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Nov. 26, 2012


Coach Paul Chryst Press Conference

USF Game Preview

Opening Statements:

“I’m very proud of the way the guys played Saturday. I thought it was a good finish for the seniors and their last game at Heinz Field. The thing that I enjoyed the most is I thought it was a good team game. Guys fed off of each other and their energy. For those guys to be able to finish their career with a good win like that, a team win, I thought it was pretty neat. Now we put ourselves in to position where we go and play a game Saturday and try to earn the right to play another game. For the players and coaches that’s pretty significant. You look at South Florida and I see a lot of speed and a lot of talent. You watch the games and the number of close games that they’ve had against good teams, I have a lot of respect for them. We’re looking forward to a good week of preparation and going down and playing. I know everyone is aware of the release that we sent out today and I won’t comment any further on that.”

On the opportunity to earn a right to go to a bowl game:

“I love any time we get a chance to play more football. We’ve got to go earn it and I like that part of it. When you go to a bowl you’ve done enough to earn the right to play another game and a chance, to selfishly, to be around some of these guys for one more game. No doubt there’s benefit to extra practice and what you can do with the young kids. Before all that bowl talk, there’s enough (going on). The last couple days, watching South Florida we have to lock in. There absolutely is value to it. The benefits to the program and reward to players are huge.”

On if there are any benefits to the intangibles of a program by making a bowl game:

“You only go to a bowl if you’ve achieved a certain level. I think it’s a lot of the football part of it. I have a tendency to hone in on that. That’s what everyone wants to do and it is certainly a goal. I’m sure there’s a lot, but we get to live in a football world and lock in on those (benefits).”

On the status of wide receiver Devin Street:

“He’s feeling certainly much better. During the game he went and had some precautionary things. We wanted to make sure of some things and you appreciate that. He did a little bit yesterday, but tomorrow we’ll know more. We’ll go out and practice and ‘how does it feel?’ Hopefully he’ll be ready to go. He seemed like he’s feeling alright.”

On how USF has been adjusted to losing their quarterback B.J. Daniels to injury this season:

“I have a lot of respect for them. I had a chance to meet Daniels at the Big East meetings. You talk about an impressive kid. I knew about him as a player. Anytime any team loses a guy like that, that’s significant. I’ve been watching them and still have to study more of it. He (QB Matt Floyd) throws the ball extremely well and they’ve got talent around him. I’ll keep watching more and we’ve got to come up with a good plan and be ready to go Saturday.”

On if the players have rallied around the idea of playing for the right to go to a bowl game:

“They’ve been good. Yesterday was good. I’m glad they’re talking that way and make sure their actions show that. Indications that I’ve gotten and coaches have gotten, you feel good. We’ve got to take that and transfer it to playing well on Saturday.”

On if the players will take South Florida lightly because of their recent struggles:

“Shame on us if we don’t have the right attitude. It also means to me, that you haven’t watched much tape. You throw on the film and I see talented players. They’re playing fast and I know they’re well coached. That would be a big mistake, not respecting any opponent, but certainly this one. I don’t think you have to manufacture something, just show them what’s on tape and they know. A lot of these guys know about the other players, the older players. I don’t anticipate that being a problem because it’s not something we have to manufacture, it’s real and on tape. They’ve got a lot of good players and a good team. They haven’t won as many as they’d like, nor have we. Of all the teams to be going in to it with that approach, it certainly shouldn’t and won’t be us.”

On if there is a finer line between victory and defeat this season than ever before:

“I don’t know. The trouble I have answering that is every game I’ve ever been in or gone in to, you feel like there’s a fine line. Maybe when you look back on it, every game I go in to it, you’re hoping you get a first down, you’re hoping you can tackle a guy. You look back on games where you won by large margins, not one game I went in to saying this is going to be a good one, this will be easy. I guess my point is that every game there’s a fine line and you have to play good football and do the things that lead to winning games. I think it is a fine line and I’ve always believed that. I don’t know if it’s more now, than before.”

On if the fine line is the reason coaches are usually the last one out the facility at night:

“We’re not real smart to begin with, so you’ve got to watch it a little longer. It’s a neat world to be in, but you have one week and you better maximize that because you have one opportunity. I know as a coach, the players put themselves out on the field and they’re between the lines. Your job is to give them everything possible to help them play the best they can play. Whether that’s added information, if it’s a different type of play or making sure whatever you’re doing, this is the coverage we want to be in. You just want to make sure you’re right because that’s your job. That’s why we spend the time we spend.”

On if emotions will be even higher for the seniors as this is officially their last regular season game:

“You’d hope they go in to every game kind of on that emotional edge. I think its great that we’re playing for something very significant. Emotion carries you so far, but then you have to play well and you’ve got to focus on that. That’s what we talked about before the game last week. Enjoy the emotional part of having your parents and those you love and who love you being there. Whatever those emotions are, take them in and then go play. I think each guy’s career is a little different, so how they’re going to reflect back on this or how emotional that day or game will be is really individual. The bottom line is you still get to go out and play. What you do is what you remember the most. Play well.”

On running back Ray Graham’s accomplishments this season:

“Certainly I’ve appreciated it. Each guy has a story and Ray’s story this year is not just what he’s done, but where he’s come from with a significant injury last year. In a team sport, anything individual is as much an acknowledgement of the team as the individual. Granted, guys do it and he’s run for so many yards and you appreciate that, but no one does it on their own and that’s the neat thing. The teams I’ve been around and groups I’ve been around, they’ve got that. I think Ray would also admit that. I’ve seen a lineman be more proud of a 1,000 yard rusher than the back. That’s the great thing when you have a good team, the feeling is that this is our reward. All the good teams and all the good players I’ve been around there’s been that sense. Certainly it’s still a significant milestone. He hasn’t done it yet and we’ve got a lot certainly as a team to play for and some of these individual things that come are by-products. The thing I love about it is you’ve got to go do it.”

On how far Ray has come since spring practice:

“You guys all saw it. Really it wasn’t until the last three, four games where it felt like he (was confident). Him taking the brace off was significant in a lot of ways. For the first time, he felt confidence. We’re going to need him to be good. He has to be good for us if we want to win.”

On what improvements he’s seen by quarterback Tino Sunseri:

“It’s a culmination of a lot of things. I felt all along when we talked about what does experience give you. It’s a new system, but he understands the importance of taking care of the football. That comes with experience. It comes from being burned on it and he’s grown up with it. I think we are growing and still growing in all our areas with what we’re doing and certainly the passing game. The more that you have an understanding that you can trust things and cut it loose a little sooner. We’ve got to prove it.”

On wide receiver Ed Tinker coming in last week and scoring in the absence of Devin Street:

“I thought that drive was a big drive. That’s what I love about it. He had his moment and now can he add on to it, absolutely. You can’t take that away from him and yet he should do that. You go here and you practice and if you’re out there, they’re all good enough to make plays. You’re glad that he did, but I also like the fact that Tino didn’t hesitate to go to him. I thought it was good and we need depth and we need him to grow. You’re certainly happy when guys have a chance to do something significant.”

On what the biggest difference has been for the defense between the beginning of the season and now:

“Saturday I thought that we did a great job in the first half on 3rd down. I thought we tackled better. Its kind of what we’ve been talking about with Tino, it adds up over time running the same defense. Hearing the calls, knowing how it fits and matches up to certain formations and personnel groups. There’s growth there and you’re hoping it carries forward, but we have some guys that played last year, but also have a group of guys that are maturing. They’re getting older and they’re playing and gaining experience. Hopefully we carry that forward Saturday.”

Meet The Press: Paul Chryst Previews the USF Game

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