The Baltimore Ravens have yet to officially announce the hiring of Pitt wide receivers coach Bobby Engram, but already two names have surfaced as possible additions to the Panthers’ staff.
Both are veteran coaches, who have mentored some big-name players.
* Troy Douglas, the Iowa State defensive backs coach, would bring a quarter-century of coaching experience to the Pitt defense. He has been at 11 schools since 1988, but what matters is that four of Douglas’ pupils are in the NFL: The Oakland Raiders’ Tracy Porter, who had the key interception in Super Bowl XLIV for the New Orleans Saints; 2008 first-round draft choice and All-American Mike Jenkins (Raiders); Nate Allen (Philadelphia Eagles); and Da’Norris Searcy (Buffalo Bills).
Jenkins, Allen, Trae Williams (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Jerome Murphy (St. Louis Rams) were with Douglas at South Florida where the defense finished 10th in the nation in 2008. Douglas coached Porter at Indiana and Searcy at North Carolina.
By the way, Douglas doesn’t want to hear any excuses from his defensive backs when they drop a seemingly sure interception. You’ve heard it before: “If he could catch, he would be wide receiver.”
But here’s what Douglas said about that: “There is no such thing as playing defensive back because you can’t catch. You have to be able to catch the ball. You have to be able to make plays on the ball.”
Pitt picked off only eight passes in 13 games last season. Maybe Douglas can help the Panthers do better.
First, he must accept the job. Bobby LaGesse of the Ames (Ia.) Tribune is reporting that Douglas has an offer, but hasn’t decided to accept it or stay at Iowa State.
Pitt also must juggle some positions to fit another defensive coach on the staff and remain in compliance with NCAA limitations.
* The other possible hire would be a replacement for Engram. The name on coachingsearch.com is Erik Campbell, who spent the past season with the Montreal Alouettes.
Campbell’s connections to Pitt coach Paul Chryst stem from his time coaching wide receivers in the Big Ten at Iowa and Michigan. His pupils at Michigan who became first-round draft choices included Braylon Edwards, David Terrell and Charles Woodson, who won the Heisman as a defensive back and only occasionally played wide receiver.
Campbell also coached Amani Toomer, Jason Avant and Steve Breaston with the Wolverines. He was on the Iowa staff that oversaw the comeback victory against Pitt in 2011.
Again, nothing is official. But if Chryst lands Douglas and Campbell, he has taken a bit of misfortune (losing the talented and highly respected Engram) and made his staff better.