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Pitt coach is taking blame for poor execution

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Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011

After weeks of criticizing his players at several positions on both sides of the ball, Pitt coach Todd Graham pointed the finger toward himself and his coaching staff Tuesday.

"Everything we do, I am accountable for, period," Graham said.

Among the players who have been criticized are quarterback Tino Sunseri (for holding the ball too long and taking sacks), wide receiver Devin Street (for running poor routes and not adhering to fundamentals), left guard Cory King (for a critical holding penalty against Notre Dame) and the linebacking corps (for failure to cover underneath routes).

Graham said those mistakes by the players ultimately are tied to coaching.

"When I say, 'we aren't getting the ball off on time,' I'm not talking about (quarterback) Tino Sunseri. I'm not talking about (backup) Trey Anderson," he said.

"I am talking about we. I am talking about (quarterbacks coach) Todd Dodge. I am talking about Todd Graham. It is our responsibility to coach and teach them. We obviously are not getting those things coached and taught."

He also reached out to Pitt's fans, reassuring them that improvement from Pitt's 2-2 start isn't far off.

"Let me tell you something: We are getting there, and we are going to get there. The one who is responsible for that is me. That's how it works.

"When you lose close games, you lose it because of leadership, and it starts with me."

> > For those accusing Graham of forcing his players to learn a complicated offense, he said it already has been simplified.

"It's about as simple as it can be," Graham said. "It's so simple, it's hard to watch for me."

Without being asked, Graham gave yet another vote of confidence to Sunseri.

"I can't emphasize enough, Tino is our quarterback."

> > Senior left guard Chris Jacobson, who is out for the season with a knee injury, had surgery Monday.

"He's doing well," Graham said.

Jacobson, who also had a season-ending injury in 2007, is hoping to qualify for an NCAA waiver and return in 2012.

> > Pitt's special teams defense is among the best in the nation, but much of the credit goes to Sunseri's six pooch punts. Pitt has been forced to defend only three of 17 punts and opponents are averaging minus-.67 yards per return. Pitt is 29th in kickoff coverage (18.8).

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