Plenty of interesting football tidbits from Wannstedt's final press conference of the year that kind of came in under the radar after the news of Pitt's #1 basketball ranking.
For starters, it appears both Shady AND Cavanaugh will be back. Many fans might take this as a 'good news / bad news' situation. Obviously, McCoy back can only be seen as a huge positive:
Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said today during his season-ending news conference that he expects standout tailback Lesean McCoy to return for his junior season next year. Wannstedt said McCoy and his family had contemplated him leaving school early and declaring for the NFL draft but that all parties decided the best thing would be for McCoy to return to school for at least one more season.
Cavanaugh, however, is kind of a different story...although Wannstedt was quick to point out that he is solidly behind him:
Wannstedt also said there will be no changes on the coaching staff and fully endorsed the job which was done by embattled offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, particularly with regards to his work with the Panthers quarterbacks.
"Matt has forgotten more about coaching quarterbacks than most of the other guys out there will ever know," Wannstedt said. "And you can quote me on that one."
You can tell he was dying to get that last line in. I don't know. I'm sure Cavanaugh through his playing career and coaching career alone has learned quite a bit. However, his showing in the Sun Bowl certainly didn't help an already rough relationship with fans. He may know quite a bit, but it would be hard for even his strongest supporters to fully support his play calling this year. McCoy saw far too few opportunities in the first half of the bowl game and when Stull struggled on the deep balls and fade routes, it looked like more quick/screen passes might have helped...anything to move the ball. It's hard to be an expert just watching the game on tv, but to score zero points in a bowl game against a suspect defense is borderline inexcusable.
Other tidbits include Stull remaining the starter heading into the Spring, but it will basically be an open competition:
"Tino Sunseri is going to get a hard, hard look this spring, and so is Pat Bostick and so will Billy. We're going to be more demanding at that position than we've ever been because I think we all know that for us to take the next step, we've got to be more productive there and it's going to take a bigger commitment on my part, a bigger commitment on Matt Cavanaugh's part and a bigger commitment on our players' part for that to happen."
I don't think the QB news surprises anyone. Wannstedt clearly isn't too high on Bostick right now. However, it appears the futures of Kevan Smith and Greg Cross may be up in the air for now.
TE Nate Byham (shoulder) and CB Jared Holley (arthroscopic knee) will also apparently undergo surgery while Tackle Jason Pinkston will have an MRI to determine if he needs shoulder surgery.