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September 25, 2021

Paul Chryst

Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Postgame Press Conference


PAUL CHRYST: Well, first of all, give Notre Dame credit. Beat us. And, obviously, I thought that it was a heck of a game until had the kickoff return and absolutely bad finish for us. And that's tough to see. Right?

And I think when you go back and look at all this, I think that we've certainly got some individuals, some groups playing at a really good level and where you can win with. But what's also awesome about the game of football is it takes a team. And as a team, we're not doing enough to give ourselves a chance to win and to beat good football teams. Right?

That's something that we've got to -- we've obviously got to improve upon. Everyone's got to find a way to move forward. And, you know, it's a good football team we faced. And we're heading into league play. And we're going to play other good teams. To give yourself a chance, you've got to play good football. I thought at times we did, but not consistently enough.

Q. I know it's hard to do anything drastic after three games of a season. Are you considering anything, whether it's change of quarterbacks, taking less off your own plate, anything else at this point to change things around?

PAUL CHRYST: Yeah. I mean, certainly I think you're going to take a look at everything. Right? I think you always do, you know, after every game. Try never to be so responsive or -- what's the right word? You know, just because the scoreboard dictates, right, you should know some of those things before. Kind of process driven, not result driven.

Certainly, the final result matters. Right? And I understand the world we're in. You kind of referenced about the quarterback. And yet I think that's -- it's kind of what I was talking about too. It is a team sport. Right? And to put it all on Graham, that would be wrong. Right? You know, I think there's a lot of areas where we just need to be better if we're going to give ourselves a chance.

And yet I think that there are some -- I don't think I'm wrong in this. I think there's some players -- like I said, some groups that are playing at a really good level. And yet we need more as a team to be able to be a truly good football team, which I still believe we can be a good football team, but change has to happen. You can't just talk about it. We've got to do it.

Q. Without having seen the tape yet, obviously, do you find yourself sitting here as the game finished up thinking, my offense, it's my offense, I didn't do a good enough job, or my assistants didn't do a good enough job with me putting us in the best position to succeed offensively today?

PAUL CHRYST: Yeah. I think you always -- personally, I always have done that. Right? Even when things went well. You know the plays that don't go well, and you take that personal. Right? I mean, that's -- right or wrong, that's kind of how I've always approached it.

So when you come off of something like this, you absolutely -- you know, I mean, I know I do. Right? You feel like, okay, if you're going to get better, I think you have to focus on the things that you can influence, that you can impact. Sometimes I used to say control, but that might be too strong. Right? And the number one person you better start with is yourself. Right? Because that's what you have the most impact upon. Right?

And so didn't need -- you know, every time there's something that comes up, right, you replay it. Like you said, you don't need to see the tape. You know what happened. Okay. If we're in that -- you go through that in the course of the game. We get in that situation here. Would you -- and, obviously, how the play result drives it at times. Right?

But, yeah, I think -- you know, you absolutely start -- I personally start with myself.

Q. I know you haven't had a chance to watch the film. What do you think was an issue with the offensive line today, especially in the run game. (No microphone.)

PAUL CHRYST: Yeah. I think part of it was, you know, early. And they did a good job. But, you know, they've got numbers on you. Right? And so you've got so many guys that can go to so many to block it. Right?

And you've got to -- which also can then provide -- right, it can provide other opportunities. And I think we were able to at times take advantage of it but not consistently. Right? And so we never really forced them out of really having to do what they wanted. They had control of it more than we did. Right? We didn't -- we didn't force their hand enough.

Q. This round of losses against ranked opponents, you're in -- I think almost every one, you've been in in the fourth quarter. Do you think there's any sort of belief issue within this program, these players? You know, the kickoff happens today, like, here we go again and getting over that hump? Do you see any of that?

PAUL CHRYST: Yeah. I mean, I didn't feel it. And I thought that quite -- you know, the first game, there was some positive response. Right? You don't have the lead -- I think if you can always answer a score with a score. Right? That's a good sign. Didn't do that today. Right?

But I think it goes back more to if you're playing consistently and if you're playing good football, that's part of it more. So then, you know, that will lead to belief. Right? And you've got to -- we've got to play better offensively. That has probably as much if not more of an impact. If you're not doing anything and it happens, then, yeah, it makes it feel a lot harder.

Q. You're right that it takes 11 guys on a unit. But, you know, quarterbacks look at it, the ball is in my hands, I should make plays for my team. Do you have any concern about Graham's confidence right now? Because he seems like a confident kid, but when things like this happen, it's not easy to bounce back.

PAUL CHRYST: Yeah. I mean, on a couple -- like a couple of the picks, you know, there's a point where -- that's the one I think you go back and you say, okay, did you really give him a chance. The first one -- okay, kind of knew how they were going to play it. We didn't execute it well enough. And I can't say that it's all on one guy. Right? Because there has to be some anticipation with that.

The second one, then you say, okay, that's on -- that's on me, you know what I mean. Or are you doing all you can to give him the chance. Right?

Yeah. I think, you know, confidence is something that's -- you earn. Right? And you have it. I think he's confident in himself. I think he's confident in those around him. But you also then have to -- that has to be rewarded. Right? And so I think, you know, we know that we're inconsistent. You know, there's a struggle. And so the best way to approach that is, right, let's all own our part in it. And then together I think we can try to fix that.

Q. One of the better moments of the game was Kendric Pryor's touchdown. What was it like to see him get a touchdown in a city where he's from?

PAUL CHRYST: Yeah. I think, you know, at that point, getting a touchdown was big. And I think that it certainly is bonus when you talk about it, you know, being from here. But I think -- and I don't know that I'm wrong here, but I think at that point, it was a big play for us. And I don't care where it would happen. I think he'd have been pretty excited about it. And we needed it.

Q. You mentioned the kickoff return. Can you just clarify, were you guys kicking it to the corner to try to pin them deep? Was that the intentional plan on that one?

PAUL CHRYST: Yeah. And you're trying to -- trying to help pin everything and try to -- they did a nice job -- had a field return on and they executed it. And obviously was a huge play in the game.

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