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Huddle Up with Gus


‘Huddle Up with Gus’ Episode 10: Dave Hanson

Courtesy Universal Pictures

Gus Frerotte and Dave Hager talk sports with Dave Hanson of “Slap Shot” fame in this week’s segment of “Huddle Up with Gus.”

‘Huddle Up with Gus’: Chris Long talks Pearl Jam, U.Va. hoops and Twitter

Former NFL defensive lineman Chris Long explains his connection with Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, who his favorite account to follow on Twitter is and how he ended up on the cover of Sports Illustrated after the Virginia men’s basketball team’s national championship during Part 5 of this week’s “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast.

‘Huddle Up with Gus’: Chris Long calls Aaron Donald ‘the best football player in the world’

Chris Long said he knew in summer 2014, before Aaron Donald played one snap with the then-St. Louis Rams, that the former Pitt standout would be as good as he is.

“I would like to credit myself with being the first person know he was going to be amazing,” Long said with a smile during Part 4 of this week’s “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast. “We used to joke his rookie camp that he was going to be in the Hall of Fame, but I kind of wasn’t joking.”

Long, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, played his first eight seasons with the Rams, including 2014 and ‘15 — Donald’s first two seasons in the NFL. Long was drafted second overall in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Virginia and retired in May with 70 career sacks and 15 forced fumbles.

He called Donald “the best football player in the world, in my opinion.”

“I’ve never seen anybody work so hard, who had so much talent and play so violent and play with such tenacity,” he said. “This guy would fight you on the field at the drop of a hat, and I respect that about him, and outworks everybody.

“I would be the last person in the film room usually at the end of camp, and I would go in there and watch tape once everybody was at home. I started going in there an opening the door and turning the lights on to find my pen or notebook, and he was in there every night.”

Long said Donald and others who played at Pitt have an “edge.”

“From Avonte Maddox to Aaron to any of the guys I played with from Pitt, honestly, in their own ways, they have a great edge to them, a good confidence, a good edge, very confident right off the bat, pro ready,” he said. “And not to recruit for Pitt, but these guys are consistently great pros.”

Long said Donald, a Penn Hills graduate, takes a lot of pride in his roots.

“He’s a guy who doesn’t forget where he comes from,” he said.

Donald recently made a seven-figure donation to Pitt, the largest by a football letterman to the program.

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Coming Friday: Part 5 with Chris Long

‘Huddle Up with Gus’: Faced with adversity, Chris Long ‘stuck it out’ to become All-American at Virginia

Former NFL standout Chris Long discusses his college days at Virginia, where he says almost transferred, in Part 3 of this week’s “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast.

Long, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, went on to win back-to-back Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles after having played his first eight years with the St. Louis Rams.

But he said his college playing days under then-coach Al Groh came with plenty of adversity, including switching positions and learning complicated schemes.

“I thought I was struggling. I was out of scheme. I was learning a new thing. Frankly, it was just really hard,” he told podcast host Gus Frerotte and partner Dave Hager. “My sophomore year, I think it was, I looked at some other schools, and I was on the cusp.

“It was all scheme-driven for me. … (The scheme) is stunting my development, and honestly I’m not having fun.

“I was really glad I stuck it out. My junior year, spring game, I came out and kind of set it on fire a little bit. … I started to feel good. From there, I felt a lot better about it.

“Being on the cusp of quitting or doing something else taught me a lot.”

Long went on to be named a first-team All-American and won the Hendricks Award, given annually to the best defensive end in the country.

Long also discusses the difference between ACC and SEC football atmospheres and meeting his wife in college.

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Part 1: ‘Huddle Up:’ Ex-NFL great Chris Long retires to parents’ home – for now

Part 2: Podcast part 2: Chris Long recalls ‘shenanigans’ as a kid, college recruiting

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Coming Thursday: Part 4 with Chris Long

‘Huddle Up with Gus:’ Chris Long recalls ‘shenanigans’ as a kid, college recruiting

Recently retired NFL veteran Chris Long talks about the “shenanigans” he got into with friends while growing up, the value of hard work as a three-sport athlete in high school and getting recruited before settling on Virginia during Part 2 of this week’s “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast.

Long, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, won back-to-back Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles after having played his first eight years with the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams drafted Long second overall in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Virginia.

Long finished his career with 70 career sacks and 15 forced fumbles and played in 162 of 176 possible games, starting 103 games.

Each week, former Ford City High School standout and NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte sits down with guests to discuss how sports have shaped their lives.

