Pitt safety Vinopal hopes extra conditioning pays off
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Pitt senior safety Ray Vinopal said he was almost afraid to count the number of steps he and teammates were required to run this summer when they took their conditioning program to the concrete upper deck of Heinz Field.
“I wouldn't do that to myself,” he said, laughing.
But he said the running program implemented by first-year strength and conditioning coach Ross Kolodziej is forcing players to push their bodies beyond what they thought possible.
“The strength and conditioning program was good under (former) coach (Todd) Rice (who resigned in December). He knew his stuff,” Vinopal said. “But it wasn't necessarily focused on pushing our players to a point where you felt like you were in the fourth quarter of a game; or it's tough and how are you going to perform when you feel that way? You feel fatigued.
“Now, guys are really being challenged and I think it is really going to carry over to the game in the fourth quarter. Now, guys can say on that 10th rep I ran those stadium steps at Heinz, I felt like I couldn't do any more and did five more and I did them as perfectly as I did the first 10.”
• The running program — moved from Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park — is aimed at avoiding problems Pitt experienced late in games last season: In a 24-21 loss to Navy, Pitt allowed 10 points in the game's final 3 minutes, 52 seconds. Pitt entered the fourth quarter against Georgia Tech facing only a 14-10 deficit, but was scoreless the rest of the way and lost, 21-10. After rallying to tie North Carolina, Pitt allowed Ryan Switzer to return a punt 61 yards for a game-deciding touchdown with 4:46 left.
• Sophomore wide receiver Tyler Boyd, who joined Vinopal at ACC media days Sunday, is featured on the team's media guide, along with greats from Pitt's past, including Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett and Johnny Majors.
• Vinopal is one of only 11 Pitt seniors. “It's a bunch of good guys who are into football,” he said. “That's the big, important thing. The reason why it is so small (was) there were some other guys who may have not been so into football and those guys only bring you down in the locker room.”
• Vinopal said Pitt's talent is on a par with any team in the ACC. “Where you see the difference is execution,” he said. “Who is making the fewest mistakes? When we are not making mistakes, we are just as good as anybody we've played.”
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 players support Rudolph for job
- Pitt football fights to overcome steppingstone status
- Pitt survives Oakland’s upset bid with overtime victory
- Star Hayward enjoys go-to role for St. Francis (Pa.)
- Rossi: It’s OK if Pitt coaches don’t stay
- Pitt: Football coach hire comes 1st, athletic director 2nd
- Pitt’s acting athletic director is deft facilitator
- Pitt coach Chryst expected to take Wisconsin job
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- Position move fits Pitt sophomore Artis