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Notes from Tuesday’s weekly press conference


Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt held his weekly press conference today in advance of the Panthers’ game with New Hampshire on Saturday at Heinz Field. Here is the complete transcript of his meeting with the media.

*** Sophomore running back Ray Graham (knee), who was listed as probable but didn’t play against Utah, should be ready to go against New Hampshire. The decision will be based on how he practices this week.

*** Anyone who wondered if Greg Romeus would show some rust after missing most of training camp with back spasms got their answer. The pre-season all-America had four tackles and knocked down one pass against Utah. Granted, Utah didn’t give the defensive line much time to get after the quarterback, but Romeus didn’t have his best game – going up against a Utah left tackle making his first Division I start.

“Greg played 59 plays in the (Utah) game,” Wannstedt said. “I don’t know if he had 59 plays the entire training camp. He’s kind of playing himself back into form a little bit.”

Pitt, which led the nation in sacks last season, didn’t record a sack for the first time since Nov. 28, 2008 against West Virginia, a span of 16 games.

*** Pitt kicker Dan Hutchins had some interesting things to say about Utah coach Kyle Whittingham’s decision to call back-to-back timeouts during his eventual game-tying 30-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

“I was pretty upset,” Hutchins said. “I was like, ‘C’mon man.’ I made that first one. Let’s take it to overtime the right way.”

Hutchins went 2 for 3 during the time-out-fest, making the third one, which counted.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” he said. “I didn’t know he called any of those timeouts until my players told me.”

*** With the status of strong safety Dom DeCicco (hamstring) and nickel back Andrew Taglianetti (groin) uncertain for Saturday, redshirt freshman safety Jason Hendricks will likely see some more action. The Brooklyn native had six tackles after replacing an injured DeCicco in the first half against Utah.

“I thought he did a good job,” Wannstedt said. “I really did. For his first time out of the box against an offense that gives you a lot of different looks, I was pleased with Jason.”

*** This item isn’t real timely, but it was my first real chance to ask Wannstedt  about this.  I had figured Pitt’s delay of game on its first possession before Dan Hutchins’ punt from the Utah 46 was intentional to give Hutchins more room to the end zone. It backed Pitt up to their own 49 and allowed Hutchins to rip into one without worrying too much about a touchback. (I’m not sure if radio or TV guys talked about this. If they did, forgive me). Turns out it wasn’t intentional.

“That was my fault,” Wannstedt said. “We really took too much time getting onto the field. We have new people on punt. We just wasted too much time.”

You don’t see delay of game on a punt too often and let’s hope we don’t see another one the rest of the year, on any special team.

 *** Now I want to give a little anecdote about today’s press conference. Like him or not, Wannstedt is one of the most personable, approachable coaches of any team I’ve covered.  He has a sense of humor and he doesn’t belittle reporters who ask out-of-place questions. Believe me, there are some coaches out there who never miss the chance to take a stab at a reporter. 

So, when Wannstedt got the inevitable “What do you think about Darrelle Revis finally signing?” question at his press conference — a query he has been asked way too times during camp — he didn’t miss a beat.  

Wannstedt looked around the big conference room full of reporters and, with a smile, said of the $48 million cornerback — “We should name this the Darrelle Revis facility.”

Call him a conversative offensive coach – which he clearly is — but as far as his character and someone you would want your kids to play for, he’s definitely a solid guy.

Now if he can get Pitt over the hump.



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