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Meet the Press: Paul Chryst Previews the YSU Game




Aug. 27, 2012

Paul Chryst Press Conference
Youngstown State Game Preview

Opening Statements:

“Well certainly it’s pretty exciting and I know the players are excited and obviously as coaches we are excited that it’s game week. I thought we had a good fall camp and got a lot of things accomplished, yet there’s nothing like the start of a season. That’s one of the neat things, I think, about college football, that it transitions. Obviously, here we have a little more of a transition, but each year is a new year and this Saturday we get to start defining who we are as a team for this 2012 season.

“I like the way the guys have worked and I appreciate that and obviously we’re going up against, I think, a very good Youngstown State team. They’ve got seventeen returning starters, 10 of which are on offense. Last year, they beat the eventual champion of the FCS and watching last year and watching again this year we know how hard they played Michigan State. I think it’s a good team and it’ll be a good challenge for us and good opportunity to go play, so I’m certainly looking forward to it.”

On the status of senior running back Ray Graham:


 

 

“I think this was certainly the best week he’s had and he was able to do more things and gaining confidence is a big part of it. Don’t exactly know where (he is) and each day is different with how he’s responding and doing different things and how he responds to that. One thing we’ve talked about is we’re going to err and rather play him a day late than a day too soon. So we’ll just keep talking to Ray and see how he’s doing. Surely, I think we’re a better team with him, but I want to make sure we’re doing what’s best for him.”

On Ray Graham responding to the mental challenge of overcoming an injury:

“I think he has and we’ve talked to him and he came to me one day and he wasn’t feeling great going in to it and it warmed up for him. I think all of those things, he has to go through those first. The other day he felt like it and he kind of confirmed to me that he made a cut and he was thinking about it. Some of those instincts and you know it’s a process and we’ll try to make sure that we do what is best for him.”

On the progress freshman running back Rushel Shell made in camp in order to be listed as the number three running back on the initial depth chart:

“I thought this last week was a good week for Rushel. He missed some time in fall camp, but I thought last week he was able to move and did a lot more things, so we feel good about going forward with Rushel.”

On the status of senior wide receiver Mike Shanahan and junior wide receiver Devin Street and what he expects of them:

“Both Mike and Devin in the last couple of days have done a lot more and felt pretty good about it. I anticipate them being healthy and ready to go Saturday.”

On the status of junior defensive back K’Waun Williams:

“K’Waun, we’ll see on that one. He was able to do a few things yesterday and we’ll see how each day progresses for him and to make sure that nothing can be further injured, which right now I don’t believe that’s the case. He certainly is day-to-day.”

On how he feels the team emerged from camp in regards to overall health:

“Well we spent the first part of this (press conference) talking about all the injuries, but I think they came out pretty good. These last couple of days, having Saturday off and today, they’ve got off for football, so I think guys are starting to get a little better and we’re going to need everyone, so hopefully we can have everyone ready.”

On where he sets the bar for the team this season:

“I’ve never gotten into trying to predict that, you know we hope we keep improving as we play each game. I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about that.”

On the state of the defensive line:

“Similar to the offensive line, how can you get your best players on the field? We certainly think a lot of Aaron Donald, and K.K. (Mosley-Smith) finished up the spring on a positive note and before he got hurt he was doing good things and we thought this might be something. Really the combination and the emergence of Jack Lippert brought another guy that should be playing. And then with Ty (Ezell), he’s more natural inside, and we just want our best players on the field and I think we have that now.”

On what redshirt freshman linebacker Nicholas Grigsby has shown to earn his spot at the top of the depth chart:

“He has a lot of mobility and is getting more comfortable with it and he finished the spring as the number one Will linebacker and I thought that he had a good fall camp. He’s young, so I think he’s learning a lot of things and learning the defense, but I think he’s a talented individual and hopefully he continues to develop.”

On why he doesn’t preach overarching goals to his team and focuses on individual improvement:

“Well we talk a lot about controlling the controllables. I think a lot of those things (achieving championship goals) are by-products from doing your job and focusing on the things that we can control and those things will be a by-product of that. It’s not to say that those aren’t things you hope are residual awards or rewards or effects of doing your job and focusing on things we can control. I think that’s the best way of accomplishing your goals — to focus on the process and not the results. A lot of people want that, we all want that, but we’ve got to do a lot of things to put ourselves in that position so we’ll focus a lot on the things we can control.”

