Grant Hoping to Find Daylight at Pitt

Running back Ryan Grant rushed for almost 1,100 yards last year averaging 4.2 yards per carry. So far this year, Grant has only rushed for 158 yards and just 3.4 yards per carry in four games. The Irish have focused on the running game this week and last and Grant is confident the Irish will be able to run the football against the Pittsburgh defense.

The season has been a disappointment to Grant so far this year but he says the running backs and the team remain confident. "It's been frustrating a little bit but, the good thing about football is you get another chance to go out and prove yourself," said Grant. "I don't think it's been hard to keep the confidence. We understand we have a talented backfield and we have playmakers. We've just got to stay with it, stay focused and stay with the system."

Grant believes the Irish will be able to run this week and he's looking forward to seeing the progress they've made these past two weeks. "I think good things are going to happen this week. I have the utmost confidence and the most trust in the line. I think we're doing some good things and we need to get after it."

The Irish had been working on throwing the ball out of the backfield earlier in the year but we haven't seen much of that thus far this year. Grant believes Irish fans will see progress here soon. "I think with some good things are going to happen with the backs and coming out of the backfield. We're improving there and hopefully we'll see more of that."

One area the backs have improved has been pass protection. Grant says the backs have been working hard on pass protection all year. "We work on that a lot. We've seen improvement and that is just an attitude you have to have. We still need to improve but we're getting better at picking up the blitz."

The Panther defense has been fairly strong against the run this year allowing just 120 yards on the ground per game. Grant says if everyone executes their assignment, they will be able to run. "We're just trying to go out and execute our job. Pittsburgh is a very good team, we know we got to bring our A game, we feel like we need to execute, get our jobs done and then things will work out."

The key to game might be the Irish getting off to a fast start—something they haven't done all year. "Anytime coming off a bye week, you have to get off to a fast start. I think it's going to be very important for us to put points on the board first so our defense doesn't have to always have to go into the game thinking they have to win the game. We haven't scored first yet in a game so we've got to start off fast and set the tone for the game."

The Irish have had two weeks to prepare for this game and to get over the losses of their last three games. Grant says the entire team remains positive and knows they are not far from fixing the problems with the offense. "I think we're real positive. I think with all the team, the confidence is there. We've just got to get after it and play our game, execute and take care of our individual responsibilities. Everyone is trying to get the win and we just need to do what we have to do to get the win."

The Irish will need to be able to rush the football to win this game. Both Grant and Julius Jones will have to find some daylight and some holes to take the pressure off freshman quarterback Brady Quinn. If both Grant and Jones can average the 4.2 yards Grant did last year, the Irish have a good shot to win this game. Top Stories