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Nov. 5, 2012

Coach Chryst Press Conference
Connecticut Game Preview
November 5, 2012

Opening Statements:

“Recapping Saturdays game, awfully proud of the guys — players and coaches — the preparation that went into it and more importantly how they attacked the day. Made enough plays to make it a good game and didn’t make enough plays to finish it off. Every time you play you’ve got a chance to learn from it and you know I feel hopeful and confident that we will and can grow from it. Obviously we’ve got, I think, another great challenge Friday night against UConn. Offensively we’re going up against another great defense — a Top 10 defense in the country and deservedly so. Offensively, I think they’ve got enough weapons and can be dangerous. The back is good, we saw the quarterback against Temple when we were getting ready for them and certainly now watching the film. They’ve got receivers that have played a lot of football. I think they’ve got an extremely dangerous return man in Williams. It’s another great challenge and opportunity for us as a team. We’ve got to learn and build on what we did all year and certainly last week and try to get better. Find different ways to play winning football.”

On the response of the team so far after returning from the loss to Notre Dame:

“At least around me, (they’re) pretty good. I thought it really hurt them after the game. Not that you say that’s good, but it was the appropriate response. Guys were in yesterday, today we’ll practice. I think they can rightfully be proud of their effort and you should give effort like that every time. Proud of that and we can see areas where hopefully some of those who didn’t have confidence can gain confidence. Never thought going in, I don’t think you can play a perfect game. We didn’t have to play a perfect game, but you have to play 60 plus minutes of good football. There are times where we did and times where we did things that we have to get better at. I think they’re alright.”

On getting the team ready for the UConn game on a short week:

“Focusing on the next opportunity. Guys will come back. We all have a choice and what do we do with that choice? You throw on the film and you know UConn is a good football team. I think in this case a shorter week, one-day shorter week, is maybe a good thing. I think we all are looking forward to getting back and going. We are today in practicing and we turn the page, we already have.”

On if he sent in any of the officiating calls to be reviewed by the Big East:

“Every week you’ve got a chance to submit calls. We do them to make sure what we’re coaching is the right thing, that we’re understanding everything we can. There are a lot of things that don’t go your way…There’s what, 200 some plays in that game? We had our opportunities to win that game and we didn’t. The biggest thing we can focus on is the things we can control.”

On if he expects a response from the Big East:

“Yeah, they’ll respond. They’ve been good about that. It happened. I don’t know what else to say.”

On the pass interference call against K’Waun Williams in the fourth quarter:

“It didn’t go our way. I’ll be honest with you. You don’t like it even if it’s good (call). I didn’t like it initially when they had the first one on him when even K’Waun said, ‘That was a good call. I wasn’t going to give him that touchdown.’  It was really a great example. One thing where ‘K’ is the one where it’s first and goal from the 2 and they throw the fade and he said ‘You know what, I thought he was going to make the play and I didn’t want to give it to him there.’ And we end up having a goal line stand. It was a kid being in the moment. There are a lot of big plays in that game. I think it’s our job to find a way to win. Something that the opponent does, if it’s a call that doesn’t go your way, if it’s rain, if it’s wind — you’ve got to just overcome and that’s how you win games and we didn’t do that.”

On if the design of the play before the overtime 33-yard field goal was to get the ball to the middle of the field:

“Yeah, I felt good in the sense that we talked about that in a similar situation. I thought their guy made a play. We had a double-team block that got split and that caused the ball to cut back. You’re right on that fringe of if you get a first down. You’ve got to be careful, cautiously aggressive. You still want to try to move it but you want to make sure you preserve the right to kick a field goal. Thought that if you got a first down now it even helps you more and if not get it more in the middle of the field. We had a double-team block and quite honest I thought their guy made a heck of a play and he splits it and the ball cuts back. That’s the game. We’ve got to get better at that block. We’ve got to give him (Notre Dame defender) credit. We’ve got another thing where you just go center it, but also wanted to try to see if we could score too.”

