Pitt's players are not letting their newly minted top-10 ranking affect their preparation for Saturday's game against Notre Dame. When coach Dave Wannstedt told the team Sunday about its first top-10 appearance in 20 years, there was no celebrating or hoopla.
"No one was surprised or said, 'Whoa, we're top 10,' " senior middle linebacker Adam Gunn said. "It was like, 'Great. We're there. Let's face Notre Dame.' No one was overexcited. It was something that we expect right now."
· Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd caught 10 passes for 141 yards against Navy after missing four games with a collarbone injury. Floyd joins Golden Tate, giving the Fighting Irish as "dynamic and explosive a 1-2 punch as anybody in the country," Wannstedt said. Tate has 65 receptions for 1,059 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"Watching the tape of all our opponents," Wannstedt said. "I'd say, without a doubt, Golden is the best player we have faced. He does it all. He is exceptional."
· Wannstedt said Pitt's lack of production on punt returns is because of the spread of rugby-style, directional punting throughout college football. The Panthers are averaging 5.3 yards on 15 returns, with a long of 17 yards, using primarily Aaron Smith.
"When there are returns," Wannstedt said, "they are very short ones."
Wannstedt, who doubles as Pitt's special teams coach, noted Notre Dame's explosive Golden Tate is averaging just 6.5 yards on punt returns. Pitt is allowing only 4.5 yards on punt returns.
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