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Oct. 29, 2012

Coach Paul Chryst Press Conference
Notre Dame Preview
October 29, 2012

Opening Statements:

"Obviously it was good win to get Saturday and I thought a lot of players impacted it and that was fun to see. Shayne Hale came in; TJ (Clemmings) kind of locked up a little bit and couldn't go and I thought Shayne did some nice things. Offensively we had the 3-and-out and the punt that hit the foot of the guy that was on our gunner and we got it down field and we went and scored. Defense got a fast start and I thought really the special teams were the only phase that impacted in a negative way, but I like the way we came out and the guys played. I didn't like how we approached the third quarter, but I thought we rallied back at it. It was a good win to get and it felt good to get a win. Obviously, we have a great challenge this week and that means it's a great opportunity. The guys will be excited about it and obviously Notre Dame is a very good team and its warranted. They've got some big-name players, but they're a lot more than just that, so it'll be a good challenge.

"Dan (Mason) on that play -- I thought it was a heck of a play, two weeks in a row Dan (made a tackle) on a fourth-down play in the red zone -- he got hurt on that. Talked to the trainers and the doctors and they did a great job. They went and took him for his stomach they weren't sure if he landed on a ball or a foot. So he's got some internal things right now. The word is everything is ok. Still waiting to see and so he'll be out for the season. Ryan Schlieper hurt himself in the game and wasn't able to play second half and he'll actually have to get his foot operated on, so he'll be out. Manny (Williams) hurt his knee (earlier this season). He's elected to do surgery. There was chance that he might be able to rehab it to see if he could play at the end of the year, but he's gone ahead and elected for the surgery. So Manny, Schlieper and Dan will be out for the year."

On if Arthur Doakes will be the new starting offensive guard:

"That's who came in during the game. This week we'll look at certainly Art and then some other guys and see who grabs it. When we go out tomorrow, Arthur will be the first one in there, but we'll make sure this week he and Shane Johnson (get repetitions). We've got to look at it and make sure we're doing the right thing."

On how Arthur Doakes played against Temple:

"Thought he did some good things. Whoever it is has got to step up. We're going against a really, really good defensive front, but that's an opportunity for our whole offense."

On what type of internal injuries Dan Mason suffered:

"(An internal laceration), but it's healing right now. Right now he doesn't need surgery and as long as the tests keep coming back the way they should, he should be all right. You don't want to take anything for granted right now. Right now it's good. I saw him last night, he felt good. It's not like there is pain right now. Hopefully it stays progressing that way."

On if Dan Mason's spirit has been dampened:

"We all know the reality of it. He sure didn't seem like a `woe-is-me' attitude. You don't overcome his previous injury with that kind of attitude. His mom and dad were there and if he even had the slightest hint of feeling like that I think they would have made sure it wasn't going in that direction. They're pretty impressive people. He seemed alright and we're just hoping it continues to track how it is."

On if there were any other injuries:

"Right now I think we're alright. We'll find out as guys go through practice this week. Right now we're in pretty good shape."

On if linebacker Shane Gordon will return from injury this week:

"Too early to tell. We're hoping that he keeps progressing. Really I don't think we'll know till the end of the week. He was able to move around a little bit yesterday and we'll just see how it tracks this week."

On if the lineup will be shifted around due to the injuries at linebacker:

"We're going to make sure we've got it covered. We'll have a couple different plans and just kind of see where guys' health is as we go forward."

On the health of Joe Trebitz:

"It's been a couple weeks now, so I think he's truly feeling fine."

On if the jerseys will have the players names on them again this week:

"Yeah, we're going to have them on."

On why the names were being put back on the jersey:

"I knew it was important to them. I thought it was the right thing for this group at this time. The initial reasoning was we wanted to make sure they understood the most important thing is the team...and truly, we've got some guys doing some real unselfish acts for this team. I also knew it is important to a lot of guys. I didn't want it ever to be something where you're making it more than it is, and also if we can give a little bit of motivation, so be it. I think in-house it's been a pretty good thing."

On the challenges of facing Notre Dame's defense:

"They're pretty good players. They're real good players. As good as (Manti) Te'o is, and I think he's a special player, they've got a lot of other guys that make it work and they're extremely disciplined. Obviously they have talent. I think their scheme really fits the people that they have. They play fast. It looks like they play smart. They're doing things that they want them doing. I think they tackle extremely well and they're opportunistic when the ball is in the air. They've got a number of guys with good ball skills. Obviously some big names that lead it, but I think they've got across the board their front seven -- other than one sophomore -- they're juniors and seniors. It's experienced guys. That's kind of their team up front. They've got guys that either graduated or seniors, one junior on the offensive line. They've got a really good combination of talented players, well coached, and guys that are old enough and veterans that have been through it. That's what kind of makes it a special team right now."

