Bob Smizik: For the moment, I will call the Pitt victory Saturday ''just a nice win.'' However, it could provide the Panthers with some moment that could turn it into more. I'm a big believer in ''it is what it is.'' I just don't think Pitt is that good. If it played Georgetown 10 times, my guess is the Hoyas would win eight of them.
Alex: Good morning! I have two questions that I'm going to wrap into one post. They both relate to Pitt Basketball. Is Adams, the recruit from New Zealand really as good as the hype is making him out to be? And is it clear now that Woodall's absence was the key to Pitt's woes?
Bob Smizik: Steven Adams played for his high school team, Notre Dame Prep, in a game at Ambridge High yesterday. I did not see the game but have talked to several people who did. He appears to be good but not dominant. He is labeled as a ''one and done,'' but does not appear to be at this time. I'm not quite ready to declare Woodall the savior of the season, although there is evidence that says that is the case. Let's see how the season plays out.
Steiny: Your take on Rooney, not Tomlin, firing Arians.
Bob Smizik: I wish I had commented more in depth on this point on my blog. In retrospect, the decision by Rooney was surprising, the breach of Steelers protocol was shocking. The Steelers usually have their ducks in a row. On this matter they did not. Unbelievable poor communications between Rooney and Tomlin. So poor, in fact, I wonder if there's not something deliberate about the way it was handled.
Yonco: Bob, it bothers me that straight news stories, including yesterday's piece in the P-G and many others, about Joe Paterno keep stating as fact that he reported the allegations to his "superiors." This seems to me to be an editorial statement in which the writer has made a judgment about what Joe did or did not do properly, and it belongs in the opinion pages or columns rather than a straight story. It's the whole point of the controversy - whether he did what was moral given the facts and circumstances of his role at the university. Personally, if my "superiors" showed up at my front door to talk to me about my employment, I would not be able to kick them off my porch without suffering severe adverse consequences. Perhaps writers should say that he reported the allegations to "those deemed by statute to be the persons to whom he is legally obligated to report such allegations." This would seem to be a more accurate representation of reality in straight news stories - columnists and Phil Knight can, of course, think whatever they choose.
Bob Smizik: Paterno passed up information to the athletic director.That's a fact. In the matter of deciding his job future, the AD might not have had clout over Paterno. In matters such of this, I believe he did. I have no problem with straight news story printing this and I can't see how anyone does.
North Side Steve: I don't agree with the Tigers signing of Prince Fielder (I am a Pittsburgh guy, but follow them because of Jim Leyland and because they are trying to make the playoffs), but I admire their aggressiveness. I never see a sense of urgency in the Pirates, about anything. How can a team with 19 straight losing seasons not have a sense of urgency?
Bob Smizik: It is not in the nature of the owner to have a sense of urgency about winning and that has been passed down to his management team. The only thing the Pirates have a sense or urgency about is clearing a profit.
GolfDoc: As a long time Steeler fan, I am astounded by the number of people who seem to be obsessed with Bruce Arians and his so-called shortcomings. Three Super Bowls and two titles. Just terrible (do you hear my sarcasm?). Bob, can we put this issue to rest ?
Bob Smizik: Fans love to second guess and there is no one easier to second guess than the offensive coordinator. He is on trial on every play. When a play does not work -- regardless of why -- fans will blame the OC. This issue, even with Arians gone, will never be put to rest.
Fun Times: What did you watch more of: the Pro Bowl or the NHL All-Star Game?
Bob Smizik: I will both for the same length of time: 0 minutes, 0 seconds.
Ballin: It really seems that Duquesne basketball peaked during the 1st half of last year. Is that going to be this program's highlight for the foreseeable future? Will they make "the next step"?
Bob Smizik: The next step is always the toughest. Duquesne has gone from pug ugly to respectable. The next step is contender and then champion. They have a chance but the recruiting needs to get better.
Guest: Any reaction to the Phil Knight comments at JoePa's funeral?
Bob Smizik: I thought the setting was inappropriate. But when you have as much money as Phil Knight you do what you want.
Guest: Think Butler will stay with the Steelers provided he's assured when he takes over for Lebeau or is he off to Indy?
Bob Smizik: Unless he gets a firm commitment on LeBeau's timeline from the Steelers (or LeBeau), I think Butler will take the Indy job if it is offered.
Guest: Will there be any lingering feelings between Crosby and the Pens after an apparent misdiagnosis on his neck?
Bob Smizik: Crosby, his father and his agent have been very, very involved in this process. It's not like they've been blindly following what the Penguins have told them. I think he might be upset but if he is he needs to look in the mirror.
