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Nov. 11, 2013

Coach Paul Chryst Press Conference

North Carolina Game Preview

Opening Statement:

“It was a good win Saturday night. We’re looking forward to playing North Carolina, a very good and talented team. It feels good to be going back to Heinz Field. There was a heck of an atmosphere Saturday night, and I know our kids got energy from it. It was good. In watching North Carolina, I see an extremely talented football team. I’ve been following Coach [Larry] Fedora for a while, and he has a well-coached, athletic team. They’re on a bit of a roll. We’re looking to this week’s preparation.”

On if the victory over Notre Dame will boost the team’s confidence:

“That’s to be determined. It was a good night, and something we can move forward with. The thing that I was most proud of is the way the guys kept playing. You look at that tape and compare it to previous games, and it wasn’t a different team, wasn’t different guys. We just made some plays at the right situations and found a way to win.”

On experiencing the feeling of such a big win and avoiding the frustration that would have been felt with another close defeat:

“It’s a competitive sport. You go out and try to win each week. We missed out on that a couple weeks, so it feels good to win. What we choose to do with it going forward, that’s up to us.”

On not allowing the team to become overconfident:

“We’ll throw the film on and practice. Each week has its own messages. You can’t go from saying this group of guys is going to pack it in to now all of a sudden we’re going to beat the ’85 Bears. That’s two extremes right there. We just have to stay in our world this week and every week. It’s fun [to coach 20-year old players] and I’ve been coaching them for a while. That’s why we’ve got to stay consistent. Any time you play a national TV game and Notre Dame is a great program, all that happens. But guys invest a lot into the season, and we’re going to make sure we’re doing everything we can. We have enough guys on the team that will help each other be prepared, and that’s the opportunity of every week.”

On running back James Conner finally being healthy:

“I thought he ran hard and I also thought Isaac [Bennett] ran hard. The first game back from injury, you’re always hesitant, but certainly now he [Conner] seems to be at full health and pretty good.”

On the offensive line’s success against Notre Dame:

“I thought we did a lot of good things, and you can put the offensive line into that group. It wasn’t like there was all of a sudden some great transformation. We made some plays for different reasons, and the offensive line was a big part of it. We were able to get some running game going. Tom [Savage] did a good job getting the ball out of his hands and hitting check downs, especially early. I think there are a lot of reasons why we had a chance to be successful offensively, and I thought we did do some good things on the offensive line.”

On North Carolina’s offense:

“They have a big offensive line. Their tight end is a heck of a player. They have a number of skilled receivers. No matter who is playing the quarterback position, they’re dangerous. We have to have a good plan. Certainly their quarterback is part of it, but it’s also their scheme and what they’re doing and who they do it with that you also have to plan accordingly for.”

On what UNC quarterback Marquise Williams does well:

“He’s athletic and has a live arm. Obviously they trust him quite a bit. He has good weapons around him. I think he’s dangerous.”

On UNC tight end Eric Ebron:

I think tight ends in general are tough if you’ve got a good one, and he might be as good as there is in the country. You can make an argument for it because he has size and he can run and all of those things. That can present some problems.”

On North Carolina’s running back rotation:

“They are all a little bit different. Every back I’ve ever been around has been a little bit different. They’re not all the same guy and we’ll see a lot of different guys with the ball. We have to make sure we’re sound against whoever is in.”

On safety Ray Vinopal:

“I loved the way Ray has approached the whole year and the way he works. He made some big plays for us and the stripped fumble was huge, but there was no ‘I told you so’ — at least that I know of. I think he loves the game and he’s exactly what you want out of a teammate. I think any guy is happy when they can contribute because there is that personal part, but I think he was truly—just like a lot of our guys—just happy to contribute to a win and getting us back to winning a game. I love him.”

On if Vinopal’s great game resonated throughout the locker room:

“I think that we all look around and see how people respond and maybe those same people will look at how he responds after having that game last week. I’m confident he’ll be the same guy he’s been every Monday this season. I think all of those things factor in and are important: how you act, how you handle adversity, how you handle success. He’s one of those guys that you want the young guys to emulate.”

On why he thinks the ACC is lower scoring than other power conferences:

“I have zero thoughts on how we compare to the rest of the country. I do think that of the teams we’ve faced, we’ve played some good defenses. I think stats in general can be misleading. The teams that you’re playing and when are you playing them can matter. There are some great offenses right now and we saw one our first game [Florida State]. It doesn’t really matter what’s going on besides our world, and it’s a good world to be in.”

On whether the possibility of becoming bowl eligible is extra motivation this week:

I think you approach each game and that the game stands on its own and that’s why you play. I think over the course of the year you earn the right to play another game. We want to make it to a bowl—absolutely want to do that—and it’s a chance to play one more game with a team and when you like a team, you get to extend that. That part has value and the practice you get and it signifies you achieved something and truly earned the right for it. I don’t think that would be one of the lead things to motivate the guys this week or next week though. I absolutely think bowls are important and I love the bowl system in that we’re fighting and playing for something additional, which is the right to play another game. I think right now we have to focus on this week and find a way to win against North Carolina.”

On if he noticed an attitude difference in the players and coaches on Sunday after the game:

No, and I actually like it that way. Game day is a great day and it starts when you wake up and finishes when you go to bed. You have to be appreciative of all the work that went in and what guys did to achieve that. You wake up and start the next week and think you’re pretty lucky because you have another game to prepare for. Absolutely it was good to get a win, but it wasn’t like guys were all of a sudden skipping into the building and whistling.”




Meet the Press: Paul Chryst previews North Carolina

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