looks to me like they are waiting for Cristobal to coach the game tonight because they don't want to look like they are poaching somebody, too. As long as they don't lose any recruits doing that, I'm fine with it.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Doke:

    Mark Dantonio at Michigan State doesn't have much personality, but he has done a whale of a job at Michigan State in just five years. I don't think that personality would necessarily be a major liability for Chryst.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Chris,

    Thanks for providing outlet for us. Enjoy your work.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Anonymous - not to answer for Chris but, I think that Mark D'Antonio is a lot like Wannstedt in that he comes across as very sincere and his players love him and that's what brought some real recruiting success under him.

    Now, whether Cryst can win players and parents like Wannstedt did and apparently like D'Antonio does, that remains to be seen but if he does - AND becomes a great game day coach, then he's the guy - such a crap shoot and I hate crap shoots when it's with my Panthers.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Someone, Anyone, Please explain why Pitt would not at least entertain the idea of hiring Jim Tresell as there next head coach. He did nothing different than any other College football coach. He got caught. The others have not.
    This guy's resume heavily outweighs these minor rules violations by the bullshit NCAA. If Pitt wants to be a big time Football program they need Tresell. He is by far the best Coach available! Cristobal will be back in Flordia in 2 years. Cryst doesn't recruit. Fickel can run the defense for Jim Tressel.

    Jim Tressel deserves a 2nd chance and someone is going to give him that chance. Why not let it be PITT!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Doke -

    Do you think Cristobal, if he comes aboard this week, holds most of Graham's recruiting class? Do we still have a shot at any of the players you highlighted a week ago?

    ReplyDelete
  45. Now there's a mini-buzz about this random Yinzer guy:

    http://www.pittblather.com/2011/12/20/hes-local-and-brings-nfl-europe-experience/#comments

    I doubt it. This guy isn't sexy enough for the Smartest Guy in the Room, Mr. Pederson.

    ReplyDelete
  46. If you don't think Dantonio is a big personality, you are wrong. He's known as a stone cold killer who would step over anybody that gets in his way. When he recruits you, you know it. It's a different kind of a personality than somebody like Cristobal has, but he's not some cerebral guy. He is a tough guy that commands respect. Sorry, but I don't see that in Chryst.

    I think Cristobal would hold on to everybody and I would think the excitement that would come from his hiring would even get him some more big names, especially locally.

    As for Tomsula I heard about that last night and I didn't even bother to mention it because he's not going to get the job.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Marco stuck in WilkinsburgDecember 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Chris,

    Could you please provide the two worst possible coaches Pitt could choose. Since it's Peterson's choice I'm assuming we will get one of those worst possible choice candidates....thanks

    ReplyDelete
  48. Marco, I think the answer to your question is Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno.
    I have a feeling that Pederson will rise about this level and choose someone at least as good as his last two picks-Haywood and Graham.

    ReplyDelete
  49. "Someone, Anyone, Please explain why Pitt would not at least entertain the idea of hiring Jim Tresell as there next head coach. He did nothing different than any other College football coach. He got caught. The others have not."

    Well, the answer to that question has come down from the NCAA....Tresell is out.

    Former coach Jim Tressel, forced out in the wake of the (OSU) scandal, was hit with a five-year "show-cause" order that all but prevents him from being a college coach during that time.

    http://tinyurl.com/7mtxc5t

    ReplyDelete
  50. Chris,

    Not sure how you've come to the conclusion that Cristobal is a "mediocre game coach?" Based on what? Based on the talent that he has had to work with (which is what you've stated before,)he's done fairly well.
    We still disagree on the ability of Pitt to get Mullen out of Mississippi State. That's a dead end program at the bottom of the SEC pile (even Vandy has surpassed that program.)A move to the ACC might be a better career move. Does anyone think he'll ever coach in an SEC title game or get the call from an elite SEC school in the future? Highly unlikely. Fickel is a wild card and could go either way.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I was on an ASU message board and one poster had said that Todd "the fraud" Graham had been let go at his local high school for having an affair with the school district's superintendant (female.) The guy also went on to say he was really a despicable coach and not well liked by the locals. Anyone know the truth? As moot as it may be these days.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I think FIU AD just basically said christobal is gone to Pitt.

    ReplyDelete
  53. From people who follow FIU, they say he's a mediocre, but improving game coach. That's normal for a young coach. He's only going to get better.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Im hearing that it's looking very good that Cristobal is going to get the job if he wants it, and it looks like he does want it.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hopefully Mario is a man and tells his guus in a formal team meeting. If not, the PGH media shohld blast this guy.

