Wannstedt not concerned with history |

Wannstedt not concerned with history

• History has a way of catching up with most everyone, including coaches. So far, recent history hasn’t been kind to Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt if you consider his win-loss record over the final three regular-season games since the 2005 season. The Panthers (6-4, 4-1 Big East) are 5-10 during that stretch — including a 2-3 mark against Big East rival West Virginia (7-3, 3-2)in the Backyard Brawl. Only this time, Wannstedt isn’t concerned with history. He’s more consumed with tradition, particularly the unpredictability of Mother Nature. “If tradition holds true, the last few years haven’t been big-scoring games,” said Wannstedt, whose team suffered a gut-wrenching 19-16 defeat at West Virginia last season. “As you look at the weather forecast coming up, there’s going to be maybe some wind, maybe some rain, maybe some snow, so the weather factors could influence what we do on offense a little bit. “That’s the attitude as a defensive coach you’ve got to have. Offensively, we have the mindset that we believe we’re going to have to score some points to win this thing.”

• In last year’s game, Pitt was hugely unproductive in third-down situations, They converted only 2 of 13 while West Virginia was 9 for 19. The Panthers haven’t fared much better this season, converting only 38 percent on third down. The Mountaineers stopped the Panthers mostly in pass situations. But they also won the war in the trenches, denying Pitt on third and short. “If they can stop the run, then you leave them with no choice but to go with their second option,” West Virginia linebacker Anthony Leonard said. “By that time, they become unpredictable. That’s what we’ve got to do — stop the run, stop what they want to do. They want to run first, run second and pass third.”

• Pitt linebacker Max Gruder is predicting the Panthers will put it all together in the Backyard Brawl this season. “Not only defensively, I don’t think we’ve played a complete game in all three phases,” Gruder said. “That’s our goal. Since the first game, we really want to play a complete game, because I think we can something special if we can do it offensively, defensively and on special teams. This would be a perfect time to do it.”

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