Graham takes big step in committing to Sunseri


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Pitt coach Todd Graham is from Texas and admits he enjoys the two-step, but there is a dance he won't be doing anytime soon -- the quarterback shuffle.

Graham said Monday at his weekly teleconference that Tino Sunseri is going to remain the starter and he won't be looking over his shoulder to see if backup Trey Anderson is getting ready to come into the game.

Anderson has played in each of the past two games but has thrown costly interceptions. Graham said it has become too hard to develop consistency on offense while using two quarterbacks.

"We have obviously had inconsistent play at that position and that has caused me to make some decisions I wouldn't normally make," Graham said. "Tino, by far and away, has the biggest grasp of what we are doing offensively and we've got to get it out of him. Switching the quarterbacks has caused more distraction than it has positive.

"The idea was to get a spark and I think Trey has a great future, but he just got here in August and his knowledge and understanding is just not at a point where he can play every down. I think that has been a distraction, so our focus is, 'Let's get it out of Tino,' because switching quarterbacks really hurt us in our last game.

"It is our job as coaches to get it out of Tino and that's what we intend to do."

Graham said that even though the Panthers won't be using Anderson as a substitute for Sunseri, they will still have some specialized packages that will feature someone other than Sunseri behind the center, and perhaps a package of plays specifically for Anderson as well.

No dirty words

After the game Saturday, defensive tackle Chas Alecxih accused a Utah offensive tackle of being a cheap-shot artist and dirty player and said he wasn't surprised because "Utah is a dirty team."

Graham took exception to the comments and said that he expects more from his players.

"That was an inappropriate comment and I talked to Chas about it and he obviously regrets that comment," Graham said. "Guys get emotional and Chas is a very passionate player, but that was a comment that shouldn't have been made."

Building character

Graham said the Panthers defense has played well enough to win the past two games even though both were losses. He said the frustration is obvious among everybody but there is no finger-pointing going on between the two units.

"One of the things I'm most proud of is the development of this team character-wise," Graham said. "This team is very close and we are very close to breaking through. Our guys are very focused. The guys are picking each other up on offense. On defense they are very positive.

"Right before you accomplish something great, a lot of people quit and there is no quit in us. I'm not worried about finger pointing."

Hendricks ailing

Graham said there is no update on safety Jason Hendricks, who left the game with an undisclosed injury.

"We don't know anything on him right now. It is kind of wait and see," he said.


Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1720.


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