Sunday, November 2, 2008

I just got back from South Bend late last night and boy was the trip worth every penny of it. Wannstedt said it best (as shocking as that may be):

"I really can't describe the heart our football team has. We got incredible kids, I thought they never really came unglued and as many adverse things that happened in the game, turnovers, so forth. Nobody every folded, nobody ever lost their poise, nobody ever lost their confidence."

This is a tremendous win for the program, for the season and for Wanny himself. I can tell you one thing, walking around the stadium at half time, there wasn't a soul in the crowd of nearly 81,000 who thought that the Panthers had a chance to come back and win the game. Fortunately, this team and the coaching staff had different ideas. And why should they not? They had already come from behind to win games against Syracuse, Iowa, and South Florida. And two of those games were on the road! Make no mistake about it, this team has something special. They stick together and play hard to the end. Perhaps more importantly, they believe in their coaches and trust in the schemes and game plan:

"This team, we go out and play for him (referring to Wannstedt). We play for ourselves, but more for him," McCoy said. "At the end of the day, football or no football, he's always going to be a great guy. That's the biggest thing about him."

You simply can't overstate how important it is for the kids to complely buy into the coaches system. Wannstedt has apparently been able to win the trust of his team and consequently the Panthers played inspired football in the second half of Saturday's game. I'm sure some of you will disagree, but after Pitt forced overtime I truly believed there was no way we were going to lose that game. Even when the Irish drove inside the Panther 5 yard line, I couldn't help feeling that our defense was going to stop them.

I'm about to ramble on a bit here, so heads up, but you also cannot overstate how important the attitude exhibited by McCoy and many of the other plays is with regards to recruiting. When players are being quoted in the newspaper saying how much they admire, love and respect their coach and how he takes a lot of heat for their mistakes, prospective recruits are going to be impressed and excited about coming to Pitt and playing for Wanny. This, of course, goes back to the character of this team though. You see it in how they play on the field and how they handle themselves with the media. These guys do and say all the right things.

Don't get me wrong, this team is young and still has a lot to improve on, but Wannstedt has quite possibly laid the groundwork by building a team with great toughness and character.

Let's go PITT!


  1. There have already been rumors circulating the recruiting world that one particular kid from Pittsburgh who committed to Ohio St. has started to reconsider his decision, and may open up to the Panthers again. I am all but positive the kid they are referring to is Corey Brown from Gateway. He was originally recruited as an athlete but has since proved that he could be an excellent corner at the college level. He would be a huge addition should the rumors be true. I can't help but think that if the Panthers continue to win and Corey Brown does decide to stay in Pittsburgh that it will have some influence on Browns teammate, Dorian Bell. Maybe that is wishful thinking but adding those 2 to next years class would catapult the Panthers from an above average recruiting class to another top class in the Big East. Pitt needs to continue dominating recruiting in western PA and adding these 2 would give them 3 of the top 5 PA players, as Dan Mason from Penn Hills is very likely to commit to Pitt. Keep an eye on this situation. I expect recruiting to heat up a bit in the coming months

  2. Since you brought up the secondary and rumors I wondered if there was any truth to rumors I heard this summer. Darrin Walls from Woodland Hills who attended Notre Dame left the team and school this past season. Walls was a starting cornerback and was a huge recruit for the Irish. I believe he left the team to return home due to family health issues. There was some thought that Walls would attempt to transfer to Pittsburgh to join the team. Is this still a possibility? I doubt that Weis would release him from scholarship considering he has the Panthers on the schedule the next few years. I don't know if you need to be released from scholarship once you have gone a year without playing, because I am not positive on NCAA rules. If anyone has information let us know.

  3. Stache,
    Thanks for the insight. Its certainly appreciated.
    As for Walls, I've heard similar rumors. I picked up a copy of South Bend Tribune before I left yesterday, I don't have it in front of me now, but if I'm not mistaken I am pretty sure I it mentioned that he was at the game on Saturday. Obviously you can't read too much into that since he did play at ND and could have been visiting friends/teammates but it couldn't hurt to have him witness the spectacular Pitt comeback as a spectator. I'll double check if I read that correctly when I get home and will try to find out more about the rules as far as releasing players and scholarships go.

  4. RE: Darrin Walls
    South Bend Tribune reported he was in attendance and referred to him as "exiled ND cornerback and Pittsburgh product Darrin Walls"
    I think as long as he sits out a year he can go to school wherever he wants without having to worry about being released.