It’s been quite a week for James Conner and media attention. But he is trying to ignore it.
After Conner rushed for 177 yards against Florida International, he broke another Tony Dorsett record, this time for most yards by a Pitt back in the first three games.
Conner trumpeted the achievement, placing a photo on Instagram. It didn’t take long for his phone to ring. It was Aaron Donald, Pitt’s highly decorated former defensive tackle, who knows a little bit about how to handle fame.
“He said to me, ‘Just stay focused and just play ball,’ ” Conner said. “ ‘Those individual awards will come. You can’t worry about that now.’
“I listen to every word he says. I’m not thinking about that stuff anymore.”
Conner took Donald’s advice one step further and decided to take a break from social media.
“People have negative things to say,” he said. “If I keep thinking about that, it will throw me off my game.
“I figure time spent on Twitter could be spent in the weight room or in the film room. I’m glad (Donald) reached out to me.”
Still, there has been a good deal of media attention this week. And the thing that I keep seeing in these stories is a very different kind of focus. One that seems to be on a big picture of his future and an unshakable confidence.