** Greg Romeus had his surgery to repair his ACL -- not surprisingly it was labeled a "success" (have we ever been told one isn't?) -- and now will begin the long road back to try and get on the field. But the better part of the story is that he should be able to join his Panthers teammates on the sidelines for the Backyard Brawl and he will be one of 11 seniors honored as part of senior day activities.
** In case you didn't know, the Panthers and West Virginia will wear these newfangled Nike Pro Combat uniforms which are designed to sell more shirts and merchandise and more money for each school as well as Nike pay tribute to Pittsburgh's rich heritage as a steel mining town as well as West Virginia's roots in the coal mining industry. Here is a photo of the helmets in case you are wondering what they look like. Personally I think they are hideous but, well, to each his own I suppose.
** Phil Bennett was in rare form today as he opined on everything from the way officials are calling games these days - and in particular, the fact that pass interference penalties are becoming way too common - to challenges presented by the Mountaineers offense. But the best part of his media session was when he talked about how he used an unconventional method to try and get his message about defensive backs playing the ball in the air the right way accross.
"We had a little ‘simulate Antwuan’ drill but Antwuan didn’t think it was too funny,” Bennett said. “I was playing like the cover corner and at my age, I was covering like him. It was one of the ligther moments. But it is getting ridiculous. I always thought that I would one day coach in the NFL but I don’t know if can.
“The rules, it is an offensive game, you just have to face it, they want points – it is like covering air, you can’t touch them."
** Bennett also said that statistics are nice and all but he wasn't happy with the way the Panthers played last Saturday on defense. He made it clear - there were too many missed tackles, too many penalties and too many opportunities to make big plays that the Panthers didn't take advantage of. He said the guys better tackle well this week or they'll watch Noel Devine, Jock Sanders and company run right by them for big plays.
** On the offensive side of the ball, Frank Cignetti said the reason the Panthers got off to yet another slow start is because he didn't have an aggressive enough game plan and he didn't have enough balance in his playcalling. He said he simply played it too close to the vest and looking back he needed to give Tino Sunseri more opportunities to throw the ball early in the game because he's shown that once he gets rolling he can be a very good passer. It should be very interesting to see how that translates into this week - will he come out and put the ball in Sunseri's hands or will we see 30 minutes of conservative, safe play-calling and another game in which the Panthers have only three points at the half?
** A couple of programming notes: Colin Dunlap and I will host a live chat from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday then Thursday night Bob Pompeani and I will host the Subway Nightly Sports Call - Pitt Edition at 10:35 on the CW-15. You can tune in to both and get all of your questions answered, voice your concerns and opinions and give us your predictions for the Backyard Brawl.
** File this under things we do to make a marriage work - instead of watching my beloved Temple Owls on television, I watched Bristol Palin vs some dude from some kids shows vs the Dirty Dancing lady on Dancing with the Stars. Of course, given that the Owls got cracked in the skull by Ben Roethlisberger's alma mater, I was probably better off watching two hours of really bad reality programming and keeping the peace at home!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.