Despite win, Pitt still has its issues
Three games into his second season at Pitt, coach Paul Chryst recognizes there are problems with his team that not even scoring 58 points against Duke can solve.
“This team is fun to be around, but we have enough reason to keep practicing,” he said.
It starts with defense. Pitt is ranked last in the ACC in total (445 yards per game), passing (251) and scoring (41 points) defense and next-to-last against the run (194). Pitt is the only team in the conference to allow a score every time the opponent moves into the red zone (15 chances, 11 touchdowns, four field goals).
“Some of it is football,” Chryst said, acknowledging that Duke's offense made several plays that may have worked against many teams. “And, certainly, there is enough that we have to take ownership of and clean up.
“It starts with me, and it starts with coaching, and the players have to go do it. Obviously, you don't feel good giving up that many points.”
What might be most distressing is that Pitt's defense has not been as disciplined as Chryst might expect from a unit with eight returning starters.
“There were a couple (of big plays) where a guy sees a void in the defense and he tries to overcome that and, in return, he gets beat, and he's not doing his job,” Chryst said.
But even when a player was in the proper position, Duke gained good yardage.
“Clearly, we didn't tackle on some of those very well,” he said.
With the program in a state of transition on two fronts — entering a new conference while escaping the coaching instability that began in 2010 — Chryst may need to find more speed in his next few recruiting classes.
Duke's spread offense scored on plays of 82, 75 and 62 yards among its eight touchdowns. Was there a speed disparity between the teams?
“He was fast enough to run away from us,” Chryst said, alluding to Jameson Crowder scoring on a punt, run from scrimmage and pass reception.
“They have good players, and every team we are going to play is going to have good players. And they are going to be fast, and some will be big and fast. We just have to go play.
“We have to know who we are, play to our strengths.”
Chryst was reluctant to comment on the current state of the game, with 28 teams averaging 40 or more points through the first four weeks.
“I don't think I've done anything to deserve to be the spokesman for college football,” he said. “I do think that it's our job to make sure that whatever the game is, we are prepared to go win it.”
But, he conceded, “These aren't as shocking as maybe they would have been 10 years ago.”
Chryst didn't blame just the defense for nearly losing leads of 27-7 and 51-28. The offense scored seven touchdowns but was scoreless for the game's final 18:18 with no first downs in the fourth quarter until the its last possession.
“We're getting better, but I don't feel like, ‘Boy, we've arrived. We're going to be good,' ” he said. “I don't know that I ever felt that anyplace I've been,” he said.
“We have stuff we are building on, but a good offense finishes that game, period.”
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.
- Despite being suspended, Boyd still making contributions for Pitt
- Pitt’s Narduzzi names 4 captains
- Pitt notebook: Offense starts slowly in final live training camp scrimmage
- Pitt freshman O’Neill eats up switch to tackle
- Reports: Pitt’s Newkirk transferring to Indiana
- Pitt junior RB Ibrahim out for season with Achilles injury
- Pitt notebook: Narduzzi focuses on building chemistry
- Woodland Hills pipeline a great fit for Pitt defense this season