Monday, January 9, 2012

The three things Paul Chryst has to accomplish to make Pitt excellent

1.  Assembling a great staff-  While only half the staff has been announced, Chryst has had an excellent start.  Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bob Bostad is one of the best offensive line coaches in the country and new assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Joe Rudolph is considered one of the best recruiters in the country.  Neither of these statements are hyperbole.  Both are well known facts.  Why is Rudolph, a former offensive lineman, the new quarterbacks coach?  Well, let's be honest.  No matter what titles Rudolph and Bostad have, the offense will be Chryst's baby.  I expect him to formulate the game plans (with help from his staff, of course) and to call the plays.  He's one of the best play callers in the business and that's why he was hired in the first place.  Therefore, there's no reason to take him away from that.  So expect Rudolph to be quarterbacks coach in name, but what he'll really be is a recruiter extraordinaire.

On defense, new coordinator Dave Huxtable has had some excellent defenses at Central Florida and as a linebacker coach he's shown to be one of the best in the business.  Hiring former Mt.Lebanon head coach Chris Haering as linebackers coach was another excellent idea.  Expect Haering to not only be a good coach (he was an All-American linebacker in college), but he's also well respected and liked amongst WPIAL coaches so as a local recruiter he could be excellent.

Running back, wide receiver, defensive line, and defensive backs coaches are still needed and one of those will be presumably be the recruiting coordinator also.  If Chryst can add young hungry coaches and recruiters in those spots then his staff will be a grand slam.

2.  Recruit the best of PA immediately-  First Chryst has to hold on to the best of the 2012 class and that doesn't seem to be a problem.  Then he must finish off the 2012 class with some quality players.  It remains to be seen who the staff will  add to finish off the class but a strong finish would be a huge bonus going into next season.

Then comes the 2013 class.  This class will go a long way in determining Chryst's success at Pitt.  Central Valley wide receiver Robert Foster, Clairton safety Tyler Boyd, North Allegheny guard Patrick Kugler, and tight end Adam Breneman from the Harrisburg area are all nationally elite prospects at their positions and if Pitt can somehow manage all four, or at least three, then the new staff would have accomplished two things- one, adding talent of a top ten team, and, two, showing the rest of the programs, and prospects, that Pitt is a program to be reckon with.

The time is right for such a recruiting push.  The talent in PA is excellent in 2013, Penn State figures to struggle in recruiting, and the buzz of Chryst's (and Bostad's and Rudolph's) reputation from their time at Wisconsin is very high right now.  Combined with the fact that a new coach means a chance to play a lot early (that's why new coaches often get a big time class right off the bat) and Chryst can really get Pitt good in a hurry if he can land the big fish in PA.

3.  Coach 'em up-  Chryst has proven that he can take some okay prospects and turn them into college stars, and Bostad has done the same.  As long as Chryst continues to run the offense and as long as Bostad continues to coach up the linemen, there is no reason why they can't do the same at Pitt, who will actually have better prospects than Wisconsin had.

With a healthy Ray Graham, an incoming Rushell Shell, and a few other pretty good backs, the running game should be excellent.  Hubie Graham should thrive in the new offense and the tight end position is deep.  The offensive line was poor this season but Chris Jacobson should back, Tom Ricketts can finally play, and Bostad is the king of making something out of nothing.  The passing game may need more work but if anybody can get anything out of the quarterbacks it's Chryst.

On defense, Huxtable will be given free reign since Chryst's speciality is offense.  That puts a lot of pressure on him so it's important that he comes through.  The secondary should be good in 2012, but the front seven is going to need a lot of new, young players to come through.  Huxtable had two All-Big Ten linebackers this year, one a junior and one a sophomore, so he knows how to get the most out of his younger players.  The three projected starting linebackers- Juan Price, Todd Thomas, and LaQuentin Smith- are all sophomores, and Huxtable's coaching will be put to the test immediately. If he can turn that trio into very good players immediately, the defense could be very good right off the bat, and that will mean more wins in year one.

