Tom O'Brien Meets The BIG EAST Press
Oct. 23, 2000
CHESTNUT HIL, Mass. - Boston College head coach Tom O'Brien
BIG EAST Teleconference
October 23, 2000
Can you give your comments on the Pittsburgh game and you thoughts on the upcoming Rutgers game?
"I though Pitt played extremely well. It was obviously a huge game for them. They took it to us and beat us pretty good. We started off very tentative, and put ourselves in a lot of holes, but survived that and got the game to the fourth quarter. It was 28-20, going into the fourth quarter. But, then we couldn't withstand tow big plays by them in the fourth quarter to get a win. So now we come home and have Rutgers coming in here to Alumni Stadium and we look forward to the game here on Saturday."
Wanted to ask you about Todd McKniff from North Jersey. I understand he got hurt last year.
" No, he was redshirted last year. On a kickoff return last year in the Notre Dame game, he was knocked out I believe. So, that was the only time last year he was hurt. This year he is playing and he's going to be the backup at center for this game against Rutgers on Saturday."
Can you talk a little about his development?
"He came here and stated out as a defensive lineman. We moved him to offense. He's a good athlete. In fact, when we had problems to defense we moved two of our tight ends to defense and we ended up playing him some at tight end in the middle of the year here. We've brought him back and put him back in at center where he started the year."
Have you made any determination about Paul Zukauskas? Is he going to play against Rutgers?
"He's out. That's all I know right now."
He doesn't need a neurologist?
In terms of the problems that Rutgers will present, coming off a win at Navy this weekend. Is that anything there you could pick up off of?
"Anytime it's a heck of a lot better to come off a win than a loss like we are. They've found some new enthusiasm and they've found themselves again. Offensively, they spread the field. It will be more like an attack along the lines of Connecticut where we saw a lot of spread formations, different formations, different people, no backs, one back type of offense. This is a change from a year ago. On defense, we'll see a 3-4 defense, which is a little different than what we've seen in the past. We have some things that we have to take care of this week and we're going to work hard on it."
You've seen a lot of receivers in your day. How does Antonio Bryant of Pittsburgh stack up there with the rest of them?
"Well, he has great speed. That's number one that sets him apart. The other thing is he's a big guy, too. That's a combination that tough to get. I don't think he's quite as tall as Herman Moore was for us when we were at Virginia, but he has height and he has speed and he has quickness, which now allows him to have strength which means he can overpower a lot of corners."
If Frank (Beamer) called you and asked you how to stop the guy, what would you tell him?
"The thing with Pittsburgh is that they have two receivers. Take your choice. Frank will figure it. I'm sure."
Can you talk about William Green's development this year. I know he stepped in when Cedric (Washington) was hurt for a while and had a couple of big games. How has he progressed?
"He's much more comfortable. Coming in a s a freshman and trying to learn an offense is extremely difficult. In high school, I'm sure all they did was say, 'William right. William left.' And gave him the ball and let him take off and run. Once he learned everything that there was in this offense, now you can feel comfortable and now you can execute better and it's become second nature, you don't think about it. And he's getting to that point this year. Being able to come in when Cedric was hurt and having that games he had added to his confidence. He's playing with a lot of confidence now. Cedric is back so we have two good tailbacks right now and that where we'd like to be."
Were you concerned that this would work itself out, that Cedric had such a big year last year and you wanted to find time for William. Did you have a feeling that all along it would work itself out the way it has?
"I believe so. I've always played with two tailbacks. You never, as much as we run the tailback, make it through a season with one. It's always good to be fresh. I think they've come to appreciate it. Sometimes they get mad when they're in a drive and they get near the goal line, they want to be in there to score. I think they understand the idea of having a fresh tailback in there and subbing for each other and making sure each other gets enough reps, so that by the time we get to the fourth quarter, that both of them feel very strong and very quick."