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Meet the Press: Paul Chryst previews the Notre Dame game




Nov. 4, 2013

Coach Paul Chryst Press Conference

Notre Dame Game Preview

Opening statement:

“We’re looking forward to this week of preparation with our guys for the Notre Dame game. After looking at the film from the Georgia Tech game, we felt the same way. Give Georgia Tech credit. They made more plays than we did; that’s why they won the game. But I love the effort, particularly in the second half, that our guys put forward. There are points in every game that you have to make a play and if you make that play your team has a better chance. We made some of those to keep us in it, but we didn’t make enough. Our guys are looking forward to this week. We’re playing a very good Notre Dame team with a lot of good athletes and football players. We need to have a good week of preparation.”

 

On the struggles of the rushing attack:

“Any time you struggle running the ball, you’re on edges a little bit. In the running game, if you’re off a little bit in the footwork or your landmark, that short space can affect it. There are some things we have to correct. Guys did a good job of handling that in practice. You have to carry it over to the game. And give [Georgia Tech] credit; they weren’t stationary targets. There are certainly areas that are correctable, and our guys know when that happens. We have to get better there.”


 

 

 

On whether he’s frustrated with the rushing attack:

“That’s part of coaching, so you can’t get frustrated with it. The frustration comes in that you want the players to get it and experience success with it. There’d be frustration if they weren’t trying to clean it up. That would be frustrating if they didn’t want to be coached. These are correctable mistakes, and our job is to find a way for them to get it. We’re all in this thing together. Do you wish it would happen faster? Absolutely. But we can’t let the players get frustrated and we can’t get frustrated, because that doesn’t do you any good.”

 

On if he will change the lineup at all:

“The injuries have taken care of that for us as far as the offensive line. Even the running back spot, we’ve had some tweaking. There is something to be said for continuity; when that’s disturbed, that can be a contributing factor for struggling – not a reason, not a cause. We’ve gone in with different lineups these last few games. We’ll just stay persistent and keep grinding.”

 

On the youth of the football program:

“Dorian [Johnson] was able to start. He did some good, exciting things that he can build on, and he struggled at times against a good player in pass protection. It’s an interesting thing. We’ve got youth, but we can’t just say we’re building for the future because we have guys like Aaron Donald that I love being around and are putting it out there. We’ll work on what we need to focus on right now.”

 

On Aaron Donald as a leader:

“He is a good leader. Leadership comes from within your personality. There’s no better way than to have his actions speak, not just with his play – and he is playing at a really high level – but also with his preparation, the way he competes in practice, the way he goes about things every day. I think he’s a tremendous example to our young guys about how to approach it and how that translates in the game. He’s vocal at certain times, but he’s not giving speeches because I don’t think that’s what inspires him. But he’s certainly aware of how he can help the team.”

 

On Dorian Johnson making his first start:

“We think he’s a good player and he’s only going to get better. Last Monday, [Adam] Bisnowaty and Juantez [Hollins] were out of practice, so we put Dorian at that tackle. We felt comfortable with it because he got a week of preparation. Matt Rotheram has also played tackle, but we didn’t want to shuffle the whole deck. Cory King was out, and he had played tackle last year. That’s how we got to it. And I thought [Dorian] did some really good things. He had some challenges, but it was his first start and it’s something to build on. He’s got confidence in himself without being arrogant. I thought there was some genuine excitement about it, and I’m sure he was nervous. But he handled it how I hoped he would. We saw some good and saw some bad.”

 

On if Adam Bisnowaty and Cory King will return to the starting lineup this week:

“Biz took a couple snaps in the game, and we’re hoping we’re over the hump with where he’s at. As we go through the week and get him some volume Tuesday and Wednesday, then we’ll make that assessment. Cory did some things last week and got through the confidence factor as much as anything. I would anticipate him doing more this week.”

 

On how Notre Dame is different than last year:

“They’ve got different players. The whole makeup of their team is different. I think we’re a different team too. They’re not reinventing themselves, but I think players are the strengths and weaknesses of teams. Offensively, they’re still in the same formations as last year, but they’re also playing to Tommy Rees’ strengths more. You can take things from last year’s game and put it on film, but like any team they’re a different team from year to year.”

 

On if he and the team have gotten over last year’s triple-overtime loss to Notre Dame:
“Yeah. You think about everything you do in the past and use it, but I’m over that one. And I don’t know what the players think. A lot of them didn’t play. This is this year, and we have to do a good job of making sure they understand that.”

 

On if opposing offenses are focusing on avoiding Aaron Donald:

“The good thing about the way that he plays is that he’s able to affect the play whether it’s going to him or away from him. I thought that’s what stood out to me with his production the last couple weeks. He’s a special player, I love the way he’s approaching it and we need him to continue to be even more special.”

 

On how he balances playing young guys with older guys:
“Everything you do has to be what’s best for this team. There’s not one guy that’s playing – old or young – that’s not giving us the best chance to win immediately. You’re always trying to do what’s best for the program and the team, which is currently in the season you’re in. You never should play a guy if he’s not ready.”

 

On K’Waun Williams’ arm injury:

“He said he’s feeling better yesterday. He got bruised, but I think he’ll be alright.”

 

On why every Pitt-Notre Dame game seems to be close:

“I can only speak about one, so I’d defer to Aaron Donald because he’d be a great guy to talk about that and I know he wants to talk about something.” (laughs)

 

—PITT—