Oct. 1, 2012
Coach Paul Chryst Press Conference
Syracuse Game Preview
October 1, 2012
"It's good to be getting ready for game week. I thought we had a good bye week, the guys worked on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Yesterday we started our Syracuse prep and in my opinion we're getting ready to play a good Syracuse team. Offensively, it starts with their quarterback. I've been impressed with what he does and I've seen him on film. They've got good receivers and also maintain a good balance in putting up good numbers. Defensively, they play extremely hard; they fly around and are physical. They show you a lot of different looks and pressure so we have to be on top of our game. Hopefully special teams make a play that can sway it your way. It's exciting to be back at work and getting back in to the routine of a game week."
On what the team tried to accomplish over their open week:
"We tried to get better individually. So, each coach went through with each guy on one phase. There were some things in the units that we wanted to get better at and I think, too, trying to stay sharp in a competition. Doing some `good against good' and trying to maintain playing and adjusting, so that we don't have a big adjustment to the speed of the game."
On if the college game has changed over the last 10 years, especially offensively and scoring production:
"It's changed. If you looked at it offensively and defensively, the film would look different than 10 years ago. The spread has had an impact. Defensively there are probably a lot more pressures. Better athletes? I don't know if that's accurate."
On what he expects out of the match-up with Syracuse:
"Looking at their record -- a lot of us want different records -- but they're a good football team. It's not one of those where you have to manufacture and sell to your team, you just put the tape on. Our guys know about them and I think they are well coached and have good players and we've got to play well Friday night."
On if you can keep momentum going in an open week:
"I don't think you necessarily can or try to. The bye came at a time where you say `Alright, it's an opportunity to get better.' It wasn't all perfect the last two games, so I hope we're getting better and not just trying to ride that wave. I think each week, each game, is its own opportunity and you have to rise up for that. Not trying to hold on to something, but we certainly need to come out and hopefully play better than we have previously."
On if Syracuse's passing stats are a product of the game plan or that they've been trailing in some of their games:
"It would be different certainly in the fourth quarter but I also think that's their direction and it looks pretty natural. I imagine they're saying, `Who is our best player?' And it's a pretty good plan -- find their best player and put it in his hands. Really in the throw game more than in the run game, and they've got a guy who can make good decisions. I think it's probably more who they are than necessarily the circumstances of the game. Certainly, if it's a close game and you're trying to work the clock you get more rush attempts but I think the fact that they are pretty balanced, shows that they're good at both."
On Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib's biggest strengths:
"He shows pretty good anticipation which helps show defensively what they're going to do. He's confident in what he's doing and where he wants to go with the ball. He shows toughness to me and even in the end of the game situations, there is some confidence. I think he likes those situations to be honest with you. He has a lot of qualities that from afar you admire."
On if the history of the Syracuse rivalry is evident to the current players:
"Not sure if it means more to older generations, with lengths of rivalries and that. They know what they lived last year and know what's happening this year. They certainly have enough of an understanding that Syracuse is a traditional program. I know how the game went last year and how it finished and there's a team that is tough and is going to play. There is a lot of respect in our room for Syracuse. How it matches up in the grand scale of rivalries? I don't think it really matters to this group or this generation of kids, not just this team."
On how pressure on the quarterback can impact a game:
"My belief with pressure is if you can't handle it you'll continue to keep seeing it. Some pressures, not all, but some pressure schemes have the greater-risk, greater-reward type of deal."
On if there is any special preparation they'll do for playing in the Carrier Dome:
"Some of the same stuff that we do for any road game. I think there is a fine line that you want to make guys aware of their anticipated surroundings but you also need to make sure you don't spend so much time focusing on something that is kind of a peripheral deal. I've been fortunate to play there before and know that the crowd noise can be real and you have to address that. Nowadays at any stadium you have to respect that. You've just got to go play and adjust to whatever comes your way."
On how you handle different needs for different players during a bye week:
"How can we get better as a team, that's the goal. For some guys we can get better by making sure they're healthy. Some guys can get better because they need a dozen more reps on pulling or we need to tackle better. Absolutely though, for some guys the best way they can get better and help us get better as a team is making sure they're as healthy as can be."
"Certainly if we can get them involved that's important and that helps. Whether it's third down and they're getting a chance to move the chains, both vets have some key first downs and can take some pressure off the running game, so you can continue to run. I think they're two guys that should be making plays. They're both talented and have both played in a lot of games. For us to be as good as we can be they have to be big contributors. You're glad when it happens and appreciate what they've been doing, but also expect that out of them."
On having an open door policy with his players:
"It's who we are. I think that is important and I think not just myself, but the people we've got working in this building, that's why we're appreciative of being here. We've got a pretty good job and players have always been the number one thing that has given me energy. That's what our job description is, to work with players and help them get better, so I think it's important for them to know who you are and allow us to better know who they are. That's just part of the relationships in what I consider is a `relationship business.'"
On if the game plan will be more pass or run oriented against Syracuse:
"Important as you plan for a week that you can't put it all on one or the other. You play the game and you get a feel for it. It's our job to make sure we have a good plan of run the ball and have enough on there that if you can run every down, run it. It's all on the situation and I think the same with the throw game. You have to see how they play you and I don't think you necessarily just dictate this is what we're going to do, regardless of what you're seeing defensively. We certainly always go in to games wanting to be balanced and then you also just have to play with what's working and kind of counteract how they're trying to defend you. Don't just go in saying we're going to run the ball or that we're going to throw it."
Pitt Football Positional Preview: Special Teams
Pitt's Conner Named to Walter Camp Award Watch List
Pitt Football Positional Preview: The Defense
Pitt's Conner Named Preseason Doak Walker Award Candidate
Three Pitt players named Wuerffel Trophy candidates
Pitt's Bisnowaty Named to Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List