Bob Smizik: 1. Get Cameron Wright out of the starting lineup. 2. Keep working to get Gibbs' shooting back on track. 3. Do all in your power to lower expectations.
Steiny: What's your take on the Penn State job.? Are they are going to make a hire? Who will it be?
Bob Smizik: Maybe some day will learn a good reason why Penn State has been about eight weeks without a football coach. For now, I'll have to attribute it to power work by the search committee and acting AD Dave Joyner. I would hope they are down to a very short list and will have an announcement within a week. The latest name to surface is Greg Schiano, the Rutgers coach. I'd have no problem with that.
GeneLamont: Will the Pirates make any more major moves before spring training? Is Carlos Pena on their radar?
Bob Smizik: The Pirates say they have money to spend. Since they're not very good right now, common sense tells us they will make some sort of major signing. However, common sense never rules with the Pirates. I would not be surprised if they enter the season pretty much as it.
Jack Splat: Bob, enjoy your insights. Does the Steeler offense show up in the playoffs? Based on potential, being ranked 21st in the NFL has to be the biggest disappointment for the 2011 Steelers. What is missing? Even before Ben's ankle injury this was, by NFL standards, a middle of the pack offense.
Bob Smizik: There's no question the Steelers offense has been a disappointment this season. It's hard to place blame, although I know most would begin with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The Steelers have an elite QB and two 1,000-yard receivers. That should translate into more touchdowns. It's true, the running game has been below average. I think Tomlin needs to take a long look at his offense i the off season. That might begin with the retirement of Arians.
warped_priorities: Bob, how can PSU even consider Bradley a candidate? And a second interview to boot? What kind of message does it send if he were to get the job?
Bob Smizik: As much as I like and respect Tom Bradley, I am surprised he is a candidate considering his long-time connection with the program and Jerry Sandusky. It might be a courtesy, it might be they are convinced he is 'clean' in the Sandusky mess. If he gets the job the message is, to me, he was the best man. I would have no problem with it.
The Friar: Are the wheels going to completely come off of the Pitt basketball team's bus? Or are they going to right the ship? To quote a former Pitt coach, this stuff certainly has not been high octane.
Bob Smizik: I think Pitt's biggest problem this season is an age-old one for losing teams: Not enough good players. Pitt has overachieved for so long, people expect it to continue. It does not always work that way. They certainly are at a crossroads in the season. They need a win at DePaul. I would not be surprised if Pitt finished under .500 in the Big East. Almost all programs have down periods.
warped_priorities: Bob, seems like your moral compass needs to be adjusted. You constantly take a "The show must go on" attitude with PSU; it's almost like you don't understand that the current football culture created a situation where child rape is covered up.
Bob Smizik: What part of they fired the coach, they fired the athletic director, they fired the president do you not understand? I am of the opinion that Penn State understands the problem and has and will continue to take steps to correct it. I saw no need to cancel a game to get this accomplished.
Guest: Thanks for the chats. Do you feel the Steelers running game will actually be better with the style of play Redman & Clay have? I know it's tough to replace a guy that scored 9 TDs.
Bob Smizik: Mendenhall was having a mediocre year. He is their most talented back. But I think over the short haul Redman can give them as much as Mendenhall was.
Smoltz: I would have thought that between Steeler Nation and Tebow Mania, the game would have been scheduled for prime time Saturday night.
Bob Smizik: Under normal circumstances, perhaps. But it looks to be a dud of a game with Tebow slumping and Ben hobbling. I think New Orleans-Detroit is a much more attractive game.
Puma34: Bob, what does this week entail for Pitt coach Paul Chryst, and is in Pittsburgh or already at the BBVA Compass Bowl?
Bob Smizik: I do not know Chryst's itinerary. I imagine he's in Pittsburgh today but will be in Birmingham for the game. I think it is a good idea that he not be involved in planning for the game. He has to continue to put his staff together, reach out to recruits when allowed and get himself comfortable in his new job.
