If you've been over to Cardiac Hill lately, you know I'm not a big fan of Pitt's new football coaching hire, Mike Haywood. If I knew Pitt would hire someone with so little experience as a head coach and coordinator, I would have favored keeping Dave Wannstedt.
Still, the lack of experience doesn't mean Haywood can't be successful, so Pitt fans need to give him a chance. We all know about Haywood's fiery attitude from the now-famous You Tube video, but here are five more reasons why his hiring might work out.
1. Haywood turned around a lowly Miami of Ohio program. It was only one season, but Haywood did indeed lead a struggling program to a conference title. Miami had won a total of only 11 games in the previous four seasons and hadn't had a winning year since 2005. So while the Redhawks' 9-4 season might not seem like a great one, considering where he team came from, it was significant.
2. Haywood is known as a good recruiter. Haywood is touted as a pretty good recruiter, and that's important in Western Pennsylvania. The area is full of good prospects, and Haywood will hopefully be capable of developing relationships with their high school coaches, just as Dave Wannstedt did. Haywood's experience recruiting in Ohio will also be helpful.
3. Haywood is younger than Wannstedt. Wannstedt was ready to make the Pitt job his last one, but no one expected him to make a Joe Pa-esque run and stick around another 20 years. Pitt, at some point, would have had to think about the future. If Haywood is indeed the guy, if he's happy here and has some success, he could be around for a while if he wants to be. That could give Pitt some much needed stability of its long-term future.
4. Haywood comes from a winning culture. Haywood lacks experience, but he has coached at winning programs such as LSU, Texas, and Notre Dame. Even though his coaching was in lesser capacities such as running backs coach and special teams coach, he has still worked for some good programs and some of the best coaches in college football, including Nick Saban and Mack Brown.
5. Haywood has a different philosophy. Last week, Haywood was asked about his offensive philosophy in an appearance on 93.7 The Fan's morning show. While he said he liked running straight at opponents, he also said he wants to run some gadget-type plays and is willing to let his personnel determine the style of play. Wannstedt appeared hung up on the Pro Set offense and, while recruits like that because it prepares them for the pros, it didn't always necessarily help Pitt win football games. It would be nice to see Pitt open things up just a bit.