“We started another work week last night. We evaluated the film from the last game, got it all done, made the corrections and have moved on to our next opponent which is Pitt, up at there place. A team that is coming off a great win over Notre Dame and I believe has one loss at home this year. We’ve got to do a great job with our team this week preparing them for Pitt and what they do offensively and defensively. We’ll go up there and focus on being 1-0.”
What were some of the main focal points to work on correction wise moving into this week?
“Individually, it was just mistakes that were made. Missed assignments during the game whether it be fitting a gap on defense versus a certain look and a certain call that was made or maybe we got a different look on offense from their defense that we didn’t work during the week so maybe a kid didn’t handle it well. We made the adjustment on the sideline and we come back after the game and walk through that again just to make sure so that the next time it ever happens our guys will be prepared for it.”
What does it say about the closeness of this team and the gesture of Marquise Williams to wear Bryn Renner’s number this past weekend against Virginia?
“That was important. He wanted to honor Bryn. He knew Bryn couldn’t be there and he wanted to honor him. They’re very close. Those guys have been in that little room for three years together. Marquise will tell you that he’s learned a lot from Bryn. He appreciates that. It’s kind of like Bryn has passed the team on to Marquise and Marquise is appreciative and just wanted to honor him with his play on Saturday.
"That’s the way you are on a football team. You care about your brothers. A guy goes down and there’s not a whole lot you can do for him. I think last year when Brennan Williams went down I think James Hurst wore his number in the game. It’s just a way for those guys to publicly honor them. Everybody on that team cares about Bryn and what happened to Bryn and they all feel bad about it. They also know we’ve got to move on and play the next game. They have complete comfort in knowing that Marquise is going to come out there and give us a chance to win the football game.”
How much has Marquise’s running ability helped the entire rushing offense?
“It’s made a world of difference for us because now that he is a run threat a defense has to always take into account that he’s a threat. It opens up things in the play action passing game. It just opens up a lot of things. When you have teams like this last week that focused on Eric (Ebron) so much it gave us a lot of things that we don’t normally get in a game.”
How has Aaron Donald been so effective on the interior for Pittsburgh?
“He’s got great quickness. A really quick get off and he is very agile, very good athlete and he’s got a great motor. He’s got everything you’re looking for in a defensive lineman. He’s got that motor that he never quits. He always going hard and he is really a good football player. He’s an All-American candidate and very well deserving.”
Is there anything your defense can take away from facing quarterback Tom Savage when he was at Rutgers a few seasons ago?
“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to them about it. I don’t know how many of them played against him when he played. I think they’re probably basing everything on what he’s doing now at Pitt. We’re a totally different defense so I don’t know if anything would carry over.”
Are there any primary areas offensively that have improved during this win streak?
“The running game by far would be the number one thing and really the thing that matters the most is that we’re running the ball more effectively. When you do that now everything starts clicking a little bit better because you can start getting into your tempo. You can start moving the chains and then you can call your double passes and things that you know if they are incomplete or they don’t complete them we’re not going to be behind the chains and not be able to pick up a first down.”
Comments on improvements along the offensive line:
“They’re getting closer and closer. Again, all we’ve talked about is let’s get better each week. Now would I have liked it to been a lot farther along earlier on? Yes, I would have but it just wasn’t. I do think they are getting better each week. In the last two games we’ve thrown Lucas Crowley into the mix at center and moved (Russell) Bodine over and we haven’t missed a beat. That’s also been a very good thing for us.”
Why do you think there has still yet to be one guy to solidify himself as the primary option in the running game?
“Part of it may be a little bit about the way we’re mixing them. Maybe we haven’t given a guy a chance to stay in there and do it. You look and see when anybody goes in there they’re fresh and ready to go. Would I love for one guy to reach up and take it? For sure, I would. It hadn’t happened yet and we may be partly to blame for that.”
What was the decision with Shakeel Rashad coming back to play against Virginia?
“We did not expect Shakeel to be back this year. I know when they told Shakeel that he was probably done for the year, Shakeel was like I’m going to rehab like I’m coming back. He was kind of out of sight out of mind for me working his tail off. Scott’s saying, ‘You know what, this kid is really coming on and he’s way ahead of schedule.’ When we had a decision to make it was can he help us win and he wanted to play. So we said let’s go. We’re glad to have him back.”
What stands out most about Pittsburgh?
“They’re well coached. They’re not making mistakes. They’re where they’re supposed to be. That stands out very much. You’ve got 97, the Donald kid who is a phenomenal player. He makes so much happen over there on defense. He creates a lot of problems. Another thing I think that stands out is they’ve got a freshman receiver that’s really good. The Boyd kid and he’s 59 or 60 catches or something like that at this point which is just behind (Larry) Fitzgerald as a freshman. You know how good Larry Fitzgerald is.”