This week's experience at the Chesapeake Bowl has been good so far for Pitt commit Artie Rowell. The standout from Harrisburg (PA) Central Dauphin took reps with the first team at center on Tuesday, and hopes to hold on to that spot for the game.
"It's been awesome," Rowell said. "All the guys are great. This week has been fun. The competition is what's really wild.
"It's me and (Maryland commit) Evan Mulrooney right now. (Tuesday), I took the first-team snaps. (The coaching staff) said it could change, but hopefully I'll keep that spot. It is equal playing time, so either way I'll be at center which is good because that's what I'm here for. That's what I hear a lot about at Pitt too."
Rowell has always been appreciative of his coaching staff--as he was instrumental in his team's powerful rushing attack, which averaged over 200 yards a game on the ground in 2010. With that kind of production, and a 10-3 record, it's easy to see why he‘s appreciative. Though he has to adjust to a new coaching staff for just a few days this week, Rowell says because of his coaching staff at Central Dauphin--he not only appreciates them even more, but he is also able to apply what the North team coaching staff wants from him this week.
"It is different," Rowell admitted. "I think very highly of my high school coaches, as every high school kid should. (The North team coaching staff) are good guys, and they really know their stuff. I'm a big fan of my high school coaches.
"Everyone's having fun and learning (this week). I still learned a little bit. There's still a lot of competing with top-level talent. It's really fun. You find out there's no scrubs in the game at all."
Adjusting to a new coaching staff--whether it's for one high school all-star game, or whether it's in his college choice--Pitt--is all part of the game, Rowell added. Though he was loyal to Dave Wannstedt and Tony Wise at Pitt, he feels he can be loyal to Michael Haywood and his new staff. Last week, Rowell said in a text message, that he was reaffirming his commitment to Pitt. He only needed a couple days to absorb all the change that was happening.
"In regards to recent recruiting activity, I am fully committed to Pittsburgh." Rowell said last Monday via text message. "I was very sad to see Coach Wannstedt and his staff leave as I have developed a great relationship with them over the past two years.
"I spoke with new Head Coach (Michael) Haywood on Sunday and I was very impressed with his introduction of himself," Rowell continued. "I am going to take my official visit January 14th. In that visit, I hope to further my relationship with Coach Haywood and I look forward to meeting his staff."
One thing a coaching changes brings with any position, is increased optimism for earlier playing time from the true freshmen and the redshirt freshman. Rowell fits into that category.
"Absolutely," Rowell said. "I personally don't look down on redshirting. As a competitor, knowing a new head coach, interior line problems of the past, this past season with young guys, that's exciting."
He knows he can like both coaching staffs as much as he wants. Ultimately, Rowell just wants to be a Panther.
"There's a lot to the school," Rowell said. "Obviously, Coach Wannstedt and Coach Wise were a huge part to the school as far as my decision. But, it's a ‘life goes on,' type of thing. They're good coaches. I'm impressed with Coach Haywood too, his background and everything. I really believe it would be different if I was a quarterback or a running back, or something. I'm a lineman. I'm blocking people. Even though coach Haywood's offense is real similar to coach Wannstedt's, it's still blocking guys. There's really not much changing."
In addition to that, one of the tougher facets of this whole coaching change has been watching players from his Pitt class de-commit and choose other schools. However, he understands the importance of them making the decision that's best for them, just as those players understand his importance of sticking with Pitt.
"It's unfortunate to see our class break up," Rowell said. "We had a really good class. Again, you have to do what's best for you. Once you get there, buy into the team; get involved."
As for getting to Pitt, Rowell also talked about what it will be like to re-unite with former Central Dauphin teammate Jack Lippert, who figures to be an instrumental part of the offensive line this season.
"He was recruited as a d-end," Rowell said of Lippert. "He put weight on real well, so he was moved to d-tackle. Then, from d-tackle to the offensive side. Right when that happened, I was excited to play potentially with him or compete with him. In high school, you're not competing. When I say competing, we're playing right by each other. I played guard, he played tackle at Central Dauphin my sophomore year, his senior year. Next year, I'll definitely look to Jack for guidance; some of the in's and out's of the city, and we'll go from there."