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Pitt Coaching Candidates: The Joe Rudolph File

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A look at one more Pitt football coaching candidate today - current offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph.

As I did with Pat Narduzzi and Doc Holliday, here are the vitals:

Age: 42

Born: Belle Vernon, PA

Education: BS degree in Zoology from Wisconsin (1995), MS degree in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004

Playing Career: Offensive lineman at Wisconsin, played two seasons in the NFL with Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers

Coaching Experience: Graduate Assistant and Strength Coach at Ohio State (2004-2006), Tight Ends Coach at Nebraska (2007), Tight Ends Coach at Wisconsin (2008-2011), Tight Ends Coach, Running Backs Coach, Assistant Head Coach, and Offensive Coordinator at Pitt (2012-Present)

Rudolph offers one thing that both Narduzzi and Holliday don't - he's a native of western Pennsylvania. He didn't attend Pitt, but is from here.

Rudolph currently serves as the team's offensive coordinator, but he wasn't brought to Pitt in that capacity. Paul Chryst had settled on Bob Bostad as his offensive coordinator before Bostad jumped to the NFL before even coaching here. That said, it's hard not to like the success that the Pitt offense had this year.

The unit didn't score a ton of points (31.7 per game) and ranked a modest No. 50 in the FBS, but the running game was among the best in the nation and with a year of experience under his belt, Chad Voytik and the passing game should be better next season. One thing that got noticeably better as the year went on was the passing and as I wrote about earlier this year, they found a way to involve Tyler Boyd a lot more after a really slow start.

And while it's limited, Rudolph also brings a little NFL experience to the table - again, something Narduzzi and Holliday don't have. He didn't play long in the league but even making a roster in the NFL counts for something and is a benefit in recruiting to some degree.

One knock against Rudolph? He's a relatively young guy with not a ton of experience. Taking out his three seasons as a graduate assistant and strength coach, Rudolph has only been coaching for eight years with three seasons as a position coordinator. Compared to someone like Narduzzi, who has been a coordinator for 15 years, he's just a lot less experienced.

On the stability front, since Rudolph is a western Pennsylvania native, he could be a long-term guy here. That's not to say that if Chryst wears out his welcome in a few seasons at Wisconsin that Rudolph couldn't be a candidate to replace him. But he also doesn't have the ties to Wisconsin that Chryst does and you could envision Rudolph being a guy that wants to stick around.

A thing of note is that players have reportedly pined for Rudolph, even meeting with the administration to make a plea saying that they want him to be promoted. As I wrote at the time, though, while that should count for something, it can't be the reason he's hired. Pitt can't afford to make a hire for the sake of appeasing players that will be gone in a few years.

Of the three candidates interviewed or expected to be interviewed, I think Rudolph is probably my third choice. The biggest problem I have is that his hiring would be, to some degree, a maintaining of the status quo. And after three 6-6 seasons under Paul Chryst, is that something that's really desired? Frankly, I'd probably even rate him below Greg Schiano, a guy that was mentioned early but not expected to be interviewed. But it makes sense for the university to at least sit and have a discussion with him.

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