Pitt offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph met with the media today to discuss what was working for his unit in the Panthers' 28-21 win against Notre Dame Saturday night. Pitt had 112 team rushing yards and 243 passing yards in the win. The 112 rushing yards is the fifth time Pitt has gone over 100 rushing yards in a game, and the Panthers are 4-1 in those games (only loss is Navy). Here are some highlights from what Rudolph had to say...
- He said his favorite plays of the game were the final two, when Isaac Bennett ran for five and six yards to get a first down and allow the Panthers to take a knee and end the game.
"It wasn't all perfect but guys were straining and backs were running hard," he said. "We made some things work and were able to stick with it and make it go for us."
- Freshman running back James Conner got his biggest workload since before his shoulder injury in the Virginia Tech game, with 10 carries for 35 yards and two touchdowns.
"I think he had his best week of prep," Rudolph said. "I thought as a group, they had their best week of prep, which is pretty good. They put the prior three games aside and just prepared. If you grow form that and you take that and do nothing different about your approach this week except do it a little bit better."
- This is the time of year that can get tough for freshman, as high school football seasons are just wrapping up and their bodies are starting to tell them that the season should be done.
"I think different guys hit the wall at different times," Rudolph said. "Each one of them, I could probably tell you when it him a little bit here or there. I think when you do have an injury or something isn't perfect, or something doesn't feel just right, that's the added edge that someone who has been in it a while could kind of go 'OK, I've been through this, I know what I've got to do.' And someone that hasn't, it's hard. It's hard to keep your focus, it's hard to keep working through it."
- Rudolph, like other coaches and players, spoke about how Pitt can use the Notre Dame win as momentum moving forward, but shouldn't rest on their laurels too much.
"I think we always talk about regardless of the stimulus that's on you, whether you lost three games or you won a big one, you get to choose your response," he said. "That choice is yours. Hopefully that choice is to prepare the way you prepared this last game. You just keep your head down and you keep working and you keep trying to get better. That's what makes the difference in the end."