On transferring in with Ray Vinopal:
"We both were looking for something different. We both weren't happy at Michigan. We both wanted a change. This happened to be where the old coach (Tony Gibson) came. We had the connection to get here, so we made it happen. Since we got here, things are good. We love it."
On losing position coach Tony Gibson:
"We knew it could happen, but it's part of coaching. We just have to life live. We have to stay here, work hard. We can't be worried about coaches leaving. What it comes down to is, we just got the team. That's what we're here for."
"It's been good. We love the new staff. We work hard. They push us to our highest potential. We love them. They have us working hard in the film room. On the field, we have Coach House. He's a former NFL coach. Everything worked out for the best. We're in a good position right now."
After sitting out a year, after the transfer:
"When I first came in, I felt we're going to use this as a build year. We're going to get better, we're going to learn. Once it gets to the middle of the season, you start getting tired. What it all came down to, we just worked hard and learned a lot, and we want to get ready for the season."
Is spring ball getting more physical?
"It's getting more physical because now we're putting the pads on. Everyone's working for a spot. Everybody wants to prove what they can do. Everybody's competing, and it's getting more physical."
Did you get recruited by Pitt?
"They were in my top three. I already had them in my decision. I was thinking about coming to Pitt, but I wanted to get away from home. I left Michigan, I came back, it feels good. I feel like I should have made the decision to come to Pitt in the first place."
Why did you transfer to Pitt?
"I just really wanted to get closer to home. Whenever there's a mixup on staff, there's a little uncertainty with the program. I was in a good position when I left, but I felt this was closer to home. My old coach that recruited me was coming here, and I felt it would be a good situation."
On losing Tony Gibson:
"We came for Coach Gibson, but we also came for Pitt. It's a great university. He left, we're still here, this is where we played. We go to school here, we're happy. We're not just going to keep jumping around because of the coach. We're happy in this situation."
Were you disappointed when Gibson left?
"Yeah, a little bit. We understand. It's his job. It's how he makes his living, and we understand business decisions."
How do you like the new staff?
"The whole coaching staff, they really inspire us because they put in a lot of hours, and they're real enthusiastic and passionate about what they do. It transfers over to the team. We've noticed a lot of people coming in on their own, getting extra work and wanting to be here. That's what you need to build a program."
On playing on the scout team last year:
"We used to give them some headaches last year. We take pride in that. I think definitely having to walk out that tunnel in a jump suit instead of with a chinstrap buckled on, it makes you a little more hungry and lets you not take things for granted. We would give anything to be out there with our teammates. Now, we have that opportunity."
Were you and Cullen Christian a package deal?
"We had been talking. I had made my decision a little bit earlier. I just wanted to be closer to my family. I knew Cullen was thinking about it. I won't lie. I was in his ear a little bit. It ended up being great. We came here together. We've been together for two years. It's a good situation."
What was it like playing at ‘The Big House' for the first time?
"The first time you go out there, you freeze up a little bit. Pretty soon, it just goes back to being football."
Did Pitt offer you in high school?
"They did not. My offers were in the other direction (Big Ten). I visited here a few times. I did like it. I just didn't come down to being one of my final choices."
"What's even more ironic, is that the coaching staff here from Wisconsin, they recruited me real hard in the first place. Wisconsin was always in my mind when I was choosing Michigan. Coach Rudolph recruited me at Wisconsin."
On the offense overall:
"It's going real well. The offense is getting used to it. Today was a little rough on the offensive side, but we're going to get back in the film room where it can get better."
Where are things progressing?
"Just the technique, and the routes being run by receivers, the offensive line is stepping up. We're doing a lot better, working real hard and everything. We'll get it together. It's going to be real good."
"I feel like I get this a lot better. The reason I came to Pitt was for a pro-style (offense). I've been working on this my whole life. I got it down pretty well. I think it's pretty easy, and it's a lot easier than last year."
If there's one area you'd like to see improvement, where would it be?
"I want to improve on just getting to know the offense more, to help everyone out and know what everyone's doing. As a team, I think we need to get the run-game and pass-game together. We need to get the offensive linemen to step it up a little bit, so we can get the run game going."
Has offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph adapted things to fit your abilities?
"He adapts to both of us to make it easier; roll-outs, nakeds, everything. That's been helping us out."
Overall, on the offense on Saturday:
"The offense had a hard time, we turned the ball over twice; not really able to move the chains. We have to really give credit to the defense. The defense did a good job; fixing up their fronts and looks. Offensively, we have to go back to the film room and look at our mistakes and be able to correct them. We have to go back and look at our schemes. It's a learning process, and we have to get better each and every day we're out here."
