At some point, Tino Sunseri will just decide not to speak about anything, ever. It just is not worth it for him.
Ever since Fraud Graham fled, Sunseri has avoided taking even the smallest pot shots at the guy. This, despite, being the public whipping boy for Graham (and most Pitt fans) all of last year. He showed incredible restraint, and just seemed happy to put the whole season behind him.
Finally, though, he said something.
Asked to compare coach Paul Chryst’s offense to what Graham installed last year, Sunseri said, “It compares from a high school offense to a pro-style college offense.”
He also contrasted the various complexities that players must learn this season.
“Last year, there weren’t a lot of plays, there weren’t lot of different formations, there weren’t a lot of different motions,” he said. “This offense, it’s coming from making sure you understand shifts and motions and making sure you understand different routes and converting versus different coverages. Guys had to make sure they got in their playbooks, which they did.”
Reminded of the absence of much fanfare this season, Sunseri said Chryst’s approach is different.
“I feel like Coach Chryst has done a great job of just going to work,” he said. “You know what I mean? He’s not here to do shows. He’s not here (to hang) signs. He’s not here to make people laugh or giggle. He’s here to win football games.”
I have some mixed feelings here.
I could care less about the shots at Graham at this point. They are obvious, but also seem to be a bit after the fact to come as the season is just about ready to start.
I will say that part of what Graham was expected to do was try and re-energize the fanbase in the first year. The style may have grated, been disingenuous and too much about himself; but Graham was supposed to be selling football.
As for the simplicity of the offense from last year. There’s nothing inherently wrong with simple. Especially with a complete change to the offense. You want to keep it basic. The concepts of the Air Raid offense that Mike Leach and his acolytes preach are relatively simple for the team. The stress is instead on the repetitions, and practice to get it right. There at least seems to be the implication that the offense didn’t buy-in last year, because it seemed so basic that they didn’t have to work at it. Which would explain some more of the problems with the WRs who have admitted not enjoying getting to a spot rather than a route.
It’s obvious Sunseri is more comfortable in a pro-style offense, but, uh, we knew that last year.
I don’t know if it is, much like his play, everything with Sunseri is so hyper-scrutinized after the past year, or something else. Like, how after a good game when Sunseri was feeling his oats and got a little too confident in talking — there was the noticeable lack of consistency the next game.
So, now I’m terrified for how he will do in the first couple of games. That he will be too cocky that all is right in a system he likes and the same problems that plagued him — regardless of the system — will be as present as ever.
It does, however, seem that he has learned a little.
When he was asked if he feels like he has more support this year, Sunseri said: “I have support from my teammates. That’s all that matters.”
I’m not sure how to take that one. I asked the question and was looking to get a response that Chryst might have his back more, but Sunseri left it open to interpretation. Maybe he learned a lesson last year. He knows he has to perform well on Saturdays to get the full support of the coaching staff.
Or he’s reached the naturally cynical point where he’s just going to wait and see how Coach Chryst talks about position play after a bad game.
Gameday can’t come soon enough.