Paul Chryst addressed the media on Monday morning following Saturday's loss to Youngstown State.
There are no changes on the depth chart this week. However, in regards to the six players suspended for the opener due to disciplinary reasons--Chryst wouldn't officially rule on whether any of these players would play for sure at Cincinnati.
"They'll all have an opportunity, and are they going to help us win the game?" Chryst said. "Every guy that gets on that plane, that dresses for the game is there for one purpose. That's for us to represent the University of Pittsburgh, to compete and try to win a game. If they can help us do that, absolutely they'll be with us."
On the injury forefront, Chryst said the team is getting healthier. The only player he was a little mum on was K'Waun Williams. Williams did not start the Youngstown State game, but came on for the second series of the game. Chryst couldn't rule on whether he'll have Williams on Thursday for sure or not.
"We're getting healthier as a team," Chryst said. "K'Waun didn't finish the game Saturday night. He was the one we're kind of just curious to see how he comes back from it."
As for coming off the loss to Youngstown State, Chryst mentioned a few key things. One was just getting things cleaned up--a general assessment he had after watching the film. He talked about taking better care of the ball on offense. Pitt had two fumbles for the game--one on the first series and one on its last series.
Chryst talked about his concerns with the defense, which allowed a 10-play scoring drive, a 12-play scoring drive and a pair of 15-play scoring drives. He also talked about missed tackles being a problem, yet something he also sensed in training camp.
"We tackled quite a bit in fall camp," Chryst said. "I felt like guys played a little bit hesitant."
It also wasn't an opportunistic defensive performance. It was the first game in 25 games that Pitt was held without a sack. The last time Pitt was held without a sack s the 2010 season-opener at Utah. The defense also did not force a turnover. Pitt has forced at least one turnover in 32 of the last 40 games.
Chryst also talked about the experience factor, on defense. Eight players made their first career start.
"There were a lot of guys that certainly played a lot more plays or first plays in a long time," Chryst said. "That's going to be natural."
As for those areas that need 'cleaned up?'
"Taking care of the ball on offense, tackling, getting off blocks on defense," Chryst said. "Things that are key elements, basic elements to football that we didn't execute real well."
Interestingly, while it sounds like a lot this team needs to clean up, Chryst is excited that he has a short week to do that. Maybe it's because it's less time to dwell on this loss, and an earlier shot at redemption. His enthusiasm in regards to a short week was evident.
"It's the perfect number," Chryst said, talking about five days in between games. "That's what we got this week, so that's exactly what we want."