Pitt's football program continues to add assistants under head coach Pat Narduzzi. I wanted to take a closer look at two of the more recent ones.
John Peterson comes to Pitt to coach the offensive line while Rob Harley will join the Panthers to coach the linebackers. The Peterson hire hadn't been announced yet as of Thursday, but appears to be a done deal.
Peterson last coached with Akron and no, I'm not touching the "If you can't beat 'em, hire 'em" joke. Not with a ten-foot pole.
If there's anything Peterson knows, it's Ohio. You can bet that's a large reason he was targeted by Narduzzi - for help recruiting in that state. He's from there and went to school there at Ohio State. After playing with the Buckeyes, he was a graduate assistant at Cincinnati and Ohio State before leaving to become Akron's offensive line coach from 1995-1998. From 1999-2003, he stayed in state with Miami-Ohio, serving as offensive line coach and run-game coordinator there.
After a few months in Arizona (yes, months), Ohio State called him back and from 2004-2011, he was not only in charge of tight ends, but the program's recruiting coordinator. In 2012-2013, he left the state briefly to be UAB's offensive line coach, before coaching the offensive line at Akron last year and moving back home.
Safe to say, he's pretty much an Ohio lifer.
The three key things here are that he has coached offensive lines most of his entire career, has the experience leading recruiting efforts for Ohio State, and should be able to recruit well in Ohio spending most of his life there.
If he were being called to Pitt as an offensive coordinator, that would be one of those things that might be a questionable hire. As an offensive line coach, though, it's hard not to love this. Just the right fit of experience and geographical background.
The Harley hire is one that could work out, obviously, but is less of a slam dunk just because he hardly has any experience. Outside of serving as a graduate assistant at Michigan State where Narduzzi got to know him, he has a single year of experience, working as FIU's linebacker's coach last season.
In the official announcement, Narduzzi called Harley a 'self-starter' and an 'impressive recruiter.'
We'll see. It's really hard for me to get excited about such a young guy with only a single year of actual coaching experience - at a non P5 school, no less. But the good news is that Narduzzi at least knows him and has experience working with him. Plus, every staff just needs some good energy guys that will work their butts off - Harley seems to fit that role.
I'll say this for him - he's not wasting any time. He was recruiting for FIU Panthers on the 11th:
In Charlotte and Lee counties next 2 days...need #gamechangers to come hunt w/ the Panthers #fiufootball http://t.co/OQWgi2gmoA— Coach Harley (@robharley34) December 11, 2014
Had dinner in Pittsburgh on the 12th:
Only way to see downtown Pittsburgh, great view at dinner last night #h2p http://t.co/BUfuDXJAAR— Coach Harley (@robharley34) January 12, 2015
And ... by the 15th was already recruiting Panthers. Pitt Panthers, this time:
Headed to North Jersey-Philly, tryin to find some playmakers that wanna hunt with the Panthers #H2P… http://t.co/VFghXSGhTF— Coach Harley (@robharley34) January 15, 2015
That's right - enjoy that dinner at Monterey Bay ... then hit the Turnpike. Pretty clear that he's going to be a road warrior type for Pitt.
Welcome to the new guys.
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