On if they’ll have to spend extra time working on the passing offense due to the practice time that Devin Street and Mike Shanahan missed:

“I think we’re fortunate that specifically with Devin and Mike, they’ve played a lot of football and they’ve got good football IQ. So you don’t necessarily need to have a thousand reps of each route for them to understand and feel comfortable and develop timing with Tino. Would we like to have had them for every practice? Absolutely, there is value to camp and that’s why we do it. You also have to balance it out because everyone needs work preparing for Youngstown State. We need to make sure we don’t over-compensate one area. But probably one part of that is how comfortable you are with them as players.”

On how it will feel being out there in his first game as head coach:

“You certainly try to think through and cover everything that will come up, but to sit there and truthfully tell you the answer, I don’t know. I’ve felt all along that even though this is my first go-around at it, I have a lot of experience and I think the big thing is, game day still is and always will be about the players and ‘Are we doing everything we can to prepare them?’ Then in the course of the game are we doing everything we are supposed to do and are we putting them in a position to have success? You try to think through every scenario, but until you go through it I don’t know if I can really answer that.”

On how he makes his system fit with his players:

“You try to have a system that does that, play into those guys. Every year you have different guys and that’s one of the great things about college football, guys are going to graduate and you’re going to bring new guys in and you’re going to develop them. Your systems have to be flexible enough to play to the strengths of those players. There are some core philosophies, special teams, defensively and offensively that you want to keep, but then I think it’s your job as a coach to play to the strengths of your players. Probably trying to strike a balance is the best way to put it. You need a foundation that can be built on and then new guys coming in that can learn. You don’t want every year to be a different year and all new learning. I think it’s really important to adjust to the strengths of your players and understanding their weaknesses and how you can improve or develop those so it’s not a weakness.”

On the progress of quarterback Tino Sunseri in a new system:

“I think Tino has done a good job. There were some growing pains, as you would expect, in the spring. I’ve certainly seen some improvement and development in his comfort in what we’re trying to do offensively and I think there will continue to be that. And you hope there is, we both do. We just keep continuing to grow and improve as players. I appreciate how Tino has gone about it.”

On the possibility of a redshirt for Chad Voytik depending on the health of the quarterbacks:

“Yeah, I think that because we don’t have a lot of quarterbacks, Chad (Voytik) has been able to get a lot of work. So you want to keep him developing. And yet right now we feel really good with where Tino’s at and Trey has really improved. So we just have to keep taking it as it comes and try to make sure – we’ll never put any player in that isn’t ready for it. I like the way Chad has progressed and so we just have to keep that going and we’ll see what happens.”

On Tino Sunseri’s strengths:

“Certainly Tino has played in a lot of football games. He’s got to be able to rely on that. I know he’s had different systems he’s been in but a lot of it’s still football. So we have to make sure that he’s freed up to feel comfortable in the things that he’s learned and the knowledge he’s gained and also communicate and make sure he understands what we’re trying to accomplish with certain things. I think (quarterbacks coach Brooks Bollinger) has done a great job working with him. We just have to get off to a good start and then keep improving.”

On what facets of Tino Sunseri’s game stand out:

“I think there’s more than one and that’s why he’s going to be our starter. Just mechanics and taking the play and communicating it. He reads defenses well. I think he’s talented enough in arm strength. He has enough mobility. There’s a lot of things that anybody that’s a starting quarterback at the college level has got a lot of physical talents and obviously a lot of other things that enable them to be in that position.”

On why FCS teams are sometimes able to pull upsets over FBS teams:

“Any game – that’s why they play them – anybody’s capable of beating anybody. When you look back you see they are a team who are well coached and they have good players. I don’t care which one you go back to, you’re going to see there’s some guys who are pretty good players and they’re well coached. Things went their way and they didn’t beat themselves. They made some breaks happen. That’s the game of football. To think anything less of any opponent or going into any game is really foolish. I think that’s what makes this year kind of exciting.”

On whether or not it’s difficult to make sure the players don’t overlook an opponent:

“You hope not. You hope that they respect the game and respect the opponent. I’m still trying to figure out what all these kids are thinking at this age. But I’d be really disappointed if our guys didn’t see on tape – that’s the great thing is we have tape on Youngstown and you can see them doing good things and you can see them making plays.”

On former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson being named the starter of the Seattle Seahawks:

“Certainly I’m really happy for him. That’s just the beginning. Now he has the opportunity to go prove himself. All of the great ones I’ve been around have that desire to keep improving and never rest. I don’t anticipate him doing anything but grinding it out. I’m certainly happy with what happened and wishing him well that he keeps improving.”

On veteran experience being a key factor for FCS teams when they beat FBS opponents:

“I think so. It’s no different than why we all love March Madness, the tournament. You’ve got experienced teams and good players. They know the game and understand the game. Any time you have upperclassmen playing, especially experienced upperclassmen playing, it’s helpful.”

 

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