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Aug 15, 2013

Pitt Football Training Camp – August 15

Pitt Training Camp Media Quote Sheet 

Quoting Head Coach Paul Chryst

Opening statement:

“It was fun today. We’ve just got to keep grinding. You get to a certain point in camp where you also want to start seeing some execution. There were some situational things with good execution and good learning. I think guys are putting themselves in the moments and learning the significance of it. It was a good day. We’re looking forward to getting back out there tonight. It’s the time of camp where you’ve just got to keep going and keep grinding away.”

On the experience level of the defense:

“There are a lot of guys there that have played. As a whole, I like the progress we’re making. We’ve just got to keep doing it. That’s the great thing about sports: you have to prove yourself every time. The guys are energized by that. We feel good with a lot of those guys and hold them to a high standard. But that doesn’t mean anything; they’ve still got to go do it.”

On his meeting with the team halfway through practice:

“I was just seeing how they were doing and touching base. It was a good little family meeting.”

On giving numerous players reps with the first team:

“There are a lot of things that go into that. You want to make sure, for a lack of a better term, that there’s a ‘pitch count’ for some guys. We like to see how guys respond in different situations. You put a linebacker in with the first unit and see how he fits in with that. It ends up being a competition at a lot of different places. Guys earn the right to be with the first unit, so that also takes place. As we finish these morning practices, we also like to get the younger guys a lot of reps. We like the way the young group is approaching things. They need to be able to make mistakes and then correct them. We’re trying to come up with a lot of different ways to help develop guys.”

On Bam Bradley:

“We hope he’s starting to realize his potential. Him and Nick [Grigsby] missed a little bit of time for their family. It’s good to get him back. I thought he was doing some good stuff early in training camp, and now he’s got to get back in the swing of things. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

On K’Waun Williams not practicing:

“He was just getting a physical break. There are a lot of corners we want to get some reps, so it was a good chance to give K’Waun a little bit of a breather while also giving some more opportunities to other guys.”

On whether he’s worried about Isaac Bennett’s injury:

“No. Certainly you worry about all of your injured players. You want them back and all that. But I’m not in control of that. He’s doing everything he can. He’s got to keep moving on. He’s doing a great job of learning, and when he comes back he’ll be ready to go.”

Defensive Coordinator Matt House

On counting on the veteran defensive players to continue to stand out this season:

“They’re going to provide some leadership on the field for the rest of them, no question. Jason Hendricks, K’Waun [Williams], obviously Aaron [Donald] and Shane Gordon, those types of guys need to step up and really educate the other guys. They need to set the bar in practice. If they’re flying around and if they’re giving great effort, they’re doing the right thing. Obviously we always want them to be right on everything, but at least if they’re practicing right, the young guys have no choice but to come along.”

On the state of Pitt’s defense almost two weeks into training camp:

“There’s still a lot of work to do. We’ve got a lot of situations that we still have yet to cover and we’ve got a long ways to go leveraging the ball and just continuing to grow. I think they’ve done a good job so far, but there does have to be a sense of urgency. [The season opener is] close now.”

On finding three players to fill out the Panthers’ starting linebacker unit:

“We still have to scrimmage, so we’ll see going forward. We’ve found more than three that we think can play. We just don’t necessarily know which three will start against Florida State yet.”

On how linebacker Bam Bradley elevated himself to the first team:

“We’re kind of rotating guys around and we wanted to see him out there for a little bit and see how he’d work with some of the other guys. I mean this when I say this, other than Shane [Gordon], there isn’t a true group [of starting linebackers.]”

On having high hopes for everyone coming together on defense:

“There’s a bunch of different roles. If we’re going to be good, it’s going to take more than 11 guys. I said that and I really believe that. It’s up to us to mix and match and we’ve still got a while to mix and match.”

On players that have stepped up and surprised the coaching staff in training camp:

“You probably don’t see them quite as much, but our guys up front are really working their tails off. We need them to keep grinding. That’s a group that I’ve been pleasantly surprised with, especially with how much depth there is.”

