Pitt: Running backs coach Andre Powell recognized as one of the best


After a fantastic season for the position, Pitt running backs coach, Andre Powell, cements himself as one of the best coaches in the country.

It wasn’t too long ago that fellow staffer Brett Tunno and I were previewing each position for the Panthers in anticipation of the 2015 regular season. Now, here we are looking forward to the postseason and the impending hiatus for the spring and summer.

As the off-season approaches, so do the accolades for the players and coaches. As Zach Barnett of Football Scoop originally reported, Pitt’s running backs coach Andre Powell is listed as one of the four finalists to bring home the 2015 Running Backs Coach of the Year award.

Needless to say, its a huge award for an outstanding gentleman and proof of the work he put in throughout this season.

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It’s difficult to say that Powell would have gained the honor and praise had James Conner not been injured against Youngstown State in week one. While the injury certainly hampered the team without the proven imposing threat, it was the emergence of everyone else that made this a tangible possibility.

Coach Powell was especially responsible for the season that redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison was able to churn out. After becoming yet another Pitt freshman to eclipse 1,000 yards, Ollison finished the year with 1,048 yards, ten touchdowns, and claimed the ACC Offensive Freshman of the Year award.

While it wasn’t all roses for Ollison, the relentless coaching and adjustments from Powell continued to push him to do special things.

Along with Ollison, the late season push by true freshman Darrin Hall was impressive too. Hall began the season at the bottom of the group of backs but continued to improve, growing from a timid freshman to a pounding grinder.

Others that are in contention for the RB Coach of the Year award are Deland McCullough of Indiana, Jay Graham of Florida State, and Lance Taylor of Stanford.

It’s a rough category to be apart of when you look at the other coaches and the players they are associated with at the position. Jay Graham assisted in the development of Dalvin Cook and Lance Taylor with college football favorite, Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey could be found in the bright lights of New York City last week, where he finished second to Alabama ball carrier, Derrick Henry, for the Heisman. Cook was a top ten finalist for the award, as well.

Next: Pitt well represented in All-ACC honors

I like the chances that Powell has to be awarded in the category. Given the circumstances of the season at the running back position and Qadree Ollison bursting onto the college football scene, Andre Powell makes a compelling case to be the nations best running backs coach in 2015.