October 13, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Paul Chryst (right) talks to umpire John Shigo (left) and linesman Lyndell Shelton (center) against the Louisville Cardinals during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Louisville Cardinals won 45-35. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

There is still hope for Paul Chryst and Pitt football


To say that the start to the Paul Chryst era has been a bit depressing for Pitt fans is an understatement. Chryst and the Panthers sit at 2-4 on the season and a trip to a bowl game is already pretty close to being out of reach.

September 15, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Paul Chryst talks to his team during a time-out against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Panthers won 35-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

However as depressing as the 2012 season has been to date, there is still plenty of hope for the future of Pitt football and they can look no further than last week’s opponent as an example.

The Louisville Cardinals sit at 6-0 but things weren’t always so rosy. It was as short as three years ago that Louisville was coming off the second of back-to-back seasons in which they won only one Big East Conference game each season.

It just goes to show how quickly you can turn a program around when you get the right coach in place and recruit the right kids.

If Pitt is convinced that Chryst is the right guy and I believe he is, then there are reasons to be encouraged.

The biggest of those reasons is that the Panthers are in a lot better shape after the Todd Graham era abruptly ended than when Charlie Strong took over for Steve Kragthorpe in Louisville in 2010.

When Strong arrived in Louisville, the cupboard was bear. Now just three years later, Strong has his program looking good, simply by getting the right kids. Of course adding a talent like Teddy Bridgewater helps, but there are similarities between the two programs.

Pitt has a freshman stud in Rushel Shell, now he must be surrounded by better talent, including a top-notch quarterback. Who knows, that signal caller could already be on the roster in freshman Chad Voytik.

Louisville is a great example for Pitt to follow.

Of course their record is a bit padded because Louisville doesn’t schedule nearly as tough as Pitt does, but the recipe to turn a program around is there.

Add to the fact that Pitt is heading to the ACC and the quality of recruits is going to get much better, something you are already starting to get a glimpse of.

This season may already be close to being written off, but there’s still a lot of time left for Chryst to take steps in getting this team ready to compete for the future. Don’t write him off so soon. The blueprint on how to turn this program around has already been written.

It all starts with the right coach and I think he’s already in place.

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Tags: Charlie Strong Louisville Cardinals Football Paul Chryst Pittsburgh Panthers Football

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