Kevin: Bob, do you find the lack of availability of Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert to the public to be irritating or is the Steelers "non transparency' the right way to go?
Bob Smizik: Not sure on what subject you are talking. Tomlin meets weekly with the media during the season and is available most days after practice. Colbert keeps a low profile during the season. If you are discussing the Arians issue, if I were Tomlin I'd avoid the media, too.
tournytony: How many teams belong in the NCAA Tournament instead of 68?
Bob Smizik: The field, as is, is fun. My preference would be a 32-team tournament.
jaworsky: Hey Bob, love the blog. The chat is ok. Who is your key player for the Super Bowl?
Bob Smizik: Uh, Tom Brady. I'm a sucker for the obvious.
xando: Is Coach K the best coach in any sport today?
Bob Smizik: That's a tough call. He certainly is outstanding. The only name that immediately jumps to my mind that might rival Krzyzewski is the hated Belichick.
Bill: So let's get down to brass tacks--Is Art mildly upset with the head coach over something?
Bob Smizik: You would think there is something wrong in the relationship between the two men. Rooney certainly hung Tomlin out to dry with the way he handed the Arians firing.
backyardfisticuffs: Who is a better coach right now: Jamie Dixon or Bob Huggins?
Bob Smizik: In fairness, I could not begin to answer that question and I doubt many could. I'd have to see most of the WVU games and be more familiar with their playing personnel before I could make a judgment. Both men are exceptional coaches.
Matt: Although one can always second guess any Offensive Coordinator for this play call or that, my biggest complaint with Arians was not individual plays but in his seeming inability to challenge Ben and the offense to get better as the season went along. To be 21st out of 32 teams in points scored, to squeek by some of those opponents (e.g., Indy and KC) and the Denver playoff game was unacceptable. This offense has too much potential and, to me, Arians was not helping them realize it.
Bob Smizik: I'm glad you said ''seeming.'' We don't know what is transpiring within the team. It's possible Arians is masterfully challenging Ben and Ben is not responding or the rest of the offense is not. Clearly, as a unit it should be doing better. I'm not so sure all of that falls on the offensive coordinator.
Ken6: How damaged would the Pats legacy be if they lose Sunday? I don't think hardly at all, except that they couldn't beat the Coughlin/Eli Giants. They're still the team of 2000-2010.
Bob Smizik: I would agree with you. Obviously, winning another Super Bowl would elevate the legacy. But, still, an excellent team for a sustained period of time.
JamesinNYC: As a PSU grad I don't get why people have to try and put JoePa in such a terrible light. Jealousy? I see a huge distinction between feeling that you know what you are doing running a football team and dealing with a potential child abuse case. The police on campus are real cops even if you don't respect the AD. So why bash someone who did so much for so many? I am sure, by his own words, he wishes in hindsight which is always 20-20 he had done more.
Bob Smizik: It has bothered me quite a bit do see people dancing on Paterno's grave. They'd have you believe he was still around watching while this abuse was taking place. He could have done more. He made a mistake.
nkerrigan: Why is it so hard for teams that play in the Super Bowl to make it back the next year? It used to happen much more often.
Bob Smizik: I would think parity is the answer to your question. With a draft and a salary cap it's hard for team's to remain dominant. The best teams constantly lose their best players. I am not all surprised that teams don't repeat.
Matt: Realistically, despite the best management team in all of sports, do you see any end in sight to the Pirates' futility?
Bob Smizik: There probably would be a brief window of opportunity around 2015 when McCutchen is at his prime, Cole is an ace and other parts come together. But there's a better chance of the futility continuing.
Bill: Who's the best qb-coach tandem? Lombardi-Starr, Noll-Bradshaw, Walsh-Montana or Brady-Belichick?
Bob Smizik: I am a huge fan of Bill Walsh, a true football genius, so I will go with Walsh-Montana.
Brian: Hi Bob. Is their a perception that Pens have miss handled the Crosby situation or is it just that "the brain is complex"? And if so, is this the first big mistake in the Lemieux ownership era?
Bob Smizik: There's not enough information available at the moment to make, in my estimation, a conclusive judgment. However, the Penguins do not look good at the moment and their doctors look less good.
Smoltz: Who would you recommend Tomlin hire as the new OC?
Bob Smizik: Tom Clements has not been elevated at Green Bay from QB coach, which leads me to believe he might not get that job. If that's so, I'd like to see him get a chance with the Steelers.
Bob Smizik: Thanks to all for the good questions today. I will be back next Monday at noon.
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