Pitt coach Paul Chryst met with the media this morning and began to shed at least a little bit of light on the process for hiring a new defensive coordinator, since Dave Huxtable departed to take the same position at North Carolina State Friday.
Chryst said he did not plan to have a new coordinator in place by the bowl game, and that the staff would work together to form a defensive gameplan for Ole Miss. He may or may not name an official interim defensive coordinator (someone will have to actually call the defensive plays in the bowl game), but the overall gameplan will be a team effort between Chryst and the three defensive coaches remaining (Matt House, Chris Haering and Inoke Breckterfield). If I had to guess, I'd say House will likely be the play caller against the Rebels, simply because he has the most coaching experience of the three (Haering is in his first year as a college coach and this is only Breckterfield's second year as a full-time Division I-A coach).
Linebacker Todd Thomas said it has been mostly House and Haering calling plays and setting defensive alignments in practice this week.
As for hiring a new full-time guy, Chryst didn't definitively say it would be an outside hire, but it sure sounds that way. With Chryst still in the throes of bowl preparation and finishing up recruiting, it's still a bit early in the process to determine who the actual candidates for the job are. I know a lot of people want to throw around the typical names of local guys that come up when a Pitt job (Todd Orlando, Teryl Austin, etc.), but I think it would be more instructive to look at Chryst's coaching history and guys he has worked with in the past. He greatly values staff chemistry and being on the same page as his assistants, so I would be surprised if the new hire is someone Chryst hasn't worked with in the past.
The one exception to that, though, may be Orlando. He's currently the defensive coordinator at FIU, a staff likely in flux after the school fired Mario Cristobal, and a Wisconsin graduate who played for Barry Alvarez. Chryst and Orlando never overlapped in Madison, but both have relationships with Alvarez. Depending on what happens with the Badgers' vacancy, Orlando could end up as a candidate for that staff too.
Regardless, while I do believe Chryst certainly has candidates in mind for the vacancy, the focus first and foremost is on the bowl game, rather than rushing to fill a spot on the staff.