Pitt QB Savage cleared to play
The good news surrounding Pitt is not its record (3-1 and halfway to bowl eligibility) or its three-game winning streak or its standing in ESPN's latest ACC power rankings (No. 5).
All of that means nothing with two-thirds of the season to play.
The truly good news — what gives Pitt its best chance to upset No. 24 Virginia Tech on Saturday and start a run toward ACC respectability — is quarterback Tom Savage's recovery from a head injury.
Coach Paul Chryst said Monday that Pitt medical personnel have cleared Savage to practice this week after he took off most of the previous nine days since the injury Sept. 28 against Virginia.
Not only is Savage's head clear of concussion symptoms he suffered during and after the Cavaliers game, but Chryst also said his players aren't getting big heads after their modest run of success. They appear to be following the lead of their head coach, who understates almost everything about his team.
Asked how he keeps his team simultaneously grounded and confident, Chryst said, “We just throw the (game) tape on again.”
Doing so will show a defense that has not identified its strengths after allowing 55 points one week and just a field goal the next.
It will show an offense that is one of three in the nation with two receivers averaging more than 100 yards per game (Devin Street and Tyler Boyd). Yet Pitt couldn't score more than 14 points against a Virginia team that allowed Ball State 48 a week later.
Chryst said confidence — like success — is an earned trait.
“What's written in the papers or rankings doesn't matter,” he said. “We've got guys working and gaining confidence, but I don't think anybody feels like they've arrived yet. I would be really disappointed if that was the case.
“The game makes all of us honest.”
A good example is senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the NCAA active leader in career sacks (24 1⁄2) after getting six in the first four games this season.
“Really?” Donald said of his lofty national standing, unaware he ranked so high. “I just go out there and play.”
Pitt (3-1, 2-1) finds itself among the top teams in the ACC Coastal Division, but Chryst is unimpressed.
“We talk about being the best you can be,” he said. “We talk about playing good football. Winning is a byproduct of doing all of the little things right. It's important to focus on things you can control. You can control your approach. You can control what you can improve on.
“It's OK to see the big picture, but that's the beautiful thing about sports: You focus on the now.”
Notes: Chryst said linebacker Shane Gordon (ribs) and defensive end Bryan Murphy (ankle) will try to practice this week, but he made no promises about their availability Saturday. Neither Gordon, Murphy nor Savage participated in contact drills last week. ... Pitt's game Oct. 19 against Old Dominion will start at 7 p.m. at Heinz Field and will be televised by Root Sports.
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.
- Woman struck by foul ball in ‘horrid’ scene at Pirates game
- Burnett’s evolution from thrower to pitcher helps him stay on top of his game
- Pirates notebook: Ailing Mercer sore but on mend
- Pirates notebook: Is it time for Kang to head to Indy?
- Cubs’ rookie third baseman Bryant helps send Pirates to defeat
- Pirates love home cooking provided at PNC Park
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Cubs, April 21, 2015
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Brewers, April 18, 2015
- Pirates notebook: GM sticking to plan with Kang
- Sanchez odd man out with Pirates recalling Stewart
- Pirates notebook: Slumping Marte sits; Hart gets start