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August 27, 2014

Paul Chryst

PAUL CHRYST:  Well, certainly excited to start the season.  I felt like we had a good camp, and it's time now to start this journey called the season.  Looking forward to it.  I know the kids are looking forward to it, and certainly on film looks to be a good Delaware team, so it'll be a good day.  Looking forward to the start.

Q.  What do you see in the film with Delaware and what type of coach is Coach Brock?
PAUL CHRYST:  Well, I think he's certainly well‑respected in the profession, and as a team, offensively, I think they've got some really talented guys that are back from last year's film and do a lot formationally, and they make you play honest.  So a combination of good players and obviously a good scheme.  You know, so there's a challenge there.
I think defensively they're very sound and do enough things to kind of‑‑ a combination of pressures and change‑ups that they make you‑‑ our team has got to be playing aware, good awareness to all the different things that can happen.  It's a good, well‑coached football team.  Obviously to come in first year and have the success they did, it's a combination of a well‑coached team and good players.

Q.  What do you think about the CAA?  How good is that conference?  I know this is probably your second time facing one of them.
PAUL CHRYST:  Well, I think before me even being at Pitt, I've had a lot of respect, have coached when I was in the NFL, coached players from the league, known about it for a long time.  It's a combination‑‑ there's been a lot of great coaches in the league and certainly a number of great players, so a ton of respect.

Q.  I was just wondering how you feel Delaware's experienced quarterback and receivers will test your young secondary on Saturday.
PAUL CHRYST:  Yeah, I think they're good players, and certainly they've got reason to be confident, who they are as players.  One, it's part of who they are offensively, and two, I think that's just that; they're going to test it and see how we hold up.  But I feel good with the preparation that our guys have had, and yet we know we're facing not only, like I said before, a good scheme, but talented guys running the scheme.

Q.  Is it typical in these games between FBS and FCS teams that typically the biggest advantage you guys will have is on the offensive and defensive fronts just in terms of size and depth?
PAUL CHRYST:  You know, the ones that I've been involved in you can throw typical out, and I think that you're talking about‑‑ Delaware is a proven, good football team, and I like our team, and we're young, especially in the lines we're young.  I think it's going to be a heck of a game.

Q.  Just one quick local question for you.  Is it safe to assume you guys are red shirting Brian O'Neill, and what's he shown you guys in his first few weeks of college football?
PAUL CHRYST:  Yeah, right now our plan is to red shirt Brian.  We were really excited when we signed him, and I'd say that we're more excited now.  I think Brian has got a chance to be a heck of a player.  I feel fortunate that we're able to right now be able to red shirt him, and I think that he's got a heck of a future ahead of him.  So we're really excited about Brian.

Q.  Paul, do you feel like this year you guys can kind of reach your potential on the offensive line and play with more consistency than you guys have since you've been there?
PAUL CHRYST:  I sure hope so.  You know, I think if we're going to have any type of success this year, that'll be one of the story lines that you could say, yeah, we were more consistent and that we, in fact, did get better there.  We've got to go out, and Saturday is the first opportunity to prove that.  So I hope to say that we are getting there.  I feel good with what they've done in camp, and yet now is when we've got to be able to do it for real.  Hopefully‑‑ I think there's signs showing that we can be better there, but we've got to go do it.

Q.  How confident are you with the group that you had this year maybe compared to your first couple of years there?
PAUL CHRYST:  You know, I think that certainly the older players I feel more confident in the sense we know them better, so I think the schemes and how we coach them, all those things are a little bit better, and yet there's a whole group of young guys that we're trying to learn.  I don't think I'd ever say just going into any season I'm overwhelmingly confident, but I am confident in the group in the sense of the way they're working and their attempts to get better, and we've got to be able to do that.
Like I said, the guys that have been around, I feel better with that we know them and can coach them a little bit better hopefully, and the young guys, it's our job just to continue to get to know them.

Q.  I wanted to ask you as you guys sort of went into this season with this plan to use James Conner on both sides of the ball, how did you prepare for what his sort of usage was going to be?  Did you talk to other coaches who had had two‑way players?  How did you figure out heading in what the right mix would be of offense and defense?
PAUL CHRYST:  You know, I've had conversations with guys, but I think the biggest thing is just kind of gauging within our own world here, gauging where James was at with everything and where we're at offensively and defensively and then making it fit.  I feel confident that James has had more than adequate preparation for it, and then each game it kind of remains to be seen how much and kind of the style of the game, style of the opponent, how it plays out.
But I feel good in camp in that we were able to make it a real thing, and then we've just got to take it each week as far as‑‑ sometimes even before the game you've got to plan and then kind of as the game unfolds will determine exactly how much James does on defense.

Q.  Last year you guys obviously broke into the season in primetime national TV against Florida State and this year against an FCS opponent again.  Do you feel a difference this week in the preparation versus the big game that you guys opened with last year, or is it truly the same for each opponent?
PAUL CHRYST:  I've really liked‑‑ our guys are excited, and I don't want to misrepresent last year, first game in the ACC and playing Labor Day, but our guys, this is opening day for our guys, and they are truly excited.  I know that.  That's not a coach wishing that.  Our group is really excited to play, and so I think that we've watched the film, we're well into it now with the preparation, and really respect Delaware, and so our kids are fired up.
If you didn't tell them, they'd think that they were on primetime.  It's a big game for us.

Q.  There's been a lot of talk for good reason about your defense being young.  It is in a lot of ways, but when Matt got the job as the defensive coordinator last year, one of your mandates or things you guys talked about was playing a lot of guys, and you did that last year.  Is that helping with the experience aspect this year?
PAUL CHRYST:  Yeah, you sure hope it does.  Terrish Webb is a young safety starting but played last year in significant moments.  Reggie Mitchell obviously sat out last year, so he didn't play, but all the linebackers have played and played quite a bit of football.  Everyone on the defensive line has played, not just getting snaps, played when the game is on the line.  I think that is the benefit of when a lot of guys do play, then when they get their chance to be the starter, it's not the first time‑‑ it's not a whole new world for them, and yet there is some excitement because of that.  You've got Darryl Render and Khaynin Mosley‑Smith, Justin Moody will be‑‑ he red‑shirted last year, so he will play his first snaps.  I think that is one of the hopefully residual benefits of when guys play, Matt Galambos played a lot last year, special teams and at the linebacker spot, so now as a starter he has an idea of what to expect, and yet there's still kind of a newness and a freshness to it all, and they've got to learn and go through that.  But I think a lot of the guys have played snaps that you do appreciate now that they're stepping into a new role as starters.

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