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November 21, 2011

Setticases leave 8-year imprint on football program

PITTSBURGH - When equipment manager Ray Butter hands out jerseys to the incoming freshmen next fall, it's entirely possible that he'll fail to hand out the No. 76.

It just wouldn't seem right to hand that number to someone who isn't a Setticase.

Defensive tackle Chris Setticase's graduation means the eight-year era of a Setticase wearing No. 76 on the Robert Morris football team is coming to an end. It's an era that began in 2004, when Joe Setticase arrived and became a fixture on the offensive line. Chris Setticase, Joe's younger brother, arrived in 2007 and promptly received No. 67 in a little bit of equipment manager humor.

But when Joe Setticase graduated as a redshirt senior in 2008, it was Chris who got his No. 76.

"As soon as my brother left, they automatically gave me his number. I think 76 means Setticase right now," he said. "My locker name tag is "Setticase, Jr.". I think everyone will remember."

Offensive lineman Dustin Laughlin also wore No. 76 for a brief period in 2009, along with the younger Setticase. But Laughlin was quickly gone, and Setticase has been the only one to wear it the past two years.

Combined, the two brothers have spent the equivalent of 10 years at Robert Morris. Both graduated as fifth-year seniors, although Chris Setticase took a different route. Originally a lineman like his older brother, Chris moved to the defensive line when he took his brother's old number.

It was there he made his impact, emerging this year fourth on the depth chart at tackle and an excellent run stopper.

"It's been a heck of a ride. No regrets. I love my teammates," he said. "Everybody in that locker room knows that we were a lot better than our record shows. We were in almost every game except for a couple."

The two brothers played together for two years, and in the span that there has been a Setticase playing football for Robert Morris, the program has grown considerably.

"I believe this program is just going to keep growing and growing. My freshman year, we got two t-shirts and a pair of shorts," Chris Setticase said. "This year we got lights, we're getting sweatshirts, new gloves, everything. I can't wait to see what this program's like in ten years."

The addition of lights made an impact on everyone involved with the program this year, and the homecoming game serves as one of Setticase's lasting memories.

"Last year, (it was) the championship. This year's memory is the homecoming game," he said. "I guarantee no one expected an outcome like that. We had the highest attendance, and the atmosphere was just unbelievable. Everyone who was there had the best time of their lives under the lights."

Now, for the first time, Setticase will prepare for life without football. And Robert Morris will prepare for a life without a Setticase on the roster. While Robert Morris' adjustment to the change remains to be seen, Chris Setticase may follow in his brother's footsteps.

The elder Setticase dropped from 320 pounds to 225 pounds and is working to become an actor. That includes an appearance as a quarterback alongside Terrell Owens in an upcoming episode of the cable TV show "Necessary Roughness".

"He's trying to do that, so I give him all the credit in the world," Chris Setticase said. "He worked hard to lose all of that weight."

Could a future in acting be in the cards for Chris? In a way, it's already started.

"I was in the (upcoming) Batman movie, when Heinz Field exploded," he said. "I was on the sidelines for that."

He laughed and added, "If I get my opportunity, I'll be alright."

Spoken like a true Setticase.

ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at achiappazzi@yahoo.com.



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