Looking Ahead

I'm not going to recap the Navy game, but I did want to briefly mention one thing Paul Zeise wrote about a couple of days ago.

Navy fans upset about Pitt fans booing their team? Seriously? First, I have a hard time believing that more than a couple of knuckleheads had a problem with that. I think any intelligent Navy fan would realize the booing wasn't for our own Navy - rather a visiting team that came in to play football. Saying it's not okay to boo Navy's football team would be akin to saying it's not okay to boo the San Antonio Spurs because David Robinson, a former Naval officer, used to play for them.

Moving on...

True, last week's game vs. Navy was a test for Pitt. They had to deal with a complex offense they likely will not face again this year in an early-season game with their starting middle linebacker out. But they passed - pretty much with flying colors. This week's test is a whole 'nother animal.

No, they're not world beaters. But they are a solid I-A program from a BCS conference...and it's a road game for Pitt no less. Wannstedt makes a very valid point in his weekly press conference:

"If you look at our schedule, we've taken a step up from a competition standpoint every week," Wannstedt said at his weekly news conference.

And while next week's opponent, Louisville, is not expected to do much in the Big East this year, you could easily make the argument that it could be a stiffer test as it is a game against a conference foe, in a night game on the road. At the very least, it will be the most important game Pitt has played up to this point because of the conference factor.

Back to this week.

Wannstedt also pointed out that Gunn is no lock to return this week and to the dismay of some fans, wouldn't elaborate on how much Dan Mason might play if he does.

One other thing I noticed was that he seemed to very subtly justify his reasoning for putting Tino in the game last week:

"That will be a game-to-game scenario, very similar to how we put Ray Graham into the game. Then he scored. Even if Ray Graham gets three plays, or Tino gets three plays, you'd like for all these kids to get more, but obviously that's not realistic. I think any time they have to go out with the crowds, the lights, the action and make some decisions and play it helps with their maturity level. We're trying to do it the right way and get these kids a little bit of playing time. But at the same time, we aren't going to jeopardize anything or put them in a bad situation that hurts the team. That's a tough, tough deal. I'd rather not be doing that, but quite honestly it's what you have to do."

I understand that you want to get Tino reps, but I wonder if Dave really thinks putting him in last week in the third quarter with Pitt only up 17 was a mistake (which it was). Pitt was in its own territory somewhere around the 20-yard line and a mistake such as an interception could have easily turned into seven points the other way. Yes, I'd like to see Tino play some, but with Stull playing as well as he did, there's no way he should have been yanked to get playing time for the backup...at least not that early. And, by the way, remember Stull was soundly booed in his first game. Why not let him continue to build on the great game he was having and win over more fans who will surely have to deal with some down moments at some point this year, as every quarterback endures?

And while I'm on the subject of backups...

Yes, Dan Mason played great. Yes, he may be the best middle linebacker Pitt has - even as a freshman. But the way people are screaming for him to be the immediate starter is a bit much. Adam Gunn had five sacks through two games and Max Gruder hasn't played like chopped liver as well. I wouldn't have a problem if he was named the starter, but people acting like no other options exist are a bit delusional in their thinking. That said, he looks like he could be an all-conference player next year when he's almost assured to start.

Wow, let's try this again....back to this week.

First things first - Pitt shouldn't expect to get a lot of turnovers of the interception variety as Russell Wilson's much-talked about interceptionless streak goes all the way back to Week three of last year.

North Carolina State meanwhile is trying to shake off nagging questions about their weak schedule thus far, losing to their only 1-A opponent, South Carolina.

Pat Forde at ESPN.com expects Pitt to drop some conference road games.

I think Pitt is in for a bit of a fight, but I expect a win.

Prediction: Let's go with 24-14 Pitt

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