| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Tears could flow as Pitt plays final home game

About Jerry DiPaola
Picture Jerry DiPaola 412-320-7997
Pitt Football Reporter
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

By Jerry DiPaola

Published: Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, 9:55 p.m.

With Miami coming to Heinz Field on Friday, Pitt safety Jason Hendricks has plenty on his mind.

First, Pitt's secondary must concern itself with slowing down the Hurricanes' speedy wide receivers, including Allen Hurns, an All-ACC candidate with 965 yards and six touchdowns.

Then, there's the possibility of Pitt (6-5, 3-4) earning a richer bowl bid while trying to win a seventh game for the first time since 2010.

But Hendricks has one more worry: He might start crying.

“I get caught up in the moment,” said Hendricks, one of 18 Pitt seniors who will play their final home game. “You might see a few tears. Hopefully, I won't (cry). I don't want to look like a baby.”

Hendricks, who has had a “Pitt” tattoo on his right arm since his redshirt freshman season, has called four men head coach since arriving in 2009.

Change has been difficult, but he said, “It just made me stronger as a person.

“I learned how to deal with change. Things don't go as planned, so you just make the best of your situation.”

He said he and his teammates built a close bond during the turmoil.

“Coaches may change, but the players don't,” he said.

Miami (8-3, 4-3) also has dealt with its share of challenges, including NCAA sanctions that have hampered recruiting and its collapse from a 7-0 record and No. 7 national ranking. In the past month, Miami lost to Florida State, Virginia Tech and Duke before beating Virginia, 45-26, last week.

“Some of the things we were doing better early, taking the ball away and playing better red-zone defense, we did that better this past week,” coach Al Golden said.

Golden hopes wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who was averaging 20.9 yards per reception before missing the past five games with a torn MCL, will return against Pitt.

“Can I say definitely? I cannot,” Golden said. “It's going to be the young man's decision because he has been cleared (by doctors).”

Meanwhile, some Miami players, many of whom grew up in Florida, raised the issue of playing in cold weather. Friday's forecast calls for temperatures in the low 30s, with no new precipitation.

Golden said cold weather “is a challenge to our mindset, mentality and commitment to each other during four hours on Friday.”

Pitt coach Paul Chryst doubts a warm-weather team has a disadvantage playing in the north. Indeed, Miami is 5-0 in Pittsburgh in November.

He added the Heinz Field turf, which was resodded this week, will be “in great shape.”

“(Snow) would be helpful,” Hendricks said, “but you still have to go play the game.”

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




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. West Mifflin business joins forces with East Allegheny students
  2. Shots fired, Monessen house hit on S. 14th St.
  3. GoodTaste! Pittsburgh heads to Cranberry for a food-filled day
  4. Photo gallery: Springsteen brings ‘High Hopes’ to Consol Energy Center
  5. Texas company offers investment in millions to upgrade Everson plant
  6. Elizabeth council seeks $500,000 state gaming grant to aid flood recovery
  7. White Oak residents can sign up through borough police for county’s new registry
  8. Hearing to determine fate of sergeant accused of killing 2 deaf Iraqi youths
  9. North Versailles magisterial judge “retires” but remains on bench
  10. Eddie Merlot’s steakhouse attracts with menu, wines, decor
  11. Mt. Pleasant to save with energy-efficient lighting
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.