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Paul Chryst says Ejuan Price injury won't impact James Conner's time on defense

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Paul Chryst spoke at ACC Media Days where SB Nation had some representatives, and perhaps the biggest piece of news that came out was his thoughts on the Ejuan Price injury.

We've wondered if the injury could mean increased playing time for James Conner on defense, but Chryst seemed to downplay that notion.

"First and foremost, you feel bad for Ejuan. He missed a lot of time last year and the year before. That’s a big loss. But I don’t think it will change how much we plan to use James. James isn’t going to pick up the slack for Ejuan being injured."

That seems like a pretty logical thought. It might be reasonable to expect Conner to do more on defense but it's becoming pretty clear that his first priority is to the offense. And despite the depth at running back, Chryst made it clear that the don't want to overload him too much.

"You certainly have to be realistic. He can only do so much as he can truly be prepared for. We used him in the bowl game and he had eight or nine snaps – it wasn’t a significant amount. I think that he can truly help us on both sides of the ball. You can even have a plan, but that plan can change really fast (due to) circumstances…score, weather, whatever it may be. Our job is to make sure that, and we’re planning on using him both ways, that he is truly prepared."

It's difficult to get a true handle on how much Pitt plans to play him on defense. And Chryst could be playing this pretty close to the vest as well. But if we take what he said at face value, it doesn't seem like the plan is to play Conner a ton on the defensive side of the ball.

More on Chryst at the media days tomorrow.

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