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Romeus still getting into game shape |

Romeus still getting into game shape

John Grupp
| Wednesday, September 8, 2010 12:00 a.m

Senior defensive end Greg Romeus still is trying to get into game shape after missing most of training camp with back spasms.

Romeus, a preseason All-American, had four tackles and knocked down one pass against Utah.

“Greg played 59 plays in the (Utah) game,” Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. “I don’t know if he had 59 plays the entire training camp. He’s kind of playing himself back into form a little bit.”

Pitt, which led the nation in sacks last season, didn’t record a sack for the first time since Nov. 28, 2008, against West Virginia, a span of 16 games.

» Pitt, No. 15 in The Associated Press preseason poll, tumbled out of the AP Top 25 on Tuesday in the aftermath of its 27-24 overtime loss to Utah last Thursday.

» Kicker Dan Hutchins, talking to the media for the first time since last week’s loss, said he was irked when Utah coach Kyle Whittingham called back-to-back timeouts during his eventual game-tying 30-yard field goal attempt as time expired in regulation. “I was pretty upset,” Hutchins said. “I was like, ‘C’mon man.’ I made that first one. Let’s take it to overtime the right way.” Hutchins made the first attempt, missed the second attempt and made the third one, which counted. “It was pretty nerve-wracking,” he said. “I didn’t know he called any of those timeouts until my players told me.”

» With the status of strong safety Dom DeCicco (hamstring) and nickel back Andrew Taglianetti (groin) uncertain for Saturday, redshirt freshman safety Jason Hendricks likely will see more action. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native had six tackles after replacing an injured DeCicco in the first half against Utah. “I thought he did a good job,” Wannstedt said. “For his first time out of the box against an offense that gives you a lot of different looks, I was pleased with Jason.”

» Running back Ray Graham (knee), who didn’t play against Utah, was healthy enough to go. The sophomore’s availability will be determined by how he practices this week.

» New Hampshire coach Sean McDonnell made it clear that Pitt will be a tough challenge Saturday. “They are just a different type of team than what we see in our league. We’ve got strong, physical teams in this league — don’t get me wrong — but Dave Wannstedt and his staff have a physical mindset on both sides of the football. … We bit off a lot more than we can chew this week.”

Wannstedt’s take

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt’s point of view on a variety of subjects:

On the offensive line, with three new starters:

“I thought our offensive line made adjustments as the game (against Utah) went on and started coming together. It’s a work in progress. It’s going to take a little time there. When you’ve got three new guys making the checks and trying to work together on the combination blocks, it doesn’t happen overnight.”

On the effectiveness of Pitt blitzing:

“We got an interception off one pressure, and we gave up a touchdown on another. I don’t like those percentages. We are going to continue to mix. When we have opportunities to pressure, as we’ve done in the past, we will.”

On the play of the true freshmen:

“(Cornerback) K’Waun (Williams) did a nice job. (Defensive tackle) Aaron Donald got in the mix a little bit. He’s going to be fine. That was a great game for our younger players to experience. As difficult as the situation might have been, it was a good experience for our young players and our football team, and I think it will help us down the road.”

On the play of the linebackers:

“The only time we gave up a couple plays underneath, we missed tackles. Max Gruder went to knock the ball down and missed, and the guy got across the field. Danny Mason let the guy get underneath one time. He made two or three really good plays, too. So, I thought overall the linebackers were solid for seeing that type of offense. We will be better this week.”

—Ralph N. Paulk

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