We knew last week when wide receivers coach Bobby Engram left for the Ravens that there was going to be some shakeup on the Pitt coaching staff, but now it appears that it might be a bit more than just hiring a replacement for Engram. Coachingsearch.com reported today that Pitt is looking to hire Iowa State defensive backs coach Troy Douglas. The Ames Tribune is reporting that Douglas has an offer, but has not accepted the job yet and what I'm hearing on Pitt's end sounds like the same thing. Pitt definitely wants to bring Douglas on its staff, but it's not a done deal yet. We'll see how it develops over the next few days.
Looking at Douglas' biography, it's pretty clear that Pitt would be bringing him on as a defensive backs coach. Just putting some pieces together, that would allow Matt House to shift away from coaching the safeties, like he did this year, and focus on a more big-picture view as defensive coordinator. Douglas, meanwhile, would likely work with defensive graduate assistant Hank Poteat to coach the secondary.
If Pitt does bring on Douglas, though, it will need to get rid of an assistant somewhere else on the staff. The most likely scenario would probably be Desmond Robinson, who is currently the "Player Personnel Director" and, essentially, a full-time recruiter. It's possible Robinson could move into another role within the athletic department that would allow him to stay involved with the team but also let them bring Douglas on. Regardless of how it plays out, there will have to be some shuffling done.
Of course, Pitt still is in the process of looking for a new receivers coach. It's my understanding that Engram's departure didn't come as a huge surprise to Paul Chryst, so this hire could get done relatively quickly. The one name I've heard in some conversations today and has also been picked up by CoachingSearch.com is former Michigan receiver Erik Campbell, currently the wide receivers coach with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. He was a wide receivers coach at Michigan and Iowa previously, and was also an assistant head coach under Lloyd Carr at Michigan. Not saying he'll be the guy, but seems to be at least a strong candidate.
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NEW YORK -- Backstage at New York Fashion Week is full of insights, including makeup and hair tips and tricks from stylists to the stars.
Before the Noon by Noor runway show Monday at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center, color expert Rebecca Isa of Cleveland-based Zoya nail polish dished about nail art tricks and what hues could be hot later this year.
For the show, Zoya nail technicians polished models' nails a deep red called Norra from the brand's collection. The base of the nail near the cuticle was left bare in the shape of a half moon (color and style pictured above and at right).
It's a subtle type of nail art, Ms. Isa said, and gives shorter nails an elongated look. Plus, achieving it isn't as difficult as you'd think.
Remember from school reinforcement rings used to help keep notebook paper from tearing out of binders? Cut those rings in half and place them at the base of each nail. Polish around the rings, and once they're removed, a perfect half-moon design is left behind.
The nail polish industry works a lot like apparel and accessories -- colors and trends fluctuate from season to season. Looking ahead to next fall, what's been on the runway so far this Fashion Week is evidence that beige, black and dark red could be back in a big way, Ms. Isa predicted, and perhaps a touch of pewter.
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Senate Republicans used a filibuster to block a vote on extending benefits for the long-term unemployed last week, apparently killing action on such a proposal for the immediate future. But Pittsburgh Roman Catholic Bishop David Zubik still holds out hope that they'll reverse course and pass an extension.
He said in a statement Friday:
"Pastors in our Diocese tell me of more and more families coming to our churches, looking for help in paying rent, in meeting their heating and electric bills and in putting gas in their car or paying bus fare. The lines at our parish food pantries are getting longer and longer. Parishioners who once donated canned food now queue up to receive it. I am deeply concerned that without unemployment benefits more and more families will be plunged into permanent poverty, never able to climb out again."
His comments echoed those of other Catholic bishops who have been calling for the extension.
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Duquesne coach Jim Ferry joined the weekly A-10 teleconference Monday morning to touch on a few college basketball matters and preview the Dukes' Wednesday night matchup against Richmond (15-8, 5-3 Atlantic 10).
Following right behind VCU coach Shaka Smart, Ferry started off with his thoughts on the Marcus Smart incident, in which the Oklahoma State star pushed a fan after being provoked late in a loss against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. Smart was suspended for three games.
On Smart incident ...
"I'd like to echo what Shaka had to say. The incident with the kid Smart at Oklahoma State, I'm actually surprised it doesn't happen more. We speak to our student athletes about this all the time. I really think it's starting to get out of control, especially here in February, in the heat of the battle, everybody's fighting for something. I think that was appalling — by an adult. Obviously, the kid made a poor decision, but we've got to make sure stuff like that doesn't happen in our conference. I think this is a great conference. I think the schools really care about each other; I think this group of coaches in this league is great coaches, great people. I think everybody really cares about the league, and that's something I think could be helped. I think it needs to be addressed a little bit stronger. It's just not good for our game. I don't think it's fair that you've got these kids from 18 to 21 dealing with a lot of pressure — you've got Twitter, you've got Facebook, kids getting attacked — and then you have something being said to a kid like that. We've got to be careful that doesn't happen more. I just wanted to echo that; I agree with Shaka.
