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Pitt

4-1-Zoo: Todd Graham Roundtable Discussion

By: Chris Gates
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Well, here we are once again.

Unfortunately, this is somewhat familiar territory. Pitt players and fans are without a football coach. While Todd Graham’s departure is far different from that of Dave Wannstedt and Mike Haywood, it still leaves us with the same result.

Pitt needs a head football coach.

Graham bolted, giving literally nobody any warning. He shut out his players and the Pitt administration. According to Post-Gazette Pitt beat reporter Paul Zeise, he even kicked one of the higher ups at the athletic department off his front porch while trying to get some sort of explanation for what was going on.

It’s one of the most unique, disgusting departures in college sports and it begs the answers to two different questions: 1) How did Graham’s departure make you feel? and, 2) Where should Pitt go from here?

To help answer that, or at least get some perspective, Bryan from Pitt Script, Chas from Pitt Blather and T.J. from Pittsburgh Sports Depot were kind enough to join me and give their immediate thoughts on Wednesday’s fiasco.

Here’s what everyone had to say…

Chas, PittBlather.com:

What do I think?

I’m impressed. (Graham) managed to exceed even my levels of cynicism towards the coaching carousel. He made it clear that he will pursue every chance to up the money and his profile. It’s a scorched-earth policy, though, that forces him to keep moving. He really put himself in a position, though, where he has to succeed fast this time or he starts going downhill fast. Even ASU fans seem a little uneasy about this one. I wish him nothing but the worst.

As for Pitt. Don’t panic.

There’s going to be a reflexive reaction that Pitt needs to get a “Pitt guy.” Someone with ties to the school and/or area. Someone who won’t bolt Pitt. Loyalty will be a most annoying buzzword. All the BS that came to be after Ben Howland left for UCLA and Walt Harris was left to find another job.

Remember who the finalists were after Wannstedt? Matt Cavanaugh and Paul Rhoads. Remember who Pitt was interviewing? All “Pitt guys” like Tim Lewis, Sal Sunseri, etc. Please don’t do that again.

Bryan, PittScriptBlog.com:

My initial reactions were shock and disbelief. That has since graduated into anger. I just do not understand why this decision was actually made, why it was made now, but most of all why he informed his players how he did.

As for where Pitt goes from here… I don’t really know. I guess they need to find someone who wants to be here. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a Pitt guy, but someone who can become a Pitt guy… much like Jamie Dixon over the last decade. I’m sure there are many capable coordinators and non-AQ head coaches that could fit this description.

T.J., PittsburghSportsDepot.com:

Ughh… If you’ve ever had your heart broken by a girl, you know exactly how I felt yesterday. Everything you thought was right, everything you believed was basically a fraud, and the money hungry P.O.S. just took it and ran. I feel cheap. I feel easy. I feel used.

I don’t have anything good to say about him, because there is absolutely nothing good to say about him. He was 6-6. He’s a liar. He’s a snake, and him and his slimy wife are going to fit in very well in the desert. I heard it last night, and again today “When the weather gets cold, the snakes go to the desert.” Let’s just say this much… I won’t be completely upset if him and Penni have frequent run ins with scorpions.

So now what? Fire Steve Pederson. Oh, and then tell Keith Patterson he’s full of crap and tell him to go wash Penni’s car. We have no need for him in Pittsburgh.

Alright, but we need a coach, right?

They need to hire someone that can both come in and win now, but stabilize the program for at least 5 years. Hiring someone like Mario Cristobal may bring immediate wins, but I’m not sure that we won’t be having this same conversation in another two years, when a bigger job opens up. Guy’s like Tom Bradley, Frank Cignetti & The Stache are dumb suggestions and shouldn’t be taken seriously, at all. Mark Mangino, Randy Shannon & Jim Tressel are pipe dreams and shockingly enough I don’t think Stevie P will pony up the money for them. So, in my eyes we turn in two directions: Teryl Austin or Paul Rhoads. Both are “Pitt Guys.” In Austin’s case, he would have a chance to take a HC job, where he played and could hit the ground running. In the case of Rhoads, he has the opportunity to come back where he started, in a slightly more relaxed environment then ISU, and a conference where he could succeed immediately.

If Stevie gets to make this decision, he better make sure it’s the right one. The Pitt program cannot afford another setback like this, ever again.

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog
Twitter.com/Chris_Gates
Chris.Gates@cbsradio.com

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