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Pitt Offensive Coordinator Search Down To 3 Candidates

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More so than the transfer portal, the vacant offensive coordinator position at Pitt is the top subject on the minds of most Pitt fans.

Many thought and even speculated that Pat Narduzzi would move quickly to replace Frank Cignetti, Jr. but that obviously has not happened.

However, all signs point toward that position being filled within a week.

Over the last few days, Narduzzi has really zeroed in on candidates. In fact, PSN is led to believe that this past Sunday, Narduzzi met or spoke with 4 to 5 candidates. From those conversations and ones in the past, we’re told that he’s in the final stages of this important decision and is now focused on 3 candidates.

Pittsburgh Sports Now has the names of 2 of the 3 candidates.

Bryan McClendon, Georgia Wide Receivers Coach. 

McClendon is in his second stint at Georgia, serving as the wide receivers coach and passing coordinator for the Bulldogs over the past two seasons, which is also where he played college ball.

He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Georgia in 2007, working his way onto the staff as the running backs coach before being reassigned as the wide receivers job. He served as the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator, in addition to his wide receivers’ duties, in the 2015 season — even coaching the TaxSlayer Bowl as the interim head coach.

McClendon has served as an offensive coordinator at one stop along his coaching career, calling plays for South Carolina in 2018 and 2019. The 2018 season was a success, averaging 30.1 points per game and racking up 426.2 yards per game with Jake Bentley under center — in the best season of his lengthy college career.

The 2019 season wasn’t nearly as successful as the Gamecocks as injuries and inconsistent play led to McClendon being demoted as the offensive coordinator — but retaining his wide receivers coach role — at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

He did not stay at South Carolina though, instead taking a position on Mario Cristobal’s staff at Oregon as the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. He spent two seasons with the Ducks, once again serving as the interim coach in a bowl game as Cristobal left for Miami. McClendon was hired by Cristobal at Miami, set to serve as the co-offensive coordinator, but never coached a game at Miami after he swapped back to Georgia instead.

McClendon hasn’t had a ton of success at the coordinator level, only two seasons calling plays under his belt, but the 2018 season at South Carolina was successful. And it’s clear McClendon is the type of coach who has built strong bonds with his players at every stop. And he’s an ace recruiter — serving as the primary recruiter for the likes of Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley and many others.

Mack Leftwich, Texas State Offensive Coordinator.

If the name sounds familiar, it should. Leftwich was an outstanding quarterback at North Allegheny High School, after transferring in his junior season from the state of Texas. As a senior, he was named the Pennsylvania Player of the Year, after completing 177-of-268 passes for 3,331 yards and 45 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions.

Following high school, Leftwich went on to play college football at UTEP before having his career shortened by a serious shoulder injury.

Leftwich immediately got into coaching, which has proven to be an outstanding decision. After serving as graduate assistant at the University of Incarnate World, he was promoted to quarterbacks coach after just one season. Leftwich recruited and worked with future Jerry Rice Award-winning quarterback Cameron Ward. Leftwich had an opportunity to join the Washington State staff but stayed with Incarnate World and promoted to offensive coordinator, where his offenses were as productive as any in college football.

In his first season, Incarnate World averaged 52 points and 581 yards per game and led all FCS schools in scoring. Leftwich was also instrumental in the development of quarterback Lindsey Scott, Jr., who won the Walter Payton Award, which is considered the FCS Heisman Trophy.

That success led to Leftwich being offered the offensive coordinator’s position at Texas State University and productivity on the field continued. In 2022, Leftwich averaged 51.5 points and 580 yards of total offense, while winning the Southland Conference championship reaching the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs.

The 29-year-old Leftwich was nominated for the Broyles Award in 2022, which is given to the top assistant in college football. He’s viewed by man in the industry as one of the best young offensive minds in college football.

This past season, Texas State averaged 32.5 points per game and earned an invitation to play in the Servpro First Responder Bowl on December 26 against Rice.

Leftwich’s offensive system is a high-powered RPO attack made for dual-threat quarterbacks.

Pittsburgh Sports Now has not yet been able to confirm the name of the third finalist. We would not surprised if a candidate was hired sometime between today and Monday.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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JimC.
JimC.
2 months ago

Leave it up to the Duzz, he will pick the wrong guy.

Section 122
Section 122
2 months ago

Hopefully, the unnamed 3rd guy is a better option than these 2 or it looks like we are getting more of the same. A guy that will bounce as soon as he can or a local connected guy that is only getting the job b/c he’s from western PA.

