One of the biggest clues to how a new head coach will run his new program is the choices he makes to fill his staff. Paul Chryst was famous for filling his staff with guys he had worked with closely before, which is understandable. Some had a lot of experience for their positions, others did not. Pat Narduzzi will likely have almost the entire staff to hire, as I don't expect him to retain many, or even any of, the current staff. So who are some candidates he could look at?
It's going to be a little too difficult to try to nail position coaches, but we'll take a look at least at the coordinators. There are a couple of likely names on both sides of the ball and all of them seem to be known as good recruiters. That seems to be a priority with Narduzzi.
(side note: this entirely rumor, speculation, and willy nilly wishes. It's also a collection of names thrown about by media and other sources. Take it as such, and remember it when Narduzzi doesn't hire any of them to make me look dumb)
Tim Beck - Nebraska Offensive Coordinator
This one would definitely considered to be the "reach" candidate. With the firing of Bo Pelini, and the news Mike Riley is hiring Giants QB coach Danny Langsdorf as his offensive coordinator, Beck is officially on the job market. He made about $700k with Nebraska so he'd be expensive for sure (though I surmise Pitt could get him for a discount if he doesn't really have other options). Why has Beck's name brought up? Well it's been heard that the offense Narduzzi hated planning against the most for his defense was Nebraska's offense. It's a spread offense, but not quite the Todd Graham version I think most Pitt fans would think of. One of our site's readers, CNorwoodAZ, actually did a good analysis of Beck's offense this year.
On paper anyways, looks exciting and eerily compatible for what we have on the roster moving forward:
- RB1 ran the ball 260 times for 1600 yards and 19 TDs.
- QB1 ran the ball another 150 times for 700 yards
- RBs 2 and 3 ran an additional 150 times for 700 yards and 10 TDs
- QB1 threw for almost 3,000 yards and 22 TDs.
- Top 2 WRs each caught 50 balls, 50+ yards and 5+ TDs
- 4 WRs caught 20 or more balls
- Those 4 WRS all had 3 or more TD receptions
You can quickly and easily plug Connor, Boyd, Voytik into those top spots and even see the places for James/Ibrahim/Ollison, Jennings/Weah/Ford/etc.
Even time of possession is pretty solid (#42 30:46). As a point of comparison, Michigan State #1 (34:48), Baylor #71 (29:38), Oregon #113 (27:37).
Beck is also known as a good recruiter, and has ties to Texas and Florida, which Pitt could definitely use talent from if he could convince them to come here. Last thing: He's originally from Youngstown like Narduzzi. He would know this area well. He is actually around the same age as Narduzzi and played for Mooney. It's likely they played against each other.
Don Treadwell - Running Backs Coach for Kent State
Based on his current title, this looks like a really lackluster hire. However, Treadwell used to be the Offensive Coordinator for Michigan State from 2007-2010. First year or so the offense was a little shaky, but it became a very balanced attack by the end of 2010. It definitely did not set any records, however. Michigan State was #48 in total offense, #43 in passing, and #56 in rushing. They were #9 in efficiency, however. Treadwell also took over as interim coach when Dantonio suffered a heart attack that season. Miami of Ohio hired Treadwell as their head coach after that season, but he only lasted 2.5 seasons before they got rid of him. Obviously Narduzzi has worked with him before, and Treadwell is very experienced on both calling plays, and even being a head coach. This is a much more likely and "safe" hire for Narduzzi than Beck.
Brad Salem - Quarterbacks Coach, Michigan State University
Salem has been the coach of Connor Cook who's had a pretty good year. Cook's stats were 58.2% completion, 2900+ yards, 22 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. He leads the B1G in passing (241.7 ypg.), ranks No. 1 in the FBS in yards per completion (15.4), and ranks second in the conference and 14th in the FBS in passing efficiency (152.4 rating). Cook was also the MVP of the B1G champ game and best offensive player in the Rose Bowl last year. Clearly Salem knows what he's doing when it comes to quarterbacks. He's also the recruiting coordinator for Michigan State so he has that going for him.
Salem was also the running backs coach for Michigan State at one point, and mentored Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Le'Veon Bell during his career at Michigan State. Salem has also been an offensive coordinator and eventually head coach for Augustana College as well. He's never been an offensive coordinator for a FBS program, but he clearly has experience and knows how to coach. Would Narduzzi want to take a flyer on a first time high level offensive coordinator, though?
John DiFilippo - Quarterbacks Coach, Oakland Raiders
The only reason he is on this list is because it was thrown out by Bruce Feldman. He's considered an up and comer in the NFL, and there's talk he could be up for an offensive coordinator spot somewhere soon in the NFL. Would he come down to the college level? That's the bigger question.
Tom Bradley, Defensive Line / Associate Head Coach, West Virginia University
Tim Daoust, Defensive Line / Assistant Head Coach, Syracuse University
Don't be turned off by him being from Syracuse
Speculation for Daoust started after he and Narduzzi started to follow each other on twitter shortly after Narduzzi was officially hired. Daoust is considered one of Syracuse's best recruiters (starting to see a pattern here?), and Syracuse fans would be really upset to lose him. He helped coach former first round pick Chandler Jones, and the defensive line has been more than decent in his time at Syracuse. There have been reports that the rumors about Daoust to Pitt aren't legitimate, but when he does things like this he's not exactly helping to dispel rumors.
Daoust was also a graduate assistant when Dantonio and Narduzzi were at Cincinnati, so there is some familiarity there.
Chuck Bullough, Defensive Coordinator, Syracuse University
Or is Pitt going for the head of Syracuse's defense instead? Bullough had a nephew coached by Narduzzi, and Bullough is also a MSU alum. He has spent time at UCLA and in the NFL for the Browns. Syracuse has had a pretty good defense in his time there. Their schedule was much tougher than Pitt's this year and they scored well in most categories. They tied Pitt for #29 in the country in total defense, but they also had Notre Dame, Louisville, Clemson, and Florida State on their schedule while Pitt obviously did not. They were also lower in points per game, and rushing defense. With passing defense they were a little worse.
Now why would Bullough make a lateral move to Pitt, though? Mostly because Syracuse HC Scott Shafer is not long for his job. Syracuse had a bad year, and there isn't much hope for next year. If he doesn't do well, he and his staff are probably gone. If that's the case, it's not hard to see why Bullough and Daoust would be looking elsewhere.
If they both want to come to Pitt?
There's definitely many more candidates Narduzzi will talk and interview with including the current staff. Narduzzi has said he won't hire or announce any staff officially until after Pitt's bowl game. I'd expect him to name his coordinators by Monday in my opinion. It's fun to speculate until then though.