So Paul Chryst officially hired six coaches recently. We knew about Bob Bostad, and then Chris Haering, and then about Dave Huxtable, but there are a few more recent appointments.
Chryst also announced the appointments of Joe Rudolph as his assistant coach and quarterbacks coach, Jim Hueber as the tight ends coach, and Todd Rice as the strength and conditioning coach.
Not to dismiss the other new guys (especially Hueber who most recently worked with the offensive line for the Minnesota Vikings), but the big coup of the most recent group to me is Rudolph. Rudolph recently got a promotion to offensive line coach and he also played at Wisconsin, so it's not like he doesn't have any history there. That's welcome news. As I mentioned about a week ago, one reason to like Rudolph is that not only was he their recruiting coordinator, but he's been in Ohio recruiting for Wisconsin. Pitt isn't going to be able to compete with Ohio State most of the time there, but there's no question Pitt needs a bigger presence there. And having some NFL experience is always a good thing to bring out during recruiting trips.
As this article points out, Rudolph is a Western PA native and although he was named as the new offensive line coach, that wasn't enough to keep him from joining Chryst and Bob Bostad - two of his good friends.
And while there's lots of off-field stuff to like about Rudolph, there's one huge reason to like his on-field work. Rudolph made the tight ends extremely relevant at Wisconsin.
In 2009, tight ends caught 86 passes for more than 1,000 yards. In 2010, Lance Kendricks, one of the Badgers' tight ends, was a finalist for the John Mackey Award given to the best player at the position in college football.
We hear so much about the fact that Wisconsin is built on the running game, but under Rudolph, the tight ends flourished. He's not coming here to coach that position, but having him on the staff should help in that regard. And since he's going to be coaching the quarterbacks, it's fair to expect that the tight ends could be emphasized even more than they were this year.
Hard not to like the staff that Chryst is building.