Pitt coach Chryst questions hit on WR Street
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, 11:15 p.m.
Pitt coach Paul Chryst has raised questions with the ACC over unpenalized hits to the head and shoulder of his two best offensive players.
Quarterback Tom Savage suffered concussion symptoms Sept. 28 after he was hit by Virginia linebacker Daquan Romero as he slid at the end of a 14-yard scramble.
Senior wide receiver Devin Street was forced to leave the game against Virginia Tech on Saturday when he injured his shoulder after getting knocked down by defensive back Kyshoen Jarrett. After Street made a lunging, 33-yard reception in which he had difficulty keeping his balance, Jarrett hit him forcefully with his shoulder. ( Here is video of the hit as tweeted by Jeff Fischel of the ACC Digital Network ).
The NCAA mandated this season that helmet-to-helmet blows and hits on defenseless players are grounds for ejection. Romero and Jarrett were allowed to stay in the game, and neither was penalized.
Chryst brought both plays to the league's attention. He didn't speak publicly about the hit on Savage, but he said ACC officials told him the Street play was “clearly not (helmet-to-helmet).”
“At first glance, I questioned what we were seeing and brought it up with the league,” Chryst said.
Asked Monday if he agreed with the ACC's assessment, Chryst said, “It doesn't matter.”
An ACC official said Monday that the play was not considered targeting because Jarrett did not lead with his helmet and Street was running with the football. Street took three steps after making the catch.
Yet, ESPN college football analyst John Congemi, who worked the Pitt-Virginia Tech game on ESPNU with play-by-play announcer Tom Hart, said he was surprised that no penalty was called.
“We haven't had many of those types of hits in our games,” said Congemi, who played quarterback at Pitt in the mid-1980s. “That one that Devin took was the closest thing that I have seen to maybe warranting a penalty.
“I was under the assumption it was a penalty because it was a vicious hit. When I looked again and I didn't see a penalty, I was little shocked.”Congemi said because Street was starting to lose his balance before Jarrett hit him, he was a defenseless player.
“I definitely thought it fit a lot of the criteria,” he said. “His arms were back and he was flailing just to keep his balance. He wasn't in control of his body.
“The hit could have been made at the (lower) body. It seemed like all the contact was above the shoulder area.”
Chryst said Street told him immediately after the game that he will be ready to play in Pitt's next game Saturday against Old Dominion. Monday, Chryst said Street told him he is “feeling better.”
Chryst said he doesn't want his players to tackle in a similar fashion, but he doesn't believe many of those hits are intentional.
“I really don't think a lot of these players are trying to be malicious,” he said. “I really do think it's tough to officiate.”
Chryst said the situation deserves further discussion.
“The great slogan they got going is ‘Heads up,' ” he said.
“It needs to be continued to be talked about and will be. We are all for players' safety.”
Note: Defensive back Reggie Mitchell, a Shady Side Academy graduate who was redshirting this season after transferring from Wisconsin, had arthroscopic knee surgery.
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