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Meet the Press: Paul Chryst previews the Temple Owls




Oct. 22, 2012

Coach Paul Chryst Press Conference
Temple Game Preview

Opening Statement:

“Obviously it was good last week to get a win. It was important for our team. I thought that all three phases contributed to it, which is good. I think all three phases have areas we can clean up and need to clean up. I’m obviously looking forward to playing Temple this weekend and having a great week of practice.”

On the status of senior linebacker Manny Williams:

“Not sure. It’ll be a little bit of time, so right now we won’t have Manny.”

On the play of sophomore linebacker Todd Thomas:

“Todd did some good things. I think he had double digits in tackles. Certainly just getting back and playing, he’s got some things to clean up. It’ll be better; he played a lot of snaps and will get another week of reps and preparation for the opponent. There’s still room for growth there. I thought he gave us some energy and I appreciate that.”

On the play of junior linebacker Dan Mason:

“Dan was productive in that area. He’s another guy who plays with good energy. I think all of us can still get better. It’s not just knocking rust off, but getting better. Dan is no different than all of us associated with this program.”

On senior kicker Kevin Harper moving past recent struggles and converting two field goals at Buffalo:

“He did just what you said. That’s the great thing about sports…you’ve got to produce. We talked about it last week. When things aren’t going 100 percent your way, you’ve just got to work though it. I think Kevin is no different than a lot of guys on this team. No one plays perfect. That’s the goal, but you just have to keep working and keep trying to improve and get better.

“I thought all of our specialists, they all had a moment…Whether it’s (David) Murphy snapping or (Matt) Yoklic punting or Kevin on his kickoffs. The conditions of last week played a major factor in it too — (Yoklic) had a heck of a kick into the wind that changed the field position, (Harper) when we were struggling in the red zone and still came away with points, that’s good. Certainly, (Murphy) in the conditions facilitated those two things to go. Every one of the guys that are working and throwing it out there, you appreciate.”

On how he running game has progressed this season:

“I think it’s been inconsistent. There have been times where it’s been good and times where it kind of eroded a bit. I thought that we had some decent runs on Saturday. We had some in crucial situations, a couple third and shorts we didn’t convert. That’s the neat thing about the running game and really football in general, you all have to play together. If ten guys are good, but the one guy doesn’t get it done on that play it affects the whole, not just the unit, but the whole team. I think we’ve been inconsistent in running the football.”

On if the running game will be a point of emphasis in practice this week:

“I think it is every week. Absolutely we’ll work on that. You just try to address the things you know and look at it and make sure you’re helping players with technique and on individual things. Make sure your schemes give the players a chance to have success and then ultimately the payers have to go out and execute it on Saturday.”

On how Temple has been able to assimilate back in to the Big East without much trouble:

“I’m not surprised by it. They’re a good football team. They were a good football team last year and have been for a number of years now. I’m not surprised one bit by it.”

On what Temple’s strengths are as a football team:

“I think in the run game they can run out of spread looks and also kind of more traditional heavy personnel group. They do a nice job of carrying over so that their schemes are not asking their players to do too much, but it gives you a couple different looks. Defensively they play fast and obviously have some good players. I think they’re a well-coached team.”

On what production levels are expected from the ends in Pitt’s defensive scheme:

“Do their job, be disruptive. Defensively you’ve got to be sound, especially with the offenses you’re seeing now there’s a number of different points of attack even out of the same look or play. Just because a guy doesn’t have a lot of numbers, it may translate in to that he’s doing his job extremely well. He is keeping the ball contained or he is forcing it to bounce to someone else or he is knocking it back to where the back has to cut back. Certainly our ends know what their job is and then how do you fit their offense to it as far as production. It’s a hard one just to answer flat out we need to have two pressures out of them, we need to have knock down, we need to have four tackles and one tackle for a loss.”

On if the defensive ends are living up to those expectations:

“I thought last week we had some good plays. If you ask them there are areas we all can do better. That’s what we’ve got to do. I thought we’ve been getting some disruption out of them and they’ve been setting the edges. Absolutely we’re going to go to work this week and the ends aren’t excluded from getting better.”

