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Pitt football notebook: Athletic department seeking fans’ input

Pitt fans eager to let athletic director Steve Pederson know what they think now have the opportunity.

The school’s athletic department this week emailed 42,000 surveys to season-ticket holders, single-game customers and graduates, seeking opinions about the game-day experience at Heinz Field.

It’s not the first time Pitt has reached out to its football fans for input, but it may be the largest undertaking of its kind at the university.

“I think you have to be willing to ask people what you can do better to make it really good,” Pederson said.

“We are really committed to making it the best experience in college football, and the only way we can do that is if we ask our fans what is most important to them.”

The survey, which takes about 10 minutes to complete, includes questions about a variety of topics, including ticket pricing, kickoff times, music volume, staff friendliness and feelings about Pitt’s membership in the ACC.

It also asks fans how often they go to games and if they plan to return.

“We want to hear what we can improve on and things that are really good,” he said.

Pederson said the timing of the survey is intentional to correspond with the end of Pitt’s home schedule.

“So everything is fresh in their minds,” he said.

Pitt finished 3-4 at Heinz Field after a 30-7 victory against Syracuse on Saturday.

Attendance at the game (32,549) was the smallest in the four seasons since Dave Wannstedt was fired.“We would have liked to have more people, but we also know an ice storm hitting (prior to game time) certainly didn’t help,” Pederson said.

Pederson said he is pleased with the state of the program, which is 18-19 under coach Paul Chryst since he was hired after the 2011 season.

“Everybody would like to win every game,” he said. “Building a program takes time, especially if you do it the right way.

“That’s what I asked (Chryst) to do, build a solid program. We are in the process of doing that.”

People will be able to submit the survey through Dec. 2. Those who finish by Friday will receive a 30 percent discount on merchandise at pittsburghpanthers.com.

Injury update

Chryst hasn’t ruled out the possibility of running back James Conner (hip) playing Saturday against Miami.

“All the guys who are injured, we will kind of see where we’re at,” he said. “(Tuesday) will be a little bit more of a test with a more active practice.

“We have a good feel for how they’re moving around.”Among the injured are linebacker Bam Bradley (stinger), defensive tackle Darryl Render (ankle) and wide receiver Manasseh Garner (foot).

Boyd honored

Tyler Boyd was named ACC wide receiver of the week after recording seven receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown against Syracuse. He is second in the conference in receiving yards per game (97.9) and third in receptions (5.8) and total touchdown catches (seven).

Unhappy return

Chryst did not publicly dispute the holding penalty against Todd Thomas that nullified Boyd’s 96-yard return on the opening kickoff. But he did say he liked the play’s execution.

“Beautiful play. It was well-blocked, big-time,” he said, offering no further comment.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.


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