On the snap issues between center Ryan Turnley and quarterback Tino Sunseri:

“That was the case when they had movement on the defensive line, Ryan snapped it thinking we’d get them over and it would result in a first down. Tino didn’t field the snap cleanly and then the second down, same thing. That happens, I don’t think Tino tried to drop either one of those, I don’t think anything like that. Those are the things, you’ve got to make plays and we didn’t.”

On if that early snap had been practiced:

“We’ve practiced it. Couple times of day you’ll get that. We’ve handled it well in practice. If we didn’t handle it, we wouldn’t give Ryan the freedom to do that.”

On how he can keep kicker Kevin Harper’s confidence up:

“He’s had misses before (and responded positively). There’s more focus on this one, but you’ve just got to go back to work and do the things that you can. That’s the only way you can approach it. Just got to move forward with it.”

On if he addressed the team on how the missed field goal fit within the game:

“Yeah, that’s the thing and obviously we have to make sure everyone (knows). It’s a team game. There are 200-and-some snaps and every one of those plays impacted that game. The guys know that, everyone knows that and everyone knows who plays the game, who follows the game, there are some significant plays, some more significant than others. But I don’t know if one play ever is the difference in the game. Could be a difference, but that could’ve been happening the third quarter, fourth quarter. All those can be, but we all know that.”

On the comments made by quarterback Tino Sunseri following the loss:

“I don’t agree with it. We all understand and need to and we have to make sure everyone is squared away there. Don’t agree with the comment, but I think there are a lot of plays. A lot of guys made plays to put us in position to win that game and we all did some things that led to us not winning. It doesn’t fall on one guy.”

On if he’ll talk to Sunseri about his comment:

“Yeah, I will.”

On the play of the offensive line against the highly regarded Notre Dame front:

“I thought the guys (did) and have been doing a good job of preparing. I thought the plan was fair to them. I thought they got in the moment and played and it was not a perfect game up front. It never is, but they just kept going and that you appreciate. It helped that we had some success early with the first play; Ray’s got the run. That gives guys confidence. I thought more than anything they prepared well and they went and just played. That’s all you can ask them to do. It’s a good group; they’re getting some chemistry, they like playing together. That was kind of fun to see. They know we’ve got a lot of things we can work on and get better at, but I thought they threw it in there.”

On how he can keep the players from playing to the level of their opponent:

“I think that’s how you can grow as a team and grow as a player. You always want to play your best. No one else should define your best; you’re always striving to get to that level. I understand that it was a good atmosphere against a highly ranked team. Those are special moments too and you don’t want to take that away from them and turn them in to robots. The biggest thing is as you grow as a player and grow as a team you have to take advantage of every opportunity, just playing to be your best and working to be your best. Only the individual knows if they truly laid it all on the line, if they truly did everything they can in preparation and as they play. I think you can grow and each guy can work to get to that point. I think we can get better in that area, players and coaches.”

On how much linebacker Shane Gordon was able to play:

“Played just a little bit. We lost (Emmanuel) Rackard in that sequence. He came in and he got himself, I give him credit, he worked himself where he could be in that emergency situation. That was an emergency and he delivered. Hopefully he can continue to get better so we can get some more snaps out of him.”

On the status of Rackard:

“Not sure if we’ll have him this week. He’s going to be alright.”

On the play call of a throw on first down after the K’Waun Williams interception:

“I felt more than anything if we can get a first down and get that going. Certainly didn’t want to stop the clock but also felt like we needed to get something going offensively. Hadn’t been consistently running the ball and thought we could get a shot there or hit the check down. Obviously the way that it played it out, you say ‘Shoot, you didn’t make them use a timeout’ and what would that have been. Plays out a lot of different ways. That was the idea: to be aggressive but smart. I don’t think we ended up being that in that series to be honest.”

On if there is a way to get the team to focus on the next game, while also making them aware of what they need to do to reach a bowl game:

“I think you can do both and I don’t think you cheapen the game at hand. I think there are moments to do it; there are times in a season to talk about big-picture things. We’re in a situation and what a great thing to fight for, one more opportunity to play together. I think all that’s real and we’ll talk about that stuff and yet you can still keep your focus on the task at hand because I think it really pertains to the task at hand.”





Meet the Press: Paul Chryst previews the Connecticut game

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