Over the past several months, I have learned this about Pitt’s Tino Sunseri:
He doesn’t care what you think.
You get the feeling he wants to say, `I’m the quarterback, you’re not, so shut up and let me play football.’
Of course, he says no such thing (but who could blame him if he did?), always acting professional, respectful and calm while addressing his inquisitors as “sir” and saying all the right things.
When he was asked if getting jerked in and out of the lineup has been a distraction — a theory advanced by coach Todd Graham — Sunseri talked about trying to help backup Trey Anderson as much as he can.
“Whenever he came over (between series of the Utah game),” Sunseri said, “I was basically trying to rely as much information as I was seeing from the sideline. Trying to help him out. Trying to make sure that I was (giving) him the best chance to be successful.”
He didn’t totally dismiss the possibility that the game of revolving quarterbacks might be hurting the team. “I don’t know what the team is thinking,” he said, before adding:
“But whenever you are doing that as a starter or as a guy who has a younger guy underneath him, the only thing you can do is try to do everything you can do to help the team win.
“That’s the one thing I have is the experience and the knowledge of being in the game and understanding what the defense is trying to do.”
Sunseri coudn’t have been happy about leaving the Utah game twice, but he never expressed it publicly.
“I am concentrating on doing my job, my part, so when my number is called, I can do everything I can to help our team win.”
No energy wasted by complaining about something that isn’t his decision to make. You can tell he’s the son of a coach.
He may not satisfy most Pitt fans with how he plays on the field, but — in public — he is doing all he can to avoid creating a divide among his teammates. That way, he gives Pitt the best chance to salvage the season.
Pitt may not have a good chance to win its five remaining games, but a team divided has no chance.
THE RETURN OF NIX
Getting senior offensive lineman Lucas Nix back into the lineup will be a big help, if it occurs. Nix is the team’s best lineman, and his ability to play tackle and guard gives coaches the flexibility to put the best five players on the field.
Expect Nix to play tackle, bookending with senior Jordan Gibbs. That doesn’t solve the interior problems created by the loss of senior guard Chris Jacobson, but it’s a start and might be enough to beat Connecticut.