On how Temple sticks to running the ball:

“I think certainly most games, unless they’re just so over the top and want to throw, you’ve got to stop the run, but I think your point is dead on. This is a week where that is what they want to do. They have a couple different ways to hurt you with the run, couple different players and different types of schemes. I think that’ll be a key to the game — can we stop or minimize their run game and can we get a run game going that is consistent.”

On why tight ends have not been catching a lot of passes of late:

“Combination (of factors), I think. J.P. (Holtz) has also been helping on special teams and he’s getting a lot of snaps. The last couple of weeks we’ve used some different personnel groupings. Haven’t lost confidence in them or anything like that, but just trying to make sure that the snaps we’re getting out of guys that we’re using them wisely. (Senior wide receiver Mike) Shanahan is taking on another role of helping us since we’ve been banged up with tight ends. So I think it’s kind of as much the way it’s been designed and there’s been some of those third-down situations where J.P. is number one in pass protection and then getting involved. Kind of a number of things, certainly not trying to phase them out, but also just trying to use our personnel the best way we can.”

On the status of senior tight end Hubie Graham and if he’s getting closer to return:

“I hope so. He did a little bit at the end of last week and certainly we’ll find out more. Hopefully he and Drew (Carswell) are getting more healthy.”

On if the use of tight ends in pass protection is a new development over the past couple of games:

“No, we’ve been using it pretty regularly in every game.”

On how he felt to see Kevin Harper make some kicks in bad weather:

“Happy for him. At that point we needed something positive. Like I said earlier, the great thing about sports is now he gets the chance to do that again and be that guy. I would hope that it would give anyone confidence when you do what you’re supposed to do, whether it’s Kevin as a kicker or the offensive linemen or defensive linemen. Hopefully it carries over and kick-starts him into a good, strong finish to his senior year.”

On the play of junior linebacker Dan Mason and if it has surprised him:

“No, I think Dan is a guy that really loves the game and works at it. Truth be known, we should have production in a game like that from our middle linebacker. For him to do that is good because he’s doing what he should be doing. No, I’m not surprised because the guy that I’ve been around, he is getting better and is getting healthier. I wasn’t here two years ago and last year when he wasn’t able to do anything. I can follow the story, but the guy that I know, no I’m not surprised.”

On how developing younger players who don’t see playing time during the games:

“Certainly in practice and a lot of those young guys end up being the ‘look’ (scout) teams, so they’re running some plays. Then we’ll also do Thursdays and Sundays, we’ll devote time to the young guys where they’re running our stuff and hopefully helping them grow. I think we’re doing a fair amount of that and I think you’ve got to look for windows of opportunity to help all your guys grow as players. Our goal is that everybody is going to play on the weekend — if you didn’t play a lot on Saturday, you’ll play on Sunday (in a practice scrimmage).”

On if the Thursday/Sunday model is standard throughout college football:

“I know the places I’ve been before, but I don’t know across the board. It depends on how many guys you have. There were years in the past you couldn’t do it because we didn’t have enough offensive linemen, but every place I’ve been we do stuff to try to help develop guys and continue to help them grow as players.”

On if any player has grabbed his attention during the sessions:

“Every day there is a star and a player of the day, but its fun and good stuff. What you’re also looking for is, it’s not always perfect but it’s guys playing and competing and hitting, so there is a lot of guys that are growing there.”

On the play of junior safety Jason Hendricks:

“I think Jason has been playing pretty good and he has been opportunistic. Turnovers are such a big change in momentum, so when you can get them (it is a positive), and Jason is getting his hands on them, and also been doing a good job tackling. Jason can keep getting better and I like the fact that as he plays he does get better and will get better. Certainly he has been opportunistic and I think we need to get that way — this team needs that. We’ve got to create momentum swings and prevent them (turnovers) offensively and take them away defensively because they’re a big deal.”