Adam Gunn Honored By Big East

So, far, it appears that the Pitt football team hasn't missed a beat at middle linebacker despite All-American Scott McKillop moving on to the NFL.

Sixth-year senior Adam Gunn leads Pittsburgh in tackles and was recognized for his performance at Buffalo by being named the Big East Conference's defensive player of the week.

"That's a great honor for Adam,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "It's well-deserved, and there's nobody that's more serious about trying to help this football team than Adam Gunn is. So, I think it's a great story.

"And it's a great example for our football players about what you can accomplish if you stay with it. Opportunities will come, and then you have to be committed to put in the time and effort to take advantage of it.''

Pitt beat the Bulls Saturday at BU Stadium, and Gunn had three quarterback sacks -- giving him five this season -- and 11 total tackles. His three sacks went for 25 yards in losses, including a key six-yard drop in the fourth quarter that turned back a Buffalo scoring threat that had reached the Pitt 14.

"I'm very honored to be selected by the Big East as its defensive player of the week, but at the same time it's overshadowed by our defensive performance,'' Gunn said. "I am honored, but I need to do more, and our defense needs to do more to put ourselves in a better situation to win each game.

"Coach showed us a couple clips to show us what type of defense we are. He showed us the bad plays, and he showed us the good plays. And we all just came together and said that we're not the defensive team that gave up over 300 yards and 20 points on just eight plays (against Buffalo).

"We're the defense that held them to zero points in the third quarter,'' Gunn added. "So, it's something that we really need to focus on to be that third-quarter team and not the defense that gave up so much on those eight plays.''

Through two games, Gunn leads the Panthers in total tackles (19), sacks (five) and tackles behind the line (5.5). He is also prominent among the NCAA's leading defenders, ranking second nationally in sacks (tied, 2.50 sacks per game) and fourth in tackles behind the line (tied, 2.75 per game).

It's been a satisfying beginning to the season for Gunn, who 12 months ago broke his neck in the Panthers' opening game and missed his entire senior year. Granted a sixth year by the NCAA, Gunn vigorously rehabilitated during the offseason and earned the starting middle linebacker position vacated by his good friend, Scott McKillop.

Gunn earned his bachelor's degree in communication and rhetoric in 2008. He is currently enrolled in Pitt's prestigious Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and will graduate in December with a master's degree.

Pitt (2-0) plays host to Navy (1-1) Saturday at 6 p.m. at Heinz Field.

Panther Digest Top Stories