    ReplyDelete
  56. 10 points on offense... losing to Marshall by 10...Peterson must be biting his nails if this is the guy they've chosen.

    Cristobal had better take the Pitt job if offered- Not sure other schools will be offering him any time soon after tonight.

    Maybe Cristobal will get better in a few years... but I still stick by my thinking that Chryst is ready to go now... Sorry Chris but I just wonder even if he could recruit as well as Wannstedt did, he might end up being another... Wannstedt.

    I do like his DC though.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Losing to Marshall is not a disgrace when you're Florida International. Marshall is a mid-major and FIU is a low-major. I knew people were going to overreact to this and not see the big picture. He went from a program that was virtually non-existent and went to bowl games in years four and five. He's one of the better young coaches in the country, but people need to be realistic here. He's not a miracle worker. There's only so much somebody can do when your overmatched. FIU is barely D-1, don't forget that. They really shouldn't even be in the game with a decent MAC team.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I do not see how anyone can be confident in either of these candidates. A coach who needs growing and has doubts about moving to Pittsburgh versus another coach who is not a good recruiter and does not enjoy that part of college coaching.
    I would pass on both. Pitt should not pay a coach to develop on the job, especially if he has already been a game day coach for 5 years. If we wanted to do that, then why not hire a quality assistant instead? The whole point of hiring a head coach is they will be ready to go, which it appears is not the case with Cristobal.
    As for Chryst, I suspect we will have another Walt Harris, except a focus on the power running game and not the West Coast offense.
    Steve P , I think you have failed Pitt again.

    ReplyDelete
  59. It's always a crapshoot. Mississippi paid a fortune for Houston Nutt and he failed miserably. You never know. Cristobal or Chryst can get the job and be great or be awful. Hopefully we'll see something good from whoever the guy will be.

    ReplyDelete
  60. How come Kirby Smart was not a candidate?

    ReplyDelete
  61. I disagree about it being a crapshoot. That's what people who do it badly say to justify their poor results.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Thcydides..and your recommendation would be? You have to start somewhere and top shelf coaches are usually not on the move.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Of course it's a crapshoot. Dan Hawkins, Steve Kragthorpe, Houston Nutt, Randy Edsall, and on and on and on. There have been many coaches who looked like sure things that failed. It happens all the time. It just seems to happen more to Pitt because no matter how badly Steve Pederson screws things up, they just keep letting him hire people.

    ReplyDelete
  64. anonymous (the one with the raging hard on for chryst and anything wisconsin) the more you type the more you prove my point that you don't comprehend very well and are totally clueless about football. just because you know more about sports than the rest of your 7th grade class does not make you an expert. your on a sports blog now with grown ups who are very astute and make very good points. maybe you should just read and take notes while you are here and you may learn something. or you can keep typing your little heart out skippy as it just keeps serving my point and does keep me laughing with the absurdity of it all. on to the grown up portion of the show. i thought FIU did very well in their bowl game. they hung in there til very late in the game with Marshall. honestly did you see the size difference in some of their players on both sides of the ball as compared to Marshall. it kind of looked like david and goliath there sometimes. cristobal i feel did the best he could with what he has. which is a really good thing because it seems that under him he has been able to get his players to maximize their skills and talent to the fullest. when was the last time you could say that about a pitt coach? i hope you are right Chris and they do hire him. would be an early Christmas present for sure. but with pederson involved you always have to hold your breath. the man could fuck up a free lunch. if its not mario then at least i hope they offer it to fickell. way more upside with him than chrytst. i guess tomorrow will tell and i'll keep my fingers crossed for good things one way or the other. this is a crossroads for this program right now and i pray it turns out for the best.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Chris i wanted to ask if you have heard if any of the recruits have a favorite as to who they would like to see get the job?

