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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: High-octane coach

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> Spent a good amount of time yesterday morning with Todd Graham, Pitt’s new coach, and I can assure you before the season’s first meaningful snap Saturday that this “high octane” stuff isn’t just for show. I’m the one walking around with a Starbucks cup in my hand all the time, and he’s the one who’s totally wired.

There’s a discipline in place that includes which is the in and which is the out door to the South Side eating area — coach’s orders — but it feels like it’s more about the pace. The same way these guys practice, very animated, very vocally, is pretty much the same way Graham keeps things off the field. He walks fast, talks fast, buzzes from door to door, and you can see a lot of the players doing the same thing.

I know it’s just Buffalo, but I am really interested to see how — or if — this plays out on the field. Teams do take on their coach’s traits, but this would be a whopper.

More on Graham in a column later this week.

>> My Wednesday column is about the Pirates’ goals for September. And no, it’s not just a flippant suggestion to flip the calendar.

>> The Pirates are no easier to watch now than in 2010. When you’re getting smacked around by the Brewers, that’s one thing. The Astros are a .333 team still on pace for 107 losses. This is awful.

>> That said, I’ll reiterate that I have no issue with the ticket-price increase. The Pirates’ prices currently are 33 percent lower than Cincinnati’s, 44 percent lower than Milwaukee’s and about 100 percent lower than St. Louis’. Those are market peers and, more important, those are divisional peers. It’s been a decade, and this was long ago overdue.

Now, let’s see what they do with it at the major-league level.

>> Are you OK with the Steelers resting a lot of guys for the final exhibition?

Ben Roethlisberger, for example, will go 15 days without taking a snap in anger by the time the opener arrives in Baltimore. I know this is how they always do it, and I know the risk of injury, but there’s a small part of me that thinks it wouldn’t hurt to push the ball once down the field in Charlotte tomorrow.

>> Speaking of Ben, our Scott Brown spent some one-on-one time with the QB yesterday.

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