BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- After practicing at Hoover High School Wednesday morning, some Pitt players spent the afternoon at the city's famous Civil Rights Institute.
The freshmen and sophomores spent an hour and a half walking through the museum that covers all sides of Birmingham's tumultuous civil rights history.
The museum is across the street from the famous 16th Street Baptist Church. A 1963 bombing at the church killed four young girls and sparked a turning point in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
"It's hard to believe," redshirt freshman cornerback Lafayette Pitts said. "When you actually see some of the things and read the stuff, it's hard to believe that was going on. But that was what was going on at that time."
Redshirt freshman defensive end Devin Cook said the most memorable exhibit for him focused on the Freedom Riders, civil rights activists who rode interstate busses through the south in the 1960s. At one stop in Anniston, Ala., their bus was torched by pro-segregation protesters.
Cook and Pitts visited the museum on Pitt's trip a year ago to Birmingham, but picked up some new information this time around.
"For me, it just seems like a second time reading a book," Cook said. "You catch things that you didn't see the first time. It's cool to see everything."
Doakes left behind
Pitt right guard Arthur Doakes did not make the trip to Birmingham and will not play Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl against Mississippi (6-6) after an undisclosed violation of team rules, according to a Pitt spokesperson.
Doakes started the final four games of the season at right guard for Pitt after Ryan Schlieper went down with a season-ending injury against Temple.
Pitt coach Paul Chryst did not comment on Doakes' status as of Wednesday.
Defensive plan by committee
Chryst said all three remaining defensive coaches -- defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield, linebackers coach Chris Haering and secondary coach Matt House -- would play a role in crafting a defensive game plan against Mississippi.
Defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable resigned a month ago to take the same position at North Carolina State.
"We've got a system worked out," Chryst said. "They're all going to handle it. I think we've got a good plan. Most importantly, players know it and understand it and we're going to go play the game."