|COLLEGE FOOTBALL PACKAGE: Pitt deciding whether to play freshman after injury to Stull|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 05 September 2007 13:50|
Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt might wait until Saturday before announcing who will replace injured quarterback Bill Stull.|
Stull is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery Sunday to repair a ligament injury to his right thumb, which was bent backward on a handoff during the third quarter of his first college start, a 24-3 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday night.
Wannstedt said Stull will be re-evaluated week-to-week.
``The only report I got from the doctors is that it was as good as good can be when you're having surgery,'' Wannstedt said.
Wannstedt said Tuesday that both redshirt freshman Kevan Smith and true freshman Pat Bostick should be ready to play Saturday against Grambling, though Smith may be a bit ahead of Bostick, who missed the first week of Pitt camp after leaving campus unexpectedly for personal reasons.
KICKING IT AROUND: Steve Aponavicius, the face-painting fan who walked onto the Boston College football team last year and kicked the winning field goal in a bowl game, will give up kickoffs to freshman Billy Bennett for the Eagles' game against North Carolina State on Saturday.
Aponavicius will continue to handle field goals and extra points, coach Jeff Jagodzinski said Wednesday.
``I just won the kickoff spot,'' Bennett said. ``I was kicking off really well yesterday. ... But what (special teams coach Don Yanowsky) said is that it's not a done deal. It could easily change both ways, depending on who's kicking better.''
Nicknamed ``Sid Vicious'' because then-coach Tom O'Brien couldn't pronounce - or remember - his name, Aponavicius (pronounced ah-pah-NAH-vu-chus) aw-shucksed his way into the spotlight last year with his transformation from a high school soccer player who had never participated in organized football to the placekicker on a nationally ranked team.
Aponavicius was 8-for-11 on field goals for the Eagles last season, and the only extra point he missed was in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. He made up for it with a career-best 37-yard field goal on the final play to win the game.
But in last week's season opener, a 38-28 victory over Wake Forest, Aponavicius put three kickoffs out of bounds - two of them in a row.
Bennett struggled in training camp because of a sore back that he attributed to kicking too much, but when he performed well in an after-practice audition on Tuesday, he got the job.
``It wasn't much of a tryout,'' Jagodzinski said. ``He kept it in bounds, so I said, 'You got it.'''
KRAGTHORPE KEEPING QUIET: Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe prefers to keep a poker face when it comes to discussing player injuries.
Unless a player is out for the season, Kragthorpe will simply say a player is ``available,'' even if he isn't.
It's a philosophy Kragthorpe picked up from former Kansas State coach Bill Snyder. Kragthorpe said he doesn't want to put his injured players at risk by disclosing their problems, or give the opposition a heads up on who will or won't be on the field.
``If they know that this certain player is not gonna be available to play then they can redesign their game plan.''
Kragthorpe said it was a lesson he learned during his college playing career when he suffered a broken hand late in his senior season, and one that has perpetuated itself now that his sons play football.
``Say my son sprains his left ankle and I disclose he has a sprained left ankle,'' Kragthorpe said. ``What do you think happens on the first series of game? They're going to go after his sprained left ankle. So I have a hard time facing a parent when I walk out of the locker room if I've given out that information about their son. I wouldn't want that info given out about my son.''
The Cardinals host Middle Tennessee on Thursday.
OUT OF CONFERENCE: Wins by Rutgers, Louisville, and Cincinnati last Thursday night gave the Big East a 17-game non-conference winning streak.
But it didn't last long. It was snapped Friday when Syracuse lost to Washington 42-12.
The conference started a new streak on Saturday when Pittsburgh, Connecticut, West Virginia and South Florida all posted non-conference wins.
TRADITION?: Connecticut is still in its first decade as a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) football school, and is trying to add some tradition to its program.
Before Saturday night's home opener against Maine, the school will start a ``Husky Walk,'' copying other programs throughout the country that have players walk to the football stadium on game day along a route lined with fans.
The problem for UConn: Its home games are played about 40 minutes from campus at a stadium built on an old air field, and the walk is scheduled for two hours before kickoff. The players will be dropped off by bus, and walk around the east side of the stadium. Paw prints are being placed along the route to show fans where to go.
Coach Randy Edsall said the walk was the players' idea.
``We just hope that there's a lot of people that are lined along there as we walk down through there,'' Edsall said. ``That will be for every home game, unless its raining. We're not going to walk in pouring down rain.''
HONORS: Rutgers wide receiver Tiquan Underwood received the conference's first offensive player of the week award.
Underwood set a school record by catching 10 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown in the Scarlet Knights' 38-3 win against Buffalo last Thursday.
The defensive player of the week was cornerback Mike Mickens of Cincinnati. He had two interceptions and six tackles during the Bearcats' 59-3 win over Southeast Missouri State.
Special teams honors went to Pitt punter Dave Brytus, who had a 45.4 yard average on five punts during the Panthers' 27-3 win over Eastern Michigan.
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