31 comments:

  1. You think PSU is going to struggle when they kept Vandy and LJ? Thats not going to happen as much as you want it too. Who are the better recruiters, Chryst(who hates to recruit) and his Wisconsin guys recruiting to Pitt or LHJ and Vandy to PSU? Wont be a contest frankly.

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  2. I'm not saying PSU will be a disaster, but trust me, there's only so much they can do. Kids may really like PSU, but most of them, at least this year, will probably eventually feel like it's not worth the hassle. It's going to continue to get ugly there and with no backing of the alumni, O'Brien is already a dead man walking. That's what happened to RichRod at Michigan.

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  3. RichRod didnt work out because he was a total idiot. He needs 1 sensational guy at QB and only found him at the end. If I had to guess who will be coach longer, Ill choose o'Brien over Chryst because Paul is fighting an uphill battle. Nobody, and I mean nobody, takes Pitt Football seriously. Kids arent dumb. 30K crowds are not electric.

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  4. Tell that to the 4 and 5 star kids Pitt gets every year.

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  5. Penn State is screwed Anonymous. more so than you think it is. the nightmare has only just begun up there. O'Brien has absolutely no room for error what so ever with that job one small mistake in any facet of his job whether it be recruiting, winning games, saying the wrong thing, not keeping the boosters/alumni happy and he is going to get cut on that fine razors edge he is walking on. hell he hasn't even started yet and already has one foot out the door already.

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  6. Dear "Anonymous"-

    You clearly like state, which is fine, but why come to this site?

    I'll grant you the 100,000+ fans but the reality is, state's record that last ten years isn't near the level of attendance accomplishment. Look in the mirror, state is an above average program.

    Though Pitt isn't much better, if you look at the last 20 years, Pitt has produced four (4) hall of fame players in Brown, Martin, Fitz, and Reevis. Not many schools can claim that,least of all state.

    Very soon, that will make pitt top three (3) in schools with rep in the hof. Somehow, some way, Pitt gets it done. And although their play on the field is frustrating (most of the time), it is still my university, founded in 1787.

    Please go away.

    Thanks-

    Scoocher

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  7. Chris, are there any rumblings about who might fill out the remaining openings in the staff? Also, is this the same anonymous who ONLY spews hatred and negativity towards pitt? Its fricken annoying

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  8. I don't know if it is or not. I think I'm going to take the "anonymous" option away so I can at least know which one is the idiot anonymous.

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  9. It's not like Pitt has bad fans they just have fickle fans

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  10. yeah but it is fun laughing at his/her comments and supposed sports knowledge. haven't seen one post of this person that made any good sense yet. sorry anonymous but it looks like you may be going bye-bye.

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  11. Reply to "I think I'm going to take the 'anonymous' option away so I can at least know which one is the idiot anonymous."

    Please, oh PLEASE!

    Since you didn't buy me a Christmas gift, that will work instead.

    When we've sometimes had one 'Anonymous' commenting on another 'Anonymous' posting, it's a wonder the earth doesn't stop spinning.

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  12. Why do I think we're really going to be good next year - a few "ifs" but here goes:

    1) - Voytik over Sunseri - forget which QB knows the system better - we're going to have a new system anyway plus, dumb it down if you have to - just GIVE VOYTIK THE BALL! (and hope to hell he doesn't get hurt)

    2 - a healthy Ray Ray and Schell with Bennett and Crockett backing them up - WOW!

    3) - O-Line - with Jacobson probably coming back alongside Ricketts with a head coach and a real O-Line coaching them - Nice!

    4) - receivers...on to 5. Obviously, this whole group needs to really step up - every single one of them.

    5) - D-Line - a Star in Donald with KK stuffing the middle - Can Ezell and Clemmings show something next year Please?

    If they do, nice unit.

    6) - LB's - as Chris mentioned, two potential stars in Price and Thomas and I liked what I saw in Smith in the limited time he played - maybe Mason?

    7) - secondary - K'wan is a player - Tags and Holly good.

    8) and maybe most importantly - a real FB coach with some effen stability wouldn't hurt.

    I think that we hit rock bottom this year and I think that next year the BCS bid will belong to Pitt!

    Who's with me?

