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Dave Wannstedt Addresses Media Before Thursday's Game Vs. Utah

Several key points came out during Dave Wannstedt's media address prior to this Thursday's game at Utah. For starters, it looks as if Ray Graham and Greg Romeus will be ready to go:

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“From an injury standpoint, we’re probably as healthy as we could expect coming out of a very physical training camp. Greg Romeus has obviously been a big topic, and he’s been great this last week. Ray Graham is very close. He practiced in team yesterday, and he will be available to play.

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That's good news for Pitt. Graham gives the Panthers a home run threat off the bench every time he touches the ball and Romeus' presence will allow Pitt to keep a heavy dose of pressure on young QB Jordan Wynn, who has only about a third of a season's worth of experience as a starter. Andrew Taglianetti is also apparently ready to go as well. The official injury report isn't due out until Tuesday, but it looks like the Panthers will be operating at nearly 100% healthy.

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Pitt is also doing all the usual things during practice during the week leading up to a tough road game in a hostile environment:

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We’ve had noise pumped in, we’ve tried to do everything to create an atmosphere to put our players in so that they’re able to keep their focus and play a clean game. We’ll see.”

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Wannstedt also downplayed any disadvantage Pitt might be against playing in the high altitude in Utah:

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“When we were at the Dolphins, they used to go out a couple of days early. Everyplace I’ve coached for 16 years (in the NFL), we’ve gone out the day before, lined-up and played. I think that all the studies from the Olympic athletes will tell you, that if you want to try to make a total adjustment, you have to be out there for three days, it takes 72 hours. So even going out that extra day, which some of the NFL teams do, doesn’t really do anything. You go out, you line up and play. Fortunately we’re fairly healthy, so we’ll be able to play guys.”

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And then he acknowledged, for perhaps the first time publicly, that Aaron Donald will not only play, but he'll do so in the game Thursday:

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Our depth on the defensive line is good. Aaron Donald, a freshman from Penn Hills, will play in the game and be involved there.

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Wannstedt also said that freshman K'Wuan Williams would see time in the game. That will likely be it for true freshmen. Donald was too dominant in training camp to keep off the field and it's good to see he'll get his shot right away.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.