Greensburg Central influence follows Delaware quarterback
Muzzy Colosimo had seen enough.
His talented Greensburg Central Catholic team started the 2009 season with two losses in four games, and Colosimo decided it was time to do something.
One day, he called quarterback Trent Hurley and running back David Miller into the team meeting room and shut the door. Colosimo did all the talking.
“I told them they were leading the team in the wrong way,” Colosimo said. “They were more concerned with how they were playing than how the team was doing. I told them they had to take the team on their shoulders and ride it.”
His speech worked. Greensburg Central Catholic won its next 11 games, dominating Aliquippa, 33-7, in the WPIAL Class AA championship at Heinz Field before losing in the state title game to Lancaster Catholic.
Hurley will be back on Heinz turf Saturday when he leads Delaware against Pitt in the opener for both teams. Now coach and athletic director at Valley, Colosimo will be at the game, accompanied by several of his coaches and wearing a proud smile.
“I ordered 16 tickets,” he said.
Hurley, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior, will be a three-year starter this season at Delaware after transferring from Bowling Green following the 2011 season. Delaware is only 10-10 in Hurley's 20 starts, but he has made his mark on Delaware's football legacy that includes Super Bowl quarterbacks Rich Gannon and Joe Flacco.
Among his several statistical feats, he is second all-time behind Pat Devlin in completion percentage (63.5) and third behind Flacco and Devlin in average passing yards per game (208.5).
Pitt defensive coordinator Matt House said Hurley throws well on the move, but tackle Darryl Render said the plan is to make him uncomfortable.
“I think he's a good kid, but I think he doesn't like to get hit,” Render said. “He shies away from the tackle when he feels like he has pressure.”
Hurley has faced plenty of change and adversity in his career. He also transferred in high school from Connellsville to GCC, but he denies Colosimo was behind the move.
“Contrary to popular belief, I wasn't recruited,” he said.
He credits Colosimo for much of his success, but it was a relationship forged through tough love.
“I'm a quarterback's worst nightmare,” Colosimo said.
“Playing for Muzzy created its own challenges,” Hurley said. “I love Muz to death, but he is a very in-your-face coach. I remember him telling me, ‘After you play for me, you can play for any college coach in the country.'
“He yelled at me like no other. Through that, I have so much respect for him. He really prepared me for the college game.”
Colosimo and Hurley remain friends. In fact, Colosimo made phone calls on his former quarterback's behalf when he knew he wanted to leave Bowling Green.
“He is a kid who wanted to know everything, learn everything,” Colosimo said. “He did everything he was supposed to do to be successful.”
Hurley said he understands the difficult task facing his FCS team when it meets Pitt, but he said he's ready.
“We look at it as opportunity, not a challenge,” he said. “We are looking at it as an opportunity to play against kids who were more highly recruited than most of us.”
He said he respects Pitt's defense as a unit “that is going to get after you,” making special note of linebackers Todd Thomas and Anthony Gonzalez and safety Ray Vinopal. But he doesn't view the game as an insurmountable hurdle.
“We have some things geared up,” he said, “so we can take advantage of what they do.”
Note: Pitt coach Paul Chryst awarded scholarships to sophomore walk-ons John Guy, an offensive lineman, and Jacob Craig, a linebacker.