Paul Chryst took the podium this week after the Navy loss and ahead of the Georgia Tech game. Like I said before, I really didn't have much interest in this after the defeat, but hey, I'm a professional.
Here are the top ten quotes as I saw them:
10. (On Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense compared to Navy’s) “Because of personnel, there are some different things that they’re doing, but there is a lot of carryover certainly. A lot of those [Navy] guys played and coached for Paul [Johnson], so there is some benefit to having faced it so we can make corrections and clean it up.
Yeah, I mean, that's a fair point. Chryst went on to say that Georgia Tech also now has film on Pitt after the Navy game, so it's a two-edged sword. And as he then said, it's going to come down to execution, really.
9. (On if defenses are focusing on wide receiver Tyler Boyd more) “I’m sure they’re aware of where he’s at. Some of the things we ran went to Devin [Street] when Tyler was open and [Tom Savage] had to pick one over the other. I don’t think they were doing anything special on film with covering Tyler.”
This goes in line with what Chryst said before about teams not taking Boyd away or really game-planning for him that much. If that's the case, then Chryst should really be kicking himself because as I wrote earlier this week, Pitt needs to get him involved more. If he's open and teams aren't doing anything to stop him, it makes little sense to not get the ball in his hands.
8. (On updating injuries) “Shane [Gordon] didn’t finish the game. He came back here, and fortunately nothing is broken or structurally wrong. It’s how much he can get the movement back and tolerate it, so we’ll see as the week goes on."
7. "And with Cory [King], who’s been out for a little, he’ll do some things today. He said it felt better over the weekend, so we’ll see how it goes this week. That’s the injury update.”
Getting one or both of those guys back would be huge not only in terms of getting better players into the starting lineup, but helping the depth along. If there's another injury to the linebackers' corps or offensive line and those guys can't play, it just makes the team that much weaker.
6. (On quarterback Tom Savage) “I thought he really made some progress...I’m not saying he played perfect, but I think he’s good."
Eh, I'm not sure I'm really buying this. He hasn't been terrible and while I can appreciate Chryst not wanting to throw Savage under the bus, it's hard to say he's improving and making progress as Chryst suggests. Savage, like the offense, has definitely either regressed or is treading water. I have a hard time saying the unit, or Savage in particular, is making progress at this point with the offense stalling so much on Saturday and in most of the games since Virginia Tech.
5. (On the deeper passing game) “We’ve called the same plays that worked against Florida State and New Mexico, but the ball sometimes goes in different places. You have to be smart and pick and choose—the deeper the throw, the longer the protection. We have to balance that.”
Yeah, I brought this up earlier, but it's really the missing ingredient if you ask me. Pitt was able to score some fast points on deeper routes earlier this year and really move the ball downfield at a quick pace. All offenses are going to stall, but the more yards you can eat up on big plays means there's less the offense has to do to score points. Part of it is protection as Chryst says, but there have been times when Savage has had enough time to throw long.
4. (On the identity of the offense) “You’re always developing your identity. I wouldn’t say we’re in a crisis.
3. (On safety Ray Vinopal’s interception that was ruled out of bounds) “I did [think he made the play]. I thought he got the foot down and was communicating with the official. It doesn’t matter now. We’re supposed to review all of those, so you don’t want to waste a timeout. I thought that it was a heck of a play by Ray actually.”
This was really befuddling to me and I'm even more confused now. So let me get this straight - Chryst clearly thought the play was made but didn't want to burn a timeout on it? I, like most of you, had the same thought - the booth should have reviewed it. But once it was clear that wasn't going to happen, Pitt should have obviously challenged the play. The ironic part, of course, is that Chryst didn't want to burn a valuable time out then ended the game with some still in his hip pocket. Woof.
2. I would hope that I’m growing every game and getting better. It’d be pretty hypocritical to ask the players to get better and then I’m not. I think we do need to learn how to win.”
1. I need to do a better job of coaching.
I’ve got to do a better job.”
I’ve got to get better at this.
Chryst actually had even more references to needing to get better as a coach. Like I said earlier this week, though, the good news is that he realizes he needs to improve - now it's time to do it.
See the entire transcript here.