Sep 5, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; A Pittsburgh Panthers helmet sits on the bench before the Panthers host the Youngstown State Penguins at Heinz Field. The Panthers won 45-37. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Salem was admirable in his audition for the full-time position of offensive coordinator at Pitt. Currently on the staff as the tight-ends coach, he has had experience in the position prior to his time with the Panthers. At various stops, including: Phoenix college, Purdue and Central Florida he has eight total years of offensive coordinator experience. The most success coming with the Black Knights of Central Florida from ’04-’08.
In 2007, he had the Black Knights offense rolling. They set single season school records for points(502), touchdowns(62) and rushing yards(3,287); while averaging 35.86 points per game.
Many have a negative review of Salem after being dubbed the play-caller during the Military Bowl against Navy. My view differs from the fans, however.
Salem was open in his play-calling, despite not calling plays from his own playbook. Whether it was setting up targets down the field or selectively calling run plays that were right for the situation, it was fluid. Yes, there were a couple of calls that should have been reviewed prior to being ran, but that’s something that happens throughout the course of a game.
Did the offense produce a ton of points? No. But then again, Salem wasn’t the one who threw the ball in the direction of a receiver in a populated region of the defense.
Why it works out for Pitt: The university won’t have to dig too deep in their pocketbooks with the promotion. Salem’s salary is undisclosed and I have a hard time believing he would demand more than $700,000 with a promotion.
As it pertains to the actual offense, not much would have to change. Chaney was a large proponent of getting the tight ends involved; where I foresee the tight ends still being involved, I would expect more of a down-the-field approach that fans would enjoy.
Why it will fizzle out: The course of the search happens outside of the current staff in efforts to start new and find a “sizzle” hire that fans, but more importantly, current players, commits, and recruits will rave about. Not sure that happens with Salem.
Next: Sonny Cumbie