Tag:Tony Gibson
Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:56 pm
 

Ex-Michigan CB Christian transferring to Pitt

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Apparently the Ann Arbor-to-Pittsburgh exodus isn't just for coaches.

Earlier this year, new Pitt coach Todd Graham took full advantage of Rich Rodriguez's dismissal to hire away three different former Wolverine assistants. It's a decision that's already paying dividends where the Panthers' roster is concerned, according to this report at Scout.com; thanks in part to his familiarity with new defensive backs coach Tony Gibson, former four-star recruit and 2010 Michigan cornerback Cullen Christian has elected to transfer to Pitt.

For the Panthers, it's a welcome addition to a 2012 secondary that finished 19th in the country in pass defense a year ago but has its work cut out for it under Graham, thanks both to the Panthers' new defense-straining no-huddle offense and a 2011 two-deep that could feature as many as four seniors. Christian (like virtually every member of Michigan's 2010 pass defense) didn't do much to stand out as a true freshman in Ann Arbor, but did see action in 11 games and recorded six tackles.

A Pittsburgh native, Christian's return home and ability to continue working under his original position coach could see him fulfill the potential that made him one of Pennsylvania's most sought-after prospects in the class of 2010.

But where Michigan is concerned, it's yet another blow to a secondary that's already sustained a decade's worth of blows the past few seasons. The Wolverine pass defense was already in tatters last August, and that was before Troy Woolfolk missed a season with a serious ankle injury, Vlad Emilien left the team, Jared Van Slyke broke his clavicle, Ray Vinopal left the team ... you get the picture. Christian's decision not only deprives Brady Hoke of a much-needed scholarship body at corner, but of the highest-ranked recruit remaining in the entire secondary.

It's not a pretty picture for the Wolverine pass defense. But don't expect an unproven, first-year staff like Graham's to have much sympathy.

Posted on: January 18, 2011 6:38 pm
 

Graham getting RichRod band back together at Pitt

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Todd Graham (pictured) is all but finished putting together the new coaching staff at Pitt, officially announcing today what candidates he's chosen to fill eight of his program's nine vacant positions. Where Pitt fans are concerned, probably the most controversial hire will be new defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, who served with Graham as his co-defensive coordinator at Tulsa the previous five years; Panther fans had better hope the Golden Hurricanes' up-tempo offense had a lot to do with their defensive struggles, because otherwise hiring an assistant who oversaw the nation's 110th-ranked defense will end up looking awfully curious.

But where fans of virtually every other school are concerned, the most eyebrow-raising aspect of the announcement is the connection binding three of the other new hires:
Calvin Magee served at Michigan the past three years as associate head coach and offensive coordinator ... Prior to Michigan, Magee spent seven seasons as the running backs coach at West Virginia ...

Tony Dews joins Pitt after a three-year tenure at Michigan as wide receivers coach ... Dews' Pitt appointment marks his return to the Big East . He coached the receivers at West Virginia in 2007 ...

Tony Gibson was the assistant head coach and defensive backs coach at Michigan the past three years. He added special teams coordinator to his duties in 2010. Prior to his time in Ann Arbor he coached West Virginia's defensive backs for seven seasons (2001-07) and was the Mountaineers' recruiting coordinator his final year.
Yep, that's not one, not two, but three different coaches who cut their teeth under Rich Rodriguez at Pitt's archrivals from Morgantown, then followed Rodriguez to his doomed tenure in Ann Arbor. Grabbing three coaches coming off of such a notable failure is one thing; grabbing three coaches coming off of that kind of failure who also happen to be associated with Pitt's one-time public coaching enemy No. 1 is another. Graham had better be right about this, or he likely won't be met with a lot of forgiveness by Panther fans.

Then again, he probably won't need it; though Gibson's secondary was frequently torched by opposing passing attacks, he didn't have a lot to work with (including helpful advice from his defensive coordinator), and neither Magee's offense nor Dews's receivers were remotely the problem for the Wolverines. If the trio can recreate anything like the success they had at West Virginia at Pitt, no one will blink an eye at where they spent their previous stops.
 
 
 
 
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