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Aug 14, 2013

Pitt Football Training Camp – August 14

Pitt Training Camp Media Quote Sheet 

Quoting Head Coach Paul Chryst

Opening statement:

“Injury wise, there’s nothing significant. We’re still waiting to see on Isaac [Bennett]. [Ed] Tinker is still fighting through some stuff. It was good to get [Bryan] Murphy back. We’re just seeing where some guys are each practice…You guys may have noticed that Todd Thomas was back today. I was able to talk to Todd every day and had continued discussions with him. He’s back on the team, and that’s all I’m going to talk about that. Also today we’ve told the players that Tom [Savage] is going to be our starting quarterback. We like what he has done to this point. It’s a reflection of where Tom is at. We still think that Chad [Voytik] has made really good progress, but we feel really good and confident with Tom.”

On Tom Savage:

“Right now he gives us the best chance to win. He’s done a good job. I think he got familiar with the offense last year. Bowl practice was the first time he got to run and execute it. Obviously he got a lot of reps in spring. He’s got some stuff that he needs to continue working on, and I love his approach to that. He needs to continue to keep working as far as his knowledge of the offense and the game itself. He’s talented. We just want to keep maximizing his opportunities to keep getting better and feeling comfortable with the receivers, tight ends and the run game.”

On Chad Voytik:

“It’s really important to keep developing Chad. There are a lot of opportunities to develop players in practice, and we’ve got to continue with that. That’s our job. It’s very important for him to get reps. Once we get into game planning specifically, that’s when you’ll see a more significant change in the amount of reps. Right now, fortunately we’re getting enough work that both quarterbacks can have a good workload.”

On what Tom Savage can improve on:

“I think his timing with the passing game – not just with the receivers, but with his own timing and when to stay with a particular guy and when to get off and work through his progressions. In the run game, I think he can improve his tracks and where he’s getting the ball to the back. When he second guesses himself or when there is a miscommunicstion, that’s things we’ve got to work through.”

On Tyler Boyd:

“He’s continuing to earn the right to get more reps. I love the progress that he’s been making. I think he’s done a great job of learning what to do. He wants to be coached and is showing that. He’s obviously got talent. I’m not surprised that he’s acclimated so quickly, but I certainly appreciate it.”

On when Isaac Bennett might return to practice:

“I don’t know. Tomorrow we have two practices. I’d be surprised if he’s back then. I’m not sure if it’ll be the end of the week. I’m not quite sure.”

On battles for starting jobs at other positions:

“Right now our focus has been on finding out if a guy can give you consistent production. Then once we determine that, and I think we still have got time, we’ll get into specifically who is starting and in what packages. We’ve got competition in some certain spots. For instance, I think Bryan Murphy, David Durham and Ejuan Price are all doing some good things [at defensive end]. That’s just one example. At cornerback, we feel pretty good about our two corners. Now there’s some depth there. Offensive line is not settled. There’s some we feel pretty good about. At receiver, we’re still working through that. Running back is obviously not settled. We’ve just got to keep going; that’s the fun part.”

On Anthony Gonzalez at linebacker:

“We’re happy with him. Part of the thing that’s helping him is that he’s not bouncing around at different positions right now. Just the continuity for him has been good. He’s a good athlete. He was looked at in a lot of spots because he is a good athlete and football player. He’s got a pretty good football sense and football IQ. Combining that with getting comfortable at a spot, hopefully he keeps growing there.”

Offensive Coordinator Joe Rudolph

On whether Paul Chryst’s announcement of the starting quarterback changes anything:

“No I don’t think it does. You always want competition. That is what makes players and teams better. That competition will continue. We know going forward who the starter is but at any moment the next guy has to be ready. It won’t change anything in the approach.”

On what stood out about quarterback Tom Savage:

“First, I have to credit both of them. They work together extremely well. They communicated and helped each other just as you would want it to be if you were putting a team together. The maturity level and experience of Tom [Savage] has helped him absorb it a little better. Right now that is where it stands and we are happy about it. Chad [Voytik] will keep pressing and pushing. That is what we expect of him.”

On the importance of continuing to develop Chad Voytik:

“I don’t think Chad will miss a beat in his approach. He is wired in to competing and enjoys that. I think he will put pressure on himself to keep doing the same. I don’t expect him to relax one bit. I don’t think there will be much change in what we are doing moving forward.”

On if Tyler Boyd’s confidence has increased over camp:

“To put it bluntly, it has. We put a lot pressure on those guys. The first five days we put in the vast majority of what we hoped the offensive would be. Now we will pick and choose, and figure it out from there. Those guys have a lot of stress on the learning end. Now they have a few days where they get to repeat those things and feel a little more comfortable with it. You can see it in the speed he is playing at.”