    ReplyDelete
  66. Let's take step back for one minute. Everything Cristobal has done is being filtered in context of yea but it is FIU...low mid-major...FIU is barely D1...they shouldn't even be in game with MAC...went from barely program to being in bowl in 4-5 years (even though there are 35 bowl games)...as if these statements should make us feel better about Cristobal's candidacy. Why are these statements being used to put his modest success in context and justify why Pitt should hire him? To me, it should generate exact opposite conclusion. It makes no sense to me when judging persons potential for Pitt. I stress the "for Pitt" part (especially due to talk of his issues with relocating here). Why hire head coach of low-mid major program who is barely D1 and shouldn't even be on field with MAC team? Is this what we want for the Panthers? This doesn't give me strong feeling for Pitt to make Cristobal hire given its unique but unfortunate coaching situation especially if guy is uncertain about relocating. It seems that the qualifiers answers question of why Pitt should not hire Cristobal at this time. I recognize any coach is crapshoot but those types of qualifiers are major red flags in trying to sell the sizzle without the steak for Pitt. Chris, you right about your statement on getting the same result every time by empowering Pederson to continue with decision.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Earlier this year I said the Todd Graham looked like he was in over his head at times, and still learning on the job. I also stated that he didn't look like a good fit. Now we've got this guy from FIU... S.Fla guy to the core, wife is gonna hate the winter, and he also looks like a MAJOR work in progress. Ok so he got FIU from the toilet to 6-6 whoopie. HE'S IN S.FLA!! You can win 6 games in that conference with the kids that were rejected by Florida, Fla State, etc. I'm not sold, and if he comes to Pitt he'll be gone in a couple of years because the fans and media are going to kill this guy after a couple of 6-6 seasons...AND his wife is going to hate the winter, no sun, hills, air, people, no beach... etc, etc. Go with the Wisconsin guy who's been a part of a very successful program... IN WISCONSIN. If Wisconsin can recruit and win, Pitt surely should be able to. Madison is not the most happening place, and city kids still go there because they win.

    ReplyDelete
  68. I know a few cubans living in Pittsburgh and they're just fine with it. You shoot on down to S. Florida on the holidays and in the summer and all is well. Buena Noche y felice navidad Mario.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I'm starting to lean toward Paul Chryst instead of Cristobal...Paul Zeise is saying that Cristobal wants to stay in Miami, and Paul Chryst got a good endorsement from Oregon State head coach Mike Riley.

    http://pittsburgh.scout.com/2/1140715.html

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11355/1198247-233.stm

    I think Chryst can have good assistants recruit....these are the guys who usually lure in the best players anyway. I'm leaning more now towards the stability of Chryst. I also like the fact that he will lure in QB's the way Walt Harris did....and QB's win games in college ball. Just ask Urban Meyers.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I don't see Cristobal turning down the job because he wants to stay in south Florida. If he does then he's not a very bright man and Pitt would be better off without him. Going to the ACC and tripling your salary is better than what he has now and he's not going to be the Miami coach any time soon, if ever. So I take reports like that with a grain of salt.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Colin Dunlap just tweeted that he heard from a source close to the Cristobals that Jessica is fine with moving to Pittsburgh. Zeise also has a new blog post that claims the problem is with Pitt - the "inner circle" can't agree on whether they should hire Cristobal or Chryst. The result seems to be that they are doing nothing. If this is true, this is a real problem. No offense, but all of the data has been collected for 4 days. Time to make a damn decision before both candidates simply decide that Pitt's athletic department is too dysfunctional and pull back. Hopefully, Zeise is being fed misinformation or is giving us his opinion rather than reporting fact. He does seem to get the two confused at times.

    ReplyDelete
  72. If that's the case then it's a perfect example of why having an AD that can't be trusted with his hires is a major problem.

    ReplyDelete
  73. ATTENTION TRUSTEES: YOU ARE PITT, YOU ARE NOT TEXAS.

    Hire the best coach available, make the buyout rough enough so that you can get at least 3 years. If the hire is a miracle worker and puts Pitt in the BCS either: 1) You open up the vault and keep him; or 2) the guy goes to TX or FL (or tOSU when Meyer burns out again) and you have a program that top coaches will want to work for since its is now a much improved program.

    If the hire stinks, won't YOU want to ditch the guy?

    Seriously, you are concerned that the next hire won't stick around for 10 years? If that is the case, you should be institutionalized.

    With respect to Cristobal, note he took over the season after the massive Orange Bowl brawl with Miami and faced the loss of 12 scholarships. The rebuilding at Pitt is nothing compared to what Cristobal faced at FIU.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Chris...

    While I agree that in choosing one of these coaches feels a bit like a crapshoot, I also believe choosing a coach is not always a crapshoot.


    If we take a closer look at the coaches you've pointed out (as proof every hire is is a crapshoot)... you will see some red flags the schools didn't pay attention to.

    Dan Hawkins was very successful at Boise St. Then got the job in Colorado without his superstar OC (now where have we seen that before). No doubt Hawkins wins many more games if Petersen joins him in Colorado. We all know now that Petersen was a huge part of that team's success, just like we all have come to realize the secret to Graham's wins were Chad and Gus (some of us were throwing up a red flag before he was ever hired)... RED FLAG!

    Randy Edsall never won more than 9 games a season (and winning 9 games in the Big East is like winning 7 games in the Big Ten or SEC)... RED FLAG!

