After a week's hiatus, we're back with another Todd Graham press conference top ten for Rutgers week. Got to admit, not much here - this was one of the more nondescript Pitt football weekly press conferences in recent memory. Because it was so bland, we'll call this the top nine.
Away we go:
8. Probably the hardest thing to do in college football is to win on the road.
Yeah, and playing at Rutgers for some reason scares me. For one thing, Pitt's lost the last two out of three games there. Now, I should add that I totally hate idiotic stats like that since these are completely different teams. But that said, Pitt hasn't been all that great out in Jersey. Should Pitt win this game? Well, yes. But things happen.
8. Tino Sunseri had his best performance (against South Florida).
Sure did and it wasn't even all that close. Again, as I pointed out in the recap, Sunseri isn't a great quarterback. But he does keep Pitt in games and on Thursday, he did more than that by running all over the field and making some quality throws. For the first time this year, we can take a break from the quarterback 'controversy' stuff.
7. The bottom line is if we execute this system, take care of the ball and play Pitt football the way we know how then were are going to be successful."
This quote says it all. If Pitt does what they're supposed to on Saturday, they win. Case closed.
6. USF was a challenge for us to defend especially with how talented their quarterback is. For us to be able to hold them to 17 points especially when they were scoring about 45 points a game was very impressive.
I can't say enough about Pitt's defense on Thursday. They gave up the 17 in the first half, but to totally shut down a team that threw up 70 points earlier this year is incredible. Yes that total came against Florida A&M, but 70 points is still 70 points.
5. "Sanu has tremendous ball skills. They move him around quite a bit so you can't isolate him. He has tremendous ability. He is able to contort his body and go get balls, and make one handed catches. He is a strong handed guy and no question he is their go-to guy. He is the guy that you have to know where he is at all times."
Pitt totally shut down Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, so I have confidence they could do the same to Mohamed Sanu. But where Pitt fans should be concerned are the secondary receivers. We saw what Notre Dame's tight end Tyler Eifert did in the middle of the field and if Pitt focuses too much on one guy, that could leave someone else open. Mark Harrison isn't having a great season so far, but he had more than 800 receiving yards last year - meaning he's plenty capable of a big week.
4. On defense we want to first and foremost attack.
That's a part of why Pitt was so exciting last week. The defense wasn't vanilla. It didn't sit back and merely try to
defend the pass better. It attacked. Pitt seemingly had blitzes coming from different positions on every play and keeping B.J. Daniels so off-balance was really the key to the game in a way. Hoping to see more of that on Saturday.
3. "I think Todd is one of the best players out there on the field...He has as much ability as anyone else on the field and he is going to be a big-time player for us."
Thomas' play really has me excited and I was in a mini-panic when he went to the sidelines in the South Florida game. I'm still intrigued to see what he could have done as a receiver, but there's obviously no way at all Pitt should consider a move. Thomas should be standout on defense and an impact player for several seasons.
2. We actually got in an extra practice. We usually don't practice on Sundays but we did this week.
That's great. Not only did Pitt have extra time to prepare this week, but they actually even used their off day to get more work in. Love the work ethic and the fact that the coaches realize the importance of the season now that conference games are underway. Absolutely love this move.
1. "There were absolutely no new plays against South Florida. It was all the same plays but this time we were able to execute them....We have had the same plays now for four weeks.
When I heard Graham say this, I was floored, to be honest. That goes to show you just how effective the offense can be when it actually works. Pitt looked like a juggernaut out there on offense, and I would have sworn Graham reached into his top hat for an extra half dozen plays or so. Am I the only one that thinks it's borderline insane that the offense worked so much better with exactly the same playbook?
Execution is everything and this offense will be scary once they're operating with 100% of the playbook. That won't happen this season, but in a year or two, this team could be fun to watch on a weekly basis.