On what Tom Savage can improve on in camp:

“It is the same thing. You talked about a comfort level earlier and confidence. We are half way through.  We have a lot of growth to still experience and need to keep pushing through. It is really the details of those plays now. It is all in the details. That is where the pressure comes in. That is where the true learning comes in. The lines on the page are expected. It is everything else that sets you apart.”

Quarterback Tom Savage

On being named the starting quarterback:

“It is all up to coach. He announced it and we will go with it as a team.”

On his first reaction to being named the starting quarterback:

“I was excited but I would be a fool to take it as any more than that. Especially with what happened to me in the past, I can’t become complacent with it. It’s a privilege but I have to keep working and keep improving.”

On whether he feels he earned the starting position through the work he has done at camp:

“It is a privilege. All the quarterbacks have been working hard. If Coach [Paul Chryst] thinks that is the best route then that is what goes.”

On his excitement level of finally playing in almost three years:

“I am anxious to get out there but I don’t want to wish away time. We have this opportunity to get better as a team and improve.”

On how it helps to have Manasseh Garner on the field:

“He is a great person. He really understands the game. He is on top of his game and will be fun to play with.”

Linebacker Anthony Gonzalez

On how camp is going:

“Camp is going well. I am learning everyday and working hard. I am trying to get better at my new position.”

On whether his previous positions helped him with his new one:

“It does. I played quarterback so I have an idea of what the quarterback wants to do on offense. Knowing the other positions and what they are supposed to do helps me with technique and how to fit my blocks and drops.”

On what his goals are for camp:

“I want to keep the starting spot and go into the first game as a starter.”

On his thoughts about the upcoming season:

“I am excited. We are in the ACC now. It is better competition. We have to come out each week, be physical and play hard.”

Wide receiver Tyler Boyd

On his focus on competing for a spot:

“I knew nothing would be handed to me. I knew I had to come out here and work for everything that I want, so I come out here and push myself. Everyone else pushes me, the defense pushes me to go to my blocks and get off my rust. That has helped me get more opportunities to get in there.”

On the transition to being a full time receiver:

“Definitely running, I have to get my legs under me. I have to get more endurance to keep it going until the fourth quarter. Everyone’s telling me I’ve got to push it, because if it’s a tight game and we’re down three, we’ve got to score.”

On the detail of route running:

“You’ve got to stay in a certain window; you have certain steps to go to. Everything has to be exactly on point in order to be open where I need to be.”

On perfecting the routes:

“Even on my best routes I still have something to fix. Nothing that I’m doing is perfect. I’ve just got to keep working and working. I’m good, but I’ve got to be great.”

On if he expected to start from day one:

“Personally, I had expectations that I would get in, but not as soon as I did. You never know when your number is going to be called, so I just make sure that I am ready. I studied the plays from day one, so when they called my name I was ready.”

Running back James Conner

On how Isaac Bennett being out has affected him:

“I’ve been getting more reps, but everyone has been getting more reps while he’s out, until he gets back.”

On if he is gaining confidence as camp goes on:

“It’s hard, because I know our defensive line so well, so the big runs aren’t really happening right now. I know they’ll happen during game time, but right now I’m just paying attention to details and working to build my confidence up.”

On how much he has enjoyed his time in Pittsburgh:

“I’ve enjoyed the time a lot. College football is a different experience. There have been times that I have been like, ‘aw man, this is tough.’ Pitt’s a great squad. Coach Chryst and his staff, my teammates, they are all awesome. The class of ’17 I came with, they’re great. So I’m just going to continue to work hard. This is tough, but I love Pitt.”

On how camp has measured up to his expectations:

“It’s everything I expected. There’s really nothing to say, you’ve just got to go do it. I’m going through it right now. Eight days left, and we’ve got Florida State in eighteen days, so we’re just grinding.”

On if he’s mentally preparing himself to get reps early:

“Coach always tells me to be ready, so I know that the reps will come. I’ve just got to make them count so when I’m in there it’s my time to shine. I’ve just got to do what I’ve got to do.”

Defensive back Jahmahl Pardner

On the contributions to the defense from younger guys:

“I’ve been preparing myself a lot to get some reps, but until I’m able to truly contribute, I just have to keep practicing and preparing myself.”

On what he has been working on individually:

“I’ve just been getting back to playing football, because I’ve been off of this game for a year.”

On if the talented defense has helped his confidence:

“Absolutely. Guys like Lafayette Pitts and K’Waun and Jason Hendricks, you have confidence that they’re going to be there to help you, and you play harder because you want to play like them.”

On how he feels about the secondary not being talked about:

“We can be the best secondary in the country, but we have to win games. It all comes down to winning games, so I believe that as we pick it up and started getting more into it, I think we should be fine.”

On his individual goals:

“Right now it’s getting on the field and getting confidence back from my knee and just playing at a high level.”

Football Training Camp: What They're Saying: Aug. 14

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