Sept. 21, 2009
"Moving on from the Navy game, the tape really revealed what we talked about after the game. Defensively our guys were, for the most part, where they were supposed to be and they really played with a high level of energy for the entire football game. I think that was the best thing about that game. You knew they were going to come and that they were going to test you and that it was going to be a 60-minute, four-quarter ballgame, regardless of who was winning and who was losing. I really liked that. I thought our guys responded, particularly our defense. I thought we looked fast, faster against Navy than what we looked the first two games for whatever reason. Offensively, we were efficient. We left a few things on the field. We had a couple of drops, a couple of blocking assignments that we need to clean up. Overall, I thought that Bill Stull played well. We made enough plays to score enough points to win. This week will be a test. If you look at our schedule, we've taken a step up from a competition standpoint every week. From Youngstown State, to Buffalo, to Navy, and now we're heading down to play an ACC team. They're a very good football team. They've got a lot of talent. We're playing on the road and it's going to be a full house. So, this will be another challenge in a different way that our football team needs to meet. We'll find out what type of team we have. When you look at N.C. State, their defensive line looks very similar to ours. Those four guys they have up front are playmakers, they can all run and they're athletic. Their defense is very similar to ours. They have good linebackers that can run and make plays and good secondary players. On offense, it is about the quarterback. Russell Wilson just set an NCAA record for most passes without an interception. If you watch his release closely, you can see where the baseball carry over shows up with how he throws the football. The ball probably comes out as quick as any quarterback that we have played against in the last couple years. In talking to (offensive coordinator) Frank Cignetti, who had a chance to visit with him when he came out of high school, he's a very intelligent kid. He's a smart guy who understands the game. He's athletic. All those things show up on tape. We have a big challenge ahead of us. It's the biggest one of the year so far. We need to have a good week of practice and our players need to come in here and focus like we have the last couple of weeks."
On Russell Wilson breaking the NCAA record for most passes without an interception:
"That tells you a couple things. He understands what wins and loses football games. Their tight end right now is their leading receiver. Their running back is their fourth leading receiver. That tells you that he'll take the shots down the field, but he will also take what the defense gives him. He makes good decisions. When the ball comes out, it comes out fast. He's got a very, very quick release and you have to look at his athletic ability. He hasn't scrambled as much this year as he did last year, for whatever reason, but he has that capability."
On linebacker Adam Gunn's status:
"Adam Gunn was a lot better yesterday. I think the time off helped him. It was probably the right thing to do. We'll just take it one day at a time. I really am not prepared right now to say if Adam's going to play, and if Adam's going to start, how much Dan Mason will play. We're just going to go out tomorrow and see how Adam is and take it day by day. I think the positive is that Adam is getting healthy. He will be back. Another positive is that Dan Mason now has a game under his belt. With these freshmen you really never know how they are going to respond when they're in a game and it's meaningful. Some guys look good in practice and they have all the answers on the board in the meeting room, but when it actually happens they're not ready. This guy's ready. You've been following us all through training camp. Nothing happened Saturday on the field that hasn't happened in every scrimmage that we've had and in every practice. He's a leader and he's got a lot of ability."
On if Dan Mason will get time at the outside linebacker position:
"Right now nothing's changing. Max Gruder and Greg Williams are the starters outside. We'll see where Adam Gunn's health is and how that plays out. Max Gruder and Greg Williams both are playing pretty well too. Max played his best ball game against Navy. He's going back home to North Carolina, so this is an important game for him. It's exciting."
On Jonathan Baldwin having an increased role against Navy:
"We have a lot of plays where he is primary, the first or second read. How the coverage unfolds determines whether he gets the throw or not. We know that we have to find ways to continue to get Jonathan Baldwin the football, because of what he did Saturday. If it's close, he's got a chance to come down with it. That was a good, positive game for him from a growing standpoint and a learning standpoint. Now, he'll take the next step. We're starting to do more things with him. You can see some of the different routes. Last year, it was more take-offs on the outside, the deep balls. Now we're running him on some shallow crossing routes, on some deep things and some little screens. So, we're trying to get him involved with the passing game more, but yet we don't want to get ahead of ourselves."
