Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: January 7, 2011 10:17 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis might be playing his final game as a Panther in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday, according to a local report. Multiple sources have confirmed to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the sophomore will "likely" declare for the NFL Draft, leaving two seasons of eligibility on the table at Pitt.
Lewis, the 2009 Big East Offensive Player of the Year, saw a drastic decline in production from his freshman season - often having to split carries with fellow running back Ray Graham. According to the Post-Gazette, Lewis filed papers with the NFL earlier this season to get information on his draft status. He was told last week he would likely be a third round pick.
Unless there is a last-minute change of heart, Lewis is expected to make the announcement sometime next week. With Pittsburgh still searching for a coach (and a direction) it might be time for Lewis to make the jump while memories of that breakout 2009 season are still lingering in the mind of scouts.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 9:32 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 10:17 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson and Adam Jacobi
With Pittsburgh furiously on the hunt to replace dismissed head coach Mike Haywood , one of the popular candidates has been Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. Rumors began swirling on Wednesday night that Bradley was going to accept the open position, and a report from PennLive.com is claiming that the assistant coach had sent text messages to at least two players informing them of his plans to become the new Panthers head coach "once details are worked out. "
According to the report, Bradley texted to one player: "Love you kids. Going to miss you. Wish I could take you with me. Anything I can do for you, let me know."
UPDATE, 10:15 p.m.: PennLive.com reporter David Jones has retracted the report about Bradley sending text messages and taken responsibility for the error.
Pitt, for what it's worth, has denied that Bradley or anybody else has been offered the job, but even the denial is tepid at best; the spokesman admitted "mutual admiration" between Bradley and the school.
Bradley interviewed for the job on Tuesday , and has been unable to be reached by phone or email since then. He was considered one of the frontrunners for the job along with Alabama assistant Sal Sunseri , and to a lesser extent Tulsa head coach Todd Graham , Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst , and former Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
After finishing his career playing at Penn State, Bradley, a lifelong Pennsylvania native, moved immediately to the Nittany Lions sidelines. He has been an assistant coach under Joe Paterno since 1980, and even had stints of head coaching duties when Paterno was suffering health issues.
For Pittsburgh, the hire is about as classy as they come. Bradley will be able to quickly change the tone of a program that currently appears to be lost and looking for direction. He has been recruiting the area his entire career and his roots in the college game run deep. After Dave Wannstedt , that will be a welcome asset for Panther fans.
Posted on: January 1, 2011 5:58 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Less than 24 hours after news of the Mike Haywood arrest on domestic violence charges came out, Pittsburgh has responded in really the only sensible way possible by firing Haywood. Here's the full statement released by Pittsburgh chancellor Mark Nordenberg today:
“After careful consideration of recent events, the University of Pittsburgh has dismissed Michael Haywood as its head football coach, effective immediately. He was advised of that action this afternoon.
“To be clear, the University’s decision is not tied to any expectation with respect to the terms on which the legal proceeding now pending in Indiana might ultimately be concluded. Instead, it reflects a strong belief that moving forward with Mr. Haywood as our head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances.
This is a matter of real regret for the many people at Pitt who had looked forward to working with him. However, head coaches are among the University’s most visible representatives and are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct and to avoid situations that might reflect negatively on the University.
“We will immediately re-open our search for a head football coach, expanding the process to include a larger pool of candidates. Our goal is to move swiftly, but prudently, to find the right person to successfully lead the Pitt football program for what we hope will be an extended period of time.”
Posted on: December 21, 2010 11:58 am
Edited on: December 21, 2010 12:23 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
For now, Steve Addazio is still the offensive coordinator at Florida. But after coaching the Gators against Penn State in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day, Addazio will become another piece of the coaching carousel. One program in the market for a new head coach is Temple, who saw head coach Al Golden leave to accept the same position at Miami. After losing a promising recruit to Golden in the move, the Owls may feel the pressure to select a new man quickly, and begin preparing for the future.
The Philadelphia Inquirier is reporting that Addazio was in town on Monday to discuss the open head coaching position at Temple. Addazio, a Connecticut native, has been on Urban Meyer's offensive staff for his entire tenure at Florida. Despite criticism for this year's offensive struggles, he is still credited for helping put together the high-octane offense that won two national championships in three years between 2006-2008.
Other names connected to the Temple job have been current offensive coordinator Matt Rhule, who called the plays for Golden this past season, and Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti. Cignetti is not guaranteed a job after the "resignation" of Dave Wannstedt, though there is a possibility he could be retained by new head coach Michael Haywood.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 8:36 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
According to multiple reports, this morning's suspicions that Mike Haywood would be Pittsburgh 's next coach have indeed been confirmed, and Haywood has been hired by Pittsburgh AD Steve Pederson today.
Haywood's pedigree includes a MAC championship at Miami University in only his second year atop the program; in his first year, the team went 1-11, and the eight-win turnaround was unmatched by any program in the FBS this year. Haywood also spent 14 years at major football schools LSU, Texas, and Notre Dame as a running backs coach; during his four years at Notre Dame, Haywood was also Charlie Weis' offensive coordinator.
