UC-Pittsburgh Postgame Quotes

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UC head coach Butch Jones

On the game:
“Well, obviously a great win because it’s the first win.  Anytime you open up the season with a victory, - especially a BIG EAST victory - is big.  It’s a rivalry game, a trophy game so obviously that’s great.  But that’s just one game, we are still lacking experience, we are still young.  You could see that we were coaching right until the end because every rep is vital in the development of our football team. 

I thought there were some key points of the game throughout the course of the game.  I thought we made the critical plays when we needed to, with Greg Blair and his interception in the red zone.  I thought we had some big momentum plays, obviously the red zone stop right before halftime and then Munchie’s run to change the field position.  And then you are on the one inch yard line and we throw it up and Kembrell Thompkins goes up like a senior should and makes a great football play.  I think we had some big splash plays that turned some momentum so that was great to see. 

I thought defensively, we did a great job of bending but not breaking. That was a talented offense that we faced today with great athletes. 

I will say this, I am indebted to our student body.  Over 8,000 tickets sold, our student body and fans were outstanding, and you know what I said about being a chamber of commerce night this is what it’s about.  If I’m a high school player or coach I’d be darned if I am going to send my kids anywhere else but to stay home and represent our home institution.  That is what a hometown crowd is supposed to be that is big time college football environment and atmosphere.  I’m really indebted to our fans, our administration for the game day activities to our fans for coming out and supporting us today, they were a 12th man today.  And as we grow and elevate this program, that needs to become a norm here at Nippert.  That is a challenge to everyone out there we need you Saturday night out here, this isn’t a one game thing.  We are building this program to where we want it to go and we need our fans.  You know when you look at the sidelines and see Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals on the sideline that is what it’s all about.  I told our football team that this is about the city of Cincinnati versus the city of Pittsburgh, and the amount of requests to come and support this football team was very humbling so I am indebted to our great fans and to our student body.”

On running the ball tonight:
“We knew it would be a great challenge and we knew we had to do some things sideline to sideline and mix it up. I still didn’t think we played with great tempo and we have to get that corrected.  It was great to see where George Winn left off last season. He is just a model of consistency, day in and day out you know what you are going to get with him.  Ralph David provides a spark and I thought Poteat did a good job as well from the running backs spot.”

On the first touchdown:
“This was a great energy boost to our fans and to everyone.  Anytime you score on a big splash play obviously, those are momentum type plays.  I thought that was a great way to get started and a great way to get energy going.”

On Munchie’s improvement from last season:
“He has taken great strides and I thought we saw that today.  There are still some things that we have to do that we call pitch and catch and we still dropped a couple of passes.  Munchie has to do a better job of not over striding.  But I think he managed the offense really well.  He was poised, calm and collected, and that is what we have come to expect from our quarterbacks.  This was his first game as a full-time starter, and I thought he did well.  Now our next big game is against Delaware State and he is going to continue to elevate our football team day in and day out, week in and week out.” 

“I think overall leadership, a calmness, a poise about himself and those are the quarterback intangibles that we talk about.  Our leadership development and education for our football program and I think obviously, he made some good decisions with the football.  The thing going into a first game that you always worry about is turnovers.  We are going to take care of the football here that is part of playing disciplined football.  The great thing to see is that we did not turn the football over, and we generated some turnovers on defense in critical stages of the game.”

On getting pressure on the quarterback:
“Tino is a good quarterback and he has a talented group of receivers around him and they have good team speed so we knew we had to get to him.  We did a good job.  He made a great play when he flipped that ball to Ray when he was going down.  The by-product of playing great pass defense is a great pass rush and we may not have the most dynamic one or two individuals but I think as a group, we always talk about the power of the unit in our program by position and I thought our kids up front did a great job and we challenged them all week.”

UC Player Quotes

No. 1, Ralph David Abernathy IV, RB

On the team’s performance:
“We came out and had a great game.  George (Winn) popped it out and ran for like 60 yards and that just carried over the momentum for us.  The offensive line did a great job protecting Munchie (Legaux) and creating holes.  It was just a great team win”

On the momentum boost from the first touchdown:
“When you see a play like that and you come back to the sideline with the whole team amped and hyped, it carries over.  The defense goes out there and gets stops and everything keeps rolling.  The momentum just keeps building and building for us.”

No. 51, Greg Blair, LB

On his interception:
“We were in a certain coverage that we always run in the red zone and I just did my job.  It ended up getting picked.  It was a great pick, by the way.”

No. 54, Walter Stewart, DL

On Pittsburgh’s decision to go for the touchdown at the end of the first half:
“I was actually (surprised about the decision).  Being around football for so long, you want to just take the points.  It is not guaranteed, but you usually just take the points.  It was a gamble by them, but we did everything we needed to do to stop them.”

On stopping Pittsburgh right before halftime:
“It is a great feeling.  We gave up a lot of yards tonight, rushing and passing.  But red zone defense can really make up for all of that if you make them kick field goals and keep them out of the end zone.”

No. 4, Munchie Legaux, QB

On his performance against Pittsburgh:
“We didn’t give up any turnovers, but at the same time, I missed a couple of gimmie throws, that I can make in my sleep.  I felt like the ball got away from me, and my elbow was too low.  But that is what we practice for.  We will come in next week and get back to practice.”

On his consistency:
“When I lose focus or get fatigued, my mechanics get sloppy.  But at the same time, I need to keep that up and be consistent, keeping my elbow up.  I need to just play pitch and catch with the receivers and give them good balls.”

On being comfortable in the pocket:
“I am very comfortable in the pocket.  I trust those guys in front of me to protect me.”

On the momentum from the first touchdown:
“It relieved some stress.  We have been practicing for these guys since January.  Pitt was on our mind, this day, September 6.  We have to take our hats off to those guys, Pitt has a good defense.  But on the first play when we scored, some relief came over us.  But we weren’t finished then, we wanted to continue what we had.”

Pitt head coach Paul Chryst

Opening Statement:
“Obviously, that was a tough one there. In the first half, we dug ourselves a hole. We didn’t finish some drives. In the first half, we struggled getting off the field once again on third down. I thought that we gave up some big runs. I thought the defense played better overall in the second half. I thought the guys were fighting until the end. We just got to get better. I thought tonight we played two opponents. We fought against ourselves and we had to play a good Cincinnati team, a good Cincinnati team.”

On if he saw improvements since their Youngstown State loss:
“I’m sure there will be some things, whether it’s guys or certain areas did better. Sure hope to see that on the film. It’s hard to think about that right now after clearly getting beat.”

On if Cincinnati’s team speed was tough to matchup against:
“Yeah, I think they’re a tough team to match up against. Certainly have some speed, no doubt. They got some guys that made some plays. I think they’re a good team and they’re obviously well coached. Give them all the credit.”

On running out of time at the end of the first half:
“Obviously, we didn’t do a great job – myself included on that right there. I thought we had time to get two plays. Had a chance to communicate that and Tino [Sunseri] thought he could get something on that play. Obviously, we didn’t do that. And whenever you leave points or a chance for points, it’s disappointing.  A touchdown is what we needed and we got to do better.”

On if he thought of just kicking the field goal at five seconds:
“Absolutely. I thought we had something there, take advantage. That ones on me.”

“I thought we actually wasted some time the play before – before we snapped it. Obviously, we weren’t as prepared for that situation as we should have been. That’s what shows. That’s on me.”

On what to he has to do when a team is playing against itself:
“I think you got to fight through it. You know it just sounds crazy but you go to keep fighting through it. You have to focus on things that you can control. You have to be careful, especially guys that care a lot and want to do more than maybe they should be doing. It’s a heck of a chance to grow. But, it’s not easy as you’re going through it. And I think we have some guys that truly care. We have 10 more games on our schedule. We’ve had two tough losses. If it didn’t hurt the guys, you’d be disappointed. It stings them and then you have a chance to get better for next week.”

No. 18 Jarred Holley, FS
“It’s tough. We got to learn from it. First play, they came out and punched us in the gut. As the game went on, we started to progress and improve. All of the guys trying really hard – we just have to get things together.”

On Pittsburgh’s youth:
“It’s tough and it’s a group effort. We all got to come together as a defense collectively and work as one unit. That’s the thing we’re working toward right now.”

On what Cincinnati did to keep Pittsburgh off balance:
“You just have to give a lot of credit to Cincinnati. They did a lot of good things on offense, some things we weren’t able to stop tonight.”

#12 Tino Sunseri, QB
On not being able to cash in:
“Whenever you drive down the field, you have to be able to cash in inside the 20-yard line and we weren’t able to do that tonight. You have to give credit to Cincinnati.”

On the drive at the end of the first half:
“You have to give credit to Cincinnati. They came out and played the play right. Just have to know with five seconds left not to put so much air under the ball. When you’re trying to throw the ball away (you need) to preserve a second so you can go and kick the field goal. We were trying to score there and Cincinnati didn’t give us the opportunity to do that. Give credit to their defense.”

On how the bench was feeling following Cincinnati’s opening drive:
“Respond. That play took 10 seconds and there’s 59 minutes left in the game. We understood that we needed to go out there and just try to answer and their defense didn’t allow that. Whenever we got near the goal line, they showed up. We made mistakes too, but give credit to their defense.”