Kenman: Suppose some extremely wealthy person emerges who makes it clear that he is seriously eager to buy the Pirates at a sale price that would give Nutting a great return on his original investment in the team and who would likely spend far more on free agents, player salaries, etc. than Nutting. Under such circumstance, could you say that Nutting would have a moral obligation to the fans of the Pirates and to the region to sell the franchise? How much vitriol would be directed at Nutting if he refused to sell?
Bob Smizik: First of all, I doubt such an owner is out there. Most -- but not all -- rich people do not like to lose money. There is no chance for great profit in Pittsburgh, which is a reason Mark Cuban was far more interested in buying the Cubs and possibly the Dodgers than he is the Pirates. As for moral obligation, I'm not an ethicist, but my take is he would not have one. He was smart enough to invest in the team and then gain control of it when it was available for a comparative pittance. That being the case, I think he has the right to hold on as long as he wants.
shamtown: What do you think is stopping them from signing Maholm?
Bob Smizik: I don't think they want to get involved in a multi-year deal with Maholm. I also do not think Maholm wants to return to Pittsburgh. If neither side has another alternative, then it might happen.
sluggo13: Bob-your favorite topic. If The Raven's Ngata is fined for his roughing the passer call on Sunday vs the Bengals, that will be his sixth fine in the last three years. That certainly qualifies as a "repeat offender". So, can we count on you to lead the call for a suspension?
Bob Smizik: I can only keep track of so many things and the fining that goes on in the NFL is not at the top of my priority list. I am confident the NFL is fair in the fining and suspending process, To do otherwise would be totally stupid.
PMac: As I understand it, Chryst is already in Birmingham. He will be meeting with the players and media, and presumably lining up assistants. He won't be coaching the team in practices or the game.
Bob Smizik: Well, shows you what I know. But it sounds like he'll be doing in Birmingham what I thought he'd be doing in Pittsburgh. But he should have been he a week ago.
mag66: Big Ben...Career 3-0 on the road in the playoffs. Whats your prediction for Sunday and beyond?
Bob Smizik: Steelers 20, Denver 9. Steelers lose their next game.
JD: BOB WILL PATTERSON STAY WITH CHYRST AS NEW COACH OR WILL HE GO TO ASU AND JOIN GRAHAM ALSO WHICH KID DO U SEE PITT REALLY LOOKING AT AS FAR AS WHO COULD BE THE BIG NAME TO STEP UP HIS PLAY ON THE FOOTBALL TEAM NEXT YEAR I AM THINKING SOMEONE LIKE SHANNHAN
Bob Smizik: No need to shout. I would be surprised if Patterson is on Chryst's staff.
Guest: Bob, do you think the Steelers do a particularly bad job of clock management at the end of halves? Seems like they don't have a coherent plan about when to spike the ball vs. call timeouts vs. try to get out of bounds on a play down field. Is this a coaching flaw, or do the players lose their heads in the heat of battle?
Bob Smizik: Those are complicated matters and sometimes there's more involved than meets the eye. That said, it does look like Tomlin could get better at clock management.
Guest: Bob, why is there no discussion of the death penalty for Penn State football? Surely, the lack of institutional control and the gravity of the violations is greater than those at SMU in the '80s, no?
Bob Smizik: That remains to be seen. I was surprised the NCAA even became involved. Now that it has, I imagine the investigation will take some time. I would be shocked if the death penalty were assessed, considering Penn State's history.
JD: Sorry Bob for shouting i got to know Is Pitt going to make it to the tourny this spring and if so how many wins do they finish out with this season i think 23 or 24
Bob Smizik: Not looking good right now. But the Big East is a bit down this season. If Pitt could finish with a winning conference record, it could make the tournament.
Bob Smizik: Thanks to all for making the time for this unscheduled chat.
I will return to my normal time next week -- Monday at noon. Hope to see you then.
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