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Coming Wednesday: Part 3 with Chris Long

‘Huddle Up with Gus’: Ex-NFL great Chris Long retires to parents’ home

It’s not often that an 11-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl winner retires and lives in his parents’ house, but that’s just what has happened to Chris Long.

“They’re working on my house, so we’re a family of four living with my folks,” he said with laugh during this week’s “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast. “It’s a tough transition. I don’t know too many guys that played 11 years in the league and make enough money for their own pad, but they move into their parents’ house when they finish.”

Long, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, said he has enjoyed spending time with his parents. For instance, he said he and his father stay up late watching sports, recently taking in the Stanley Cup Final games.

“It’s been fun, honestly. Spatially, it’s not like you have your own house. But it is nice to wake up in the morning, go eat breakfast with my dad and my mom and then watch games with my dad at night. It’s pretty cool.”

Long won back-to-back Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles after having played his first eight years with the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams drafted Long second overall in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Virginia.

Long finished his career with 70 career sacks and 15 forced fumbles and played in 162 of 176 possible games, starting 103 games.

He was named the 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year winner. The NFL presents the award annually, honoring a player for his volunteer and charity work as well as excellence on the field.

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Coming Tuesday: Part 2 with Chris Long

‘Huddle Up with Gus’: Going one-on-one with Eric Kasperowicz

You might be surprised by the contact list in Pine-Richland football coach Eric Kasperowicz’s cell phone.

“Ben Roethlisberger. … Mike Tomlin. … Sidney Crosby,” Kasperowicz said in the final segment of this week’s “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast.

Kasperowicz goes one-on-one with Gus Frerotte and Dave Hager, discussing his favorite Pittsburgh-area restaurant, favorite golf course, biggest pet peeve and other notable tidbits.

‘Huddle Up with Gus’: Eric Kasperowicz begins his coaching career

Eric Kasperowicz often was told by coaches and those close to him that he would make a good coach one day.

When his playing days were over, he decided to find out.

“I had a feeling that if I wasn’t going to play, I’d be a coach,” Kasperowicz said in part 4 of this week’s “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast. “I knew I wanted to be involved with athletics and sports.

“My decision … was, should I go the college route, the GA-type thing and try to go that route, or try to go into high school again. I had such a great high school career, and being close to my family and whatnot, I had an education background.

“A couple of the mentors I had said, you know college is awesome and all, but it’s tough. It’s tough on your family and traveling, the instability of it.

“I decided at the time to go the high school route, and the rest is history.”

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Coming Friday: Part 5 with Eric Kasperowicz

‘Huddle Up with Gus’: Eric Kasperowicz explains recruiting process, recalls college days

As a 1993 Parade All-American, then-North Hills standout quarterback Eric Kasperowicz had more scholarship offers than he could count. In the end, his choice came down to Pitt, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Syracuse.

“Being a family guy, I knew deep down I wasn’t going to go far away,” he said.

Ultimately, he chose coach Johnny Majors and Pitt.

“They told me what I wanted to hear, that I was going to have a chance to compete at the quarterback position,” Kasperowicz said during this week’s “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast, recalling the recruiting process and his college days. “Penn State wanted me to play that rover position, their hero position that they have made famous. That’s what kind of what made the decision for me.”

Kasperowicz indeed saw playing time as a freshman for the Panthers. But not at quarterback.

“Two days in I was moved over to the defensive side of the ball,” he said.

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Coming Thursday: Part 4 with Eric Kasperowicz

‘Huddle Up with Gus’: Eric Kasperowicz remembers ex-North Hills coach Jack McCurry

Eric Kasperowicz recalled the influence his high school coach had on him as a player and even today as a coach at Pine-Richland.

“Coach Jack McCurry, one of the best in the whole country, if not the best,” Kasperowicz said during the second part of this week’s episode of the “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast. “Learned a lot of values and lessons from him. … I was able to coach under him for a number of years.”

Kasperowicz said much of how he conducts business as a coach today he learned from McCurry.

“We try to stay as cutting edge as we can. I think we’re cutting edge, trying to stay one step ahead of everybody else,” Kasperowicz said. “When I got (to Pine-Richland), I knew we couldn’t beat Central Catholic and North Allegheny because we didn’t have those monster kids. We’re a very small 6A school. We had to find our niche.

“Our niche was to spread them out and use skill a little bit. … That’s kind of been our recipe for success.”

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Coming Wednesday: Part 3 with Eric Kasperowicz