Friday, September 09, 2005

Walt, Calling Walt, Walt Harris?

Dave Wannstedt is having a rough start as the new head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers. Wannestedt was known for his defensive expertise in the NFL, but was shredded by former AFC rival Charlie Weis and his Notre Dame team last week. This week against MAC opponent Ohio, quarterback Tyler Palko and offense could not get on track. Pitt's lone touchdown came on the opening kickoff, returned for a touchdown, in the 16-10 loss. Palko had two interceptions returned for touchdowns by Dion Byrum, including the game winner in overtime.

Walt Harris was allowed by Pittsburgh to pursue other opportunities last year because Pitt was planning on hiring a new head coach. Harris was hired by Stanford, and will make his debut against Navy this Saturday in Annapolis. Harris is an excellent quarterback and offensive coach, in my opinion on the same level as Jeff Tedford of California.

Harris was the quarterback coach at Ohio State prior to becoming head coach at Pitt in 1997. Bobby Hoying developed into an NFL quarterback under Harris' wing. He took Pitt to six bowls in his eight years, including the Fiesta Bowl last year. He won his first and only Big East title last year, but was still given his walking papers. His 2003 Pitt underachieved, only finishing 8-4, with All-American Larry Fitzgerald leading the charge. Yet, last year was his best coaching job taking the underrated Panthers and turning them into league champs.

Wannstedt is not impressing anyone at the moment. Its apparent Harris is missed on the offensive side of the ball. Palko and receiver Greg Lee are two of the best players in the country at their respective positions. The offense should have been the least of Wannstedt's worries.

What about Notre Dame? Are the Irish that good? Or is Pitt really that bad? Notre Dame's victory over Pitt does not look so good now. Considering the Ohio Bobcats were pasted last week by Northwestern, 38-14. Notre Dame's fate will soon be decided. In about twelve hours the country will have a feel for Irish as they tussle with Michigan tomorrow at 12pm ET.


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