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A Name to Watch in Pitt OC Search



Pitt’s search for an offensive coordinator is only a few days old, after Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi decided to move on from Shawn Watson after two seasons last Friday.

With the AFCA Coaches Convention wrapping up on Wednesday, the premier networking opportunity of the coaching carousel season will have finished and teams with openings will start to fill them rapidly.

Tennessee hired former Pitt offensive coordinator Jim Chaney away from Georgia late on Tuesday, and there will certainly be more moves the near future.

Pitt’s vacancy will, of course, not be filled in a vacuum, as Georgia can now be added to the list of teams currently searching for an offensive coordinator. So is USC, after recently hired Kliff Kingsbury quickly bolted to the NFL.

Boston College and Indiana are also still looking for their 2019 playcallers, and that’s not even including teams like Temple that still don’t have a head coach. (Poor Owls, it’s not for lack of trying.)

Each time a move is made, there’s a domino effect of moves that happen behind it, opening and closing doors for coaches and schools in the blink of an eye.

Houston fired Major Applewhite, the Cougars snapped up Dana Holgorsen, opening the job at West Virginia. The Mountaineers hired Neal Brown, meaning Troy now needs a new coach. Meanwhile, Applewhite being available closed a door to some other coaches by landing the vacant Miami offensive coordinator job.

One of those might end up at Pitt.

Brian Wright, who was reportedly in the running for the Miami job, is also someone that the Pitt staff has been considering, a source told Pittsburgh Sports Now.

It’s not clear if Pitt’s interest in Wright has progressed beyond typical preliminary vetting of candidates, but on the surface, he seems to check a lot of boxes for the Panthers.

The Rockets finished No. 30 in total offense in 2018 and No. 9 in scoring offense, and were still able to have a dynamic offensive game plan while featuring the running game. Toledo was No. 25 in the country in rushing yards per game — seven spots behind Pitt.

It has the hallmarks of an offense that fits into Pat Narduzzi’s favored paradigm of being run-heavy while still able to spread the ball around enough to become a top scoring threat.

Since Wright came to Toledo in 2016, the Rockets have had three offensive players drafted into the NFL in tight end Michael Roberts, running back Kareem Hunt and quarterback Logan Woodside. Receivers Dionte Johnson and Cody Thompson look like good bets to be selected this year.

Wright also has ties to the Pitt coaching staff. He was Charlie Partridge’s offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic and spent 10 years over two stints at Youngstown State. He also likely won’t break the bank, as he’s earning just $147,000 at Toledo.

With all of the coaches in San Antonio, news has been hard to come by, and it’s likely that Pitt has done similar amounts of diligence on multiple candidates, but Wright seems like one that could be a good potential fit with the Panthers.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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