Share This Page

Despite success, Pitt's defense isn't judging

Pitt senior defensive tackle Chas Alecxih said no rift is developing on the team in light of the offense's struggles and the defense's steady improvement, but he gets asked the question many times.

"You can't think like that," he said. "In my mind, that's a losing mentality: 'I'm doing my part; you have to do yours.' You really can't point fingers. We are a team. I know the offense is going to get better."

Pitt's defense is 11th in the nation in tackles for a loss (56, an average of 8.0 per game) and 15th in sacks (21, 3.0), but it is 97th in turnovers (seven).

"That's a joke," inside linebacker Max Gruder said of the low number of turnovers. "We had almost seven every period in spring practice and camp, and the No. 1 focal point of our defense is we want to create turnovers. We strip every day in practice against our ball carriers, and sometimes it doesn't transition to the game."

Told he is second in the Big East in tackles per game (8.9) and No. 1 in total tackles (62), Gruder said, "I don't care."

• The return to health of senior Lucas Nix could give Pitt's offensive line its fifth new look in six games next Wednesday against Connecticut.

"We are looking forward to having Lucas back," coach Todd Graham said.

Nix started the first five games at right guard before hurting his knee, but he has made 16 starts at right tackle in his career. Barring further injury, the starters on the line will be center Ryan Turnley with some combination of Nix and Matt Rotheram — both of whom can play guard and tackle — tackle Jordan Gibbs and guards Corey King or Ryan Schleiper.

• Safety Jason Hendricks is doubtful with a right shoulder injury, which would leave his position to Andrew Taglianetti and Brandon Ifill. Graham said he won't use freshman safety Lafayette Pitts' redshirt.

"It will be unfair to do that. I think we can get it done with those two guys." Outside linebacker Todd Thomas may return to the lineup. "We are working him back in slowly," Graham said.

• Alecxih apologized for accusing Utah's defensive linemen of dirty tactics.

"I was pretty fired up, and I am a pretty emotional guy sometimes," he said, "and I tend to say what is on my mind without thinking of the consequences."

Graham called Alecxih's comments "inappropriate" Monday.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.