Pitt notebook: Savage earns Chryst praise
In the aftermath of Pitt's biggest victory since the coaching upheaval of 2010 and '11, coach Paul Chryst was asked about his quarterback.
And why not? Nothing defines a football team more than the player who handles the ball most of the time.
Tom Savage is showing improvement, completing two-thirds of his attempts (78 of 117) for 783 yards and six touchdowns in the past four games. So Chryst wasn't surprised Savage threw two touchdown passes Saturday to help the Panthers defeat Notre Dame, 28-21.
“I don't think we learned anything new about him,” Chryst said. “It's kind of who he is. It's how he's been.
“Tom hasn't been, wasn't (Saturday night) and won't be, none of us will be perfect. But he plays the game. He competed, and that rubs off.”
Savage, a fifth-year senior, has thrown only one interception since the Virginia game Sept. 28 and looks more comfortable in the pocket, taking only four total sacks in three of the past four games.
Chryst gave Savage one of the best compliments a coach can pay to his quarterback: “He protected the ball.”
The offense's turn
Savage said the offense came together on the game-winning drive better than it has all season.
“We all kind of looked at each other on the sideline and said, ‘This is time,' ” he said. “It's time to go out there and answer because I think we were due.
“We knew it was our time and our turn to step up and make a play.”
Running back James Conner admitted he has struggled in recent weeks — even into the first half of the Notre Dame game — but he recovered to score twice, including the decisive touchdown.
“I felt I was running kind of soft earlier in the first half, and I decided that I have a big body (6-foot-2, 230 pounds), and I had to use it to get inside the end zone,” Conner said. “I felt it was time to get back in the groove and set it back up.
“The game was on ABC, and I wanted to get my name out there.”
With playmakers Devin Street and Tyler Boyd at wide receiver, Pitt doesn't throw an excessive number of passes to its tight ends. But Manasseh Garner of Brashear has 11 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in the past five games. His season totals: 16 catches, 164 yards, two touchdowns. ... Six of the seven teams in the Coastal Division of the ACC have two or three losses, with Pitt (2-3) in sixth place. Georgia Tech (5-2) leads the pack. ... Pitt has recovered six fumbles, each by a different player (all freshmen and sophomores).
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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 swingman Jones ready for breakout season
- Clemson’s Stoudt is one of the unheralded ACC QBs trying to break out
- Zanna among players working toward NBA goal in summer leagues
- ACC bracing for NCAA rules changes involving coaches and athletes
- ACC notebook: Pitt predicted to finish 6th in Coastal Division
- Pitt safety Vinopal hopes extra conditioning pays off
- Pitt hoops team will play in Bahamas
- Pitt football loses Price for season