One thing all Pitt fan's can agree on is that Dave Wannstedt pretty much knows what he is doing with the defense. Wannstedt has been able to find success in different places, both college and professional, when it comes to coaching the defense. All one has to do it look at our defensive line to see all the evidence they need.
The offense is a whole different story. At every position where he's held full control, Wannstedt has been awful with the offense. It is not simply just calling the plays, it is developing players and finding the right guys to play.
I do not believe that Matt Cavanaugh had as much freedom over the plays that some people believe he had. He might have been able to pick from a few different plays, but they were all most likely very similiar plays that Wannstedt was comfortable with. If you're not believing me, then you missed out at practice today when Pitt brought back our favorite play of the Cavanaugh era, the BUBBLE SCREEN! I do expect that we will see some changes under Cignetti, however I don't believe they will be drastic changes as Dave Wannstedt will have the offense under his control.
Even last week Ron Cook brought up this exact point about talent evaluation. We were in such a bad spot during the 2007 season with quarterbacks that we had to put a full court press on Greg Cross to get him here. Last season we were ignoring the quarterback situation until it became such a point of contention that we had to search the country and were lucky enough to find Kolby Gray. This year there has been a flurry of activity in regards to recruiting, yet we are still without a quarterback. West Virginia, Louisville, and Syracuse have 2 QB's already committed while Rutgers, Cincinnati, UConn, and South Florida have a quarterback for the next class. That's right folks, we are the only team thus far in the Big East without a quarterback committment for 2010. Sure it is still early, but we have already seen plenty of top talent go else where despite having interest from Pitt. The one thing that really hurts us, and this is coming directly from someone in the athletic department is that "the top quarterbacks do not want to play in our offense".
As much as we can tout getting players to the NFL and having success, don't think that people aren't using names such as Kramer, Mirer, Fiedler, Krieg, Moreno, Huard, Greise, and Feeley against us. Dave Wannstedt has not been able to acquire a good quarterback nor has he been able to develop a good quarterback. Joe Flacco leaves Pitt and becomes a 1st round pick. Jim Harbaugh left Chicago for Indy and became a Probowler. It is clear, Dave Wannstedt can not and should not handle the majority of the offensive duties.
Great leaders are very good at working with their strengths and hiding their weaknesses. For some reason, Dave Wannstedt does not want to accept his flaws when it comes to working with the offense. In a year with so many question marks, we can not afford to have such a glaring flaw with our offense. As improved as the offensive line may be, we are still heading into this season with a huge question mark at running back and a glaring weakness with Stull at quarterback.
If Pitt wants to take the next step towards becoming more than just an average program, Dave Wannstedt needs to let Frank Cignetti Jr. have more control in the offense. He needs to be the one designing plays, picking the starters, and making the adjustments. Cignetti has already proven he can be successful with the offense. By giving him more control we will have someone who has had pretty much consistent success at the college level leading our offense. We will have a guy who isn't bound to one person as Wannstedt is to Stull. We will have a guy who can have a chance to be more innovative and provide something to our offense that we haven't seen in 5 years. We will give the man a chance to prove that maybe his role in life might not just be suited to a coordinator position only. We need to allow Cignetti his chance to prove what he can do, especially with the quarterbacks, because right now, the status quo is not working.
A man who does not learn from his mistakes is bound to repeat them and I don't want those mistakes hurting my football team.