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Oct. 21, 2013

Paul Chryst Press Conference

Navy Game Preview

Opening Statement:

It was a good win to get Saturday night. It’s nice to be in this rhythm of having games every week and having yesterday to look at what we need to clean up and then moving on to our preparation for Navy. I thought there were a lot of things that were good in Saturday night’s game and a lot of things that we need to clean up in all three phases. Navy presents some challenges for us defensively as they have a style that we need to prepare for. Offensively we’re preparing for a team that is a little different defensively so we have to have a good week of preparation.”

On facing the triple-option offense against Navy and Georgia Tech the next two weeks:

“The next two weeks are totally different than what we saw earlier. I feel good about our guys and we spent some time in camp on it. Our guys should have a good idea of what to expect to face on Saturday.”

On if facing triple-option teams in consecutive games can be an advantage:

“It depends how we play. (smiles) I think certainly this week we have to do a great job in getting ready for it. Our scout team has to do a great job helping us to get ready for it.”

On the diversity of offenses in college football:

I think college football is more diverse but it’s been happening for awhile, it’s not like it just started last week. People do a lot of different things so it does make each week of preparation its own entity. It’s hard because you can clean something up against one style of offense or defense and then some weeks not much carries over. And then some weeks there is more of a direct carryover.”

On the similarities between Navy and New Mexico’s offenses:

“I think similar principles. How they get to it is a little bit different. New Mexico seemed to be a little more using the pistol and the shotgun. Certainly this is different than that but that’s football. There are 11 guys on each side, unless you play north of the border there’s 12. But you can only do so many things. In option football you have option principles defensively and we have to make sure our kids understand it and for that we have to make sure we have a good plan for them to understand. Then you have to go out and play the game. I think there are some principles that carry over from some of the things we’ve done this year but not to this extent. It’s presented a little bit differently.”

On what the reason is for all these different types of offenses in college football:

“I think there are some coaches that know who they have and what fits their people. When the spread first came in, it was really to be able to spread the defense out to be able to run the football. I think it’s a number of things. I think there’s a number of smart football coaches that are adjusting to the people they have that gives them a chance to compete in a conference or league.”

On Pitt winning games in a variety of ways this season:

“Anytime you go out and play, the object is to compete and win and it’s good to say we’ve found different ways to win. You can build on that and then you look on the other side of the coin and say we have to be more consistent. It is good though and I think our guys understand that wins come in different ways and you have to embrace that in the moment and keep playing. I think there certainly are some things to build on.”

On playing a service academy team:

“I haven’t been a part of that — this will be my first time playing them. My brother [Rick] actually worked at the Naval Academy for three years [in sports information]. I think there’s a fine line where we’re playing a football game and the value and pageantry of the Academies is unbelievable. I think you appreciate all that and yet you have to make sure you understand you’re playing a game this week. It doesn’t equate to how much you appreciate all they do and what those places are. I’ve never been a part of it, never been to a game. My dad went to an Army-Navy game and if you’re a fan of football, the service academies have certainly earned their right in the history of college football.”

On preparing for Navy’s blocking style and scheme:

“We’re going to try to make it as real as possible [in practice]. They [the defensive line] have to be able to handle that and take care of their responsibilities. We just have to hit it head on this week.”

On the challenge of facing a running team in Navy after facing Old Dominion’s spread:

“I don’t think it’s tough. You take a team for who they are, their strengths and make sure we stay disciplined. You can’t overcompensate and play the run and give up some easy play-action passes. That’s our job assignment this week and we have to embrace it.”

On the play of the offensive line versus Old Dominion:

I thought they played better and I thought Isaac [Bennett] played hard. But they certainly did play better.”

On the competition at running back:

“Isaac will get to run some more. It really doesn’t change where we’re at with it. James [Conner] will still contribute quite a bit and Rachid [Ibrahim] gives us some good snaps so I don’t see it changing anything and I’m really appreciative of what Isaac did Saturday, I thought he ran well.”

On if they planned on having a set rotation at running back in the ODU game:

We just wanted to see how it played out. James was dressed and ready to go if we needed him but I thought Isaac was running pretty hard. We weren’t treating James and Rachid any different.”

On Isaac Bennett’s confidence after his performance and handling 30 carries:

“I think it’s also good for a back to feel that and be able to do it. I don’t think it changes our confidence in him or his confidence. I’d be surprised if that was something he didn’t think he could do.

“I was certainly happy for him but I wasn’t shocked or didn’t think he could handle that number of carries. I think he’d be the same way.”

On Todd Thomas’ limited contributions in the ODU game due to scheme:

“I’m happy with the way Todd’s progressed and I thought we had the right plan for what we we’re doing. I think it’s our job to make sure we’re putting players in positions for them to be successful. It wasn’t like Todd doesn’t have the speed or wasn’t ready if something were to happen. It’s week-to-week for us and I haven’t gotten past this week. We just thought we were better off with some more DBs in there. If something would have happened, then we could have leaned on the linebacker core a little more. Going in, we thought they were most dangerous in the pass game, having our DBs on them on one-on-ones so we wanted to use our people in that way.”

On the progression of the team half way through the season:

I think in some areas we’ve progressed. Certainly as a coach you feel best that you have a pretty good idea six games in of who you really are. In camp, there were some question marks and you come out of camp thinking this is who you might be and you’re always appreciative, but as a coach you’re never pleased with where you’re at because you want to be better. The season is a journey and we would never pin the players and say, ‘This is where you have to be at this point.’ I think our job is to make sure they’re being the best they can be and you just have to keep trying to grow.”


Meet the Press: Paul Chryst previews the Navy game

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