PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Pitt head football coach Todd Graham met with the media Monday for his final regular season game-week press conference and spent most of the time talking about the Panthers 21-20 loss in Friday night’s Backyard Brawl against West Virginia.
Pitt blew yet another fourth-quarter lead, and Graham said he was most disappointed with the offense’s execution level. Specifically, Graham was disappointed in quarterback Tino Sunseri’s performance in the late stages of the game.
Here are some snippets of what Graham had to say Monday afternoon. If you’d like to read the entire press conference transcript, you can view it here.
On Pitt allowing 25 sacks in the game’s final nine plays:
“We held the ball. Our offense is about throwing the ball on timing and they were rushing three guys. West Virginia was not blitzing and they were rushing three guys. Prior to that we had only taken one sack in the game. We were getting rid of the ball and getting better at what we were doing. In that situation, we had 1:58 left and we had plenty of time to run our base offense. We have not done a very good job of preparing for that type of situation. We need to work on those things because we are absolutely not executing there. It seems like when we play ahead of people we are okay, but anytime we have a situation come down to making a drive to win we have zero success.”
On the offense’s execution level:
“It comes down to failing to execute. It is very frustrating because I have never dealt with anything like this. If you look at Friday’s game in the first half we are executing down the field and we missed things like you would in any game, but we didn’t play well in the second half from an execution standpoint. We weren’t executing the reads in this game very well at all. We came off our best game in executing at the quarterback position, but it is my job to get (Sunseri) ready and our job as a staff to make sure he is prepared. We have tried to adapt to a lot of things and to simplify things.”
On if Mark Myers could see time at quarterback Saturday against Syracuse:
“We have worked with Mark Myers and he shows a lot of promise. In the spring he got hurt and he was a little behind for this fall. Trey Anderson’s injury has put him out for the rest of this year. Mark has been pushed to get more and more reps and he is a guy who definitely has a future. He is a guy who can compete, but he has not been in the position to have a complete understanding of what we’re doing to give us a chance to win. We will evaluate him throughout the week to see how he is developing and see what happens.”
On qualifying for a bowl with a win Saturday against Syracuse:
“That is the bench mark to be bowl eligible. I think our team deserves it and if we are able to win this last game then I would consider us the best 6-6 team in the country. The bowl experience and the development of your program are important. That is how the system works. I think (winning) a championship is deserving of going to the higher bowls. I believe we are very deserving to go to a bowl game if we win this last game against Syracuse.”