Pitt coach Paul Chryst met with the media Monday to talk about just what Pitt accomplished during the off week, as well as how they plan to prepare for Syracuse in advance of Friday night's matchup (7 p.m., ESPN). Here are a few relevant notes from Chryst...
- Chryst spoke about the consistency Mike Shanahan and Devin Street have brought to the receiver position. I wrote about the receivers for the paper last week. Through four games, Shanahan and Street have combined for 39 catches, 641 yards and five touchdowns. What has been more noteworthy, though, has been their ability to do it on a game-to-game basis. Here are Shanahan's receptions for each game: 6, 5, 5, 5. Street's are 4, 5, 4, 5. That's pretty reliable.
"I think they’re two guys that should be making plays," Chryst said. "They’re both talented, both have played in a lot of games. I think for us to be as good as we can be, they’ve got to be big contributors. You’re glad when it’s happening, you appreciate the work and what they’re doing, but also expect that out of them."
Both are big threats (Shanahan is 6-5, 225 and Street is 6-4, 190) that can create mismatches on the outside. If Pitt can get Cameron Saddler, a smaller slot receiver, going the way he was against Gardner-Webb, it would make the receiving corps even more dangerous.
- Chryst said the team will take its normal steps to prepare for a road game this week, but not add too much extra to get ready to play in the Carrier Dome. Today, the Panthers practiced inside with some crowd noise blasting in. Pitt is 6-9-1 all-time at the Carrier Dome, but has won four of its last five trips there.
"I think there’s a fine line that you want to make guys aware of their surroundings or anticipated surroundings, but you also need to make sure you’re not spending too much time focusing on something that is kind of a peripheral deal," Chryst said.
- A lot of the players last week talked about how Chryst compared to some of the other coaches they've had here. I don't think there's a whole lot to be gleaned from this, since players will always talk about how much better the new guy is compared to the old guy, they can't believe the difference, etc. It's a cliché at this point. But they did note that one thing they liked about Chryst was his easy-going demeanor. His door is always open to any player that wants to come in, and he likes to joke around with the guys during practice.
"That’s what our job description is, to work with players and help them grow," Chryst said. "I really believe that, so i think it’s important to be able to communicate and I think it’s important for them to know who you are and for us to learn who they are. I think it’s just part of relationships and I think it’s a relationship business."
- Chryst spoke a little bit about the changes he has seen in college football over the past few years. Scoring has been up this year, as anyone who watched the West Virginia-Baylor game yesterday can attest. He attributed part of it to the proliferation of the spread offense, which was interesting to hear, since Chryst isn't a spread guy.
"It’s changed," he said. "If you looked at it offensively and defensively, the film would look different than 10 years ago. The spread has had an impact. Defensively there are probably a lot more pressures. Better athletes? I don’t know if that’s accurate."
- When asked about the 11 a.m. start time for the Louisville game in two weeks, he made it clear that he couldn't care less. The focus right now is clearly on Syracuse this week, and he'll start worrying about the Cardinals on Saturday.