And we're back with another version of Coachspeak. After the Youngstown State disaster (and yes, there's really no other way to classify it), coach Chryst chimes in on that and looks ahead to Cincinnati.
Here are the top ten quotes from the weekly press conference as I see it. Chryst's quotes are in bold while my notes follow:
10. (On areas from Saturday that needed improving) "I thought tackling. We tackled quite a bit in fall camp and I thought guys played a little bit hesitant. ...I think the tackling…we had some opportunities that could have changed the sticks."
That's really a great point and something I didn't mention in my recap - probably out of frustration. But Pitt missed on getting Hess and runners in the backfield quite a few times. Instead of putting their offense into more of a hole, they allowed the Penguins to turn several of those plays into positive yards.
9. "I had a chance to go back and look at the film of the Youngstown game and I told the players, there are areas that obviously we need to get cleaned up, but they’re areas that are controllable, that are tangible."
Technically, everything's fixable, isn't it? Let's hope so, anyway.
8. (On if he saw things he could build on in the passing game) "Absolutely, I think you could take each phase and there were things we could build on. Specifically in the passing game, I thought protection was pretty good, I thought guys made some plays and there were some good runs after the catch."
The passing game did some good things, but yeah - plenty of room for improvement. For starters, there were several dropped passes including a big one fairly early on from Devin Street. And while Sunseri was solid, he definitely missed some wide open receivers.
7. (On what the expected workload is for Ray Graham) "We’ll just see how this week goes and I wouldn’t say much more than that really because I just don’t know."
You've got to think Graham is going to play a good amount in this game. Other than the fumble, he was pretty good against Youngstown State. Didn't have any spectacular long runs from my recollection, but with 14 carries, he had a nice workload. I'd expect to see him a good bit again ... unless, of course, Pitt gets in a hole early and has to start passing a bit more to play catch-up.
6. "As far as injuries, I think we’re getting healthier as a team. K’Waun (Williams) didn’t finish the game Saturday night. He’d be the one we’re just kind of curious to see how he comes back from it. Other than that I think we’re getting healthier.
Not sure when Williams came out since I had to leave the game early, but safe to say, Pitt will probably be better with him in there. That said, the secondary left plenty to be desired, so that unit needs to get better.
5. The players that we had the disciplinary action on, we’ll go through this week and make an evaluation and a determination for the game."
4. (On what the suspended players will need to show to play Thursday) "They’ll all have an opportunity. Are they going to help us win the game? Every guy that gets on that plane, every guy that dresses for the game is there for one reason: that’s for us to represent Pittsburgh and for us to go compete and try to win a game. If they can help us do that, then absolutely they’ll be with us."
The defensive line could have brought a little more pressure, so you'd like to think having Tyrone Ezell back will help. Even so, though, I don't think having the 'Suspended Six' would have made a difference in the Youngstown State game as far as the outcome goes. Several of those guys were part of Pitt's two-deep, but it's probably a bit unrealistic to think that those guys would have meant the difference between winning and losing. Still, it'd be nice if those guys will be available.
3. (On why there are no names on the back of the jerseys this year) "We didn’t take the names off, we just didn’t put them on. I think it’s one team and you get numbers and it’s a clean slate and I think it’s kind of cool. I know the players, some of them don’t like it, but that’s alright."
This is the perfect example of something that sounds nice, but really has little effect into on-field play. I was personally a little psyched when Bryan pointed out to me at the game that the players came out without names on their backs, but look what that got us. Seriously, it's a nice thought, but when the game starts, that type of stuff really doesn't matter.
2. (On if five days is enough to erase the mistakes they made before the next game) "It’s the perfect number right now. That’s what we’ve got this week, so it’s exactly what we want."
1. "I’m excited for the players to get back to work today and this isn’t a bad week to have a short week."
This is pretty preposterous, if you ask me. No offense to coach Chryst here, and I get what he's trying to say - they've got five days until the game, so they'll have to be happy with that. But after what we saw against Youngstown State, I'd certainly feel more comfortable if the team had a full week to prepare. Coming off a bad loss and heading into the first conference game of the season, five games really isn't enough. It'll have to be, but having more time in this instance would be welcome.