As I said yesterday - and Steve Pederson as much said Wednesday - this process is on a much faster track than before and so it goes without saying that the interview process has begun with two coaches being interviewed for the job. And what is interesting is at least one of these interviews took place on campus, which tells me that the administration really isn't going to fool around this time and is really pushing to get this resolved quickly.
Think about it - last time they had a search firm identify candidates, then they had all of these secret meeting places across the country and that process dragged out - not the case right now.
At any rate, from what I can gather so far, the first two candidates to interview are Paul Chryst and Luke Fickell.
Let me clarify this because I wasn't clear about the timetable for these - Fickell has already interviewed, Chryst will interview Saturday.
Fickell - The defensive coordinator/interim head coach at Ohio State and the man charged with stabilizing the ship at Ohio State after the program nearly crashed and burned thanks to Terrelle Pryor, tatoo parlors and Jim Tressell. Fickell is young, an excellent defensive coach and he is known as a great recruiter.
Chryst - He is the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin. He has had his name out there for jobs in the past but he has not got them or he has pulled out before it came to decision time. But he apparently is now ready to be a head coach, he has been endorsed by Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez and unlike the last "offensive genius" that came through the doors - this guy has adapted his offense to his personnel each year. He is apparently not a dynamic personality but he is smart and he is well regarded as an offensive coordinator.
I'm also told that Paul Rhoads will at least listen to Pitt this time but at the end of the day he is more than likely going to stay put. That doesn't mean he won't come, these things are always subject to change, but it sounds like he still has some work to do and he isn't quite ready to leave Iowa State. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.
The only other two guys I can get anyone to tell me are likely going to get an interview are Florida International coach Mario Cristobal and Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren.
I'm still trying to find out if there are any other candidates, but so far this is the "short list" we have to work with.
For those of you who have asked - as of last night Teryl Austin has not been contacted by Pitt and despite his best efforts Sal Sunseri, has not been able to forge his way into the picture just yet.
I'll try to keep you posted as these things continue to unfold.