On whether or not linebacker Ejuan Price is more than just a situational player:

“I don’t know. We’ve got a couple weeks left. I do mean that sincerely. I think a lot of it depends on what the other guys do. Obviously if a guy like Shakir Soto and Ejuan are equally good at stopping the run, then we’ll have Shakir play some and Ejuan rush the ball. Those are some things that I think we’ve got to determine in the next couple of weeks.”

Defensive Ends/Linebackers Coach John Palermo

On assessing his defensive ends overall:

“We are getting better. We are making progress. We have guys that do certain things really well. Ejuan [Price] comes in and gives us a little different shake-and-bake off the edge. It is all relative to whom you play against right now. We have a lot of young tight ends right now. We should be doing a good job.  I think we are ok. We are solid right now.”

On the number of defensive ends he is rotating:

“Here is what I tell them. If you do what you are supposed to do, then I am going to rotate a bunch of guys. If you don’t do what you are supposed to, then you are going to stay in until your tongue is touching the ground. The bottom line is that we have guys that are trying to do what we ask them to do. It is more of a reward than anything else. How many guys are going to play? I couldn’t tell you right now. You would like to have five defensive ends and have five guys that you can trust to go into a game and do what they are supposed to do. That is the goal.”

On if Bryan Murphy and David Durham are still fighting for starting spots:

“I would tell you this right now, based on what they have done the last couple days, they are clearly the two starters with one exception. That exception is Ejuan [Price]. Ejuan could very well be a starter against Florida State if he scrimmages well.  I’ll be honest with you. If any of them don’t scrimmage well, they will wake up the next day as part of the second team.”

On who could possibly replace Bryan Murphy and David Durham:

“Shak [Shakir Soto] has been having a good camp. Q [LaQuentin Smith] is having a good camp. I think those two guys are having a good camp. As a said before, Ejuan [Price] has been doing a good job. We will find guys to play that won’t hurt us. I don’t know how good we are going to be. I hope we are really good.  I know this though. If they are on the field, they won’t hurt us.”

On how Ejuan Price is having a good camp:

“He has bought in to what we are trying to do. He started out as a second and long, third down guy at defensive end. He has worked himself up to possibly playing on first down. I am getting to the point of where I trust him.”

On how he is fitting in the staff:

“I am old school. Paul [Chryst] hired me to do a job with the defensive linemen. What I have to do is make sure that everything fits for what Matt House wants to do. That is my job and I’m trying to do just that. The fundamentals don’t change no matter what scheme you run. We are trying to get better fundamentally. If we do that we will be better football players.”

Running Back Malcolm Crockett

On what he did to get ready for the upcoming season:

“During the offseason I just tried to maintain. I’ve been around 205 for the past few years and I like that playing weight. My goal for the offseason was to get stronger and work on my lateral movement, work on ball security, and just work on things to get me better. I also want to focus on keeping my body healthy because when camp comes it’s a struggle sometimes but you have to keep fighting to get ready for the season.”

On how the competition on the team differs between this year and last year:

“The competition has been very high. Every year I keep fighting, keep working hard, keep studying and paying attention to details and try to do everything right. There is competition at every position and everybody wants to be a starter, so my goal is to keep working. Some days you get a lot of reps and some days you don’t get as many, so when that happens you just have to stay mentally strong and keep working.”

On if he gets frustrated with the fewer repetitions in practice:

“It can be frustrating sometimes. Most of the time you don’t want to let that affect you mentally. You have to stay focused on the next play and not worry about the negative stuff. Some days I might not get a lot of reps so I just have to focus on the reps I take and make sure I am doing everything right.”

On his thought process in preparing for the possibility of starting or having a greater impact on the team:

“It is very exciting. I have been patient and I have been working, so it is exciting to know that I can show my talents to everybody. Even if I don’t get that many carries, the carries I get I am going to take full advantage of.”

On his relationship with Isaac Bennett and how competing for the same position has affected them:

“Outside of football, Isaac [Bennett] and I are good friends. He’s funny, and we laugh and go out to places together. On the field, we just play. We just run the ball and do what we are supposed to do. We feed off of each other and make each other better and make everything a competition. I have known Isaac ever since I came here, so he and I are close. We are trying to get each other better and give each other tips and try to get the best out of each other.”

