So when Pitt football head coach Paul Chryst recently signed himself up to coach quarterbacks following the departure of Brooks Bollinger, I was a little skeptical. As of now, that really hasn't changed for me.
Chryst's focus needs to be on getting the program out of mediocrity right now. For three years in a row (two under him), the team has been mired in a 6-6 lovefest and has had varying degrees of success in their bowl games. That's the height of mediocrity, as Pitt has pulled off a few upsets and lost a few embarrassing games along the way. Under Chryst specifically, the team beat ranked Virginia Tech and Notre Dame teams, while finding a way to lose to the likes of Youngstown State and UConn over the past couple of years.
Even bigger than that, though, Chryst is still trying to find his footing when it comes to recruiting. Landing better offensive talent hasn't been much of an issue, but Pitt's classes haven't yet been elite and the defensive side of the ball this past year was a bit lackluster.
When you factor in everything, I'd rather just see Chryst get focused on the program as a whole rather than need to worry about coaching individual units.
He said something recently in an interview, though, that caught my eye:
"I set it up for the long term," Chryst said. "Otherwise, it’s not fair. I wanted to make sure we covered all the positions, and we were able to do that. On paper, I like the way it is. Now, we have to make it real for our kids, make sure everyone can get coached with great coaching and develop them because we do have so many young kids."
Chryst's point about wanting it to be fair to the kids is well taken. A one-year stop gap situation isn't really ideal and you always want some continuity. That said, I did find it interesting that Chryst is apparently committing to this for the long haul and not looking to bring anyone else in in the future.
There aren't any more spots on the staff right now, but there's often turnover. What surprises me is that Chryst seems insistent on keeping that role in the future.
To be fair, he has an excellent record of coaching quarterbacks and his work with NFL star Russell Wilson while at Wisconsin is well chronicled. Also, Chryst working directly with the signal callers would probably be a draw to potential recruits since he has a bit of a track record that he can point to with the work with Wilson.
In the end, I'd prefer that he focus on the overall health of the program and delegate that duty, but it's his call. We'll just have to see how it plays out. I expect that the coaching changes going forward will have a hand in it and if Pitt's staff loses several coaches and has the opportunity to bring in a guru at quarterback, maybe that changes.
For now, though, it seems as if Chryst intends to keep those duties for quite a while.