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Meet the Press: Paul Chryst Previews Virginia Tech




Sept. 10, 2012

Coach Paul Chryst Press Conference
Virginia Tech Game Preview
September 10, 2012 

Opening Statement:

“Obviously I wish I was standing up here today with a different record. I thought there were some signs in the Cincinnati game where we’re getting better and growing. Certainly plenty of things we have to improve upon. Quite honestly, that part of the process is fun and enjoyable. Guys are working at it and I thought we had a great practice yesterday. I like this team and the way they’re going about it. Our job is to help them continue to grow. What a great opportunity we have this week. Not just a good Virginia Tech team this year but you talk about in college football one of the measuring sticks program-wise. Our kids realize that and I think they look forward to the challenge. Every challenge presents a great opportunity. I liked how players responded after the game and on Friday after looking at the tape. I thought we had a great practice yesterday and got a lot of guys around already today and I look forward to working this week with them.”

On what different things they might try to get more pressure on the quarterback:

“One way is adding numbers to create pressure. Right now, it’s kind of neat that each week each team presents a little bit different challenge and you want to make sure you’re being smart with how you approach it. Certainly we pressured more in the Cincinnati game than we did the week before. We’re certainly looking at all different options and figuring out what’s best for Virginia Tech.”


 

 

On what could have been done differently by the coaches against Cincinnati:

“I thought that what sticks out in my mind is the drive at the end of the first half. I like the way the guys responded in that situation. I’ve got to approach it differently, I believe, with the group we have. That’s just one example. I think that’s one thing that’s been nice about playing on Thursday. We had Friday and we had Saturday to kind of look at it. It’s energizing because the players are doing the same thing. You get a little bit of a chance to breathe and say, ‘Okay, what are we doing well that we can build on and certainly what areas can we improve?’”

On what he would have done differently at the end of the first half:

“Well right now, I would have kicked it with five seconds left, not put us in position where we don’t get another play off. I knew that we had another timeout and wanted to make sure we had a chance for points. And with the ten-second run off, should there be a penalty, you really do have it in your hip pocket. I thought there were a couple plays that we took a little longer. Getting the play in and getting the play communicated to the players caused us to burn two timeouts early. Shoot, if I had known on the last play we wouldn’t have a chance to kick the field goal, I would’ve kicked it sooner.”

On why he saved the timeout:

“You’re doing it to be able to attack the whole field. When it gets pretty close and you’ve now got chances to get the ball in to the end zone, then I don’t think you need the timeout as much for stoppage of the clock as it is kind of an insurance policy. If someone’s helmet comes off or we jump offside, anything like that, then we would have the ability to buy out of the 10-second runoff.”

On Jarred Holley and Jason Hendricks being the starting tandem at safety:

“We believed this going in and still believe this, that we have four good safeties and that’s one of the positions where we have legitimate depth. Jarred is an extremely smart player who made plays. Jason is playing well.

“The thing that’s impressive to me is Ray (Vinopal) and Tags (Andrew Taglianetti) jumping in and truly being multi-faceted guys on our special teams. I think that’s a group where you have four talented players and you’ve got to make sure they’re playing a lot for this team.”

On how Ray Graham has been holding up coming back from his knee injury:

“He certainly got more work against Cincinnati. I think he’s kind of been encouraged by it and you’d have to ask him about it because I don’t want to speak for him. In my conversations with him it felt like he was a little bit more comfortable with it in the Cincinnati game. We’ll see how this week goes with practice as far as if it’s taking a toll, but I think it’s energizing him and we’re one more week in to the process.”

On the protection issues on offense:

“It’s going to be a premium this week. We have to make sure everyone is squared away. Everyone is responsible for those sacks. Certainly, the O-line, you have five guys and their job on a pass is to protect. We’ve got backs, where we gave up one where we had both backs in there and both could have taken a hit off of the quarterback after the line did a pretty decent job on it. The quarterback has to get the ball out of his hands. Getting the ball out of his hands means the receivers have to be precise on the routes. That’s one of the neat things about football is that it takes all 11 guys and that’s a great example of it. We all know that certain areas are lightning rods and everyone can take ownership of it. That’s the great thing about football.”

On if certain players are going to get more prominent time against Virginia Tech:

“Guys getting prominent roles depends on guys earning it. I think we have some guys where ‘can you do it over a length of time’ — performing consistently. I don’t know if there are a lot of guys right now that I’d say aren’t getting their opportunities that should be getting their opportunities. I think each game is unique and at running back, if one back is running well it’s going to affect other backs. Same thing with receivers. Right now I don’t know if there is any guy where we need to get them going.”

