Share This Page

Pitt coach Chryst to address talk of complacency

| Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, 10:09 p.m.
Pitt coach Paul Chryst, claps as his team leads Old Dominion in the fourth quarter of a game Oct. 19, 2013, at Heinz Field.

Almost without fail and regardless of the game's outcome, Pitt coach Paul Chryst makes a point of praising his team's effort.

He is often displeased with the execution but never the preparation that goes into it.

“Guys played hard, put it out there,” he said of Pitt's 24-21 loss to Navy last Saturday.

“I told them this after the game and felt it during the game. After watching the tape, I still believe.”

Yet, if Pitt's players end up losing focus amid the pressures of a close game, they wouldn't be the first college athletes to do so.

Shortly after the Navy game, some players attributed the loss partially to complacency and overconfidence and the need to play with more emotion.

“There has to be more heart and more fire in it by everyone,” senior wide receiver Devin Street said.

Quarterback Tom Savage said: “I think we got a little complacent. There is a lot of growing we can do from this game.”

Defensive end Bryan Murphy said he noticed “a little overconfidence at the end of the first half (when Pitt held a 13-7 lead).”

Chryst said Monday during his weekly news conference that he did not sense complacency during the Navy game, but he promised to put it on the list of items that may need fixed over the final five weeks.

“I have to do a much, much, much better job of coaching,” he said, “because (for) any team to be complacent in a game and to be overconfident in a game, that's on me.”

Chryst grew up in Madison, Wis., the son of a coach, and he played quarterback at Wisconsin. So, he knows how the improper approach might disrupt a locker room.

“(If you have) genuine confidence,” he said, “then you are never overconfident. And genuine respect for the game would never let you be complacent in a game.”

Pitt opens a tough stretch Saturday night at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets run the same triple-option offense that Navy used to defeat Pitt, but with better athletes. They defeated Syracuse, 56-0, and Virginia, 35-25, the past two weeks.

Pitt has lost two of its past three, with the only victory against Old Dominion, while the offense has slumped dramatically.

A young team — Pitt has used 17 freshmen and sophomores in important roles — could fall victim to an unfocused mindset as it tries to keep up with the rigors of a long season.

Chryst acknowledges that possibility, but he said no players have approached him about the problem.

However, he doesn't plan to ignore it. Asked how he would handle it, he said, “Just like most things in coaching: Just keep trying to hammer it, and work through the guys I know aren't that way.

“That's where I have to get better at this, reaching everyone. That's a great opportunity for leadership (from players) to step in, if there's any of that sense in it. That's an area we can get better.”

Notes: Middle linebacker Shane Gordon injured his collarbone against Navy, but Chryst said there is no structural damage. ... Guard Cory King (back), who didn't play Saturday, is feeling better, Chryst said.

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.