Chryst's challenge: Keeping players focused on Temple
Pitt coach Paul Chryst has no plans to motivate his players with hopes of a bowl game or winning season.
Both require much more than a victory against Temple on Saturday at Heinz Field.
Besides, Chryst is partial to players who push themselves to greater heights no matter the reward.
“If you don't have self-motivation, it's a hard road,” he said.
The aim in Pitt's eighth game of the season is simple: Get a second victory against a team from a BCS conference — the only other occurred Sept. 15 against Virginia Tech — and defeat a Big East opponent for the first time.
The key will be Pitt finding a way to stop Temple's running game.
“That's certainly going to be a big factor,” Chryst said.
Temple (3-3, 2-1) is second in the Big East in rushing, averaging 167.2 yards per game. But the Owls are last in passing, with only 19.6 attempts per game and 122.3 yards through the air. If Pitt can stop Temple's running game, it has a good chance to put the brakes on the entire offense.
But run defense has proven difficult for Pitt, which allows 142.7 rushing yards per game. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the only player among the four starting linemen who has made a significant impact this season.
Temple is one of the more physical and aggressive teams on Pitt's schedule, both in terms of a ground game and pass rush (17 sacks, third in the conference).
“You know what? I like watching Temple,” Pitt offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said. “I think they play physical. You can tell it's being coached.”
Although Chryst is trying to keep his players focused on Temple, the big picture says Pitt needs to win to keep alive its slim bowl hopes. To get the necessary six victories, the Panthers (3-4, 0-3) must defeat each of the lesser teams on the remaining schedule (Temple, Connecticut and South Florida) unless they can upset Notre Dame next week or Rutgers on Nov. 24.
For now, Chryst will ignore such thoughts.
“I think a lot about the task at hand, the day at hand,” he said. “All that stuff really just clouds your vision. We can truly focus on this week, and that's more than enough to focus on.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Gilbert, son of ex-Pitt football standout, commits to Panthers
- Pitt notebook: Offensive struggles continue
- Offense continues to click as Panthers hold off Kent State, 85-76
- Pitt notebook: Boyd undecided about leaving early for NFL
- Pitt falls flat in finale loss to Miami
- Pitt’s Young taking a pass, improving his all-around game
- Artis leads Pitt to lopsided victory over Cornell
- Pitt’s Dixon monitoring minutes early in season
- Miami’s Scott has improved program since replacing Golden
- Emotional send-off awaits Pitt seniors
- Bowl destination is at stake for Pitt football in regular-season finale