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Pitt and USF Postgame Quotes




Sept. 30, 2011

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Pitt Head Coach Todd Graham
Opening Statement:
"We are all proud of our players tonight. I can't tell you how excited I was to go out and see our guys play a complete game. To be able to beat the 14th ranked team in the country, makes me very proud of our football team. They showed me things I've been talking about. I'm proud of Tino and Ray and how our guys responded."

On the team becoming closer:
"These players are really developing a closeness about each other - a family atmosphere. These kids are transforming. I really believe that. I felt we were close and this is just one game, but we're close because all of us have really come together."

On putting together a complete game:
"We really played a physical football game. We took care of the football and executed the system. I'm proud of the leadership they are showing. We made great strides tonight because we finally played a complete football game."

On Ray Graham's performance:
"Ray has been phenomenal. He actually played better than he has ever played. I thought it was his best performance. He's a really great player and sometimes great players really aren't coachable. They just play. I'm very proud of him. This kid's competitiveness is off the charts."

On Tino Sunseri's performance:
"I thought Tino played very well. I thought he executed the system well and he did a great job and was tough. He tucked the ball down. He had great pocket presence. He was very decisive with the football. He got the ball out and was a commander. I thought he took charge of the team tonight."

On Lucas Nix' injury:
"I know he could come back. That's all I know about that."

On defending against the Bulls' offense:
"They fast-tempo'd us. They had us scrambling a little bit. We pressured and blitzed in the second half."

On preparing for the rest of the season:
"We are winning every day with these players. We are developing something really special, but we have a long way to go."

Pitt Quarterback Tino Sunseri
On improvement of the offense:
"We just thought that if we came in and executed our offense we could score some points. It's very pleasing to see it done. A lot of people have been talking about how it's coming and how we've been getting closer and closer. We finally did it and we know what it feels like now.

"We kept going into the huddle saying `let's get a first down, let's not get ahead of ourselves.' Early on, everyone was talking about points being scored, all these yards being put up and stuff like that. We felt like as an offense let's just take care of getting a first down. Let's try playing football. Let's not talk about scoring and putting up all these yards. Let's talk about executing and doing this stuff right and we were able to do that tonight."

On support of teammates:
"The best part was my teammates. I went into that locker room every day and those teammates believed in me. The offensive line came up to me every day and said `we're going to do our best to give you time, because if we give you time you'll distribute the ball and you'll do everything right.' That makes you feel good when guys have your back like that."

Pitt Defensive Tackle Chas Alecxih
On the great defensive effort:
"We imposed our will. I just felt for the first time all season we clicked as a defense. We were able to do exactly what we wanted. There was nobody doing their own thing. We just came together."

Pitt Running Back Ray Graham
On the team's performance:
"It felt great. We got out there and we executed. We finally felt like everything paid off."

On returning kickoffs:
"Coach kept saying I need somebody out there that is good at it. I told him I'll do it. Anything that will help the team I'm here to do it."

On improvement of offense:
"The offensive line is improving every game. We're getting better every game. We're feeling more confident. I think Tino's feeling more confident, I'm feeling more confident and everyone's feeling more confident in this offense."

USF Head Coach Skip Holtz
Opening statement:
"I want to start by congratulating Coach Graham and his staff for the job they did this week. They played an excellent game tonight. They came out and did some things that were different than what they had done (in previous games). They came out and ran the quarterback more than we had seen this year and created some problems early. Obviously, (Ray) Graham is one of the best running backs in the country and he has proven that when he doubled his yards tonight with about 226 yards. Offensively, they played an excellent football game. They managed the game extremely well. We couldn't get off the field as a defense, in a nutshell. They converted a number of third downs. It seemed like every time we got them in somewhat of a manageable defensive situation - a long yardage situation - they would make a play.

"I think there are a lot of fundamental things we have to go back and look at and we lost contain much too much as a defense letting the ball get outside of us tonight. We made too many mistakes in order be competitive as well as Pitt played tonight. They did a very nice job of taking away our big plays and that is something we have really thrived on over the first four weeks. Down the field, they made us turn and work the ball underneath and earn it and we weren't able to get that done and earn it - whether it be penalties, mistakes, it was not one of our better efforts and I am excited we have the opportunity to have an open date this week as there are a lot of things we need to shore up.

"This is one game, I hate that you lose a conference game, but sitting here 4-1 going into the open date, we have to keep our heads up and get back to work, look at film, find out what the problems are and get them corrected as a staff. I still like this football team, there was no attitude - no grumbling or pointing of fingers. We just couldn't get off the field against a good football team. It was an old fashioned tail-whipping, that's what it was and especially from their offensive standpoint."

On the play of Pitt's Ray Graham:
"They do a nice job getting their running backs space and once he got space he would make you miss. Graham is quicker than he is fast and he is very elusive. He has sideways, lateral movement. He has great vision and he can turn and go. If he can get on the perimeter, he is going to hurt you and what upset me today is that we did not keep the edge of our defense very well. He is very dangerous and that is what he was able to do today. He was impressive and he ran hard."

USF Quarterback B.J. Daniels
On Pitt's defensive strategy:
"The most frustrating part was not being able to get the ball and keep a sustaining drive. We were not able to meet our goals as far as third down and that was most disappointing. We expected to move the ball and score. It was disappointing to not be able to come out in the second half on the first drive and score. Pitt did a good job with containing the edges and we knew that was what they were going to do but we failed to take advantage of it."

On dropping the conference opener:
"There are a lot of veterans on this team who have already been faced with this exact situation. There has not been a Big East team that has been undefeated in awhile. We still have the rest of the season to go and were not hanging our heads low by any means. A lot of us have been here before and we have seen this happen. We're definitely going to come out harder next time and make sure we are successful. At the end of the day this could be a blessing in disguise. This loss could be an extra motivating factor for the rest of the season."

USF Linebacker Sam Barrington
On the play of Ray Graham:
"Playing linebacker and looking from my position, Ray Graham is an outstanding player in my opinion. He came out and played his best game tonight. He did a great job and I commend him for doing that. Whenever we are facing a player of that caliber we have to come out and do a better job of containing that player. He put up outstanding numbers tonight. We have to get better. We have to do better. That wasn't our style of football. That wasn't USF defense that was out there tonight."

On the upcoming bye week:
"We definitely don't want to go into a bye week with a loss, but a bye week is always helpful whether you lose or win. Our guys will have a chance to get healthy. It also gives us a chance to tighten up some things that we messed up on in those first five games. We are going to utilize this bye week to the best of our ability and take the opportunity to get better."

USF Free Safety Jerrell Young
"We have a lot of work we need to do and it could not come at a better time with eighteen days off to fix our mistakes. We are not where we need to be at all. From the beginning, I knew Ray Graham was special. That is one of the best running backs I have seen since I have been here. I have seen Ray Rice and everybody, but he is the best I have played against. We've got to do a better job with running to the ball as a team. We have a lot we need to work on in this bye week."