Never did I imagine Pitt would be still be defensive coordinator-less approaching Valentine's Day when Dave Huxtable resigned his post nearly two months ago on December 14. But true to his midwestern roots, coach Paul Chryst seems to be taking his time. First, the search was put off until after the bowl game. Then recruiting season picked up and the coordinator search was once again placed on the back burner. December turned into January and January turned into February. At this rate, we may have a new Pope first.
In all seriousness, with National Letter of Intent Day behind us, Chryst's top priority now is finding himself a defensive coordinator, and he acknowledged that during the signing day presser. The big question remains who? Most media sources have remained pretty quiet as there seemingly hasn't been much movement on this front, but over the past few days some rumors have started to swirl.
First, last Thursday, FootballScoop.com reported that Chryst had settled on co-defensive coordinators.
Pitt: Sources tell us Paul Chryst is likely to go with co-defensive coordinators this year with defensive backs coach Matt House and linebackers coach Chris Haering share the title co-DC. We hear House will likely call the defense.
That report was later refuted by several local sources and it appears to be untrue. My response to that: THANK GOD. I've never liked the idea of "co" anything and given the overall level of inexperience between House and Haering, this would not have been the best move. Plus that same duo coached the defense in the bowl game and they simply got run over by Ole Miss' offense. Those guys seem to be strong position coaches, but when it comes to defensive coordinator, Pitt needs an experienced coach heading into the ACC.
Then today, Pete Rousel at CoachingSearch.com reported this nugget:
Pitt: Paul Chryst has yet to announce his plan on defense since Dave Huxtable departed for NC State over a month ago. One name to keep an eye on is Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach Teryl Austin. I'm told Chryst reached out to Austin at one point.
This would be a great hire in my mind. Austin played at Pitt from 1984-1987 and served as Florida's defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer in 2010. He's also regarded as a strong recruiter. Seems to be a terrific fit. The question in my mind here is money. I'm not sure what Austin is making as an NFL assistant, but considering he just won a Super Bowl ring, he's probably due for some type of raise and Pitt has developed a bit of a reputation for being stingy with assistants' pay in the past. But, if Chryst could land Austin, I'd consider that a nice addition to the staff.
Really, regardless of who it is, I'm just hoping for a defensive coordinator soon.