Here are some news and notes from the Big East coaches' call earlier today:
Coach Butch Jones says nothing has changed with his team now that it is leading the Big East standings, quite the opposite of the situation the Bearcats faced last season.
"It's business as usual," he said. "That may sound kinda odd, but it is. You've got to focus on the task at hand. Each game is a new season, each game presents new challenges, each program you play -- it's all about matchups. The more you win, the more that's at stake. The more you win the greater the challenges but also the greater the opportunities as well."
Coach Paul Pasqualoni was asked how he gets more consistency out of his struggling team.
"We've just got to be more consistent with the execution of what we're doing," he said. "When we get the ball in the red zone, we've got to score. That's something that's hurt us so far this year, not scoring, not capitalizing on those opportunities. Third down has hurt us. Defensively, we have got to play better pass defense than we did against Pitt. We've been doing OK against the run. We'll be challenged there this week, but we've got to execute better from a coverage standpoint."
Coach Charlie Strong said the improvement of Teddy Bridgewater the last few games doesn't have as much to do with the change in coordinators as it does with the improvement of the entire offense.
"We had to improve totally the whole offense, not only Teddy, but our offensive line, running backs, wide receivers," he said. "We weren't playing well in the beginning, but we've gotten healthy, gotten guys back who were banged up. The running backs are running better, wide receivers are making plays. When you have a young quarterback, players around him have to play better, and that's what's happening."
Coach Todd Graham said he and his staff were still evaluating their options at running back, where another player is needed to help Zach Brown shoulder the load with Ray Graham out. Graham is scheduled to have surgery Monday on his right knee.
"Ray and Zach have been tremendous in developing our young freshmen," Graham said. "I've got a tremendous amount of confidence in Corey Davis, Malcolm Crockett and Isaac Bennett, three freshmen we think are very good, explosive, fast, can catch the ball out of the backfield and do all the things we want them to do. We've got a lot of confidence we've got some guys that will really step up and people will be surprised how well they do."
Coach Greg Schiano said the difference in the second half of his team's 41-31 loss to West Virginia: the Mountaineers simply made plays.
"We didn't do our job, we didn't do what we were supposed to do oftentimes," he said. "We didn't do some things we were supposed to do and that's my job. I'm the coach. If I can't get the players to do what they're supposed to do, that's my problem."
Coach Doug Marrone was asked what specifically Louisville did up front that gave the Orange offensive line so many problems.
"We had hats on hats, they won," Marrone said. "Whether they won the back end, taking the first progression away or whether they won up front, they're a good football team. In a game like that, you have to make plays and change field position. We weren't able to do that and Louisville was, and that's a credit to them."
Coach Skip Holtz realizes his defense has not played well recently, especially against the pass. Could that mean a big day for Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova?
"If he looks like every other quarterback we've seen, he'll look like an All-American," Holtz quipped. "We're going to have to try and do some things defensively that we haven't done to this point."
Coach Dana Holgorsen has never gone against Charlie Strong, but is familiar with his work in previous stops at Notre Dame, South Carolina and Florida.
"You look at their players, their bodies look good to me, they look big and physical and they've got speed as well," Holgorsen said. "The scheme is good, it's sound, they're well coached and they've got good players. It's not surprising to see them hold people to what they've been holding people to."