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November 27, 2013

Paul Chryst

COACH CHRYST:  Obviously was a big win for us up in Syracuse, gave us a sixth win, so good to be bowl eligible, but more importantly it was good to go on the road and be able to get a victory.  Certainly got a heck of a challenge Friday against Miami, but we've had a good week of preparation, and I know our kids are excited and looking forward to playing.

Q.  Obviously most of the Eastern Seabord is experiencing nasty weather today.  I just wonder what the weather is supposed to be like Friday, and how do you think it might impact the game?
COACH CHRYST:  You know, we had some weather yesterday.  Today it's actually pretty nice.  The guys and people down in Heinz Field do a great job with getting the field in great shape, and the forecast isn't for any precipitation or anything, so I think it should be a good day for football.

Q.  I just bring it up because I guess I grew up like a lot of people watching some of the great Dolphins‑Steelers games and it was in Pittsburgh and it was cold.
COACH CHRYST:  That would make it a great day.  I don't know, right, I think those stories you can write after the game, meaning how it played out, but you really don't know anything beyond that.
But it really is, it hasn't been bad at all.  It's been nice.  So looking forward to that continuing.

Q.  Let me go on another tack.  I've been asking some guys about All‑ACC.  We've got to vote this week, and with the new teams in the league, we've gone to three teams.  I think we do account for skill guys; Donald is going to make it and all that, but offensive line is always a problem for sports writers.  We don't have numbers‑‑

Q.  So help us out with your guys.  Who on your team should we give strong consideration to?
COACH CHRYST:  Yeah, you know, I think probably the one that's most worthy of it would be Matt Rotheram, our right guard.  Our left side quite honestly has been a revolving door, our left tackle, left guard.  I've liked what our center has done.  He's a younger kid and probably more valuable to us than‑‑ but I think Matt would be worthy of it, and I think right tackle TJ Clemmings, I like what he's done for us in his first year of playing, and I think he's put himself in position by gaining that experience in another year, but I think TJ could be good.  But I'd say Matt would be the one.
But you're right, you've got to base it on‑‑ we had some guys but you knew it was on reputation because you weren't giving up sacks, but I think Matt has been probably our most consistent offensive lineman, certainly worth consideration.

Q.  And with Aaron Donald, obviously he's going to be All‑ACC.  Could you make the case for him for Defensive Player of the Year in the conference?
COACH CHRYST:  I think you really could.  And when you say that, you know there's some‑‑ I wouldn't want to name them right now, but there's probably eight to ten guys that I think truly impact‑‑ when we play against them, and it's hard because we don't get a great feel for‑‑ you watch and you state so much prior to and when you play them obviously, but then after that unless they show up on film in crossover opponent, but absolutely I think Aaron is‑‑ that's what I've liked about the accolades that he's gotten to this point.  I think they're truly deserved and they're through production on the field.
A lot of his statistics I think have come‑‑ every play is important, but have come at key moments, too, and I think that's the mark of a great one.  I think he's always thinking, and we're facing some this week, but he's one of those guys where you truly have to game plan for and guys that can truly impact in a different way the game.  I think those are the ones that are worthy of not just all‑conference like you mentioned, but when you're talking about players of the year, I think he's absolutely worth being in consideration.  And we should; he certainly means the most to us, and I'm sure other people feel that way.  And I'm not trying to compare him to someone else, but I think absolutely the right thing is to look at him as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

Q.  I just wanted to ask real quick, the win last week, that was you guys' first road win going back to September.  Did something click there away from home, and what kind of momentum can that give you guys coming into this last one?
COACH CHRYST:  Well, you know, I don't think‑‑ I think a lot of those happen, you know what I mean?  I think‑‑ you know, you saw the game; it certainly wasn't pretty, but guys just kept playing and there were some plays made at opportune times, and what the momentum is, certainly I think we feel good and appreciative of the fact of getting that win, and we've got to go‑‑ it's hard to say what it's going to do because we've got to go do it first, but I don't know how to answer the last part, if there's momentum from it.
We've certainly had good practices and feel good, but it's a new week and a new opponent.  We'll see.

Q.  I know on defense everybody focuses on Aaron because he's had a phenomenal year, but you've got some other players who have played pretty well there.  Could you talk about them, as well?
COACH CHRYST:  Yeah, I think that we have.  We've had‑‑ I think you could almost pick each guy that's had his‑‑ certainly his moments.  I think that really Ray Vinopal has been playing his best football and he's put that in probably three or four games back‑to‑back on that.  I think that our young D‑lineman Darryl Render has been playing well for us.  Brian Murphy had a stretch and then kind of got dinged up, and hopefully he'll come back.  But I think we've got a lot of guys that have had kind of those one or two good games, and I think that's a key for us.  If we can get everybody clicking on all cylinders, that'll help.
But certainly AD has, and rightfully so, garnered most of the attention, and I think there's been moments where a lot of guys have had that, but no one has played at the consistent level like AD.

Q.  There were a couple plays in the Syracuse game where Aaron, they tried to double team him and he just split the left tackle and the left guard with a swim move and still make a tackle for loss in the backfield.  Syracuse's offensive line coach said, a lot of times that move is discouraged because it opens up a guy's chest.  Did you ever try to discourage that with him or did you know he could do that right from the start, or what do you think of that move?
COACH CHRYST:  Yeah, he can pull it off.  You're right, I mean, there's some things that he'll do‑‑ he's got great ability to take a double team and turn it into a one‑on‑one, and he'll do some things that‑‑ you don't discourage it.  He's got to understand where he's at in the defense, what his role is, but then I think it's important for all your players, you want to make sure they understand their assignment and their rule on it, and yet you've got to let them play the game.  They've got to be able to trust‑‑ and if they do it and put it on tape or they can do it and they understand and they're not just going rogue on you, and that's why you appreciate AD.  He's not just out there playing his own game and other guys having to play off of him.  Really we don't discourage it.  In fact we encourage him to split it like you said and tackle for loss or sacks.

Q.  Did you encourage it right from the get‑go or did you have to see it on tape a couple times and go, okay, we're okay with you trying that?
COACH CHRYST:  When you practice against him all the time, you get a pretty good sense of it.  It's pretty much been from the get‑go.

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