Oct. 8, 2012
Coach Paul Chryst Press Conference
Louisville Game Preview
"Today, I don't feel a lot different than I did after the game as far as the performance and looking back on it. I think when we watch the tape, certainly we felt like during the game I thought guys were in to it, they put themselves out there and yet we've got to eliminate the margin between winning and losing. Those are the things we've got to correct and guys have seen it on film. I like this group, the way they accept responsibility, take ownership of it. We've just got to improve, find ways to win close games. Certainly, just like I felt Friday night, give Syracuse credit and give a lot of our guys credit. To win games you've got to do certain things, or you can't do certain things, and we've got to find a way to get over the hump on that. With all that being said I'm really excited about this week and I think the players are excited. We have a really good ranked team coming in and I think they're obviously undefeated and have good players and are well coached. I think they're certainly balanced on offense. I think Bridgewater is a heck of a quarterback. They've got two running backs, almost identical numbers, and have a lot of players, a lot of guys that have scored, and a lot of guys that have got receptions. They're a balanced team and defensively they do a very good job against the run. They've got two safeties that are really good football players. It'll be a challenge and I really think with every challenge it means there is an opportunity. Hopefully our players are going to have a good week and we'll be ready for Saturday."
On if he can still view the Syracuse game as a success because the team put themselves in position to win:
"I think you can always build on things and that game was no different. Defensively, we gave up an early score, but then I thought the coaches made some good adjustments, but that doesn't mean anything if the players don't grasp them, but I think they did. Lafayette (Pitts) made some big plays and defensively they did some great things. Loved the way they played, yet I've talked to the team that no one person is responsible for a loss or no one unit is responsible for the loss. Everyone could have done something else that maybe says you know what, you win it. That's the great thing about playing on a team. There are certainly things that every guy that played in the game can build on some things and I think clearly where we have to grow and eliminate some mistakes."
On Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater:
"I think he's talented first of all. As a thrower, he's very efficient. He's in the 70s as far as completion percentage. I think he's tough and can hurt you in a couple different ways. It sure seems like he has command of the offense. I think a quarterback that is talented, looks like he plays with confidence and knows his players around him, that makes for a pretty good combination."
On if the team will draw upon the underdog experience they faced when they beat Virginia Tech earlier this season:
"I think you draw on it only in that you draw on all your past experiences. We need to keep growing, if all we do is keep going back further than one week, and then we're not growing. There are lessons to be learned, I believe, in every game. Certainly I didn't sense this with our group but I don't think anyone will be intimidated by the fact that a ranked team is coming in. I would hope that we'd continue to draw on all our past experiences and not just focus on Virginia Tech."
On the status of running back Rushel Shell:
"He was limited a little bit in practice (last week) and hopefully we get to where he's completely healthy and has a good week of practice. I think that he's a back, a player that's capable of making a pretty big impact and we'd like to have as many guys at full strength as we can. I think he got better at the end of the week, so hopefully he'll have a good week of practice and we'd sure like to get him more than one carry."
On if availability to practice usually correlates with availability for the game:
"Yeah...it is (based on) individual (situations). What is the injury? What is the scheme? What are we asking them to do? You truly do handle injuries on an individual case by case basis and certainly you want to make sure that they're full speed and ready to go."
On how it felt to get linebacker Todd Thomas back from injury:
"It was good to have Todd who also played on some special teams. You can see he certainly is a physical player and has experience. It was also good for him because he needed to get some snaps and he needed to play. I think he knocked off some rust and hopefully we continue to see some jumps. I think he mixed it up enough that hopefully he gained some confidence. We talked a lot about it with Ray (Graham) earlier, where he's coming off a significant injury to where he can now trust his knee so he should be able to continue to develop and gain confidence and get him back and I think he's a guy that can really make an impact for us."
