Pitt's preparation for Georgia Tech began on flight after Navy loss

Jerry DiPaola
| Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, 10:07 p.m.

A few hours after Pitt lost to Navy last week — while the sting of defeat was fresh in their minds — players and coaches boarded an airplane for a quiet ride back to Pittsburgh.

Quarterback Tom Savage and coach Paul Chryst didn't want to spend the 60 minutes in the air feeling sorry for themselves. There are five regular-season games left — including a visit to Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday night — and the flight from Annapolis, Md., seemed like the right time to start preparing.

“The last thing I wanted to do was think about what I did wrong,” Savage said. “You want to watch it.”

So, they reviewed the 24-21 loss.

“It eats at you,” Savage said. “You want to see where I could have went with the ball. I hold myself accountable when stuff doesn't go the right way.”

Besides, he said, “It's pretty cool to be able to sit down with your head coach and watch the game.”

Chryst said the video session wasn't mandatory. It's not something he has done throughout his coaching career.

“There are times where they want to be as far away from me as possible,” he said. “Some guys want to bury it. If you ever did try to make it this-is-what-we-do, that would not work.”

But this was Savage's wish.

“Tom traded his seat to get closer, and I traded my seat to get closer, and we watched it,” Chryst said.

If the Panthers lose to Georgia Tech — they are 10 12 -point underdogs — it won't be for failing to try to make amends.

“It stinks losing,” Savage said. “We can't let Navy beat us twice.”

It might be time for Chryst and Savage to take the cloak off the deep passing game that worked well against Duke five games ago but has disappeared under a blanket of sacks and tougher opponents.

Georgia Tech defends the run well, but its pass defense has allowed 225.2 yards per game. Only four ACC teams are worse.

“We are definitely going to be a little more aggressive this week,” senior wide receiver Devin Street said. “They do play the pass well, but I think we can execute some things.

“It's definitely out there. As long as we are protecting and running good routes, we will be OK.”

Street is motivated by a personal goal that would help Pitt (4-3) finish with a winning record. Last week, he set the school record for career receptions (186) while moving into third in receiving yards (2,692), 369 behind leader Antonio Bryant.

“I'm still not done yet,” Street said.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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