One of the things I was interested in reading from today's media recaps were some quotes from the team - in particular, the offense. These things are often a mixed bag - you get the standard PC stuff, but rarely, you get some good insight, too.
Pitt quarterback Tom Savage didn't offer much insight, but here's what we know - he's not here to throw blame around. Savage didn't talked specifically about his offensive line, even giving them credit. Okay, so he lied:
After the game, Savage said he felt "great" despite the pounding he took. He also defended the play of his offensive line, saying many of the sacks were a result of him holding the ball too long.
"I have the best line in the country," he said. "I'm confident with those guys out there and it's just my job to get rid of the ball."
Yeah, I get it - we all know that's a ridiculous statement. I know it, you know it, and Savage surely knows it. But it's hard not to like Savage after something like that. Heck, I'm even pretty sure that I was a bit sore rolling out of bed after that beating, but Savage appears to be fine from that PG article. Good to hear. I don't think he played particularly well, but like I said before, he didn't have much time to throw, either.
Also, while some of the sacks may have been a product of holding the ball too long, many weren't. There were times when Savage had barely taken the snap and had a defender breathing down his neck. But it's good for the team that he's not in there to stir the pot with inflammatory statements.
There was also this little tidbit buried in Sam Werner's article:
Chryst, too, said he didn't think the pass protection issues were anything that needed major overhaul in the coming weeks.
"I think there can be some minor adjustments," he said. "I think, really, we've got to look at it not just with the O-line, but [also] the routes we're running. Everyone can own that a little bit."
Minor adjustments? Now, lots of people will want to kill Chryst for that. That performance is one that should call for a lot of thought and effort to make it better. The line, by the account of any reasonable person, was an unmitigated disaster. Still, though, there's not much more Pitt can do in terms of line play there - the players are what they are ... not real good against strong defenses. One move that fans are surely going to clamor for is the insertion of Dorian Johnson. We'll see if that happens, but I'd have to imagine that it will be debated by coaches as the season goes on if things don't get better. But for now, Chryst creating mass panic by saying they're awful would be far from helpful.
And here's the thing - the Hokies defense, like Florida State's, was very, very good. The offensive line has been completely reasonable against weaker teams and that's really where we're at with Pitt as a whole - they're not an elite team and they're not a bottom feeder ... they're in the middle.
As I said in the comments of another post, the discouraging thing to me was that knowing the Panthers needed to do something innovative on offense to thwart Virginia Tech's defense, we got a game plan without many adjustments and things like screens, shotgun snaps, etc. And when we did see them, they were few and far between. Yes, the offensive line was bad, but the coaches didn't come in with a game plan to try to get Tech's defense off balance, either.