- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
The scene at Heinz Field on Saturday was like a carnival, Kirk Barron (Mishakawa, Ind./Marian) said. Though Barron didn’t leave this carnival with a prize -- an offer -- he thoroughly enjoyed his visit to Pittsburgh.
“It went really good. I talked with the offensive line coach [Jim Hueber] before the game started. I thought that was a positive,” Barron said. “The entire atmosphere was great. I liked it a lot. It was fun to be there and watch Coach [Paul] Chryst win his first game.”
Barron said Hueber was excited to see he made the trip from Indiana, which is about a five-hour drive. Barron and his father did not arrive in Pittsburgh until 3 a.m. Saturday morning.
The Panthers rushed for 254 yards against Virginia Tech, a number which brought a smile to the offensive guard’s face. He was not only happy to see the dedication to the ground game but also that the offensive line was creating room for the Panthers’ running backs. The offensive line struggled in bad losses to Youngstown State and Cincinnati.
“I thought they were being a real smashmouth team. They ran right at Virginia Tech. It was just a great game I thought, for the offensive line especially,” Barron said. “I listened to the radio show about how they weren’t getting any push, but it was cool to watch them run between the tackles.”
Chryst and much of his Pitt staff came from Wisconsin, which has a long history of producing NFL linemen. Barron’s favorite part of the trip was meeting the staff.
“The coaching staff is probably one of my favorite coaching staffs. They’re really personable, know how to play football and know how to coach football,” Barron said. “They went to the Rose Bowl two years in a row. They can graduate offensive linemen and make you go to the NFL.”
The next scheduled visits are for Ohio State on Oct. 6 and Kansas when it hosts Texas on Oct. 27. Barron also received invites from NC State and Wisconsin on Friday to visit for any game he likes. Indiana assistant Kevin Johns was at Barron’s game Friday night, and Barron could visit Indiana soon, too.
Barron expects to make several more visits this fall.
513dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert