Chryst critical of Panthers' effort
His voice rising and patience fading, Pitt coach Paul Chryst interrupted practice three times Thursday to gather players around him to deliver an indictment of their effort and remind them of their responsibility to the program.
“Every one of us is fortunate to be here,” Chryst told reporters after practice. “Fortunate to be part of this team, this program. Fortunate. And you better act like that.”
The remarks were his most pointed since Chryst replaced former coach Todd Graham 15 months ago. He made it clear he will not tolerate the kind of performances that have led Pitt to consecutive 6-7 seasons, and Thursday's effort caused his frustration level to rise in the fifth day of spring drills.
“We were a consistently inconsistent team,” he said of the 2012 season. “And if you don't come out every day with a purpose then you don't get better. You either get better or you get worse, and everyone gets to choose.
“I didn't think we had great energy to start (practice) with, and we are going to play until we have some energy.”
Asked if the players responded positively to his message, he said, “It took a long time.”
Wide receiver Devin Street, who will be a fifth-year senior in the fall, agreed with Chryst's assessment of practice in which players wore only shoulder pads and shorts.
“Guys kind of saw it as a lighter day,” Street said. “We've had three-hour practices, four-hour practices (this spring), so some guys didn't come out with the mental state to come out here and work hard.
“It doesn't matter if we're out here in flip-flops. We've got to come out here every day just willing to work and get that mental aspect ready.”
Street said he doesn't believe players show enough passion or appreciation of their opportunity.
“There's a passion about coming out here and playing, but there's not a passion about doing everything right,” he said. “I feel like guys love football, but we have to be willing to do all the right things because all the right things will lead us to great things.”
Asked what might be holding the team back, Street said, “I think it's going to take some time, but it has to start clicking; it can't take too much time.
“I feel like we have some guys in the boat and some guys not in the boat. We have to have everyone in. That's the only way we can be successful.”
With the senior class just beginning to make its mark after two seasons of change, turmoil and losing, Chryst is hoping team leaders will step forward.
“Leadership is easy to talk about,” he said, “but it comes in a lot of different forms. Those special leaders are guys who cover the different ways you lead. You got guys that want to be it and guys who are working at it.”
Street appears to be one of the players looking to become a leader for his teammates.
“I feel like we've lacked that in previous years, especially since I've been here,” he said. “Just a vocal leader, a guy who's going to step up and be willing to take the blame for other people's mistakes and my mistakes as well. I feel like every great team has a solid leader.”
In the end, though, Street said each player — young and old — must be accountable.
“If we come out here willing to work, we're going to be ready for September,” he said. “If we come out here with a mental aspect of being down and out, it's going to show in September.”
Show commenting policy
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.
- Pitt’s Blair faces court date on DUI charge
- New football coach Narduzzi is learning, along with Pitt players
- Starkey: Boyd, Blair punishments are Narduzzi’s first big call
- Pitt RB Conner top vote-getter on preseason All-ACC team
- Akron defensive lineman Hargrove commits to Pitt
- Pitt quarterback Voytik compares with best at Manning passing camp
- Panthers freshmen give back, visit Mel Blount Youth Home