Pitt wide receiver Street wants to leave football program as a winner
Pitt senior wide receiver Devin Street has seen enough.
Enough half-hearted effort.
Enough cutting corners, even from coaches.
Street spoke candidly about strict punishment levied against players by coach Paul Chryst — he has no problem with it — and what might have led to successive 6-7 seasons that ended in soft efforts and blowout losses in bowl games.
“I've seen it over the years,” Street said Friday on TribLive Radio. “Sometimes, we weren't successful because guys were putting themselves ahead of the team. I'm bought in right now. It's been too long since we've had a winning season.”
Pitt started training camp last week with two players suspended for the season, another — prized freshman quarterback Tra'Von Chapman — on indefinite suspension and junior linebacker Todd Thomas expressing his intention to quit and missing all but one practice last week.
Those circumstances occurred after two players were dismissed while being charged with drug offenses. Running back Rushel Shell said he wanted to transfer, changed his mind and wasn't allowed to return.
Street said he is pleased with the atmosphere of intolerance built by Chryst amid the most demanding camp schedule in many years.
“Since I've been here, this has definitely been the toughest camp, just with the work, the hours, in meetings. I'm thankful for it,” Street said. “It's my senior season. It's my last go-round. They are definitely getting the best out of everyone.”
Street, who has been on campus since 2009 and hasn't missed a game in three years (30 starts), said Chryst has set a welcome tone.
“I have noticed a difference since my redshirt freshman year,” said Street, a second-team All-Big East selection last year when he set career highs in receptions (73), yards (975) and touchdowns (five). “Guys are here working. There is no negativity. Guys are doing the right thing.”
Street said he remains friends with many of the players who have left.
“I built a relationship with those guys,” he said. “I love those guys, but at the end of the day, you have to do the right thing, you have to trust in the coaching staff. If they're not bought in, they have to do what's best for them.”
If the punishments send a message, so be it, he said.
“That's Coach,” he said. “The guys who are here right now do trust in him. No one is above the team. No one can feel entitled. We have to come here and work every day.
“If this stuff pays off, and most likely it will, then, you know what, I'm all on board with it.”
Pitt opens the season Sept. 2 at Heinz Field against defending ACC champion Florida State, No. 12 in the USA Today preseason rankings. The game marks only the fourth time since 1997 — former coach Walt Harris' first season — that Pitt started with a BCS opponent.
Street said Florida State quickly caught the team's attention — more than last year, when Pitt lost its opener to Youngstown State of the FCS.
“I think we were taking them a little too lightly,” he said. “I don't think we were prepared enough. Not saying that's on the coaches, but that was on the players, too. Going into the game, I felt like there wasn't enough excitement.”
This season is about making amends, he said.“Coming into the ACC, we're faced with a tremendous challenge, but a great opportunity,” Street said. “It's all about first impressions.”
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.