    Steve Kragthorpe (Like Edsall) never won more than 9 games either (in the mediocre Conference USA no less)... and he only won 9 games once...why would anyone think he was going to get better is a little surprising... Red Flag!

    Houston Nutt... didn't bring all of his Murray State coaches with him to Boise... though he did prove to have some solid years at both Arkansas and Old Miss. He is not what I'd call a terrible hire-Just a solid hire-that lost something (probably some key coaches).

    Yet let's look at Jim Harbaugh. It's hard to seeing his hiring at Stanford as a just a crapshoot. Coming off two two tremendous seasons at San Diego and with the his coaching staff intact, you can see how it's more likely than not that he would succeed (even if it took him a few years to get his players in place).

    If Crisabol was coming off back to back 11-1 seasons and had his key coaches from those 11-1 teams coming with him to Pitt I'm not so sure we'd be thinking his hire would be equal to the same crapshoot.

    If a school can agree upon certain criteria and expectations for candidates to meet (a sort of prerequisite of past proven performance and actions), if the proper homework and background checks are done (to make sure his same coaching staff will be intact and that former players and bosses and coaches he's worked with can vouch for his integrity and behavior and leadership, and the right questions are being asked and answered during the interview (e.g. can you honestly see yourself being at Pitt for 5 years– to be that coach who can look his first year recruits in the eye and promise them you will be their coach when they graduate and are you willing to back that up by allowing us to include a $3 million dollar buyout clause in your contract), then you should be able to do better than a crapshoot. If a red flag goes up and you might want to consider passing (or lowering your expectations).

    Most coaches that win often come from coaching staffs whose teams often won. If a coach hasn't proven he can win 10+ games as a head coach or even that he's been a key coach on a team that has done so, that should at least a be cause for a little concern.

    Cristobal has yet to prove he can win 10+ games and to be fair Chryst has yet to prove he can assemble a strong staff around him... which is why, in Pitt's case, the next head coach could be a bit of a crap shoot.

    Let's not forget that with a crapshoot, you can still come out a winner. But if Pitt wants better than a crapshoot...they'll have to go fishing for new and more proven candidates.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I wanted to post a few comments on here because I maybe the only person that reads this blog that lived in both Pittsburgh and Miami. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, went to Pitt, and went to Grad school in Miami and stayed in Miami for 7 years, married a hispanic woman from Miami and now we both live in Southern Virginia.
    So, I just want to comment on some of the things posted about Cristobal.
    With Mario Cristobal being Cuban, he and his wife will miss 2 things from Miami. Cuban culture and family. Now, it will be hard to import Cuban culture from Miami to Pittsburgh, but on the family side; maybe some of their family might move up.(Latin families often follow each other around the country). Also, if is making a million to 2 million a year, it will be easy to fly his wife back and forth to South Beach if she is lonely.
    Speaking from personal experience, my wife LOVES Pittsburgh and we have a great time when we go visit. Culuturally speaking, it is above Miami in many ways and the school districts kick Miami-Dades ass. My wife WOULD consider living in Pittsburgh, but, in my field, there are not job oppurtunities.
    Futher, I cannot tell you how many times when I lived in Miami Cubans would come up to me and say how cool they thought it was I lived in Pittsburgh because, they had never seen snow in their life and always wanted to ski.
    Also, if you look at crimes rates, areas where property values are plummeting, cost of living, south FL is among the worst and Pittsburgh is very good. Miami is a great place to live if you do not have kids, but, once you do, not so much. If they have kids, they will see Pittsburgh is a much more family related city.
    So, really, enough with the negativity about how a Miami coach cannot stay more than 11 months in Pittsburgh. No one knows for sure, and, how do we know Chryst won't bolt for the Big 10 at first chance?
    I would be happy with both hires, but, please give Critobol a fair chance. He is not Graham and he should not be judged on what Graham did.
    But on the flip side, if some boosters want to open a few Cuban style restaraunts near where Cristobal is going to move, that might be a very good idea!!! (plus, cuban food is absolutely delicious and with his wife being a Miss FL, I am sure she does not cook!)

    ReplyDelete
  76. pantherman13 if what you posted is true then its another case of pederson and company fucking up a free lunch. they sicken me with their ineptitude. i just don't get why you would let a man lead a coaching search who has absolutely no track record at all with being good at it. the administration there has been the main reason that the program has been mediocre and disappointing for so long. it always seems to be we have to expect the worst and hope for the best in situations like this. sadly it seems the best never comes and the worst walks in the door. very frustrated at this point because this kind of crap gets real old real quick.

    ReplyDelete