Pitt's offense is in more of a rush than WVU
The biggest difference between the speed-based, no-huddle offenses that will meet Friday in Morgantown, W.Va., is Pitt's emphasis on the running game compared to the Mountaineers.
Still, Pitt coach Todd Graham said his defense must keep an eye on West Virginia freshman running back Dustin Garrison, who is seventh in the Big East averaging 60 yards per game.
"I think he is going to be a special back," Graham said. "He runs the screens extremely well. He's a slasher and a tough runner."
Garrison, who also has caught 22 passes for 183 yards, played in high school with Pitt backup quarterback Trey Anderson of Pearland, Texas.
> > Nearly a month after suffering a season-ending knee injury, Pitt running back Ray Graham continues to lead the Big East in average yards rushing per game (119.8) and is third in rushing yards (958). Only Lyle McCombs of Connecticut (1,014) and Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati (962) have more.
> > Todd Graham has emphasized kick coverage this week while preparing his special teams to defend West Virginia's Tavon Austin.
"There is not a better kickoff returner in the country," Graham said. "If there is, I would like to see him."
Austin, actually, is 31st in the nation, averaging 25.2 yards and one touchdown. He's second in the Big East.
"You better get down there, you better not get blocked and you better have a will," Graham said. "Ninety percent (of covering kicks) is passion."
> > Graham said he is not worried about Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez luring assistants Calvin Magee, Tony Gibson and Tony Dews away from Pitt. Rodriguez, hired by the Wildcats on Tuesday, was coach at West Virginia with those three assistants and brought them with him to Michigan in 2008.
Gibson, who is Pitt's pass defense coordinator, also played and coached for Rodriguez at Glenville (W.Va.) State.
"You hire good people, and sometimes, you have people come after them," he said. "We really pride ourselves on how we take care of our staff and the commitment we make to them. You can't worry about things you can't control. I'm not worried one bit about it."
> > Tickets are available for Friday's game by going to WVUGAME.com , the Mountaineer Ticket Office at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown or phoning 1-800-WVU-GAME. The ticket office will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, but will be closed Thursday and Friday.