Pitt WR Street eager for 'true test'
Pitt senior receiver Devin Street does his best to remain grounded through the ups and downs.
He usually speaks in reasoned tones, trying not to make too much of his team's 3-1 record or the problems that have surfaced along the way.
But Street's eyes light up and he loves the topic when reporters ask him about the Virginia Tech defensive secondary Pitt will confront Saturday at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va.
“A lot of one-on-ones,” said Street, who is second in the ACC in receiving (111.2 ypg). “We thrive in that. That's what we are looking forward to.
“We are going to have to win one-on-ones.”
Street and his running mate at wide receiver, freshman Tyler Boyd, have captured the attention of ACC coaches, but there is one disclaimer: None of Pitt's three victims (New Mexico, Duke and Virginia) has defeated a team from a BCS power conference.
Virginia Tech is 5-1 and ranked No. 24.
“This will be a true test to see where we're at,” Street said.
A victory in front of an expected sellout crowd of 65,632 at Lane Stadium — named by the NCAA as one of the five loudest venues in college football — would give Pitt a better conference record than all but three ACC teams (Clemson, Florida State and Miami).
“This is a good game to make our place in the ACC, and show them that we're here,” quarterback Tom Savage said.
Pitt practiced with recorded crowd noise this week, but it was nothing like the real thing. When Virginia Tech players run onto the field before games, Metallica's “Enter Sandman” roars through the loudspeakers.
Former Thomas Jefferson player Chris Drager, who played at Virginia Tech, said he “got goosebumps” when he first ran onto the field at Lane Stadium.
Savage said a silent count has been installed, but he welcomes the challenge the crowd presents.
“It should be every quarterback's dream,” he said. “I love going in away stadiums and playing and having everyone cheering against you. It's a unique experience ... especially because you are out there by yourself. You don't have your whole fan base with you.”
Nonetheless, it can be disturbing for opposing teams. The Panthers are 1-4 at Lane and haven't played there since their only victory in 2002.
Street said he will advise younger players to “stay calm, don't let it rattle you. Play your game, have fun. That's what you signed up for. Once you settle down, you barely hear the noise anymore.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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