How does the defense help you get better?
"It's always good. Whenever you're going against good competition, all it does is heighten everyone around you. What you're able to do is get better on all of your techniques. Most likely, you're not going to find a guy like Aaron Donald on a lot of teams. If you're going up there battling each and every day against a guy like him, the only thing you can do is get better. All he's going to do is keep challenging you. Guys really take it upon themselves, and they've gotten much better. They did some things to confuse them. Those guys are working. They're in the film room constantly. Coach Chryst is doing a good job. It's a total combination of everything. Whenever you're back there, you have to drop back, you have to be able to take some pressure off the offensive line by getting the ball out. The back's got to make sure they're chipping right. It's an offensive unit, making sure their routes get to the right depth. Just an offensive unit making sure our routes get to the right depths. We're just going to keep on improving each day, and making sure that we're learning."
On Isaac Bennett:
"He's doing good. I think Isaac is one of those guys that is obviously improving. Running the football is one part of being a running back, but you have to be able to be in pass protection, you have to be able to get out on your routes. It's a total combination. The best thing he has is Ray; a guy that can be able to go in there and have a lot of success, a guy to look up to, sponge off of him and learn as much as you can."
On adjusting to a new system:
"Obviously, it's a new system too. It's the third system for us. That's not an excuse. We have to be able to go out and execute. Obviously, it's going to take some time, and it's going to take a learning curve. You have to go out here, do something and make your mistakes, go into the film room, being able to adjust and being able to make your corrections."
On Isaac Bennett's touchdown run Saturday:
"It was just Isaac doing a great job of hitting a hole, the offensive line making sure they had people and did their job. The offense is one of those things—it's not rocket science. It's blue-collar, it's smashmouth football. You hit the hole, make sure the guys get on where they need to get on, run down hill and be able to get in the end zone."
On the depth of the receivers: "I feel like we do rotate a lot. We do get our reps."
On Saturday's scrimmage:
"I feel like I had a pretty good day. I usually block better. I don't know what it was today. I'm usually good in the box. I usually hold my own in the box. Today was a little battle. We battled a lot. It's all right. We get a chance to come out here tomorrow. It will be all right."
On the coaching change:
"I know this one is the only the sixth practice, but this one is for the better. You can all tell. Everybody on the field can tell. This change is for the better. Everybody's embracing it. When it first happened, I thought it was going to be a problem. Everybody seems to be buying in. Coach Chryst makes it easy. He makes it fun to come out here. I'm waking up at 6 in the morning, and I'm not dreading coming over here. I know I'm not going to be getting cursed out. It's going to be fun. I'm going to get to enjoy what I love doing, and that's playing football."
On Brendon Felder:
"Brendon is a Gateway kid. I know he only went there for a year, but he's got that Gateway attitude. We come out here, and I have to jump Brendon in the second period of practice, just because I do. I feel like him sitting out a year, he's learned a lot because he seems like he's getting smarter. He seems to know what the defense is doing. Brendon is fast. I don't know if you guys noticed that, but Brendon can straight fly. That's definitely someone that can help us—someone that can stretch the field."
On having a fourth position coach in five years:
"You know what Coach Engram does? He doesn't overcoach. There were some coaches we had that overcoached; wanted you to be here at a certain time. Coach Engram is all about doing it the way you do as long as you get the job done. That's good playing receiver. You get a lot of freedom, but at the same time, he's not going to let you do some randomness. Going back to Brendon, that's what Brendon does. Brendon is a lot of randomness. Sometimes, we just have to hone in on Brendon. There's all types of guys that do it. Coach Engram is really good. I enjoy him. I enjoy his personality. He's really laid back, but at the same time, he really knows his stuff. He's got credibility too. He's been playing since….I wasn't even born. I don't know how old Coach Engram is. He has credibility, and he knows how we're feeling at practice. That's the big thing. He always knows that we're tired, and that's because he was playing (in the NFL) just a little bit ago."
On sitting out a year after transferring in from North Carolina:
"Just sitting out that year, there's a lot of adversity. There's a lot of things, you have to learn from that year you sit out. It's frustrating being on the scout team, and you play against that first team and second team, and all that. It's frustrating, but you just have to look at it and make the defense better. That's what I try to do—just make the defense better. This year, I feel it will benefit me."
What is your specialty?
"My specialty is definitely my speed. I can get away from defenders, get off of jams. I think my speed is definitely my best asset that I can help this team."