On if he ever got caught up in the mystique of Notre Dame growing up:

"No, my brother (Rick Chryst) went there. Maybe that's why I didn't get caught up in it. (Laughs) I do get caught up in traditions of football and that's one of those places. I had an opportunity to see Texas and OU (Oklahoma) play, and that's a unique experience. There's great history there. It's different, but its just like we have great history. That's one of the neat parts of college football. They have it and I give them a lot of credit for what they're doing this year."

On getting his players to focus with the distractions of playing at Notre Dame:

"I think that's one of the great things about the opportunity that these guys have playing college football. Every place we go, there's something unique about each place. We're not going to take a bus tour around and all that stuff. There's a group of guys that are interested in it and I think it's a great part of it. To be able to play in a lot of the stadiums we get to play in have history. Great players have played there and Notre Dame is no different. I would hope guys appreciate that and don't take it for granted. I sensed that when I was talking to their coach before the Temple game. He (Steve Addazio) was talking about their kids being excited to play at Heinz Field. I would hope our guys would appreciate it and enjoy that experience."

On playing a team still in the national championship race:

"You're going to play a game, emotion is a big part of it and keeping it in check is a big part of it. I don't think your approach is any different. Week to week you should be excited to play every game. Every game you need to know yourself well enough to be at that right level of excitement and control. I hope our guys are excited to play every week and I know you get an opportunity to play a good team like this and that's special. You're not going to minimize that either. That's part of it. Guys have learned and guys need to learn how to approach it and how they individually prepare for games. That's part of the process."

On what Notre Dame's offense brings to the table:

"What they bring is they're winning games. They're playing good football. They have a good formula and obviously like you said they're great on defense. Offensively they've got some players. I'm very impressed with the back. At quarterback, Tommy Rees has come in and done a good job. Tight end is one of the best in the country. When you mention those names and other guys can beat you. They've got veterans up front. What do they bring? They bring good football. They can hurt you running the ball; they can hurt you throwing the ball. They're just a good team all around and they've got good players. They have depth -- you can see that in special teams. I think it's a pretty complete team."

On if the possibility of being a spoiler motivates the team:

"I think belief is a part of it in every game you play. We never approach those games any different than any other one. I don't think that's the way to go about it. I may be different, and others may disagree, but I think you approach every game consistently. What it takes to beat Notre Dame is the same thing that it takes to beat other teams on your schedule. That's playing good football, being the best you can be, taking advantage of opportunities and not shooting yourself in the foot. All those things apply."

On if the players will get caught up in the hype around playing a highly ranked team:

"All that stuff is really good for the game and you love the interest, but the game stands on its own. We can play this game and it would be a great game if no one was in the stands and they weren't talking about it on all the things. The game still stands on its own. Only way that you play well is focusing on playing the game. It's one of the things you want to appreciate and enjoy. That's part of the reason you come to a place like Pitt. You don't want to rob them of that, but it's all about the game and all about your preparation."

On if it's still considered a rivalry game:

"I understand and appreciate the history of it, but you're talking to a guy that hasn't been a part of one yet. I remember watching games on TV. I think our guys are really excited to play Notre Dame, I really do believe that. Whether that means it's a rivalry or not, I don't know that answer, you have to ask them that. I appreciate the history of it with Pitt and Notre Dame. I think that's the neat thing about Pitt -- they're a part of some great series and we get to play this one this year. I know I'm pretty excited about it."

On if the team is in its best shape to be entering this game:

"I think we're getting better, but I still think we've been inconsistent. Two weeks a go I thought we weren't running the ball consistently. I think we've made some improvements. We're getting better and guys are getting a feel for some things. Are we in better shape now than before? I don't know if I can answer that question. I also talked about losing some players, so I think it's real typical of a season. Guys are making progress, maturing and playing better (but) then you have guys that are dinged up or out."

On what Manti Te'o does to impact the game:

"I think he's extremely talented. I think the players around him allow him (to be productive) -- they do their job and he's good enough to beat you. He's sudden, he's powerful. He's leading their team in interceptions, that's pretty unique for linebacker. I think it's a combination -- I think you've got a great player and he makes those around him better yet they make him better because there are a lot of good players on that defense. When he's got a chance to make a play -- and great players do this -- he makes it. Looks to me like he loves playing the game, all aspects of it. Certainly got a lot of respect and admiration for how he plays it."


Meet the Press: Paul Chryst previews the Notre Dame game

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