Michael Haywood is described by Pitt's new offensive coordinator Morris Watts as a "challenge-driven individual, to be as good as he can be" (pittscriptblog.com, Dec. 22, 2010).
That's a good thing. Since his announcement as head coach, Haywood has watched Pitt's recruiting ranking drop from the low 20s to the mid-40s according to rivals.com.
ESPN is reporting that Kyshoen Jarrett, a cornerback from East Stroudsburg, PA, just decommitted from the Panthers to attend Virginia Tech. At least on paper, Jarrett appears to be a big loss. He generated interest from Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin.
With Jarrett's decommit, Pitt is now ranked 47th by rivals.com, one spot below conference rival Cincinnati and one spot ahead of Conference USA Houston.
Only ten recruits remain on board with the Panthers with two four-star and eight three-star guys.
The news that Haywood has replaced popular Frank Cignetti with Watts, who is 74, will not be appealing to recruits.
Having a 74-year old offensive coordinator with a conservative approach is certainly going to be a turn off for season ticket holders and Panther alumni.
How Watts is received will be one of the storylines in 2011. Watts ought to know that Panther fans demanded the firing of former offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, after his offense failed to score any points in the Sun Bowl.
The contrast with arch-rival West Virginia could not be more obvious. While the Mountaineers hired 39-year old Dana Holgorsen as their head coach-in-waiting, Pitt hired a head coach with two years experience who is bringing along a 74-year old offensive coordinator.
In 2010, Holgorsen's Oklahoma State offense scored 604 points in 12 games, averaging 50 points per game.
In 2010 Watts' Miami OH offense scored just 267 points in 13 games, averaging 20.5 points per game.
Describing the 2011 Pitt offense as "three yards and a cloud of dust" will be in vogue once again.