home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 29, 2014

David Cutcliffe

COACH CUTCLIFFE:  I've liked our preparation.  I like what we did in the open date.  This team has practiced well.  We've come back this week.  You can tell, particularly this late in the year, they're ready to get back and play in games.
We have a huge challenge in Pittsburgh, who I think is as physical a team as anybody we'll see.  An extremely well‑coached football team.  They don't make mistakes very often.  I know they had a unique circumstance last week.  Sometimes that happens to us all.
But this is a Pitt team that is, as I said, well‑coached, strong, physical, good on both sides of the ball, and the kicking game.  So a huge November challenge for us.
I'll take your questions.

Q.  The College Football Playoff rankings came out last night.  Are you happy with where you are?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  I was doing a radio show, the weekly radio show, when all that came out.  I'll give you the same comment I had.
Certainly it's meaningful for players that have played here recently 'cause they've worked hard to try to build a program, these young men that continue to fight hard.  Everybody knows we've got a long way to go.
I would tell everybody, including in the top 10, don't start throwing any parties just yet.  It's a long way to go.  It's fun, fan interest, but that's really at this stage all it is.

Q.  What is it like traveling to Pittsburgh?  Is there something you are looking forward to playing Saturday playing in an NFL‑type stadium?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  I think it's a great venue.  Our players haven't been there before.  I'm excited for them.  Scottie Montgomery coached for the Steelers for three years.  He's given them a little insight to the stadium.  We put pictures up of every stadium we're going to play in on the road, pretty extensive pictures.  They're pretty familiar with it, seen it on TV.
I think the biggest challenge is not the stadium, it's certainly going to be who's on the field we're playing against.  But it should be a great venue.

Q.  I'm sure you want to avoid what happened in your game against them last year.  With James Connor, what is your impression of him?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  They have an array of weapons.  I think their quarterback now has become comfortable as their starter.  He can run the football.  He can throw the football.  Boyd is a nightmare to match up against.  The reason I mention that is that all that goes with Connor as a tailback to be able to stop a guy of his ability.  You're trying to get extra hats, extra people in the box.  As soon as you do that, they've got a weapon outside you can't match up, and others.
They've got really good tight ends and other backs that are good receivers.
I think they're very much a more balanced offense than people realize.  They're a nightmare to try to prepare for.  So a very, very good offensive football team, and a guy that's running the football as well as anybody in the country.

Q.  You right now control your own destiny if you win out.  Obviously key games here down the stretch.  How much do you think it will help you guys having been in this situation already last season, being the ones who essentially control what happens in the coastal?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  I think our guys realized how challenging it was a year ago.  We've got a lot of the same players back.  They also realize the only way it's possible is to totally focus on not only the game you're playing that week, but on the preparation.  So I'm hoping that maturity helps.  It doesn't give you a guarantee, but you hope that allows you to control properly.  It takes the ball bouncing the right way.
We know these are going to be four‑quarter games, compete at our highest level, but it still doesn't bring a guarantee with it.
Maturity on a football team, guys that have been there, always helps.  But we've just got to continue to try to find a way to win the game.  That's kind of who we are.

Q.  I was speaking to Anthony Boone this week.  He was talking about how in the off‑season the Manning brothers showed up on campus and worked out.  Talk about your quarterbacks' interactions with those guys helps out.
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  It definitely helps.  When I'm working with those guys, they're always down there watching.
I think the thing that really helps, and we've pushed this hard, is they see Peyton, who is 38, Eli has played 12, 13, 14 years, whatever it is, work as hard as they are working in that environment, and the quality of the work, that every rep matters.
Obviously they get some time for conversation with them.  It's not the kind of conversation where they talk about how you're going to throw it.  It's a conversation about the study of the game, the commitment to leadership, all of those things that matter.
I've always loved working with those guys.  We've just kind of continued that through the years.  But it is great for our current players, as well.

Q.  One of your offensive linemen, Laken Tomlinson, has gotten a lot of notice this year.  Talk a little bit about what he brings to your offense, what he has meant to your team so far.
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  Laken is one of our captains.  He's a 330‑pounder that probably is as flexible as any big man that I've been around.  One of the best offensive linemen we've had in a long career.
Laken is a great story.  Didn't come to the United States from Jamaica until he was about 11.  Chicago product.  Great student.  Great person.  His work ethic has just been tremendous.  Every drill, every little thing he does.  And Laken has had more of an impact on our team with the way he goes his work, what he accomplishes on the practice field.  It's kind of contagious, not just to his position.
He's a talented pass protector, he's a dominating run protector.  He's allowed us to scheme things a little differently because he can do so many things on his own.
We're real proud of Laken both on and off the field.

Q.  Quarterback sneaks.  So many teams are running out of a shotgun all the time now, even in short‑yardage situations.  Is that play becoming something of a dinosaur?  How difficult is it to run?  Is there a feel to running it well?
COACH CUTCLIFFE:  Well, that's a great question.  I'll tell you what we still do.  We start every practice with snaps of all kinds.  That's one of the snaps that we practice.  That snap causes more fumbles.
One of the things you have to do as the quarterback is you've got to take the snap and get the ball tucked.  One of the tendencies is to start driving forward before you can get your hands cleared of the center's bottom.
So there is an art to it.  I don't think you just call a sneak.  We look for a certain technique, whether you have two guys shading the center or you have a single guy.  So we're going to read it and we're going to work at it.  It's still a good play, particularly when it comes to inches.
Some of that is dependent on the quarterback you have, or center and guard.  I just mentioned Laken Tomlinson.  He's a good guy that is a guard to sneak behind.
We don't see it as much or do it as much, but we're going to keep it in our repertoire as long as I've been coaching.  It's been too significant through the years.
One of the ones you might want to look up, Peyton, the sneak down at Georgia, huge, big old defensive tackles.  He got basically rejected out of there.  Came out scrambling.  Ended up throwing a touchdown pass on a called quarterback sneak.
He and I both chuckled after.  We took credit for it being a play‑action pass, but it wasn't, it was a sneak that he turned into a pass for a touchdown.  So maybe one of the more unique quarterback sneaks in college football.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297