Sep 232013

A modest and hopefully uncontroversial proposal, if  I may, concerning the coaching staffs which make the UPMC Sports Complex their home.

Fire Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Ok, so that’s probably not so controversial among Steelers fans. Next, transfer Haley’s play-calling and strategy duties to Pitt head coach, Paul Chryst, a man known for productive offenses and the ability to effectively utilize the talents of existing players rather than trying to shoehorn them into one particular system. Chryst will continue to advise offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph but Rudolph will take on added responsibilities, something that should benefit his career immensely.

Paul Chryst

Pitt HC & soon-to-be Steelers OC Paul Chryst

Chryst will still remain the head coach at Pitt. However, since he isn’t exactly comfortable in front of the media (though getting better), Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will take over Chryst’s media duties. (That groan you hear is from Pittsburgh sportswriters being forced to deal with Tomlin on two fronts). Chryst may also need to grow a beard.

Thirdly, fire Pitt defensive coordinator Matt House or re-assign him back to coaching the secondary.  That’s probably not a controversial decision among Pitt fans. Next, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau will be put in charge of the Panthers’ defense. However, given that Lebeau is nearing the end of his fabulous career, I’m also going to extend Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler to be the co-defensive coordinator. Butler will keep his duties as Steelers linebackers coach but gain invaluable leadership experience as Pitt’s co-defensive coordinator, which will help to prepare him to take over for Lebeau someday.

Mike Tomlin

Steelers HC & soon-to-be Pitt Media Relaions Specialist Mike Tomlin

So, here’s the new combined coaching staff:

Steelers Pitt football
Head coach – Mike Tomlin Head coach – Paul Chryst
Media relations – Mike Tomlin Media relations – Mike Tomlin
Offensive coordinator – Paul Chryst Offensive coordinator – Joe Rudolph (w/asssistance from Chryst)
Defensive coordinator – Dick Lebeau Co-Defensive coordinators – Dick Lebeau & Keith Butler

I did consider incorporating Pennstate head coach Bill O’Brien and his staff into this package but the primary advantage of using only the Steelers & Pitt staffs is because they share the same practice facilities. O’Brien or any other cross-pollinated member of Nittany Lions staff would have a substantial commute in order to fulfill their Steelers & Pennstate duties. I did not consider incorporating WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen nor any of his staff. Period.

I did not consider cross-pollinating the rosters. The likes of Tyler Boyd, James Conner & Adam Bisnowaty are only freshmen and have three years to mature at PItt. And guys like Polamalu and Woodley have used up their eligibility. Let’s not get silly here, folks.

So there you have it. I think this is a strong staff. All can learn from each other. Chryst about leadership and how to befuddle the media from Tomlin. Tomlin from Chryst about how to build an offense around players’ real capabilities. Rudolph will benefit from increased responsibilities as well as watching Chryst handle another offense. Butler will continue his apprenticeship under Lebeau while having the chance to hone his coordinator chops with Pitt.

I’m also calling an audible on the fan experience and replacing Sweet Caroline with Renegade. You’re welcome, Pitt.

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