Tears could flow as Pitt plays final home game
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.”
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’s challenge: Contain Miami’s Johnson, Dorsett
- Pitt receiver Boyd continues to grow on and off the field
- Pitt plays best game of the season in rout of Kansas State
- Pitt notebook: Chryst keeps Panthers motivated amid adversity
- Pitt prepares for speedy Miami with bowl eligibility on the line
- No. 15 San Diego State hammers Pitt, 74-57
- Miami coach Golden shrugs off recent losses as Pitt visits
- Pitt’s Dixon searching for answers in Maui
- Pitt WR Boyd says only ‘select few’ Panthers willing to go all out
- Pitt beats Syracuse, snaps 3-game losing streak
- Inching closer to return, Pitt’s Wright could boost defense