Nov. 15, 2010
Dave Wannstedt Press Conference
November 15, 2010
"Just a real quick recap on the UConn game: it was an obviously disappointing loss for us. I felt like our players prepared well. I thought we went up there and they had the right mentality and energy to go up there and win the game. When you look back on it and give up a touchdown on the kickoff, which in my mind is like a turnover, then have two other turnovers -- an interception and a fumble -- it's very difficult to overcome that and beat anybody. It's my job, our job as coaches, to keep working with the kids to correct those mistakes, and I know we're capable of doing it. Leading up to that game we played three games in a row where we were focused and, for the most part, protected the football. So we know we're capable of doing it. We just have to get back to coaching them up and having an emphasis on what wins games. We must fix the mistakes that need to be corrected.
"Getting ready for South Florida this week, I think we're all aware that they beat Louisville last week and that they have won three games in a row. Playing down there is a challenge. It will be exciting to get back up here and playing at home. We will obviously have to play a high-level game in all three phases to get back on track and keep moving forward.
"We worked yesterday, and I thought our players were focused. I had a good feeling after we met with the players, and after we walked off the field that their attitude is where it needs to be to get ready for this week's preparations.
"Finally, everybody's been calling about Greg Romeus. This is a young man that I have strong, strong feelings for. He did sustain a knee injury. It was an ACL tear during the game. He's going to get a second opinion on Tuesday, but all indications and how it appears right now is that the year is over for Greg Romeus. It is very painful for me to stand here and say that because there hasn't been a player since I've been here who has done everything in the right way both on and off the field, has always put this team first, has always been willing to do whatever was necessary to represent the University of Pittsburgh like Greg Romeus has. It's a tough deal. When you look back at what Greg has dealt with over the last six months, it's a shame, a real shame. The plan is that he'll get a doctor's recommendation, do what he has to do and then he'll get ready for the NFL draft."
On Greg Romeus:
"I feel like he'll be able to get ready for the combine once he gets taken care of, whatever that has to be. I think Greg's football reputation speaks for itself, so that won't be an issue. They'll just want to know that he's healthy and ready to go. His production is strong. He has good tape and a strong history. These things fortunately don't happen very often, but they do happen. I will do everything I can, and we will as a university do everything we can, to make sure that everything is done right. I believe that he'll be playing on Sundays for a long time."
On how Greg Romeus sustained the injury:
"It was a non-contact injury, rushing the passer. He stopped, tried to come up under the guy, and he twisted his knee. It's something he has done plenty of times."
On facing USF quarterback B.J. Daniels:
"He is definitely the leader of the offense. Before you even talk about his athletic skills, he's demonstrated over the latter part of the season that he is the leader they've been looking for from the quarterback position. Athletically, I think we all know his history of being a great high school football and basketball player. I think one year he even went out for the basketball team at South Florida. He's as good an athlete that we'll face at quarterback all year and it shows up. He's a dual threat. He can throw the ball as far and as accurate as any of the quarterbacks that we'll face all year, anytime. Combine that with his athletic ability to get away from the pressure and run the option game, and he puts a lot of pressure on your defense."
On USF's offense being different from past years:
"It is different from what they did last year, but some of the plays are similar. They'll jump in regular formation with a fullback and tight end and run the power game with a play-action pass. That's a little different from what they've done in the past. They force you to prepare for two or three different types of attacks depending on the personnel that they have in the game."
On the USF defense:
"They're very athletic from a defensive standpoint. They put pressure on the quarterback. I think they tackle extremely well. They can run, as you would expect. They're sound in their scheme. I wouldn't say that they do a thousand different things; they're not one of those defenses. However, they do play and give you enough variance in what they're doing front-seven wise and pressure-wise to give you some concern. I just think athletically that they're big and strong inside their tackles, they're athletic on the edges as far as applying pressure and their secondary runs well."