Opening statement ...
"On our end, basketball-wise, we're not playing real well. I think we were playing a little bit better a couple weeks ago. Offensively, I think more than anything else, we've gotten out of our rhythm. We haven't clicked in these past three games. We're struggling scoring. Obviously teams are getting to know each other a little bit more and are seeing what we are, but we've got to start playing a little more unselfishly. The ball's got to move more. We have the ability to score the ball when we play the right way. Defensively, it's a constant grind in this league because everyone's so talented. We have to defend, and we have to rebound. We've really been hurt on the glass; we've been out-rebounded our last three games, which is such a big factor in winning in this league. I think we've got to clean this stuff up as we get ready for the stretch run, get ready for the conference tournament."
On team's frustration level ...
"We haven't practiced yet since we lost, so I don't have the answer to that in regards to how they [players] are responding. The league is brutal. If I'm correct, I think La Salle might have lost four out of five, and they're a fantastic team — four starters back from a Sweet 16 team. I know Dayton went through a stretch. It's a tough league, and especially where we're at. We're rebuilding our program. We're significantly better than we were last year, but we're obviously not where we want to be or need to be compared to a lot of the teams in this league. Our message is we've got to focus on things we can control, and that's getting better every day. We have to give the kids certain things to grab onto to get better. You can't come in and say, 'We're not doing this, this, this, this, this,' and give them 10, or you're not going to get better at any of them. So, we've really got to focus in on specific things — two things defensively we have to do better, and two things offensively we have to do better. And then hold ourselves accountable for that. I think we'll be fine. We've got a great group of kids. They're playing really hard. It's not anything about effort. It's playing better. We have to do that; we have to play better. We've been up or very, very close in every single league game except for that St. Joe's game. So, we have the ability to compete. Whether it's fatigue, whether it's lack of depth, lack of maturity that's been hurting us, we've got to clean that up."
On necessary offensive fixes ...
"Some of it has to do with the teams we're playing against, what their defensive philosophies are. Some of it has to do with some of the decisions we've been making lately. We haven't really been clicking. I think our point-guard play hasn't been great, though it got a little better the other day. We need some guys off the bench to make some plays for us as well. It can't just be the guys that are starters; I'd contribute some of that to the depth."
On problems Richmond presents ...
"[laugh] A lot. They really defend you. They only give up 65 points per game. Here we are talking about us not playing well offensively, and now we've got to play a really good defensive team. Obviously, coach [Chris] Mooney does a really fantastic job with all their Princeton offense stuff; it's very difficult to prepare for. They lost somebody [Cedrick Lindsay], but they still have the leading scorer in the league in Kendall Anthony, who is just playing phenomenal right now — averaging 20 points per game in league play, with great quickness and great shot-blocking. We've got a lot to prepare for this week. But we've really got to focus on ourselves and make sure we are playing the right way for our team no matter who we're playing against. If we clean that up coming into this game, we'll give ourselves a chance."
On production of Ovie Soko ...
"Ovie's got great versatility for a forward, and I love for our forwards to have that. The ability to drive the basketball from the forward position puts a lot of pressure on teams defensively. That's why we're so good at getting to the foul line. Forwards guarding guys that are driving foul a lot. I think his ability to get to the rim, to get fouled, he finishes offensive rebounds, and he can shoot — he shoots better than people think, he's got a good mid-range game — his total versatility. I think sometimes with Ovie he'll take some bad shots when he doesn't need to; if he just continues to play he'll either get to the foul line or get himself a layup. Sometimes when he takes a bad shot, his shooting percentage comes down. But he has the ability to drive and kick and create for other guys as well. When Ovie's playing well, we're playing well. That's been very obvious throughout the year. I think we've got to play a little bit better around him offensively so he doesn't have to do as much."
On how far Soko's game can expand ...
"He's expanded a lot. His sit-out year, he really expanded a lot. When he came here, UAB had played him as basically a low-post player. He didn't have the freedom to play on the perimeter and drive the basketball. We spent the whole offseason really improving his ball-handling skills, his passing skills, and his shooting skills. He does have a ways to go; he can improve significantly. His future once he leaves college, how good he's going to be, is going to be all dictated by his shooting ability. I think that goes for every kid. How well he can shoot the basketball, and how well he can expand his range and shoot the ball consistently. I think that's farther behind than other part of his game right now."