Pitt On The Mend

Defensive adjustments will certainly be a theme this week, heading into the New Mexico game. On offense, Tom Savage now has one start under his belt, a new offensive line has one full game under its belt, and Tyler Boyd looks like a player due for more touches.

Now that Paul Chryst and his team have had a few days to let the Florida State loss sit and digest, the road to recovery begins.

And we're not talking injuries, either. Healthwise, the team came out injury free--a good thing.

For starters, how to rectify some defensive problems that resulted in Jameis Winston having his way with the Pitt defense. Winston completed 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns. On top of that, the Pitt defense had no pass breakups, they only pressured Winston on three pass attempts, sacking him just once.

According to Chryst, it's something that needs addressed to the defense as a whole--not just the corners, linebackers, or defensive line. At the same time, equal blame goes to the players and coaches, according to Chryst.

"I think whether it's the depth by backers, by the secondary at times, a little bit of I don't want to say uncertainty, jumping a short guy, creating the space behind it; certainly a lot of things like that," Chryst said. "That's a good indicator of a lot of things where we got to get better, got to clean it up. I feel good that our guys will.

"Coaches, players took ownership of the film and what we did. That's where we're at right now. But I think I'm encouraged a lot of things that need to be fixed are things in our control. That's what we've got to do."

For good things that Chryst is looking to build on, it would be the play at quarterback and offensive line.

"The O-line did some good things, quarterback, good things, got to clean it up," Chryst said. "We had some procedure things, got to clean it up. It's back to making sure we take care of things we can control."

Despite Tom Savage throwing two interceptions in his debut as a starter, Chryst says he liked Savage's composure, even when things turned sour. At the very least, with one start under his belt, there's a sense that some forward progress can begin--a starting point--instead of wondering how Savage would respond after being out of action for three years.

"I loved his demeanor, the way he was coming off the sidelines, I thought he was all the things you want," Chryst said. "He was enjoying playing again, appreciative. Sometimes when you sit out that long, older guys that get their first start, all those plays were appreciated.I thought he was a guy that truly enjoyed playing football again, competing.

"I loved his demeanor throughout the whole game when something good happened or something bad happened. That part, I wasn't surprised, but you're sure appreciative of the way he approached it, just kind of played the other night."

One other adjustment, Chryst hinted at, would be the use of Tyler Boyd. Boyd touched the ball just eight times in the game, but totaled 151 all-purpose yards--the most of any player on the field, on Monday.

Not that it's bizarre by design, but Boyd had three carries for 54 yards before even making his first catch of the game. He caught two passes for 26 yards.

Clearly, Chryst isn't afraid to start the true freshman. He's not even afraid to try jet sweeps against Florida State--something Boyd succeeded in doing three times, averaging 18 yards a carry. The question is, how much more can we see Boyd, and how much thinking outside the box is Chryst willing to devote to this one player. Boyd showed on Monday night, he's capable of more responsibility.

"Absolutely, you want to make sure that all the guys, they need to be play-makers," Chryst said. "Tyler fits that. Devin [Street] fits in that. We have to find a way to make sure all our guys that can make a difference are getting touches. I feel real confident we can do it within the parameter of the offense."

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