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Pitt Football: A Belated Apology To Keith Patterson

I like to think that one of the unique things that makes this blog different (and other blogs like it) from mainstream media is not afraid of admitting when we've got things wrong.

And, man - I had Keith Patterson wrong.

Patterson, best friend of Todd Graham, was destined for Arizona State, I was sure. I said as much on a few occasions after it was known that Patterson would take over as the interim head coach. I was convinced that he was staying only here as part of some diabolical scheme to appear genuine and would then bolt sometime deep into the fourth quarter of Pitt's bowl game against SMU.

That clearly wasn't the case.

Patterson, as we heard last week, is headed for ASU, alright - but it's Arkansas state, not Arizona State. There, he'll be joining Gus Malzahn's staff. Now, Arkansas State's a fine Sun Belt program, but going there as a defensive coordinator instead of heading to Arizona State, a major-conference program, showed what he's about.

I'm not about to try to get in the mind of Patterson. There's no way I can accurately determine his rationale or how he feels about Todd Graham. But the fact that he would turn down the opportunity to likely become Graham's defensive coordinator there to head to Arkansas State speaks volumes.

Not only did he apparently turn down his best friend (he essentially said he had the chance to join Graham's staff last week), but he likely also turned down more money.

But the thing that we as Pitt fans care about is what he did in the aftermath of the carpetbagging Graham. He stuck around, serving as the face of the program, and giving the kids some much needed stability during a tough time. His mantra was about finishing and he did just that. Patterson, in the few weeks he took over as coach, demonstrated more class than the entire year Graham was here.

Forget about the result of the bowl - that's irrelevant when it comes to Patterson. The fact is that he was around and helped Pitt prepare, helped them to get better as players for the month in between the last regular season game against Syracuse and the bowl game.

Because Patterson was so close to Graham, I assumed they were essentially the same. That wasn't fair and I'm glad to see I had that one wrong.

I don't typically end posts this way, but best of luck to Coach Patterson at Arkansas State. He wasn't here long, but his mark on the players will no doubt be felt for some time.