ShareThis Page

New football coach is ready to build at IUP

| Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011

When Curt Cignetti took the Indiana (Pa.) football coaching job in January, he had a message for his players.

"There's two types of pain in life -- the pain of commitment and the pain of regret," he told his team. "Which one do you want to undergo?"

As Cignetti enters his first season, his players appear ready to commit. Cignetti, son of Crimson Hawk coaching legend Frank Cignetti, is focused on generating a solid foundation for the program.

"We're trying to change the culture here right now," he said. "We're trying to become a tough, physical team, and we're going to compete for 60 minutes — six seconds a play, one play at time."

IUP was picked to finish in a tie for third with Slippery Rock in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division preseason coaches poll. Mercyhurst was picked second, and California (Pa.) was on top.

Cignetti, who was Alabama's receivers coach and recruiting coordinator the past four years, has a balanced attack. Quarterback Pat Smith will lead the offense. Smith, who missed most of last season with a broken thumb, needs to be efficient in the passing game while minimizing mistakes.

IUP should boast an effective run game, and Cignetti plans to employ a three-back attack. Harvie Tuck will be the workhorse after last year's 1,134-yard performance. Teddy Blakeman, James Johnson and Ben Sasu will compete for carries.

Cignetti knows it might take time to return to championship form, but he believes his team can be as good as it wants to be.

"I'm not setting any limits on what our guys are doing this fall," he said. "You can do a lot when you believe."

Young Panthers shine

Incoming Pitt freshman Austin Caldwell qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in the 50-meter freestyle at the USA Swimming sectionals last month in Cleveland. Caldwell swam a career-best 23.45 seconds.

Caldwell becomes the fourth Pitt incoming freshman to achieve this honor. Gateway graduate Luke Nosbisch was the first in May in the 200 breaststroke. Fellow Panthers Jon Lierley and Kourosh Ahani achieved the feat in the 200 butterfly and 100 butterfly.

Cal duo win bronze

California (Pa.) senior softball player Jillian Russell and former Vulcan Megan Timpf led the Canadian women's softball team to the bronze medal in the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City. Canada finished 4-2, including a 4-3 victory over the United States, the eventual champion.

Timpf, a 2007 graduate and current Indiana (Pa.) assistant coach, hit .267 with a double in two RBI in six games. Russell appeared in three games and went 2 for 4 with a two-run double in Canada's loss to runner-up Japan.

Schedule talk

The Penn State women's team will face eight postseason participants from last season among its 12-game nonconference schedule. Among the Nittany Lions' six home games are appearances by North Carolina for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Virginia Tech. Among the remaining dates, Penn State will play two games at the John Ascuaga'a Nugget Classic on Nov. 25 and 26 in Reno, Nev., with Iowa State, Butler and host Nevada.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.