Coaching stability provides promise for Pitt
Two years ago, many Pitt football players were angry when coach Dave Wannstedt was fired.
What made matters worse?
His immediate replacements,
Michael Haywood and Todd Graham set the program back much more than Wannstedt ever did, largely because they were gone before they could make an impact.
Wannstedt was 18-8 in his final two seasons. Since then, Pitt is 12-14, including a 38-17 loss to Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday.
At least the wreckage is in good hands with coach Paul Chryst, according to departing senior quarterback Tino Sunseri, who sees similarities in his two favorite coaches.
“We believed in coach Wannstedt,” said Sunseri, when asked how Pitt's Class of 2008 came together. “We thought that he was a character guy that loved Pitt. He wanted us to have as much success as we possibly could because he honestly cared about us.”
Now, the hope is that the program has completed the circle.
“There is a lot of stuff that happened in the middle, and for us to finish with a guy like coach Chryst, he is a Dave Wannstedt kind of guy,” Sunseri said. “He, obviously, is his own person, but he is one of those guys who loves the university, loves the players, one of those guys you want to play for.
“When you don't make plays, you feel like you are letting him down.”
Sunseri said upheaval in the program, with a new coach and new system in each of the past two seasons, has been difficult. Now, with his career at an end, he regrets having only one year with Chryst.
“It's so disheartening because you wish you could play for him more,” he said.
Most of Pitt's key players get at least one more season with Chryst.
Pitt will have a few holes to fill on offense when it enters the ACC this year. Gone are running back Ray Graham, offensive linemen Chris Jacobson and Ryan Turnley, Sunseri and wide receiver Mike Shanahan. Only defensive end Shayne Hale and strong safety Jarred Holley will leave the defense.
Junior wide receiver Devin Street and defensive tackle Aaron Donald are exploring possible entry into the NFL Draft, but both have indicated they are leaning toward returning to school.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- House has Pitt defense trending in right direction
- 3 Pitt football recruits plan to enroll early
- Pitt offense eyes healthy balance
- Notre Dame leads powerhouses in ACC; Pitt women picked 14th
- Pitt notebook: Chryst didn’t lobby to keep Watt at tight end
- Discipline Pitt’s only option against Georgia Tech
- All signs positive for Pitt junior forward Johnson
- Pitt’s Dixon expecting more from point guard Robinson
- Pitt’s defense has not rested in post-Donald era