Swagger Back for Pitt Defense

New turnover celebration coming

Jeff Hathhorn
August 04, 2019 - 8:45 am

93.7 the Fan

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – Linebacker Chase Pine said it happened during the team’s five game conference winning streak last year, Pitt’s defense got its confidence back.

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“Definitely, I feel that we found ourselves a lot last year,” said senior Damar Hamlin.  “We had that swagger.  We just finally brought it out.  We were just being ourselves on the field.”

“I put it with confidence, I don’t put it with arrogance,” said junior Jason Pinnock.  “I don’t put it with cockiness.  I just put it with confidence, confidence in your preparation and having fun.”

It wasn’t something that immediately manifested itself in stats, the Panthers finished eighth in the conference in points allowed, however it did hold five of its final six opponents to three touchdowns or less and held Stanford to 208 total yards in the bowl game.

“Continue to be the best defense in the ACC, that’s what we strived for last year,” said defensive coordinator Randy Bates.  “We didn’t come anywhere near that, especially early in the year.  As the season progressed, we all kind of came together.” 

“The plan is continue to work hard at getting better at the basics instead of changing things or make some fancy change.  That’s not how you win, you win by just doing what you do and doing it better.”

“It’s something Coach Bates has embedded in us,” junior Rashad Weaver said of their confidence.  “Guys make plays in practice, so celebrate with them.  That swag and that energy leads the team in the direction we need to go.”

Weaver is one of six returning starters and 22 on the depth chart who have seen time on the field. 

“Our love for one another and how we want everyone to succeed,” Hamlin said of how they carry that swagger over.  “I feel that is our biggest strength.  Not one player in the room envies another, no one player thinks he should be out there in front of somebody else.  We all support each other.”

“We are a blue-collar team,” Bates said.  “The kids come to work every day.  I was here all summer and watched the kids come in every day, no one was late and they worked their tails off.”

Sophomore defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman let us in on a little secret as well, much like Miami had the turnover chain.  Pitt is preparing a celebration for when they take the ball from their opponent.  But we will have to wait until the season opener later in the month to see it.

“It’s gonna be crazy, that’s all I have to say,” safety Paris Ford said.  “August 31st!"

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