On the play of freshman running back Rushel Shell:

“I thought he came in and gave us good energy and ran hard. I think he got eight carries and certainly the way the second half and the game dictated we didn’t get as many rushing attempts as we would have liked. I thought Isaac (Bennett) did some good things when he had some opportunities. Ray (Graham), Isaac, and Rushel, I think there are areas where they certainly can get better and things on film where they can get better. That’s called a season. They’ve got to build on what we did well and everyone’s got areas where they can do better.”

On trying to help the running backs grow as a group:

“Their roles are you’ve got to run the ball, you’ve got to be able to protect and be a factor in the passing game as a receiver. Every one of those guys did some good things and yet they can continue to get better. That’s how it’ll always be and there will always be room for growth. The thing that I like about that group is I think they’re pretty talented players. You can set a pretty high bar and they should be able to meet that. I think as great of expectations that we have of them as coaches, theirs are equal if not higher. It’s a good group to work with and you appreciate that and they’re willing to work and that’s all you can ask as a coach.”

On Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas:

“Obviously a very impressive athlete, but I think he’s a very impressive quarterback. There’s no way we can mimic it. We don’t have a guy on our scout team that is that size and plays quarterback. We’ll do our best in preparing for it, but he certainly is a gifted and talented quarterback.”

On Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer:

“When I was a graduate assistant we played down there and I had a chance this spring (at ACC meetings) to meet him and just visit briefly. My brother coached a tight end in Carolina who played for Coach Beamer, so I probably heard more from other players than myself and my interaction with Coach Beamer. My other brother was in the conference and certainly every person you talk to thinks the world of him and has the ultimate respect for him as a football coach and as a person. You look at what he’s done and the program truly is one of those measuring sticks in college football.”

On if they look at this game as a preview to what is to come once Pitt moves to the ACC:

“The great thing about football and teams is you focus on the season, but you’re really focusing on the week and probably more specifically on the day. All the teams and different places I’ve been, that’s the beauty of it. Our players turn the page pretty quick on things and you have to in sports. You’ve got to learn from what had happened and when playing the game you’ve got to learn from the last play, but turn the page to the next page. As far as thinking anything past this week, I don’t think our players do. Only thing that matters is what they do and who they are. It presents a great opportunity for this week. I was asked if it was a measuring stick for the future. It’s a measuring stick for right now. All that really matters is the now.”

On preparing for Virginia Tech on special teams:

“Anytime you have a combination of good players executing good sound schemes that’s a good recipe for success. We’ve spent a lot of time on special teams as well because that’s important to us. I think it’s like that this week because it’s one area where it’s a great challenge and every challenge presents an opportunity. I think why they’ve had success in the past is they’ve had good players, good schemes and they execute.”

On Tino Sunseri’s play against Cincinnati:

“Some of his decision making and what he saw was pretty good. He saw some different things and I think there is continued growth in that. There are still some areas with the receivers and him that we’ve got to get better at as far as timing and anticipation of things. Every game there’s situations that come up that we have to continue to learn from as a group. Not just Tino, but as a group. We have to be more efficient in situations. We’ve got to find ways to finish drives. Turnovers in the red zone, those will kill you. They’ll keep you from having a chance to have success big-picture wise. There are areas where we have to improve and it doesn’t all fall on Tino by any means, but I think there are some areas he can grow and some areas he’s doing really well and can build on.”

On the improvement from week one to week two:

“I thought we played with better energy overall. I thought we were more physical, I thought there were times we put some drives together on offense. A couple times we put together good stops defensively. Guys are getting better and a little more comfortable with what we’re doing. How that goes from game two to three, I certainly don’t know. I think this group still needs to keep making those types of jumps. That’s got to be the goal and certainly what we have to get out of them, to keep improving. I think this group is very capable of continuing to improve.”

On handling a lot of inexperience:

“Best thing is trying to prepare them. There is no substitute for game experience. Now guys have gotten a taste for that. Some things I think are easier in games than in practice. Did we mimic it in practice? Did we get a good picture from film or from the scout team? Those are things where you continue to learn how each individual prepares. Try to prepare them the best you can and guys need to take ownership of that. Each guy learns a lesson. In the film I watched that week, was I doing the right things and did that carry over and help me? We can help them with all that and yet you have to go out and there’s nothing like true game experience.”

On keeping the players spirits up:

“This group cares. You just focus on things you can control. You have to point out tangible areas where if you do this you can get better. The process takes care of that. If someone cares, if it’s important to them and they’re willing to work, there will be growth. I see that with a lot of guys. Right now, I don’t feel like it’s a team in fragile state of mind. Would we have liked to have won our first two games? Yes, but it didn’t happen and we have a great opportunity this week. I appreciate the guys diving in and focusing on just that, getting ready to play a very good Virginia Tech team.”

 

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