Running back Rachid Ibrahim:

On how he became a running back when he was recruited as a safety:

“There was still some talk about me playing running back when I came here, but I had committed as a defensive back, as a safety. When I came up here after the first week, Coach Rudolph and Coach Chryst told me they would like to bring me back on offense. I was good with whatever they wanted to do and I was open to playing both.”

On if he could have predicted getting such a good chance at playing when he was being recruited last year:

“Definitely not. Pitt didn’t offer me a scholarship until the fall. I didn’t talk to them all summer, and I just started talking to them at the beginning of my senior year. But I am definitely happy I am here and it is a great opportunity. The coaches are great and my teammates are great, so I am just looking to work hard and help the team out in any way that I can.”

On how playing running back at the college level will differ from the high school level:

“It is more detail oriented over here. You have to hit specific gaps and pay attention to your landmarks and where you have to go, who you have to break off of. In high school you just kind of play off athleticism, you got the ball and you did whatever you do. Here you have to pay attention to the line. You have to know what the line is doing; you have to know what the defense is doing. Those are some of the things you have to pick up, and Coach Rudolph is helping me with that.”

On what the biggest challenge is:

“I think the game speed is something I have adapted to now, but the first day of practice I could see how fast these guys were flying to ball. I think I have adapted to that. But staying in the playbook and getting your reads together are some of the bigger challenges. Coach Rudolph and the older guys definitely help us getting our reads and things like that.”

Linebacker Bam Bradley

On what it means to get good opportunities:

“This is all you ever want is an opportunity. You don’t ever want anything handed to you, you just work as hard as you can and when you get your opportunity you try to take advantage of it. “

On benefiting from redshirting:

“I feel like I have benefited from it. Last year I didn’t really understand it but now looking back, I think I benefitted from it because I got used to the game speed, the tempo, and learned more before I actually go out there on the field and play on Saturdays.”

On the biggest adjustment coming from high school:

“Even coming out of high school, being a highly recruited player, everybody in college was the best one on their team, so you just have to adjust to the speed and give it everything you’ve got every play.”

On being humbled as an underclassman and working hard:

“I’ve never been an arrogant kid, so I already knew I was going to work hard regardless. Whether it was Pitt, or the MAC, or somewhere in the ACC, it didn’t matter, I was going to have to work regardless, because it’s college and it’s a different level.”

On what he worked on most this offseason:

”I worked on my hands a lot. Being that I came in as a safety, I wasn’t used to dealing with linemen that much. I’m still not all the way used to it, but I had to work on using my hands a lot and being able to ricochet and take on blocks.”

On the transition from playing safety in high school to linebacker:

“It’s harder than I thought it would be because I played downhill a lot as a safety in high school. Playing linebacker is different when stuff is behind you. As a safety everything is in front of you, and you just see everything and you can read and react. But being a linebacker you have to turn around and look and read different things. It’s a big difference and I’m still getting used to it. I still mess up sometimes, but I just try to mess up going 100 miles per hour.”

Offensive lineman T.J. Clemmings

On how he’s handled the transition to offensive line:

“I feel pretty good. At this point for me, it’s about focusing on the little things and staying sharp, and trying not to make the same mistakes over and over again, so it’s going pretty good.”

On how far he has come from spring:

“I would say I’ve come a long way, but I still have long ways to go. From the spring to now, I feel like I’ve had a big improvement.”

On what he worked on most over summer:

“I really worked on knowing and understanding what I’m looking at so when I come out I can play fast. You can’t pay fast if you don’t know what is going on or what you are doing so that was my main focus.”

On his mind set coming into camp hoping for the right tackle spot:

“My mindset was to just to keep working. I just wanted to keep getting better and better at what I was doing, and taking all the coaching advice from my coach and letting things play out. I wanted to come into camp with the good foundation I built in the spring and keep building on that.”

On the starting position:

“I’m never going to feel like I’ve done enough. I want to keep improving more and more every day because there’s no job that is ever secure. I just want to stay humble and stay focused and do what I have to do.”

Football Training Camp: What They're Saying: August 15

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