Flip-Floppers and Scoreboard Watchers
By John Antonik for WVUsports.com
November 17, 2011 06:01 PM
Of flip-floppers and scoreboard watchers …
It will be a little weird looking across the field next Friday night and seeing Todd Graham, Calvin Magee, Tony Gibson, Tony Dews and Paul Randolph wearing Pitt Panther gear.
Of course, it will be much weirder for those guys coming into a familiar stadium in a very unfamiliar role. The irony of this is not lost on defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, who worked alongside many of those guys for several years.
“We know some of the coaches up there and we know they are excited about the chance of getting to come back to Mountaineer Field,” said Casteel, somewhat tongue-in-cheek. “They might have to sneak into our locker room and come out of our tunnel.
“Those guys are good friends of ours and we coached together for seven-eight years and I know it’s going to be different for them to come down and coach on the other sideline – especially it being the Pitt-West Virginia game.”
Swapping sides is not new for the Backyard Brawl. Back in 1940, first-year West Virginia coach Bill Kern brought a bunch of his Pitt buddies with him to Morgantown.
There have been others switch sides through the years.
I remember a big deal was made out of Joe Pendry turning in his coonskin cap for some Panther paws in the mid-1970s when he joined ranks with Jackie Sherrill. A similar big deal was made out of Russ Jacques going from West Virginia to Pitt in the early 1980s when he teamed up with Foge Fazio.
Former Bobby Bowden defensive coordinator Chuck Klausing also had a brief run at Pitt before putting away his whistle for good.
Pitt flip-floppers who made their way down I-79 include Hal Hunter (1960s assistant coach under Gene Corum) Frank Cignetti, Desmond Robinson and Larry Holton.
I am likely missing others.***
Dana Holgorsen says he’s not a big scoreboard watcher and probably won’t observe in great detail this week’s slate of Big East games, even though a couple of them have a direct bearing on West Virginia.
“You worry about what you can control,” he said. “We can get better academically, we can practice some young kids, and we can give guys time to heal up. I may be a fan and watch a couple of games, but I’m not going to be dissecting it or cheering loudly or any of that.”
What Holgorsen is concerned about his how his team performs the remaining two weeks of the season, beginning with next Friday’s Backyard Brawl.
“The only way that will work out is if we win the next two games,” he said. “If we win the next two games, and we’re in position, then that’s great. If we don’t win, then it’s not going to matter.”
Even though Holgorsen won’t be glued to his TV DV’ring each play, there are a couple of interesting Big East matchups this weekend. Louisville is at Connecticut while Cincinnati is at Rutgers. Both games will kick off at noon and both have a direct impact on this year's Big East champion.
Meanwhile, USF steps outside of conference play to face Miami in a 3:30 p.m. game.
Follow John Antonik on Twitter: @John Antonik