PITTSBURGH – Pitt’s Wednesday went in all kinds of directions: We will talk to Tom Bradley, we talked to Tom Bradley, we’ve hired Tom Bradley, we deny the hiring of Tim Bradley … OK, we have pretty much hired Tom Bradley but we’re not prepared to admit it yet because the last hiring seemed rushed and went horribly, horribly wrong.
And if that’s the case, Pitt’s nightmare situation is slowly turning in to a dream.
Bradley, the current … err former … defensive coordinator at Penn State, brings Pitt relief in the immediate and distant future.
First, he is a Western Pennsylvania guy with a host of recruiting ties in the area. He is probably the one choice Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson can make that would be able to salvage something of the current recruiting class, which appears to have dwindled from 19 quality recruits to just a handful of worrisome teenagers.
More importantly, he is a choice that can recruit this area and others just as well as former Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt did. No one can knock Wanny for his ability to recruit while at Pitt, and Bradley has been just as effective in this area while at Penn State.
That would provide Pitt a sense of stability in the long term – much needed considering its last head coaching choice, Mike Haywood, ended up in jail just 16 days after he was hired, throwing any confidence or support for the program off the top of the Cathedral of Learning to smash into a million tiny pieces on Forbes Avenue.
Many worry about where his allegiances might lie, given he has been a popular choice among Penn State supporters to replace Joe Paterno when he decides to retire. That doesn’t seem to be the case, though, as he’s been rumored to want the Pitt job for years and has reportedly said he would “put in writing” that he wouldn’t leave for the PSU job.
With that said, all of his experience alludes to that he’ll be a great head coach. While he has no head coaching experience, one could argue he’s been coaching the Nittany Lions for as long as seven or eight years. JoePa’s hold on game-week preparations and in-game decisions has severely decreased in the last decade as he has become more of a mascot, in my opinion, that an actual coach.
Plus, Bradley’s resume is incredible. He has managed the Penn State defense for over a decade now. In 2009, the Nittany Lions were in the top 15 nationally in six different defensive categories. That defense ranked in the top 15 in scoring defense each year from 2004-09.
In that span, Penn State was No. 3 in the nation in scoring defense (15.1 points per game) and rushing defense (96.99 yards per game) while coming in fifth in total defense (290.3 ypg).
Along with serving as defensive coordinator, Bradley has coached defensive backs, outside linebackers and defensive ends, coordinated the special teams and served as recruiting coordinator, bringing in tons of talent, as I said before.
So, if you couldn’t tell, I think a Pitt hire of Bradley would turn a complete negative in to something that is only positive and can get better.
Pitt’s higher ups made a mistake, and that happens. The Mike Haywood debacle was something that rarely, if ever, happens. Unfortunately it happened at Pitt and many have since spoke of the Panthers as the laughing stock of college football.
This move would clearly erase that title and, I think, put them in a great position to win next year and for years to come.
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog