Todd Graham was introduced as Pitt's head football coach this afternoon made it clear that the Panthers would be "explosive" on both sides of the ball and that the events of the past month with regards to Pitt's coaching search aren't relevant even a little bit.
"I'm a firm believer in looking forward and moving forward," Graham, who was hired from the University of Tulsa, said.
"All I ask is that people support this program, support these players and give me the chance to prove myself. I know that the Pitt family will come together behind this football team."
Graham replaced Michael Haywood, who was fired on Jan. 1st less than a month after he was hired to replace Dave Wannstedt, but unlike Haywood, made it clear that while graduation rates and character of players was a priority, so was winning football games and winning championships.
"We're a no-huddle football team, we're going to operate extremely fast, high octane, we're going to try and be the most explosive team in the country," Graham said. "That's what we're going to try and do every year. We are not a spread offense, we are a no-huddle offense. It is a very innovative approach, not many teams in the country will run what we run. We're going to use fullbacks, we're going to use tight ends it is a unique approach to offense.
"And the number one goal of our program is to produce young men of character and integrity and that is our No. 1 goal."
Graham, who was 36-17 over the past four seasons as Tulsa's coach and led the Golden Hurricane to three 10-win seasons, said the number one priority in recruiting for his system is speed and he said that speed will enable the Panthers to play an exciting brand of football.
"The number one thing in our system is speed and explosive power," Graham said. "I'll say speed three times, then explosive power. We want to be fast, we want to be efficient and we're going to be explosive. I want people down at Heinz Field to not be able to sit down in their seat, that's the brand of football we are going to play."
Graham introduced five of his assistant coaches, who were in attendance at the press conference. They are: senior associate head coach/defensive line coach Paul Randolph, defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, co-offensive coordinators Calvin Magee and Mike Norvell and recruiting coordinator/defensive backs coach Tony Gibson.
Randolph, Patterson, and Norvell all worked under Graham at Tulsa and Gibson and Magee worked with him on Rich Rodriguez's staff at West Virginia and the two most recently worked for Rodriguez at Michigan.
Paul Zeise: email@example.com or 412-263-1720