Pitt has lost two assistant coaches in the span of several weeks in a bit of unusual timing.
Both running backs coach Eddie Faulkner and offensive coordinator Bob Bostad were in place to help out with recruiting and seemingly committed to new coach Paul Chryst. But each left for different opportunities -- Faulkner to return to his alma mater at Wisconsin, Bostad to become offensive line coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That has forced Chryst to do some staff reshuffling with less than a month to go before spring practice. Quarterbacks coach Joe Rudolph moves to offensive coordinator and Jim Hueber moves from tight ends to offensive line. Chryst still needs to hire a running backs coach and quarterbacks coach.
It never is good to lose coaches after such a brief period of time, but Chryst said in a phone interview he didn't think the twin departures would have a major impact on his team.
"Other than it impacting the players, I'm comfortable with what happened," Chryst said. "The communication was good so if something like this happened ... the players on recruiting trail, you weren't saying something that wasn't real. I'm not concerned about what happened or how it happened, and I really am fortunate where I feel like the current players are still going to get great, great coaching."
In the case of Bostad, Chryst seemed to anticipate something like this potentially happening. He, Bostad and Rudolph all worked together at Wisconsin.
"I've been fortunate to have been able to work with Bob for five, six years and I knew what goals and aspirations Bob has and then also he's a good friend of mine. I knew that was something if an opportunity like that came along he'd be excited about that. I'm happy for him. The only negative is I've enjoyed working with him, but would like to work longer with him. For Bob and his wife, Karen, it's a great opportunity.
"I also knew going in I wanted to be strong [at offensive line]. I felt real fortunate to hire Jim Hueber. I knew he could step right in for him. He's as good as a line coach as there is. And with Joe having been on the staff as well. I knew if anything like this happened, we had guys that are more than ready to step into those different roles. I'm excited for Bob and also excited for our players to be with Jim and Joe."
A few other notes:
Chryst said running back Ray Graham is on schedule with his rehab from a torn ACL and should be ready for the start of the season.
The quarterback competition is open going into the spring, but Chryst also made it sound like Tino Sunseri would have an advantage because of his starting experience. "Tino's got to learn and begin to understand the offense and how he fits into it and play within the structure," Chryst said. "It's always an open competition, and yet he's a guy I'm excited to work with because he's played a lot of football. If we're going to be good this year, we have to be productive at that spot."
Guard Chris Jacobson did get his sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after hurting his knee this past season, which is good news for an offensive line in major need of an upgrade.