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  13. Zatiti, i want to be with you, but the odds of voytik starting are not good. As for d-line, that group has the potential to be elite with brian murphy, kk, donald, and clemmings if clemmings plays up to his talent that d line will top 10 in the country.

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  14. What's the "ethical" thing to do with Rudolph's recruits that he formed a relationship with over the past year who committed to Wisconsin? Can he call them up and try to get them to switch or will they focus on Graham's recruits to finish out the class.

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  15. What usually happens is the coach tells the kid that he's moving on to another school, then waits for the kid to say, "well, ummm, maybe I can come with you". Then they pounce. Even though I'm sure it's happened, I think for the most part, a coach doesn't come out and ask a kid to come with him. They simply tell the kid he's leaving, says how much he would have loved to have coached him, and blah, blah, blah, knowing full well that if the kid really wants to follow that coach he will go ahead and ask. This way the coach can say that he did not initiate it, but simply is allowing the kid to follow him if he wants.

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  16. Chris, are any of pitts d-line commits capable of making an immediate impact? I know none of them were considered elite but theres not much depth at the position even though the probable starters have a ton of talent

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  17. JP Holtz is being recruited as a TE again so he won't be in the mix if he commits. As for Darryl Render, Tyrique Jarrett, and Myles Hilliard, they are all good prospects and any of them could be in the rotation. But I don't see them making a huge impact.

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  18. Ok thanks

    Is virginia tech commit drew harris still in the mix? I know he was waivering and had visited pitt multiple times just before graham left. Ps thanks for putting up with all my questions i cant get enough of this stuff

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  19. No clue yet if they're interested in Harris. I know VT and he were both looking to make a change so I'm sure if Pitt wants him they would have a good chance.

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  20. The pessimistic Pitt fan in me things we won't really end this class with a flurry and will be happy if we just hang on to what we have. Realistically, we probably add Holtz and a couple other decent kids. Though Bob Lichtenfels Denman is in play, and Voytik is recruiting Dodson and Denman I am not getting my hopes up to be let down. We'll see how good of a recruiter Rudolph is though. I really hope we still have a shot at Cox and Bradley. It seems like we do. Too bad we missed out on Ryan Watson.

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  21. Chris -

    Have you heard anything about Brock DeCicco? With his position coach and offensive coordinator moving from Wisconsin to Pitt, is there any chance he comes back? And if so, would he need to sit out another year or could he play right away?

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  22. He's very close to the players and the staff but he would have to sit out a year again so he would have to think seriously about whether he wants to do that or not.

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  23. Bryan Murphy at DE or LB if eligible.

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  24. Hey Chris,

    A few questions for you. First, do you expect Grigsby to contribute next year? I know he was banged up this past season, but I thought I read from Ziese that he looks like he could develop into a solid player.

    Next, of the players who transfered to Pitt last year (Banks, Felder, Vinopal, etc.) who do you think has the chance to step in and make an impact?

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  25. Ricketts, Felder, Christian, and Vinopal are four that I know of could help the team because the past coaches told that. I know Tony Gibson really liked Christian and Vinopal, so much so that he got them to transfer over to be with him before he ran off.

    Grisby is fast and athletic so he definitely has a chance to be something.

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  26. Chris, rivals is reporting that mike caprara is being looked at by pitt. The only thing i could find about him was that espn gives him a rank of 72 which is 2 stars. Hes a middle linebacker but how talented is he and if he commits could he make an early impact?

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  27. Caprara is a really good high school player who would have gotten a lot of offers if he was bigger. He's the type of kid you want on your team and if he ends up being productive it's a bonus. Think of him as the linebacker version of Andrew Taglianetti.

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  28. The more players pitt has like taglianetti, the better

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  29. Chris, cabe(above) said that jj denman is in play for pitt. Is this true or just speculation?

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  30. I don't know how serious it is yet but from what I can tell, there has been some discussion. I wouldn't get my hopes up just yet, though.

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  31. Chris,

    You mention the TE position being deep next year. And that's true. But how many of them will be able to block for the run game Chryst will likely need for Pitt to be successful?

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