The best example of the growth and maturity of Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri has been how he refused to shoot back at former coach Todd Graham, although reporters (myself included) gave him ample opportunity.
I remember sitting down with Sunseri in the spring when he told me that working under Graham’s offensive system last season was good for him because it allowed him to become a complete quarterback.
Sunseri never complained about the system, even after Graham resigned, refusing to make excuses for what happened in Pitt’s 6-7 season of 2011.
But when Sunseri was asked Tuesday to compare Graham’s offense with current Pitt coach Paul Chryst’s system, he fired a shot toward Graham. I guess it was just time.
Asked to compare Chryst’s offense to what Graham installed last year, Sunseri said (without naming names), “It compares from a high school offense to a pro-style college offense.”
He also pointed out that Chyrst’s system has enough built-in complexities to keep the defense guessing while Graham had a fairly simple playbook. Sunseri didn’t specifically say so, but the suggestion was that Graham’s offense wasn’t especially difficult for defenses to figure out.
“Last year, there weren’t a lot of plays, there weren’t lot of different formations, there weren’t a lot of different motions,” Sunseri said. “This offense, it’s coming from making sure you understand shifts and motions and making sure you understand different routes and converting vs. different coverages. Guys had to make sure they got in their playbooks, which they did.”
There’s more, however. When Sunseri was reminded that players and coaches seem to be going about their business without a lot of fanfare this season, Sunseri said Chryst’s way is different.
“I feel like coach Chryst has done a great job of just going to work,” he said. “You know what I mean? He’s not here to do shows. He’s not here (to hang) signs. He’s not here to make people laugh or giggle. He’s here to win football games. I feel like that’s (the players’) approach, too.”
No catchy slogans on signs hung in the training facility. No promises that the coach can’t keep. Just football, for better or for worse.
It’s just another example that Chryst gets it while all Graham wanted to get was out.