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September 3, 2014

Paul Chryst

COACH CHRYST:  Certainly looking forward to Friday night, and I know our kids are looking for a chance to open up and get the ACC league schedule going, so looking forward to it.

Q.  Real simple, just need your assessment of Tyler Murphy from what you saw at UMASS?
COACH CHRYST:  Well, he's a good player, and obviously can hurt you a number of different ways.  I thought he looked comfortable with what he was doing.  I think he's a heck of a player.

Q.  Could you just tell me about what you thought of the rotating backs and how you prepare for a team that could throw three or four different running backs at you?
COACH CHRYST:  They all, obviously, have their differences.  But more importantly you've got to just make sure that you play sound and you've got to be able to adjust to it.  But you can't change what you're doing because of them.  But I think Steve's always been able to run the football and run it well, and how we defend it is going to be a big part of the game.

Q.  It's been quite a while since Pitt has dominated an opponent that's supposed to dominate the way you guys did last week.  What do you think allowed you to get there and what was the biggest difference in doing that over the last couple of years?
COACH CHRYST:  Well, it's hard to compare year to year for me because your teams change so much and I'm appreciative of the way the guys kind of worked in the summer and in camp and then were able to go out and play.  It was good.  It was great.  We had 64 kids play and 23 of which had their first snaps at Pitt, so that was good.  I think we're a group that's going to have to every game be ready to go and every game, every week we're going to have to improve.  So it's a good start.  There are some things that carry over in just how you approach things, but not much else.

Q.  I know defensive line was a question we had going into the season.  What did you see out of the guys last week?
COACH CHRYST:  I thought guys did some good things.  In the tape there was plenty for us to clean up.  We didn't get tested a lot.  So I think in some ways we were still kind of waiting.  I think every week you kind of find out who you are a little bit more, but I think this week we'll certainly find out more than normal.

Q.  Just wanted to ask you a little about concerns you had going from a game where you were so dominant against an overmatched opponent, and now facing a conference opponent.  In what way do you hope to get a better gauge of what your team is like?
COACH CHRYST:  Well, I mean, guys certainly talk it, and they see it.  I mean, they know when you watch the film and know enough and certainly feel that our guys have a tremendous amount of respect for BC, and we're going to find out.  I liked the team after the game.  I think they feel good with taking care of business that day, but it wasn't that over the top or anything.  We know what we're in for.
It's going to be a heck of a challenge and I think our kids are excited for that opportunity, and I think we're going to keep trying to focus on‑‑ today it's just focus on having a great day of practice and go there, and our kids will be excited.  I think they like playing together, and I don't worry about any type of affect from the game.  Our kids are smart enough.  They know this is a whole different week.

Q.  It's been a decade since these two teams last met, and that's when they were both in the Big East.  Certainly you found your different routes, but now kind of coming back full circle as ACC opponents, can you talk about the similarities that a lot of the teams in the northern quadrant of the ACC teams share, the ability to have to play tough, physical football?  Is that a product of the climate you guys play the game in?
COACH CHRYST:  I think it fits for the schools getting to know Steve and Scott at Syracuse.  I think it's kind of who we all are as guys.  Steve has done a great job with adjusting and kind of growing with the times but still believes in running the football and the physical nature of the game.  I know Syracuse shapes things the same, and I grew up that way.  So I think whether we're at places that fit our personalities or fit the personalities of the region, I'm not quite sure.

Q.  With respect to your running game, it seems like two teams that have the ability to possess the ball as well as they do, what concerns do you have defensively about being able to get the ball away from them?
COACH CHRYST:  Just that.  I think they do a great job, yet you can't focus everything on just stopping the run.  I mean, that's where I think they do a really good job.  You've got to play good, sound defense, and I think that certainly the game hasn't changed that much and Friday night's game will be controlled or won on the line of scrimmage.  I think that's going to go a long ways.  I think it's going to be one of those games where the little things or the opportunity to make plays on either side of the ball and special teams, that will be a big part of it.  Both teams, I would imagine, are going to try to see if they can get the run game going, and you don't know how many possessions will be in the game.

Q.  James Conner is a great running back who is known about his ability to rush the passer.  Is this something you're going to continue to experiment with him?
COACH CHRYST:  Yeah, we spent every day in training camp.  He worked on it.  Depending on the type of game that it is, we'll certainly have him available.

Q.  Given the opponent and the lopsided nature of that first game, what are you still looking to learn about your team in week two here?  Do you have a feeling that, okay, I know that Pitt's got a good running game or Pitt's got a good defense, or are there still some things that you have questions about with your own team?
COACH CHRYST:  Yeah, I think everything.  We've got to‑‑ you know, we did some good things and certainly don't want to minimize that.  But this is a whole new challenge for us, and I think we'll find out a lot more on Friday night about this team.

Q.  Can you just talk about that first game a little bit and trying to still learn about where this team is at and where they're going heading forward?  But what can you say about the passing game and what you took away from Chad and Trey in that opening game?  I know they didn't do too much passing, but can you take anything away from them heading into BC?
COACH CHRYST:  I think it was certainly good for them to get the action and to be able to play Chad really played one half of football, and Trey red‑shirted last year.  So it was good to get them into the flow of the game.  Other than that, we didn't do a ton.  Weren't tested much on it.  We're certainly going to need them to be productive if we're going to have success on Friday night.

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