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Game Quotes From Pitt vs. Eastern Michigan




Sept. 1, 2007

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PITTSBURGH - Pitt vs. Eastern Michigan
September 1, 2007

Pitt Head Coach Dave Wannstedt
"I thought there were some very good things out there, and we've got a lot of work to do on the other hand. But, you would expect that from game one."

"We protected the ball well. I thought the penalties were minimal. It was the first time with live action. It's good to get the first win."

"We tried playing several players and I thought that worked out well. Our defense, from a scheme and performance standpoint, played consistent. Our special teams played well. Our punter Dave Brytus did a very good job after not playing for almost two years and our kicker Conor Lee did a nice job."

"We are inconsistent right now with our run game. We've got a lot of work to do. There is no simple solution to it except that we are committed to it."

"Bill Stull injured his thumb. We will get it checked and find out more in the morning. I thought Bill played well until he got hurt. He managed the game well. He didn't miss many of his throws. I thought Kevan Smith did enough to win the game."

"LeSean McCoy did a nice job. He's a playmaker. That was good to get him some playing time."

"Tight end is really a strength position for us. Nate Byham had a good game. He made plays when he had an opportunity. I thought Darrell Strong did the same thing."

"We covered kicks and punts well. Usually special teams have as much to do with winning and losing the first couple of games as any phase in football. I thought our special teams played well tonight."

"I was very pleased with our defense. In the passing game, we did what we had to do. Our running game was too inconsistent. We'll watch tape and move on."

Pitt Linebacker Scott McKillop
"Everyone stuck to their positions tonight. We built confidence ourselves and we want to carry that throughout the season."

"Hopefully the performance we had erased some doubts about not being able to stop the run. It's the first game and I understand that. We still have a long way to go but hopefully we erased some people's doubts on our defense as a whole."

Pitt Quarterback Kevan Smith
"I have confidence in myself and I think the other guys believed in me 110%. I prepared myself all week in case of this situation."

"If I have to start next week, I'm ready. We haven't heard much on Billy (Stull) and he's a tough kid and I expect him to have a strong recovery."

"I was in the game the entire time. Even when you're not on the field, you're watching fronts and defenses so it's not like I was thrown in there without knowing what was going on. I was ready."

"I definitely believe the lead took a little heat off my shoulders. The cushion gave me a little extra confident boost but even if we were down I would have had the same approach towards the game."

Pitt Running Back LeSean McCoy
"This was everything I expected and a little more to be honest. You practice and you watch tape but when the game actually starts you get a little nervous but that's to be expected."

"We stepped it up today. Our offense came out and produced. Billy came out and played well. Kevan did the same. Also our offensive line stepped up big tonight."

"We have a lot of confidence in Kevan. Of course we believe in Billy as our starter but if Kevan needs to be the guy, then we have all the faith in the world in him."

"I was excited to make some big runs. Hopefully this is just the beginning and I'm looking forward to contributing."

"We need to keep running the ball in order to be consistent. LaRod (Stephens-Howling) is a great running back and the offensive line is good too so there's no reason for us not to perform well and I think we will. It's the first game and we'll make some changes but overall I thought we did a good job tonight and we'll continue to get better as the season goes on."

Pitt Tight End Nate Byham
"Bill did a great job and took the leadership role and when Kevan came in he did the same. He wasn't nervous at all; he did great."

"I had a little bit of pre-game jitters before the game tonight but after the first few drives I settled down and I was real comfortable with the offense. Overall I thought I had a pretty good night."

Eastern Michigan Head Coach Jeff Genyk
"I thought we played very hard and ran around out there with a purpose tonight. I was very pleased with our game plan and the way we attacked them, but when it comes right down to it we didn't make enough plays. We had a couple balls slip through our fingers, a couple tipped passes we couldn't intercept and those are plays we have to make if we want to win. I think it sums up our night that we caused a fumble on an inside blitz and two of our guys have it at one point, but Pitt eventually ends up with it."

"Our defense was excellent for the first three quarters. We had a good fit at the line of scrimmage. We tackled well and were really able to contain their running game. We wore down as the game went on though, particularly at the start of the fourth quarter when our offense had three straight three and outs at a point when we really wanted to give our defense a breather. We couldn't contain Gus Mustakas by the end. He's a heck of a player and we didn't have an answer for him."

"A game like this is significant because you can only replicate so much in practice. We have two wide receivers with tremendous hands, who dropped passes tonight. We have an excellent ball-hawking middle linebacker who dropped an interception at the end of the second quarter. That's not something that's going to happen every week, but you need to play a game like this so you can get up to speed and get the mistakes out of your system."

EMU Quarterback Andy Schmidt
"Our offense was prepared coming into the game, but we weren't the same team out there that we'd been for the last four weeks of practice. We left a lot of plays on the field that we had the opportunity to make, but just couldn't come through. I think we're a much better team than we showed out there tonight."

"The mistakes weren't due to a lack of preparation or anything like that. I think it was just first game jitters for some of our guys. They're good players though and I'm sure they'll bounce back."

"I was fired up after we scored the first points of the game. I really wanted a touchdown but even after settling for a field goal, I thought we were looking good and were in a good position to challenge in the game. For whatever reason we just couldn't make the plays down the stretch when we needed to."

"I can take quite a bit out of this game as a player but also as a leader on this team. I think personally I may not have been aggressive enough or taken enough shots down the field. We need to learn when to pick our spots to take some chances."

EMU Running Back Pierre Walker
"Pitt used the line-up and strategy we thought they would coming in; a base D with very few blitzes. We were prepared but I think we could have been a little more physical with them, especially early on when the game was still up for grabs. That wasn't the same team we'd been for the last four weeks of camp and I'm confident we'll show that in our next game."

"There's no big strategy for recuperating after this. You just look at the film, correct your mistakes and try to get back to basics."

"As a leader for the running backs and for the offense, I tried to instill a mentality coming in that there wasn't anything special about Pitt just because they played in the Big East. I told everyone that Pitt's just football players like us, who put their pads on the same as us, breathe the same air that we do, live on the same planet that we do. We had to eliminate any sort concerns about who they were and just play football. I wanted everyone to think the only difference between Pitt and Ball State is that Pitt doesn't play in our conference."