|COLLEGE FB NOTEBOOK: Wannstedt keeping birdseye view for now|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 24 October 2007 12:33|
But walking out of the tunnel onto the field in the waning moments of the Panthers' upset of then-No. 23 Cincinnati last week, Wannstedt couldn't help but take in the view of the fans at Heinz Field rising to their feet in the final seconds.
``It was neat just to see the crowd and everything, we hadn't been in victory formation running the clock out in so long, I wanted to make sure we were lined up right,'' Wannstedt said with a laugh.
It's a luxury Wannstedt isn't normally afforded while stalking the sideline, but a torn Achilles' forced him to spend most of the game up in the coaches' box. Doctors told him they didn't want him standing on the sideline for several hours just days after having surgery to repair the Achilles' and a balky knee.
He'll be back in the box on Saturday when the Panthers travel to Louisville.
``I truly like being in the box,'' said Wannstedt, who spent years in the box while working as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. ``There's no question you can see more. There's no question you can have information in front of you and alternatives when things happen.''
STILL LOOKING FOR RESPECT: Connecticut players are using the controversy over Larry Taylor's disputed punt return as motivation for this week's game with South Florida.
Taylor scored on a 74-yard return after a referee failed to see him make a fair-catch signal. The score tied the game at 7, and UConn came back from a 17-7 fourth-quarter deficit to win 21-17.
Earlier this season, Connecticut beat Temple 22-17 after the referee ruled that Owls' receiver Bruce Francis came down out of bounds with what would have been the winning touchdown. Replays appeared to show he had one foot in the end zone, but the call was not overturned.
``Every week they always say something, 'This is the reason why they won, this is why they won, the fair catch thing is why they won,''' running back Andre Dixon said. ``They don't know, they are just giving us more fuel to the fire. It's making us play harder.''
Dixon said UConn players are not concerned about not being ranked, despite a 6-1 record, because they know that if they keep winning, that will take care of itself.
BRINKLEY DONE: Syracuse running back Curtis Brinkley will miss the rest of the season with a broken right leg. Brinkley injured the leg in the first quarter of the Orange's win over Buffalo. Coach Greg Robinson said he expects Brinkley to make a full recovery.
Still, the injury is another blow to the Big East's worst rushing attack. The Orange are averaging just 73.5 yards per game, less than half of seventh-place Louisville.
The Orange, who are off this week, hope freshman Doug Hogue can fill in. Hogue played well against Buffalo in his first extended action of the season, gaining 83 yards on 24 carries and scoring once.
STICKING WITH BROHM: Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said he has no plans to start playing backup quarterback Hunter Cantwell a couple of series a game in efforts to prepare him for next year.
``Brian Brohm is our quarterback and he gives us the best chance to win,'' Kragthorpe said. ``Hunter Cantwell is going to be a great quarterback for us in the future. But Brian is our quarterback.''
Cantwell, who filled in capably for Brohm during the 2005 and 2006 seasons, has thrown just two passes all season.
COMING HOME: Saturday will be a bit of a homecoming for West Virginia running back Steve Slaton. Slaton grew up in Levittown, Penn., less than an hour from the Rutgers campus in New Jersey.
The Mountaineers hope the home cooking will help Slaton put together the kind of spellbinding performance that became the norm a year ago.
Slaton began the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, but his numbers are down compared to a year ago because defenses have keyed on stopping him. Slaton is third in the conference, averaging 107.4 yards, well behind his pace of over 134 yards a year ago.
``He's still playing to prove himself,'' West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. ``He's healthier now than he's been in awhile.''
HONORS: Rutgers running back Ray Rice was named the offensive player of the week following his big night against South Florida. Rice ran for 181 yards in the win over the Bulls, the 19th time he's topped 100 yards during his career. He also moved into second place on the Big East's career rushing chart. Rice has 3,913 yards in his career, trailing only former West Virginia running back Avon Cobourne, who ran for 5,039 yards.
Connecticut's Scott Lutrus was the defensive player of the week after his 18-tackle performance in the win over Louisville. ``I think he's played very well and his best days are ahead,'' coach Randy Edsall said. ``He hasn't even reached the potential that he has.''
Pittsburgh kicker Conor Lee was the special teams player of the week after making three field goals and an extra point in the win over Cincinnati.
Associated Press Writer Pat Eaton-Robb in Storrs, Conn., and John Kekis in Syracuse, N.Y., contributed to this report.