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Mason demoted in aftermath of Douglas' hit-and-run

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By John Grupp
Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010
 

» Starting middle linebacker Dan Mason was demoted to second team in the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident early Sunday on the South Side in which teammate Jason Douglas faces a variety of charges. "Dan has to learn to make better decisions," Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. Douglas, 19, was charged with causing an accident resulting in serious injury, aggravated assault, DUI and underage drinking. He was suspended indefinitely from all team activities. Mason, who was a passenger in the car, wasn't charged. Wannstedt met with Mason and his family Wednesday morning. "This is for his good," Wannstedt said. "He needs to prove to me that he can do the right things and be accountable off the field, in the classroom and on the football field. When he does that, he will get his job back." Douglas, a third-string freshman running back from Opa-locka, Fla., is scheduled to return to court today. "The likelihood of his returning to this team is seriously in jeopardy," Wannstedt said.

» With Mason demoted, Max Gruder, the team's starting strong-side linebacker, will take over at first-team middle linebacker and get the start against Miami (1-1) on Sept. 23. Greg Williams will move from weak-side to Gruder's strong-side linebacker spot, a position he played last year. Tristan Roberts will move into starting weak-side linebacker role.

» Dom DeCicco (hamstring) and Andrew Taglianetti (groin) continue to make improvements after missing last week's game. Starting left guard Chris Jacobson remains hobbled with a sprained left ankle. If he can't play in a week, redshirt sophomore Ryan Turnley, who played the final three quarters of the New Hampshire game, will likely get the start.

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