I never got around to it but Pitt and defensive line coach Tom Sims parted ways earlier this month right after National Signing Day. KDKA's Richie Walsh had it first, I believe.
The Panthers' line was, I thought, pretty strong all year long. They were eighth nationally against the run and also eighth in sacks. If you ask most fans about the biggest problem areas of the team, defensive line would be pretty far down, I imagine. The timing, too, was a little interesting in that it came right after National Signing Day when players were already on board. And that Sims is a Pitt alum that played in the NFL makes it a little more curious. Interesting all the way around, to say the least.
To replace Sims, Pitt brought back a familiar face in former assistant Charlie Partridge. The Panthers have the pro-Partridge view here.
Experience? Check. Partridge has 20 years of that sprinkled across college football. A good chunk of that was in the FBS. He was at Iowa State as a football operations guy, at Pitt for five years on the defensive line and with linebackers and special teams, and coached defensive lines for Wisconsin and Arkansas.
Partridge then left Arkansas to take a head job at FAU, which, if we're being honest, was a disaster. He was 9-27 there and won only three games each year while playing in Conference USA. He was fired this past season after going 3-9 and only 2-6 in the conference.
And if you're the type of fan that likes stability, you could have it here with Partridge. No assistant is ever safe, but given his recent FAU stint, he isn't likely to get a head job right away. Defensive coordinator? Maybe, I suppose.
There's no getting around that head coaching job but Pitt isn't hiring him in that role. If you take that out of the equation, it's hard to find much fault with hiring him as a position coach. I've got zero problems with the hire and the fact that he coached here before and is going to be familiar with the recruiting territory, etc., means there's less of a learning curve. He's got a lot of experience, has been around major programs, and has some head coaching experience. To get a guy like that as a position coach is hard to quibble with.
I'm not sure what happened with Sims and head coach Pat Narduzzi, but in terms of a replacement, this one seems pretty solid.