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November 19, 2014

Paul Chryst

PAUL CHRYST:  Certainly looking forward to Saturday's game against Syracuse and anticipate ‑‑ the other two that I've been involved in have been one‑point games, and anticipate it being another well‑contested game.

Q.  Scott Shafer had said early on that he thinks that you both are on the same page with understanding the game of football in the sense of what you're doing for the kids and that using football as a tool and being extremely fortunate to be able to build young kids as leaders, not just on the football field, and I wanted to get your opinion on that a little bit.
PAUL CHRYST:  Well, I think certainly we're fortunate to be able to do what we do, and love the game and respect the game of football, and certainly those that play it.  I think football is important.  That's the bond that drives, but I think there's so much more to it than just the game, just football.  It's kind of the avenue that we are fortunate to be able to use to help guys.  Our job is to help them be better football players, and certainly that's an important component, but there's so much‑‑ I think you can really maximize it when you take advantage of all that's helping them grow as young men.
I've been able to get around Shafe and talk about those things with him, and so I would agree that a lot of the‑‑ both grew up with football, and so I've got a lot of respect for him and how he goes about the coaching profession.  But the game is certainly what brings us together, but there's so much more than that, and I feel lucky to be able to do that.

Q.  What can you say about‑‑ obviously you've gone up coaching against Scott Shafer last year when he was head coach of Syracuse, you're going up against him this year, but you've gone up against him before.  What can you say about him as a coach and what you've been able to kind of assess from his abilities?
PAUL CHRYST:  Well, I think he's certainly knowledgeable and passionate about the game from what I can tell.  I've never worked with him, but a lot of respect from the first time.  I've known guys that have worked with him, and from the first time getting ready to play against him, a lot of those times I was on offense and he was on defense, and I had a lot of respect for the way he got his kids to play, and that to me is a sign of good coaching.  Tremendous amount of respect for Shafe.

Q.  I just wanted to follow up a little bit on that previous question.  Can you take anything from your Big Ten battles with Scott?  He was only at Michigan for one year, but is there anything he's doing the same now that he was doing back then?
PAUL CHRYST:  I think that you're always evolving.  I think there's some principles certainly that hold true, but I think that circumstances for both of us are different.  You can see some‑‑ even as a head coach, he's going to make sure there's some certain, like I said, principles or fundamental things that they're going to do, and then I think it's how he adjusts with the people he has, how we adjust with who we have and the teams that we have.  Certainly each game each year is a different opportunity, and I think it's a different story line.

Q.  Just one question about Greg Lewis for you.  What's it been like having him on your staff?  What does he bring to the table, Coach Lewis?
PAUL CHRYST:  Well, I think it's been‑‑ I've enjoyed the opportunity to work with him.  You know, he's‑‑ I think any coach, you know, gains their experiences, and that's how they can pass them along to their players.  Every guy, and certainly Greg's story is different.  I think he's certainly knowledgeable about the game and enjoys the teaching part of it, enjoys the fieldwork as much as the classroom work.  He's got a young group of receivers to work with, but I've enjoyed working with him.

Q.  When Artie Rowell went down with injury, you rotated between Dave Roberts and Alex Officer for a little while before settling on Officer.  Why did you decide to settle on Officer and what's impressed you the most about his play this season?
PAUL CHRYST:  Well, we thought that he gave us the best chance for our offense to be at its best.  Alex has certainly grown throughout the season.  He's a guy that's got good athletic ability for his size and toughness, so certainly is growing this season.
I think we made the decision because we thought he'd give us the best chance.

Q.  Obviously defensively it's been a tough time for you those last three games.  What do you need to do better to where you were playing against Virginia Tech and Virginia and some of the other teams earlier in the year?
PAUL CHRYST:  Yeah.  Better defense all around.  And when you get that, you've got to tackle, you've got to‑‑ we haven't created any takeaways.  When you get opportunities to make plays, we've got to make them.  We had some opportunities last game to sack the quarterback.  Now, he's a good quarterback, really good quarterback, and so you flip to the side and say, boy, he made a play getting out of it.  But we've got to finish plays, and I think always, whether it's offense or defense, it's being productive on 3rd down, productive in the red zone, and it's about the ball.  If you can prevent turning the ball over on offense, if you can create‑‑ get takeaways on defense, that's going to give you a better chance.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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