On USF's rising confidence level:
"They should be confident now. To go on the road and to win a couple games like they have, that brings confidence. To win a close one against Rutgers like they did a couple weeks ago, and an overtime game this week - all those things build confidence to bring a team together. We're expecting them to be geared up and ready to go. We have to be ready to match that."
On Pitt's run defense against Connecticut's Jordan Todman:
"It was a good performance by Jordan Todman. Two of the big runs they had, we were caught out of position. We didn't execute like we have in the past. He broke a few tackles and they blocked us at times. A combination of all those things probably hurt us."
On evaluating personnel:
"We're constantly re-evaluating positions. With Greg Romeus out, and when you look at our defensive line - all four of our backup defensive line are all freshmen right now. Three of them are true freshmen and one of them is a redshirt freshman. We're young and we know that.
"I thought Chas Alecxih probably had as good a performance as we've had by any defensive tackle here in the last four years, and that's a shame when you don't win the game. I think he had eight tackles (at Connecticut). He played very well. I think we make the correction as coaches, get the kids back in focus, strap it up and get back into it. We understand what we're into with these last three games - there is no room for error. We're taking them one at a time, and this is definitely the most important game of the year."
On being in first place in the Big East:
"That means nothing to us. Right now we have to find a way to win a game, and all that other stuff really doesn't matter. We have to win a game, become bowl eligible and go from there."
On correcting the kickoff coverage breakdowns:
"The mistakes are definitely correctable. What's interesting is that you can only play this game successfully when you play with a high level of intensity. If you lose that edge, just a little bit, you can be 90% correct, but that 10% can mean the difference in giving up a big play or making a big play.
"They (UConn) didn't do anything different on that return (that went for a touchdown) than what they did on the one that we tackled them inside the 20. The only difference being that we didn't have the urgency that we did when we hit them inside the 20. Being able to keep our focus and not get caught up in the emotion of the game is a big part of this game on any level. It's a maturity thing. We score a touchdown, we go up, everything is happening fast. Then we get in there, out of position, and we don't get off a block and that's the end result. It wasn't anything overly sophisticated.
"Did we watch it? Did we correct it? Did we watch the kickoff return for a touchdown by South Florida? Yes, multiple times."
On taking positives out of the UConn game:
"I thought Jabaal Sheard and Dom DeCicco - those guys continued to play well. Jason Pinkston played about as good as he's played all year. We did some good things. It's a shame because you can do all the Xs and Os, drawing up all these great defenses and plays and you put the ball on the ground (turn it over) a couple of times, they don't and you lose. Sometimes it's almost too simple, and that's really the case. We did some good things in all three phases, but not consistently enough to get us the win. We had a few mistakes that made the difference in the game."
On whether verbal exchanges with Connecticut led to a fourth down penalty:
"No. How that happens is if there is ever a problem with either team, the officials waste no time bringing it to my attention. There was no conversation about that. They (Pitt) might have been late coming out of the huddle. It was a pretty intense game, a really physical game. It (verbal exchanges) was not an issue, in my mind, from the standpoint of us being able to execute (the fourth-down play) correctly."
On the progress of the offensive line:
"I thought that a couple of the blitzes, they got to us a few times. Could we have got the ball out or made an adjustment? Possibly. For the most part we protected and threw the ball down the field. We ran the ball, too. We went into the game trying to have a good balance. They had their safeties out in there, tight. We knew that we were going to block them out with eight- or nine-man fronts, which it was. We knew there would be some opportunities to hit some passes. We have to be able to do both, that was our plan and that is what we tried to do. I think our offensive line has continued to take a step forward and they have week after week. We'll need to continue with that process this Saturday down at South Florida."
On Tino Sunseri's growth at quarterback:
"I think that Tino Sunseri, would he like to have a few of those throws back (at Connecticut)? Sure he would, any quarterback would. I don't think it was a situation where it was confusion on his part of what to do. I think he has progressed week after week. Just like any other player on the team, we show him the tape and we have to make the corrections as coaches. We can't let those same mistakes happen again, that's the key."
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