Paul Chryst took the podium after the Panthers' big win against Delaware and in advance of Pitt's next game against Boston College. As usual, lots to digest and here are the top ten quotes/developments.
10. "It was a good game Saturday in many ways. We were able to play 64 guys and 23 of them had their first action at Pitt so that was good."
Just another reminder of how young this team is. More than 1/3 of the team's players in the game were getting their first game action at Pitt. Part of that was due to the blowout, but either way, a lot of true and redshirt freshmen are getting onto the field.
9. (On if he’s worried about overconfidence after a win like Delaware) "No, I’m not."
Short and to the point. I don't know how many coaches would even admit to that publicly, but I believe Chryst here. It might be different if the team was coming off of a better 2013 season, but the fact that this team has been very mediocre for a long time should be enough to make them take every game seriously.
8. (On Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy) "He’s a good player and that always presents problems. You have to play disciplined against him. It’s definitely something that will test us defensively. In the short week, we just have to plan accordingly."
The short week is not something I've talked a lot about. It's a disadvantage to both teams, obviously, but maybe even more so to Pitt, who has to prepare for Murphy. Chad Voytik is a bit mobile, too, but Murphy is going to probably use his legs a lot more. Pitt trying to prepare for him on a short week is certainly a disadvantage.
7. (On the rest of the team’s health coming out of the game) "We came out good and everyone practiced yesterday. A couple young guys who haven’t practiced in a while will go today. Everybody should be turning out for football today though."
Fairly minor here but great to hear the team got out of the Delaware game healthy. Not sure who he's referring to about the younger guys, but I'd be interested to know if that includes wide receiver Adonis Jennings, who missed a lot of time near the end of camp.
6. (On Chad Voytik making his first career road start) "Chad’s made trips before, it’s not like this is his first trip he’s made. There are always going to be ‘firsts,’ and you have to help guys deal with it and they have to deal with it themselves. In the end, though, nobody really cares. Preparation during the week is key to giving yourself the best chance to succeed."
I see Chryst's point here in that he's made road trips before, but honestly, that's nothing like playing or starting. And it's certainly not like playing in a night game on ESPN where all eyes are on you. Voytik had some experience playing in the bowl game, obviously, but even that wasn't a true road test. I'll be interested to see how Voytik responds.
5. (On wishing QB Chad Voytik would have faced a few third-and-long situations Saturday) "I don’t know if I was necessarily wishing for it during the game, but there are still things we have to do. We had two third downs that we didn’t convert on. It’s a new week and we just have to make sure he’s prepared."
Yep, and I think that's really the question a lot of us have after last game. I would have really preferred to see try to air it out more and the third-and-long situations are only part of it. Pitt didn't face many of those, but they still could have taken some shots downfield - especially once they got ahead by a couple of touchdowns.
4. (On receiver Tyler Boyd’s status) "He practiced yesterday and he’ll practice again today."
Nothing much to say here other than it's great news that he's been practicing. Seems like he's an absolute lock to play.
3. (On if they will continue to get offensive lineman Jaryd Jones-Smith significant reps during the game) "Yeah, I think so."
The JJS experiment will continue, folks. Not huge news since he played in the first game, but the thing to watch, obviously, is if he ever cracks the starting lineup. Currently, he's been replacing Dorian Johnson while Adam Bisnowaty slides over to take DJ's spot at guard. But Chryst is pretty intent on getting Jones-Smith into the game and while it may not speak to their confidence in Johnson, it's good to have as many options as possible.
2. (On if he’s comfortable with the run-pass ratio Pitt had during Saturday’s game) "If the runs are good, then yes, I’ll take that. Certainly we want to be balanced and also wanted to get the run game going. I think if you have the ability to run the football, then it helps you offensively and defensively, it’s a good thing. There probably aren’t many games when you can do that, so we have to be a balanced offense."
1. (On what he would like the run-to-pass ratio to be ideally) "I honestly don’t care about the number or percentage. I never go into a game thinking that. There’s going to be games where you have to win it by running the ball and there’s going to be games where you have to win it by throwing the ball, so you have to be able to do both."
The bottom line is that Pitt is certainly going to have to be more balanced than they were in the first game. Unless you've got a huge lead, you simply have to pass more than the 14 attempts they had against Delaware. Part of it is about breaking Voytik in slowly, so it's hard to argue with a run-heavy offense right now.
Chryst understands this so, to me, the lack of passing in the opener is hardly cause for alarm. It was a product of the game and as he says, Chryst knows the offense needs to be more balanced.
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