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Nov. 19, 2012

Coach Paul Chryst Press Conference

Rutgers Game Preview

Opening Statements:

“I’m excited it’s game week again. I thought we had a good bye week. We had good energy and it was fun to be around the players. Rutgers, I had a chance to watch a little bit more film than a normal game day and I’m impressed with them. Obviously their record speaks for itself, but it’s another very good defense and offensively they have some real weapons. I know from trying to recruit a couple of them. It’s a good challenge. Yesterday we practiced. I thought the guys were locked in and I liked that. Today they have off and then we’ll go into a normal week of preparation. I’m really excited to go play again and I’m looking forward to, hopefully, our seniors playing a great game in their last home game at Heinz Field.”

On whether Rutgers’ defense is the team’s biggest strength:

“Yeah, they’re good. They really are and their numbers kind of back it up. I think offensively they’ve got a couple weapons. At this point, when you’re 9-1 you’ve done a lot and it’s not by accident. They’ve got good players; I think they’re well coached. Our guys see that, they’ve seen the film. We’ll continue to study it, but I think our guys will be ready to go.”

On if any players will be returning from injury this week:

“I hope. It’s early as far as trying to figure out exactly. Hubie (Graham) didn’t practice at all (during the bye week). I appreciate him and felt like he’s always fought every week to try and get back. So we’ll see, but I don’t think anyone has certainly been ruled out at this point.”

On the Rutgers rushing attack:

“I think their backs are really talented. I think the quarterback is and I think they’re doing a good job as a team. Defensively they’re taking the ball away and offensively they’re protecting it. They have receivers that can hurt you. They play off each other well as a team. I think they have and should have a lot of confidence in their defense. They’re not going to try and be reckless. I think special teams have certainly given them some plays. They’ve got some weapons, can hurt you throwing the ball and I’ve got a lot of respect for them and their run game.”

On preparation through the Thanksgiving holiday:

“The biggest impact that it has is without school we can adjust the calendar a little bit. Nowadays, a lot of the high schools are still playing through it. I think everyone that is around football knows that you’re still in season. We’ll adjust accordingly because of school as much as anything. Certainly the local guys will have a little more time. Usually we practice during the day so that they can go to class in the morning. We can kind of bump that (practice time) up a little bit. We’ll still have a normal week of preparation. It’s pretty cool that we have a lot of guys from around here and, from my understanding, in the past they bring other guys (who live out of town) with them. They’ll have a chance to spend some time with their families and still really not skip a beat in preparation.”

On how Rutgers uses their running backs:

“Probably no different than anyone else. If someone is rolling they’ll stay with that. That’s what it looks like to me.”

On the disparity in carries between Ray Graham and Rushel Shell in the past two games:

“There’s not a deeper story. Last game we didn’t have enough attempts (after falling into a large early deficit). We hope to get them both a good share of carries. That would mean we’re in the game or able to run the ball effectively. Not anything more than the way the game has played out.”

On Pitt’s seniors:

“There’s a group of them that I’ve really enjoyed being around and respect and understand. I (know) what they’ve gone through and that you appreciate. Just being around them, there’s a good group of guys that love the game, work at it and prepare. Then they go out and play it the best they can. To me, those are pretty good qualities. I hope not just them, but our whole team goes out and plays hard. The game itself should be enough, but a little bit added incentive. I think that’s always been the case, every place I’ve been that, the underclassmen, it’s their job to do everything they can to send the seniors out with a win. I certainly hope we can accomplish that.”

On what has been the biggest problem in developing consistency this season:

“Consistently inconsistent. It’s been different things each game. We’ve got to learn from those lessons. To me, it hasn’t been as simple as get this one thing corrected and we’re good. That’s alright in the sense that you don’t know and you can’t script it and that’s how it goes. You’ve got to react and try to correct what’s presently in need of being corrected. I thought we took advantage of last week and we’ll take advantage this week. At this point right now, I’d be all for following that 2-2-2 schedule. (Winning two and then losing two.) We’ve got to go earn that one though.”

On his familiarity with Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova prior to arriving at Pitt:

“I knew of him. I think he’s got an understanding of what they want to do offensively. I think he’s got a feel for whom his playmakers are. He’s been in some situations and to me it looks like he plays with some poise and toughness. Those are qualities you always appreciate in a quarterback.”

On what he expects from their defense:

“Absolutely they’ll pressure. I don’t think it is kind of an all-or-nothing deal for them. They can be aggressive and be effective without pressuring. Some teams that becomes their identity, that’s who they are. I think they mix it up well, but absolutely we have to be ready to handle pressure.”

On getting the senior class to buy in that the coaching staff wasn’t looking toward the future:

“I never worried about them buying in. You talk to them and you talk about all the topics. That’s what we’ve tried to do, just address things. To me getting guys to buy in means you’re trying to sell something and we’re not trying to sell anything. We’re in the process of creating a culture and we’re here to help players be the best players they can be. Represent this university with the best football team we can and do it the right way. Never felt we had to sell them anything or get them to buy in.”

On if there are any concerns about playing at Heinz Field after the grass surface is used for WPIAL games on Friday:

“No, it’s going to be our field and lets go play. There’s a lot more concerns that I have than that. We have to go play and play a good team. We’ll be ready.

Meet the Press: Paul Chryst previews the Rutgers game

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