Still frustrated, still upset. That's the only way I can say I feel about everything right now. Given that, I wanted to see how history may play out for the Panthers following this. Looking in my handy dandy media guide, the good news is since 1970 we have only lost the opening game 8 times. Of those 8 times, we have only earned a bowl game appearance once.
4 of our remaining 11 games are scheduled to be on TV. Our record under Wannstedt in TV games is 11-20 following Saturday's game. So maybe that's a good thing that as of now we aren't scheduled too much.
Unless the coaching staff changes the base of their philosophy on both sides of the ball I think we will be in for another tough season. I just don't see the coaches sitting there and going with the same play calling, especially on offense. This Pitt team should beat Buffalo by 40, but the coaches can and just might hold us back from doing that.
On the defensive side of the ball, I just don't see Wanny changing anything. If Adam Gunn's concussion is serious enough for him to miss significant time I think that we will see Austin move to the opposite side with Shane Murray's return this weekend. I also don't believe you will see Elijah playing over Dom.
We haven't seen this staff adapt much to the other team and we certainly haven't seen us make changes to the players who are not performing (with the lone exception being Bostick replacing Smith). So given that, it is no surprise that today Wannstedt said that Lucas Nix needs to "see" more playing time, but didn't say that he would be starting on Saturday. I guess he does need more playing time since he didn't even get on the field for one play last game. It is a terrible thought, but the way I am reading those comments by Wannstedt tells me that Thomas will play until he either gets Bill Stull injured, or until Wanny decides it's time to pull him for no reason. It almost sounds like they don't have anything planned for Nix. There aren't any situations they're planning to use him in and they're not setting a certain criteria for Thomas to fail at before he is yanked.
Another problem I have is that Wannstedt admitted what our plans are for Baldwin. He said "we have certain situations and packages for him and you saw them on Saturday". It must be nice for the other coaches to know that when Baldwin is in, it will either be a deep sideline pass in the 4th quarter or a fade in the redzone. I'm tired of saying it, bench Turner, get anyone else in there. Wannstedt loves the older guys because they don't make "freshmen mistakes". Well, I'd say consistently dropping passes, not running routes when the play isn't for you, and giving up in the middle of a play are all mistakes you would see from a freshman. Bench Turner.
This will be the last thing I write this week about Saturday's game. I'm going to move forward and start covering what we must do to beat Buffalo as well as preview what Buffalo brings to the table.
Before I wrap this up, I want to address something that was brought up in the comments section from a post back in late July. A website was brought to our attention which focused on coaches on the hot seat. Obviously Wannstedt's seat is hot and Cavanaughs is already on fire. 6-6 would warrant a change for the program as the man who wrote it proposed. He also had a much more realistic expectation of our season than I did. I thought 8-4 or 9-3 was what we should expect. Neither of us had us losing to Bowling Green and now I can see us finishing anywhere from 3-9 to 8-4. Since Wannstedt has that new contract that Nordenberg forced on Pederson, we won't see Wanny get fired anytime soon. There is too much money the university would have to eat to get rid of him. I do think that if he goes 6-6 or worse, we will see him step down or at least be encouraged to step down.
The powers that be forced Wannstedt to be hired here 4 years ago and now while they may be fragmented over who supports him and who doesn't, the important thing is that he still has the support of Nordenberg. As long as he has that, it will be hard for Pederson to do anything.
The site also mentioned some interesting names as possible replacements. I will cover them only when action is made to replace the head coach instead of just adding to the speculation. I will however from now on demand that Matt Cavanaugh resign or be fired immediately. Unless we have a terrible offensive showing against Buffalo, I don't see any reason why Cavanaugh would be forced out now. If there are any changes (and there should be with Cavanaugh) they will occur at the end of the season.