Pitt promotes House to defensive coordinator
Nine starters return to Pitt's defense this season, but new coordinator Matt House said he expects change.
House, who was promoted from secondary coach Monday two months after Dave Huxtable resigned, wants stricter adherence to fundamentals, better tackling and multiple alignments that may look unfamiliar and confusing to fans and foes.
“I hate to streamline and say we are going to be this or we are going to be that,” House said when asked if he will retain the 4-3 scheme. “Without tipping too much off, we want to have a little bit of an element of surprise.”
House's appointment created further movement in the defensive staff. John Palermo, a 38-year coaching veteran who was assistant head coach at Wisconsin from 1991-2005, was hired to coach defensive ends and linebackers. Former Pitt and Steelers cornerback Hank Poteat will serve as graduate assistant and work with the cornerbacks. Defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield and linebacker coach Chris Haering's duties are unchanged.
House, 34, was one of four candidates interviewed for the coordinator's job by coach Paul Chryst, who refused to name the other three.
“He set the bar pretty high,” Chryst said of House, who has been in coaching since 2001 but will be a first-time coordinator. “Matt is ready for it. Just getting a chance to be with him for the whole year and see him work in all different situations made me feel not only comfortable, but excited about what he can bring.”
House was hired last year after four seasons in the NFL, including one year as a special teams and strength and conditioning assistant with the Carolina Panthers and three as a quality control coach of the St. Louis Rams.
He also has worked at Michigan State (as a graduate assistant at his alma mater), North Carolina, Gardner-Webb and the University of Buffalo.
Chryst said he started the interview process before the BBVA Compass Bowl and resumed it while finalizing the recruiting class. House and Haering shared coordinator duties during bowl preparations that ended in a 38-17 loss to Ole Miss, but Chryst said it was not an audition.
“I didn't think it would be an accurate picture or a fair picture if we said, ‘Here is your trial run.' We wanted to finish out the season the best we could and didn't feel like we were going to get anybody who was going to impact recruiting, anyway. That's why there wasn't a strong push to get somebody in at the time.”
House said he will stress fundamentals. “Even more so than we did last year. We want to be simple enough that kids play fast and can execute those baseline fundamentals, but appear complex enough that we put pressure on the offense.”
Pitt finished 17th and 20th, respectively, in the nation in total and passing defense last season.
“If we just become a better tackling team and get more hats to the football, we will improve tremendously,” House said.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com 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.
- Pitt swingman Jones ready for breakout season
- Clemson’s Stoudt is one of the unheralded ACC QBs trying to break out
- Pitt safety Vinopal hopes extra conditioning pays off
- ACC notebook: Pitt predicted to finish 6th in Coastal Division
- Pitt football loses Price for season
- ACC bracing for NCAA rules changes involving coaches and athletes