On how he views the play call near the end of the game where Pitt was penalized for intentional grounding. Would he change it?:
"First of all, it was a run action pass. I don't feel good about it right now at all. We didn't have a complete understanding, we didn't execute. Certainly we were in good field position and then enough things happened that now instead of being on the 17 we were on the 32. That being said we had opportunities. That was first down, so we had two more downs and we gave up the sack on second and third down. I'd like to say right now that I wish we had run it three times, but I don't second-guess the call. If you knew then what you know now, then yeah I think I'd quarterback sneak it three times. It was just bad execution, which goes on us as coaches that they weren't able to execute versus what they did. It's on all of us."
On why he didn't call for a more conservative play to settle for a field goal:
"I've been in some similar situations where you're in an overtime where a field goal puts you in to another overtime and a touchdown gives you a win. There's no guarantee that if we score a touchdown, that we win that game, but it does keep a field goal from winning it for them. To me in that situation you have to be smart and still aggressive in the sense that you're still trying to win the game and yet preserve the opportunity to get the lead. We actually worked on a similar situation that week, over the bye week, so that's how I think you approach that. There was enough time on the clock where we were going to give them pretty healthy time of possession left. I thought we were playing really well on defense, so I didn't feel a field goal was conceding anything, but at the same time I have enough respect for them offensively that we didn't want to just play for the field goal. We wanted to try to make it so that a field goal didn't win it for them."
On sticking to the run game even as it struggled:
"You have to be smart and can't be stubborn but I thought we had some of our cleaner runs in the fourth quarter. It was still a close enough game. Certainly it's your philosophy but I think it also depends on what is happening around you. How many possessions are you up or down? What are the problems when the running game is not hitting and why is it not hitting? Is it schematically? Is it numbers? Is it a guy missing his block? Or is it I think we can get it, but the backs aren't seeing it? There's a lot of things that go in to it. Mostly though is the point of the game and the score as much as anything."
On if Syracuse was stacking the box in anticipation of the run:
"Not overall. The first play of the game it was a heavy box. In general, I wouldn't say it was flat out we're going to put an extra hat in there. They didn't do anything we hadn't seen or weren't prepared for. That I don't think was the reason for some of our struggles."
On how they could've better prepared for the cornerback blitz:
"You have to build it in to your rules. We had someone not see it and I think that certainly you look at it and say `Did we practice it? Did we teach it?' Or in this situation with a team that has shown ability to bring someone off the edge there, do you call something different. Truthfully, all things you have to look at. Something like that is not purely on players and it's not just on the coaches. We didn't handle it so we've got to keep working on it together and have to handle it."
On how the younger offensive linemen are progressing:
"I think they're getting better. I'd like to think that. Nobody is at the point where we feel like they're ready to take over, but I think they're working -- well I know they're working -- but I think they're getting better."
On if there are changes that will be coming to the offensive line:
"Right now those are the five best, there's no doubt in my mind, those are the five best that we have right now."
On if there is a specific approach or mindset they're taking going in to the Louisville game:
"No, that's not to minimize this week or anything, but I do think it's important that you approach every game as a big game for us. Therefore we're going to treat it as such and this is a big game."
On how he feels about playing at 11a.m.:
"You get up and go play the game."
On an early kickoff eliminating wait time:
"We get to play early and it's awesome. We don't have to worry about the tailgate; we don't have to worry about all those things. We get to get up, jump in the shower, eat a little something, get on a bus and go play a game. It's a great time."
On if the close loss helps communicate to the players that the season is a journey:
"It provides an opportunity and how we seize that opportunity or not, time will tell. Everything that happens to a person can help form and, not create who you are, but you are a by-product of how you handle those situations, what you learn from the situations. Each game provides a little different lesson. There are lessons to be learned in that by everyone. I feel confident, I can't say I'm positive, I feel confident that the one thing is clearly players and coaches, we care about this. When you care and something happens, you want to learn from it, want to take a way from it. I feel confident that we will learn from the lessons learned and I feel confident that we'll build on the positives. We've got to do that. That's the great thing we get to do is learn from it, turn the page, but not forget it and move forward. We've got one of the top 20 teams in the country coming in and that's who we get to go against. We're pretty fortunate that way."
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