Q&A: The attendance problem

Pitt football Q&A with Paul Zeise

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Q: What is your opinion about the attendance issue at Pitt? Other than winning, how do you fix it?

Leon Moore, Bristow, Va.

ZEISE: There is no easy fix and as we have seen in the past -- winning doesn't necessarily mean fans will come to games, either. But winning is the key to everything else as I think there are three elements for Pitt to start having better crowds:

1. Need to be more consistent and stop losing games they should win, especially at home. So win games and stop disappointing fans.

2. Make the games more of an event and the best way to do that is to play in more important games and the only way to play in important games is be important yourself. In other words, win and the more you win, the bigger your games are and the more of an even they will become.

3. Offer an exciting product. Winning is a part of that obviously but I do think that the style of winning matters. People will come watch Pitt if the Panthers are fun to watch and I believe that is why Todd Graham needed to be hired. He offers an exciting brand of football for fans to watch and that's important. If this team is scoring 45-50 points per game, winning and playing in big games on a consistent basis, the fans will come.

This is a program that won't sell itself -- fans aren't conditioned to automatically come to games like other places. So the product is important and unfortunately, Pitt hasn't offered a great product in a long time and when they've had good teams, they've fallen short in big games. The other thing is -- the quality of Pitt's opponents has hurt. I mean, seriously, no disrespect, but I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would pay one dollar to watch Connecticut play this year. They are terrible AND boring, a deadly combination. So that hurt last Wednesday as well.




Q: What happened to Anthony Gonzalez? I thought he was supposed to be a big part of things at H-Back but he barely played in the last game?

Harold Jackson, Bethlehem

ZEISE: He has had some nagging injuries, a shoulder was his latest one we were told about, and he wasn't healthy enough to play according to Todd Graham. Now, he did say Gonzalez would play more this week because he is more healthy but who knows. That position, with Hubie Graham and Drew Carswell, is already in good hands so I don't know how many snaps for Gonzalez there will be realistically. He has a lot of talent though, so I expect him to be a big part of the plans in the future.




Q: Is Lucas Nix going to play this week against Cincinnati?

John Norwald, Elizabeth

ZEISE: According to Todd Graham, yes, but what he hasn't said is where Nix will play. If he plays tackle, I'd expect the line to be (left to right) Nix-Schlieper-Turnley-King-Gibbs. If he plays guard it will be -- Gaskins-Schlieper-Turnley-Nix-Gibbs. Nix has basically been healthy enough to get back to practice but he wants to make sure he is 100 percent healthy before he returns. Graham said this week will be the week he returns so it will be good to see him back out there -- and this team could clearly use him.



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