Pitt Football: The Risk In Hiring Todd Graham

Yesterday it was Emperor Palpatine. Today? Dubya. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Yesterday, we took a brief look at the risk in bringing in Mike Haywood. Today, it's Todd Graham's turn.

After Pitt made the Graham hire, it's safe to say I thought they were 0-2 in bringing in the right man. I was pretty convinced that Tom Bradley was the way to go for reasons I outlined ad nauseum. Graham, while directing a top-flight offense, runs a somewhat gimmicky one. My concern always has been how will that translate into recruits. And the defenses? Well, there's lots of room for improvement shall we say.

But this isn't about what I think of Graham now - it's about how big of a risk was his hiring?

In comparison to Haywood's, I think you can argue that it was a bit more. Don't get me wrong - by hiring Graham, the university absolutely made a better hire the second time around. Steve Pederson essentially got a mulligan for bringing in Haywood, who had little quality head coaching experience. But the fact is that the university went out on more of a limb by bringing Graham aboard.

For starters, Pitt had colossally goofed the first time around. Sure, you can argue that Haywood's charges may have sounded far worse than what they actually were, but the fact is they hired him based on the fact that he was a disciplinarian.

Then 'the incident' happened.

The Haywood charges were akin to Rafael Palmeiro claiming he never juiced then getting busted seemingly the next day. So, Pitt had to nail this second hire - leave no doubt that Steve Pederson was capable of making competent decisions. When it's all said and done, the Todd Graham hire could make or break him.

Then you've got the fact that Pitt passed up what appeared to have been a pretty good candidate to get him. Remember, Pitt apparently never even interviewed Tom Bradley the first time around. But by the time Graham was being interviewed, he was given a much longer look. Even after that meeting, Pitt, in the end, was never sold on Bradley so they went with Graham.

In the end, the Todd Graham hire is probably an even riskier one than the Haywood one was. If Haywood didn't work out in terms of producing on-field results but kept players in line, fans would look at it as simply a bad hire. But if Graham doesn't pan out, that's two strikes against Pederson.

And that would probably be two too many.

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