During his career as an assistant coach, Haywood coached such tailbacks as Kevin Faulk, LaBrandon Toefield, Domanick Davis, Cedric Benson, and the talented but injury-plagued Armando Allen, and his experience at these "football factory" type of schools should allay any fears Pittsburgh fans may have about Haywood's recruiting abilities -- especially if all they're looking at is his last two years at Miami University.
Still, it doesn't seem apparent that Haywood has any meaningful connection to the Pittsburgh program or area, so one might not get the sense that this is a "destination" school for Haywood. Rather -- to borrow a term from the military -- this seems more like an "up or out" position for Haywood, where if he succeeds he's expected to move to a more prestigious program, and if he doesn't he's fired -- or, like his predecessor Dave Wannstedt, "gently encouraged" to resign at a 15-second press conference. Only time will tell.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 12:35 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 12:37 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
First Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen was a leading candidate for the open position at Pittsburgh, then there were reports of discussions with West Virginia. Engaged in discussions with bitter rivals, and only one head coaching position available, there was little clarity to Holgorsen's situation. But according to the most recent reports from Morgantown, Bill Stewart does not have to worry about his coaching for his job like we may have thought.
The Charleston Gazette is reporting Tuesday that Holgorsen will join the Mountaineers staff as offensive coordinator in 2011, and then take over Stewart's position as head coach heading into the 2012 season. According to the report, current offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen, a candidate for the Kent State head coaching position, will be out whether he lands the job or not. Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and the entire defensive staff will be retained.
So it appears as though the "coach-in-waiting" is not dead after all, just maybe put on a more definite timetable. Holgorsen has put together an entertaining and high-powered offense at Oklahoma State, and he will have many of the same caliber athletes to work with at West Virginia. One of the biggest disappointments of the Mountaineers' season was an offense that could not always capitalize on the play of their defense. West Virginia finished second in the nation in scoring defense, only allowing 12.8 points per game. But it was failing to score a second-half touchdown in back-to-back losses to Connecticut and Syracuse that prevented West Virginia from winning the Big East outright. After four years of Pat White-led offenses, an inferior offensive unit was not something fans were used to seeing.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:11 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 9:00 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
UPDATE: In a blog from the Post-Gazette late Monday afternoon, Paul Zeise writes that "Dana Holgorsen will not be the next head coach of Pitt." He cites a source close to the situation, but does not elaborate. Though he does suggest that Holgorsen might still end up in the Big East, which could hint at possible openings at Connecticut (Edsall leaves) or West Virginia (Stewart leaves/retires). Regardless, something seems to have developed today to change the coaching search at Pitt. Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more as this story develops.
Dave Wannstedt's "resignation" will go down as one of the more awkward departures of the 2010 postseason. Pittsburgh Athletic director Steve Pederson now must find a new face for the program. Facial hair or not, Pederson knows that he needs to take action finding his next coach. The coaching carousel has been spinning as fast as ever, and many of the names at the top of the national wish-list are quickly being employed.
Near the end of last week, it was believed the two top candidates for the job were Temple's Al Golden and Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen. With Golden heading to Miami to lead the Hurricanes, Holgerson appears to be the new favorite for the job in Pittsburgh. Of course, there are no promises that Holgerson would be interested in leaving Oklahoma State right now. He has put together an incredibly potent offense with Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon, and Kendall Hunter as the cornerstones in 2010. With Weeden and Blackmon possibly returning for 2011, there is a chance that Holgerson could stay for one more successful year and boost his stock significantly.
But according to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Holgerson was contacted by Pitt late last week and interviewed with Pederson at an undisclosed location over the weekend. Holgerson brings a high-energy offense that could energize the fanbase and immediately utilize some of the weapons already in place for the Panthers. Similar to Blackmon, Panthers' wide receiver Jon Baldwin could return for another season and join Dion Lewis and Tito Sunseri as the playmakers of Pitts offense. Sunseri and Lewis have both been inconsistent across their young careers, but have shown flashes of their potential (In Lewis' case, his entire freshman season). There are no notions as to if this will develop into anything further, but it sounds like one of the best potential scenarios for Pittsburgh.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 6:21 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 6:29 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
In what's clearly the biggest coaching shake-up of the year, Pittsburgh saw six-year head coach Dave Wannstedt resign from his head coaching post yesterday. After the news was announced, Wannstedt took to the podium, flanked by his players, for one last press conference to clear the air. Doubtless, he took as much time as it needed to answer every qu -- wait, I'm told he took things in a slightly different direction:
What? Like 12 seconds isn't enough? Jeez, Captain Needy, lighten up.
Obviously, Wannstedt's solemn demeanor indicates that his resignation isn't exactly voluntary. It's good to see, then, that his players stood by him one last time. But the clapping? At a resignation news conference? He's not doing this for applause! Some dignity, please.
[Terrorist fist jab: Slow States ]