Pitt cornerback accepts blame for his struggles
Tough and unafraid, Pitt cornerback Lafayette Pitts grew up that way on the streets of Duquesne.
Maybe that's why he has no inclination to hide from his mistakes or ignore personal accountability.
This season hasn't gone well for Pitts, a sophomore from Woodland Hills, but he isn't shying away from talking about it.
“A little bit down compared to last year,” he said when asked about his performance in the first 10 games.
“I have been trying to come in and get better every day. I still have two more games to prove that.”
Pitts started every game last year as a redshirt freshman and recorded a team-high nine pass breakups with an interception and fumble recovery.
The breakups have fallen this season to three with no interceptions. He's still around the ball carrier, recording 36 tackles after totaling 35 last year.
When asked, he will list his problems one by one.
“Having bad eyes from time to time on the field, not being as aggressive getting off blocks, staying on my man,” he said.
Pitt defensive coordinator Matt House said Pitts has struggled, but he has no problems treating him with patience.
“His expectations are probably higher than anybody else's,” House said. “At the end of the day, he has only played cornerback really competitively his second year. In high school, he had the ball in his hands.”
Pitts, though, was honest in discussing the root of his trouble.
“Probably just a lack of focus,” he said. “I need to pick that up and become a better practice player and give more effort.”
He admitted coaches have been tough on him.
“Yes, they see it, too,” he said. “I just have to pick that up.”
Pitts' problems hit a wall Saturday, when coach Paul Chryst kept him off the defense for the first quarter of the North Carolina game.
He was replaced in the starting lineup by Jahmahl Pardner, who had played in only four games this season.
Chryst, who allowed Pitts to return the game's opening kickoff, gave no explanation, saying only, “Jahmahl started.”
Pitts called the situation a “coach's decision.”
“If he wanted me out there on the first play, I'd be out there,” he said. “But I'm sitting and waiting for him to call my name.”
Pitts returned to the defense in the second quarter, chasing and catching North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron after a 58-yard pass play.
But Pitts also was in the vicinity later in the drive when quarterback Marquise Williams scored easily on a 10-yard run.
House pointed out Pitts had at least one big hit in the game. “He really laid the wood,” House said. “He's doing some good things.”
Struck by reality and eager to make amends, Pitts said his focus has been restored.
“I feel like (good play) is going to catch up to me and do me justice,” he said.
If Pitts improves, his rebirth could help resurrect the season, starting Saturday at Syracuse and continuing back home Nov. 29 against Miami.
Pitt (5-5, 2-4 in the ACC) is looking for its first winning season since 2010.
“There were times when we played up and down,” Pitts said. “We came out flat in some games and then we pick it up in the second half.
“We have to take ownership for ourselves and want to play and be dominant the whole game.”
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.
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- Pederson’s 2nd tenure as Pitt AD comes to abrupt end
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job
- Many Pitt fans endorse move to oust Pederson as athletic director
- Pitt football fights to overcome steppingstone status
- Rossi: It’s OK if Pitt coaches don’t stay
- Pitt: Football coach hire comes 1st, athletic director 2nd
- Position move fits Pitt sophomore Artis
- Analysis: Misunderstood Chryst served Pitt well
- Assistant at Duke eyes Pitt football job