PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Pitt head coach Paul Chryst said they are dealing with adversity and he could have some players dealing with shaken confidence right now.
Adding it’s not unusual when your team is struggling and that tough times will make them grow. The Panthers have lost two straight games and play at Virginia Saturday night.
“Disappointed, but it’s what we do going forward,” Chryst said. “Part of going forward is making sure we accurately assess and look at and clean up things that need to be fixed. When you are 3-0 and you’re getting patted on the back, you got to maintain that focus and don’t get carried away and don’t be believing all the hype. It’s the same thing when things are tough.”
The Pitt head coach said he considered changing quarterbacks as Chad Voytik struggled Saturday, but didn’t say if there would be any changes coming at the position. Voytik was 20 of 34 with a touchdown and an interception and was sacked three times against Akron.
The Zips loaded the box in the game and dared the Panthers to throw and Chryst believes he will see that again. “What are you going to do, you are going to take away someone’s strength. We’ve got to prove to be effective running the ball when we need to and throwing the ball when we need to.”
Akron also held tailback James Conner to 92 rushing yards, the first time he was under 100 yards this year.
Garner Didn’t Mean It
Following the loss Saturday and hearing boos from home fans, Panthers senior receiver Manasseh Garner was quoted as saying, “We don’t play for the fans. We play for each other and for our families. The fans are with us when we win and sometimes they’re against us when we lose, so we’re definitely not playing for the fans.”
Garner is from Brashear High School and Chryst said Garner loves the city, that’s why he transferred back home from Wisconsin. Chryst said Garner didn’t want it to come out as a negative as some perceive as Chryst said he preaches to his team that it’s about family and that Garner was talking following a tough loss.
“I wanted to make sure everyone knows the fans are important,” Chryst said. “That’s what’s the great part of college football, it’s a great part of this university and this city. I love the passion the people have in this city for the sport and like that they care. That’s a pretty good thing.”
“Our guys love and appreciate the fans. Fan Fest is one day they love going to. These programs don’t just happen without the help of a lot of people and they all mean a ton to us. He (Garner) didn’t like it coming off that way and I believe the guy. I think he’s a big time guy. I love him.”