New coach Graham promises offensive fireworks at Pitt

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Pittsburgh, a city whose blue-collar personality has been played out vicariously through smash-mouth, pro-style football teams, is getting a change with new Pitt coach Todd Graham.

At his first official press conference, Graham promised Pitt fans that the Panthers would display a more explosive offense than what was seen previously under Dave Wannstedt and, one would assume, Mike Haywood had he, you know, not beat up his baby momma.

“We’ll be the most explosive team in the country,” Graham said. “We’re a no-huddle football team. We’re going to operate extremely fast — fast-tempo, high-octane, explosive. That’s our goal. But we’ll also be extremely efficient.”

Under Graham, Tulsa finished 5th  in total offense this season, averaging 505.6 yards and 41.4 points per game, and in 2007-08, led the country in total offense. It’s an offense that Graham hopes will fill the seats in what has become an oft half-empty Heinz Field.

“We’ll be fast, efficient, explosive. The fans at Heinz Field, they won’t want to sit down with the type of football we play. … Not very many run what we run.”

Whatever the offense, it’ll have to run and run effectively. Pitt doesn’t have the luxury of 90,000-plus loyal fans at every home game. They need excitement. If the offense clicks, it could be the antidote for what has recently been a stagnant program — albeit a tradition-rich one.

Pittsburgh is a pro town. There’s less affiliation with the Panthers and more with the Steelers or the Penguins. As a result, Pitt faces an uphill battle in making themselves relevant again.

A high-powered, potent offense would be a good place to start.

(Thank you: Greenwich Times/Associated Press)

Arizona State hires Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State has hired former Cal Poly head coach Beau Baldwin as its next offensive coordinator.

The school announced Baldwin’s hiring of new coach Kenny Dillingham‘s staff a week after he resigned at Cal Poly.

The 50-year-old Baldwin spent three seasons as the Mustangs’ head coach, going 4-21.

Baldwin previously served as California’s offensive coordinator for three years after a nine-year stint as Eastern Washington’s head coach. He went 85-32 at Eastern Washington and won the 2010 national championship with three trips to the FCS semifinals.

Baldwin also served as Central Washington’s head coach in 2007.

Stanford QB Tanner McKee declares for NFL draft

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee is leaving school to enter the NFL draft.

McKee announced his decision on Thursday after a disappointing junior season on an overmatched Stanford team.

McKee completed 62% of his passes for 2,947 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season as Stanford went 3-9 for a second straight year.

Stanford will undergoing an overhaul with coach David Shaw stepping down after 12 seasons and several players expected to transfer.