Dave Wannstedt held his weekly news conference today. Most of the questions were about the problems on defense. Wannstedt also harped on all of the penalties the Panthers are taking. On a positive note, senior LB Adam Gunn tells Wannstedt he feels as good as he has since injuring his ankle against Buffalo, and Wannstedt is hopeful he will return to the lineup this week against Louisville. No other players have major injuries and everyone should be available for the Cardinals on Friday night.
Here are a few of the highlights from today’s presser:
*Wannstedt on making plays at the end of the game: “Last year we won five games in the fourth quarter, came from behind. The difference was we didn’t make mistakes. We made plays We're not doing that now.”
*On the penalties: “Keep talking about it and keep emphasizing it. We bring officials to practice. I promise you we’re not working on it any less. Last year we led the Big East in the least amount of penalties. We were top 10 in the country. This year we’re the worst. And it’s the same guys playing for the most part. I wish I had an easy answer. The solution is to emphasize it. And if it continues the guy can’t play.”
Pitt had eight penalties for 80 yards against North Carolina State and is averaging 84.5 yards per game in penalties in the first four games. The Panthers only averaged 33.8 yards in penalties per game last season.
*For those who think quarterback Billy Stull accidentally threw the ball away on fourth down, he says he wasn’t. That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it. He said he was trying to connect with Oderick Turner, but the pass rush adversely affected his throw.
“Honestly, I didn’t think it was that bad of a ball, but when I looked at the tape it was nowhere near him,” Stull said. “That just made it even more disappointing for me. The quarterback has a chance to make the last play. You want that chance. I didn’t make a play.”
*Senior DT Gus Mustakas on the play of the defense: . If you go back to the preseason, we were supposed to be one of the best defenses in the country. I feel like we still can be. But to go out and play like that…it is disappointing. It’s terrible. We have to step it up, and we will. We can’t let that happen.”