Oct. 14, 2013
Paul Chryst Press Conference
Old Dominion Game Preview
"It's good to be back and focusing on this week. It was a tough game [at Virginia Tech], and you hate losing any week. Like I said after the game, I thought the kids competed, and the film showed that. There was a lot of good effort and also a lot of things that need to be cleaned up. We're looking forward to getting back to work and playing Old Dominion, who is 4-2 right now. Their quarterback was the Player of the Year and won the Walter Payton Award, and everything offensively goes through him. They have a good offense. And defensively, they might have just played their best game. We've got to learn from the Virginia Tech game and move on to Old Dominion."
On quarterback Tom Savage taking sacks:
"I thought a couple times we got challenged on the perimeter routes, so sometimes he waited one split-second for it to open up. Then you end up holding on, and it wasn't a game to be holding on to the ball. When you look at the tape, there's responsibility to be had in all areas. One of the first sacks we took, if the receiver comes out of his route not as deep, we have a throw. If Tom misreads the coverage, he doesn't have a throw. Offensive line had some problems. Tight ends and backs got beat. Everyone has to own it--coaches included. I've got to own it, and we'll get better this week."
"We had a couple plays where we called in more protection to sure it up; therefore, you think you've got that and you don't. It gets tricky throwing short. Throughout the course of the game, there's a risk-reward situation because you don't spread a defense out as much. We've got to do a good job of game planning, make sure guys understand and then we've got to execute better."
On if a better passing offense could help the struggling rushing attack:
On what Virginia Tech did defensively compared to Virginia:
"They attacked us differently [than Virginia]. Their scheme is a little bit different. Virginia Tech certainly didn't take Virginia's plan and implement it. They always have a little bit different plan of attack; nonetheless, it was effective."
On the defense's progress and if the unit is ready to make more of an impact:
"You want them to impact the game all the time. Each week is a different week. We've certainly got some different challenges this week. Hopefully we're getting better on defense; you certainly see some signs of it. We're going to need every phase to be good. We're getting some good play out of a number of guys and playing a little bit faster on defense, so hopefully that keeps progressing."
On linebacker Todd Thomas:
"I thought Todd played one of his better games. He was physical. He was in the right spots. I thought he played well."
On the struggles of the young offensive line:
"I just think we've got to get back to trusting some of the things individually with technique. We've got to do a better job of making sure they understand the scheme and where they're getting help. It's wrong to put this all on the offensive line. We've got to do a better job of making plays. That changes games. Maybe it's running the football or making a catch to get a little bit of momentum. There are a lot of things to it. We've got to own it and get better."
On sustaining drives offensively:
"You have to get first downs to get more downs. You make it harder when you have lost yardage plays. When you're in significantly deeper situations, that's harder. When you run the ball inconsistently, then you try to get it going through the air and sometimes take a sack. We've just got to play better on offense. We can sit there and talk all we want, but we've just got to play better."
On Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke:
"He's got a really great understanding of the game. He gets yards rushing, but he's looking to extend plays and stay alive in the pocket. He's certainly not afraid to run. He can get the ball out of his hands fast. They really spread the field, and he can get it to a lot of spots because he has a strong arm. He's an accurate passer. When teams do things coverage-wise and aren't disciplined in their rush lanes, he's exposed them. He's athletic, but he's going to try to get the ball down the field. When I was with Russell Wilson, he played like that. He's a good player, and they've got some good players around him to get yards after the catch and separate."
On the Old Dominion offense:
"I think it's a good scheme, but they have good players running it. Certainly in that offense, a lot does fall on him [Taylor Heinicke]. They'll do some spread and gun-run, but it looks like most of his yards come in the passing game and when he extends the play. They have some guys that when they get the ball in their hands and get in space, they're pretty good."
On the hit wide receiver Devin Street took at the end of the Virginia Tech game:
"At first glance, I questioned what we were seeing and brought it up with the league. The league told us it was clearly not [helmet-to-helmet]."
On helmet-to-helmet hits:
"I think a lot of these aren't intentional. I really don't think a lot of these players are trying to target. I don't think they're trying to be malicious. I really do think it's tough to officiate. The great slogan they have going is `Heads Up.' I think it does need to be continued to be talked about and will be. We're all for player safety."
On Tom Savage taking a lot of hits:
"We all have to do a better job of protecting him. I love the way he competed. I don't think he's been getting skittish necessarily. He is competing and when you do that, you're going to stay in and try to make a play. Sometimes it's hard to concede that you don't have it and throw it out of bounds. He's not peaking right now; he's always trying to make something happen. Look at the play at the end of the first half -- he's standing in there, knowing he's going to get hit and makes a play. I don't worry about him being skittish. We just have to help him. There is absolutely a cumulative effect I think on everyone and not just Tom. I believe we're going to get better at it. We just have to put it on tape."
On what Tom Savage can do to protect himself more:
"He talks about it on the sideline. We had those discussions during the game. I know I did and I know Brooks [Bollinger] did. [Tom] knows he should have stepped out of bounds on the one scramble. He's also playing the game and that you appreciate."
On the quarterback draw Tom Savage ran for a touchdown:
"We just thought it was going to be a good play going in. Tom is not that guy that you have to do something like that to reward him; he is not that guy at all. It had nothing to do with `you've been a good trooper, let's give you a touchdown.' Not at all. He knew going in that we had it in the game plan, and it was a situation. I loved the way he approached it, and we can get better. I appreciate him."
"We'll have to wait and see. I don't think today we're planning on doing anything with them, but we'll see as the week progresses."
On the Pitt passing game not throwing any interceptions last week:
"Yeah, I think certainly we knew that if we took care of the football, we'd have a chance to have a chance. I hadn't quite focused on that as much afterwards, but yeah that's good."
On if nonconference games are a welcomed break from ACC play:
"I don't see it that way. It's nice to be in the rhythm of the season. Each game is a unique opportunity, and I don't think you feel more or less pressure. It is the schedule, and you embrace it each week. It's another game we get to play, so that's a pretty good deal."
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