Pittsburgh WR Derek Kinder suffers torn ACL, out for season
Kinder out for season
The Pitt football team will be without its most decorated returning starter this season, as Dave Wannstedt announced on Sunday that senior wide receiver Derek Kinder has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the 2007 campaign.
Kinder tore his right ACL after catching a pass over the middle during a seven-on-seven drill in Saturday's practice.
"It was a non-contact injury," Wannstedt said. "He never got hit; it was planted on the grass. It's the right ACL, that's the bad news. The good news is he's got a redshirt year left to get it rehabbed and come back and have a great year next year.
"He does have all the intangibles, the work ethic and the determination, to make a full recovery and to still end up accomplishing everything he wants to accomplish."
Kinder, a 2006 All-Big East selection and a Biletnikoff Award semi-finalist who caught 57 passes for 847 yards and 6 touchdowns, will have eligibility for 2008 since he has not used a redshirt season, but for 2007 the coaches will need to find a replacement for that production.
"Obviously it's a setback," receivers coach Aubrey Hill said. "But now what we need to do is regroup with our receivers and make sure we find the guys who are going to do everything consistently right, which Derek did. So we have to fill that void."
Filling the void will fall to a talented group. Redshirt sophomore Oderick Turner tied for the Big East lead in touchdown receptions (eight) last season, redshirt junior Marcel Pestano and sophomore TJ Porter both emerged as playmakers in 2006, and the team added freshmen Moe Williams and Aundre Wright to the mix this season, giving the team six talented scholarship receivers still on the roster.
Hill said that all of those players will be vying for Kinder's vacated No. 1 role.
"I tell you what, at this point it's a flip of a coin," Hill said. "All of those guys are doing well. Marcel is a very good athlete and he's a really good route-runner. TJ's very explosive and he can do it all: special teams, deep balls, intermediate passes, short passes. And then you get Cedric: he can definitely run some good routes. And Oderick, obviously, we know what he did last year very well.
"So we've got a lot of guys who can do different things. Really, it might be receivers by committee this year. Coach Wannstedt and Matt [Cavanaugh] and I will sit down and find out which plays each guy does very well."
In addition, the freshmen, Williams and Wright, have stood out through one week of training camp.
"A week ago I was thinking one or both of those guys would redshirt," Wannstedt said, "but right now I think they'll be in the competition and we'll see how things play out."
"They're both very conscientious," Hill said, "really good students in the classroom, and very, very explosive. And you know what? They don't talk. They don't say a word. They just come out and play, and that's really a good start."
But while Turner, Pestano, McGee, Porter, Williams, and Wright have talent, athleticism, and playmaking ability, the coaches will now be looking to see which receiver can emerge to fill Kinder's leadership role.
"Derek was one of those lead-by-example guys," Wannstedt said. "He was never a screamer or a yeller, but he was always one you could count on.
"I talked to the team last night and we addressed the issue: this is how things happen in this game. There are examples on every team every year where an unfortunate thing happens and another guy steps up and makes plays."
Kinder is expected to have surgery on his right knee next week to repair the ACL.
Re: Pittsburgh WR Derek Kinder suffers torn ACL, out for season
Besides being a good WR, Kinder is the player who threw the block that sprung Darelle Revis last year during his remarkable return vs. WVU. He laid out two players with one hit. Pitt will miss him.