Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said today that he has demoted middle linebacker Dan Mason to second team because of his failure to exercise proper judgement in a car accident early Sunday on the South Side.
Mason was a passenger in the car of Pitt running back Jason Douglas. City police said Douglas was driving when his car hit a pedestrian and Douglas left the scene.
Douglas was apprehended nearby by police and charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated assault with a vehicle while DUI and underage drinking. Mason was not charged.
"I met with Dan Mason's mother this morning and his family," Wannstedt said. "Dan has to understand and learn to make better decisions as far as what he is doing, where he is at and who he is with. And as a result, I moved him to second-team middle linebacker.
"As I told him this is for his good, he needs to prove to me that he can do the right things and be accountable off the field, in the classroom and on the football field and when he does that he will get his job back.
Wannstedt said that strongside linebacker Max Gruder will move to middle linebacker and start the Miami game Sept. 23. Weakside linebacker Greg Williams will move to Gruder's spot and Tristan Roberts will start at weakside linebacker.
He also said that Douglas, a redshirt freshman, has likely played his last game for Pitt.
"Jason has been suspended indefinitely," Wannstedt said. "He has a hearing [Thursday] but the likelihood of him returning to this team is seriously in jeopardy."
Wannstedt ALSO addressed the status of Greg Romeus, who will have back surgery Thursday and is likely out at least six weeks.
"Greg has been one of my guys and this is a little bit of a setback," Wannstedt said. "He participated in every spring practice, he was voted one of the two top performers for what he did this summer and when this happened the first day or two of practice, we took every step medically that was recommended from therapy, doctors, shots - everything that was recommended to get it resolved without having surgery.
"When nothing completely cleared it up to the point where he felt he could perform at a high level, this is where we are at."
Paul Zeise: email@example.com or 412-263-1720