Pitt's Gonzalez Receptive to New Role

By Harris, John | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 21, 2011 | Go to article overview

Pitt's Gonzalez Receptive to New Role


Harris, John, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Playing H-back isn't what Pitt redshirt freshman Anthony Gonzalez envisioned as a highly decorated quarterback coming out of Bethlehem Liberty High School. Included among Gonzalez's final college choices were Florida State, Penn State, Oregon, Missouri and Maryland.

"I played quarterback since I was in seventh grade," Gonzalez said.

But there was Gonzalez, ever the good soldier, apologizing to tight ends coach Tony Dews after failing to hold onto a pass from Tino Sunseri during the Panthers' win at Louisville.

"When he came off, he said, 'Coach, I've never been hit like that before.' " Dews said. "I said, 'Welcome to the world of college football. Catch the dang ball. It hurts less when you catch it. ' "

Gonzalez, who is preparing to play in his first Backyard Brawl against West Virginia on Friday night, chuckled at the recollection.

"I haven't got hit that hard in a while, but I've got to make those catches," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez has come a long way -- not only as a football player making a difficult transition from big-time quarterback recruit to H-back, but also as a maturing college student.

Gonzalez was suspended for the first two games of the season for violation of team rules. He was cited earlier this year in his hometown of Bethlehem on charges of possession of marijuana and fake identification, and underage drinking.

Dews said Gonzalez has become a model student-athlete, working to get back in his coaches' good graces while putting his personal goals on the back burner for the good of the team.

"The best thing about Anthony is he's bought into being a team player," Dews said. …

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