On Jonathan Baldwin being the focus of coverage's:
"Even when we threw that deep ball to him, he was covered. They're always going to know where he is. A lot of the time, he's going to have two guys on him. So, some of the throws that do open up are going to give other players opportunities. That's what happens. That's part of the deal when they respect you."
On Bill Stull looking sharp:
"He should have been 20-of-24 on the day. I say that conservatively, as far as just catching the football. Bill, we'll find out this week as far as taking another step. These guys (N.C. State), as I mentioned, are very similar to us from a pressure standpoint. Our offensive line has done a great job. I think we've given up one sack in three games. Everybody was covered, so that was a good decision. The thing I like that he's doing is making smart decisions. At one point he was out of the pocket, didn't like what he saw and threw it out of the back of the end zone. Two of the passes he completed in the Buffalo game, he hit Dion Lewis, the check down. He's making quicker decisions. He's not holding on to the ball, a lot by offensive design, but I think a lot by Bill understanding that we can't stand back there and hold the ball forever. We can't force throws. We've got to make good, quick decisions. We've got enough playmakers and I think he understands that too, that you don't always have to get the ball to Dorin Dickerson or Jonathan Baldwin. Nate Byham will make plays, Oderick Turner will make plays. I think that once he really started getting comfortable with that, it helped him also."
On if teams take away Pitt's run game:
"Navy did a nice job of defending our run game, but we knew that. We've just got to be efficient throwing the ball when that happens. I think most teams start with the run."
On N.C. State's freshmen DB starters:
"I did not know that they were freshmen until I saw the depth chart, because they don't play that way. I think they are probably two guys that are like Andrew Taglianetti. Guys that have been around. Guys that have enough experience. They're not overly, overly complicated. They do a nice job, and I say that in a positive way. Defensively, they give their kids a chance to play, very similarly to what we do. We're not going to outsmart ourselves. I think they can play those younger kids and those kids can be effective because of how they use them."
On how Tino Sunseri will be utilized:
"That will be a game-to-game scenario, very similar to how we put Ray Graham into the game. Then he scored. Even if Ray Graham gets three plays, or Tino gets three plays, you'd like for all these kids to get more, but obviously that's not realistic. I think any time they have to go out with the crowds, the lights, the action and make some decisions and play it helps with their maturity level. We're trying to do it the right way and get these kids a little bit of playing time. But at the same time, we aren't going to jeopardize anything or put them in a bad situation that hurts the team. That's a tough, tough deal. I'd rather not be doing that, but quite honestly it's what you have to do."
On Dion Lewis' patience with the ball:
"I think we only had two negative plays on Saturday. Dion is more of a downhill runner. LeSean (McCoy) was more of a make you miss in the hole, bounce, and try to find the soft spot guy. Ray Graham is probably similar to what LeSean was with his style. Dion is more like LaRod Stephens-Howling, more downhill."
On the five 15-yard penalties:
"On their two scores, we had a 15-yard penalty in each drive. That's ridiculous. We stop them on a punt and we rough the punter and give them a first down. There's a fine line when you're being aggressive. If we make bad decisions this week, and it takes us out of field goal range, we could lose the game. They were addressed in the team meeting. Some of the pass interference penalties are always going to be questionable. The roughing the punter was legitimate. Jason's (Pinkston) personal foul was legitimate. Gus Mustakas did grab the facemask. It was an accident, but it was a penalty and it kept the drive alive. As the competition gets tougher and the games become more important, and you get into the fourth quarter and you commit a penalty it's a matter of winning and losing football games."
On Elijah Fields' performance Saturday:
"It was a great game for Dan Mason to start off with. You really aren't worried with much play action pass. But Navy is a very difficult game for your safeties. You don't want to be a safety and defending that offense. We need you to stop the run. We need you to defend the pitch. We also need you not to get run by for a touchdown. That's a very difficult assignment and I thought Elijah played very well. He did a great job."
On if a particular defensive unit is under the microscope this week against this type of quarterback:
"He's going to get the ball out. He's going to make his throws. I think we need to tackle well in the open field. He's going to make throws. They've got big receivers. We're going to have to do a good job of pressuring him and when the ball is thrown across, we've got to make good open field tackles."
On whether not being ranked is an issue:
"We're comfortable just doing what we're doing. We're just trying to win one more game and keep moving. The polls at this point mean nothing. It hasn't been a conversation in this building and it really won't be. We're three games into it."
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