Panther
Panther
2 months ago
Reply to  Section 122

McClendon will be difficult to land. He has been a work on process through his coaching career and seems to have developed into a top offensive assistant. He is the heir apparent for the Georgia OC job.

srs28704
srs28704
2 months ago
Reply to  Section 122

McClendon can recruit, good ties

srs28704
srs28704
2 months ago
Reply to  srs28704

There’s hope #3 is Tim Lester, former WMU HC, former Syracuse OC, now with Green Bay NFL as Analyst.

Last edited 2 months ago by srs28704
Exiled
Exiled
2 months ago
Reply to  Section 122

More awful thinking from Pitt fans.
If a coordinator doesn’t move on to be a head coach then that means he did a terrible job.
Successful teams have their coaches be promoted or move on to bigger and better.
Look at Mike Tomlin’s coaching tree. No one is in demand or has left and become successful elsewhere. It shows in the product we see each week from the Steelers: bad on offense, defense, special teams

Dave
Dave
2 months ago

I don’t think Leftwich will bounce if he’s the choice, but Nate may, because he’s more of a drop back QB.

DL
DL
2 months ago

I think the 3rd guy is Kade Bell, OC at Western Carolina, who has a great offense.

Jordan Mavromatis
Jordan Mavromatis
2 months ago
Reply to  DL

Dig a bit deeper on that offense. Top QB: 2800 yards; 28 TD; 8 INT (not mobile). Top RB: 897 yards; 13 TD. 2nd RB: 539 yards; 3 TD. Top WR: 792 yards; 8 TD. 2nd WR: 519 yards; 6 TD.

Do you really think those numbers in the Southern Conference are impressive? We’d be dealing with another 90s style system; sadly, that makes me think you’re probably right and Narduzzi will go with him.

srs28704
srs28704
2 months ago
Reply to  DL

What does that interview consist of… hey I played FCS football for my Dad too and he gave me first job out of college too.

Denny
Denny
2 months ago

Informative article, Mike. No comment on the candidates at this time.

Eli
Eli
2 months ago

I know nothing about these guys, but they sound better than hiring Jim Chaney again, which is kinda what I expecting, so I for one find this encouraging.

DL
DL
2 months ago
Reply to  Eli

If Pitt could only be so lucky to get a Jim Chaney again. You know after his one season at Pitt he was hired as Georgia’s OC right?

ArmChaitCritic
ArmChaitCritic
2 months ago
Reply to  DL

Jim Chaney, Mark Mangino, Ralph Friedgin, and Charlie Weiss. Four guys that you really don’t care to hear yell Hustle at you.

Eli
Eli
2 months ago
Reply to  DL

Everybody hated him at Georgia and he got let go after three years, despite the fact that the team made the national championship game one year and finished 11-1 the next year.

Chris
Chris
2 months ago

We need liberty universities office of coordinator

Fire Duzz Now not Dec of 24
Fire Duzz Now not Dec of 24
2 months ago

These guys are so ho hum, Pitt self sanctioning since 1989

Exiled
Exiled
2 months ago

Where’s your list of realistic candidates?

Mike
Mike
2 months ago

What is Sauls gonna do. Stats say he is 3 kicks from being elite. Arkansas and South Carolina I heard are offering.

srs28704
srs28704
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike

I wish they let him double as Punter too, Pat McAfee (at WVU) style.

Flpole
Flpole
2 months ago

Cade bell and the guy from Boise state have also interviewed

rico90210
rico90210
2 months ago

hope springs eternal…h2p

katuracassells@gmail.com
katuracassells@gmail.com
2 months ago

Go with McClendon and stop screwing around.

Giovanni
Giovanni
2 months ago

Seems too loyal to Georgia/alma matter so unlikely to stick around if hired.

Pittband
Pittband
2 months ago

Why does everyone think Pitt has a bottomless pot of gold. We don’t, Chaney, Canada and Whipple were lured away for the chance to coach in the SEC, 3x salary and double the salary. At best, Pitt can afford a young OC for 2 – 3 years tops. Deal with it. I give Duzz and Heather high marks for keeping the rest of the coaches. And with respect to the fire Duzz comment, how many millions did he offer to make this happen?

Dan
Dan
2 months ago

No one wants to work with Duzz and few want to play for him.

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