03 January 2011
Dave Wannstedt gave his final, emotional, press conference today in the South Side. Wannstedt announced he would not coach Pitt's the bowl game, despite apparently being heavily involved in the preperation. Phil Bennett - the most likely coach to have been fired just a month ago - is now the interim head coach. I'm completely ambivalent about Wannstedt coaching or not. It would have been an interesting storyline, but that's about it. So just like that, the Dave Wannstedt era at Pitt is officially over. at 42-31 This game probably has less intrigue than the spring game, and I think it will be treated like such by the local and national media.
Another coach who won't be making the trip will be Frank Cignetti, who is officially now the offensive coordinator of Rutgers. I had hoped that Cignetti would find a job quickly, although going to a conference rival isn't what I had in mind. This has the potential to make the 2011 recruiting disaster a catasptrophy if Cignetti and Hafley are able to bring some of Pitt's higher rated recruits along for the ride. It's one thing for these guys to Penn State or Maryland, but quite another thing for them to stay in the Big East. This could get very, very bad.
But coaches (and fans) aren't the only ones to not heading down to Birmingham. The conference defensive player of the year will also sit this one out with an elbow injury that required surgery. From Wannstedt's comments, Sheard's injury was something he could have played with, but at this point, why would he care? Sheard has to get healthy for the NFL Combine, which at this point is light years more important than the Compass Bowl.
His partner on the offensive line, Myles Caragein will also sit out the game due to injury. That likely means the D-line will likely be Brandon Lindsey, Tyrone Ezell, Chas Alecxih and Hargrove/Clemmings/Murphy (I'd even expect to see some Nate Nix in the rotation as this will be his last game).
Who's excited now?
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