FRANK BEAMER: We play our first conference game here this week against Pittsburgh, a team that’s always extremely tough, a team that always has been well-coached, and again this year follow the same format, a team that we have a lot of respect for. Certainly understand the importance of this football game, and got to get ready to go play a great football game. Questions, please.
Q. We got the release about Kendall. I wanted to ask you, what went into the decision to let him play those first four games?
FRANK BEAMER: Well, I think that was in the release. They thought that — and again, this is a medical staff. You need to really talk with them. But we felt like there was a possibility he was going to be okay and could play, and then it didn’t turn out that way. We certainly want to do what’s best for him and his future, the whole — all of that. But that’s really for our medical staff to talk about.
Q. You mentioned that future; obviously he’s a guy that people expected to turn pro after this year. Do you anticipate that he’s played his last game for you?
FRANK BEAMER: No, I think that’s — I’m not going to talk about things that we don’t know right now. I think we talk about that and make an announcement when we do know.
Q. How does losing him affect your secondary?
FRANK BEAMER: Well, I think any time you lose a player with his ability, it affects your secondary, it affects your team. But I think the other side of it, I was just looking, we got Facyson and Riley has played and had some good success, had a couple of interceptions, and Clark and then Alleyne is a promising freshman, and then Alexander is another promising freshman, along with Frye who we’ve got a lot of faith in, Terrell Edmunds is another guy that I think has really come along, and then we’ve got Stroman and Reynolds who are two guys that have a good future. So we’ve got some possibilities. Greg Jones is another guy that’s been in the program, been a guy that’s tremendous on special teams, is smart. We still have some people back there. Certainly you’re going to miss Fuller, but we go on and bring these young guys along and keep moving.
Q. Obviously around the country, coaches like yourself talk about playing two complete halves. Against East Carolina in the last game, allowed three straight scores but then went back and forth with them. How do you feel your team is kind of right now coming into that two halves of full play and giving you exactly what you need going into conference play?
FRANK BEAMER: Well, I think you keep building your football team, and that’s the thing about college football; you don’t have preseason games to get that out of the way, so I think you learn each week and hopefully going into the conference season right now, we’ll be better. But I think we’ve learned a lot and hopefully corrected a lot, and we’ll be a better football team, and hopefully we’ll play better and play technique better, play assignment football better, tackle a lot better. Hopefully all those things, we’ll see them this weekend.
Q. And then as far as Brenden Motley, in all the games where he’s had the majority of the snaps, he’s had rushing and passing touchdowns, just what he’s been as a dual threat for you, and what you’ve seen from him as he’s gained respect from other coaches, what has he gained from you?
FRANK BEAMER: I really have been impressed with what he’s done. He’s gone in there and been good for the most part, been right on for the most part. You know, I think his throwing gets better and better as he gets more reps in there with his receivers. So watching him there yesterday, he was right on all day long, and he’s a guy that’s got some talent. I mean, he’s a big guy that picks up a lot of important yardage. When it wasn’t there, he pulled it down and ran, and he’s a load to bring down. I always tell him to fall forward because we gain about two yards, three yards. He’s a big ol’ long guy. I really like what he’s all about. He’s smart. He’s very much in charge of things, and I like Brenden Motley a lot.
Q. You guys over the last couple of years, it seems like the defense, as good as it’s been, has managed to struggle against mobile quarterbacks. I’m curious if you have seen anything on tape or what has jumped out to you as to why that’s been a consistent problem?
FRANK BEAMER: Well, I think it’s a problem for anyone. When we had Michael Vick it was a problem for the other team and Tyrod Taylor was a problem for the other team. I think you’ve got the guy. If you run an option game, there’s another guy you’ve got to defend. If you’re throwing the football and rushing three or four and he pops out of there, then you’ve got — you’ve got to chase him down. I think a mobile quarterback is a problem for anyone. That’s why we like playing with them.
Q. With (Kendall) Fuller out, is that going to change at all what you guys do schematically? He’s obviously a guy you can put a lot on, so if he’s not out there, will it change things up in the back end at all?
FRANK BEAMER: No, I don’t think you do that. I think you play what you play and you do what you know and what you’ve had experience doing. I do think — like I mentioned earlier, we’ve got some guys that are very capable of playing. They’re not going to — we don’t have a guy that right now is as talented or as good as Kendall. The guy is a tremendous football player. He has size, he’s smart, played a couple balls that I can remember over the last couple years, I mean, made great plays, and you say, what a fantastic play that was. But he does that.
So I don’t know that we’ve got that guy right now, but we’ve got a lot of guys that are capable and going to work hard and get better, and we’ll see where that goes.
Q. Wanted to get your thoughts on what you’ve seen from Pitt through three games under Pat Narduzzi.
FRANK BEAMER: You know, I think you see a lot of what you’ve seen in the past. A well-coached football team, I’d throw that in there, big guys, tough guys with a lot of toughness, and a lot of toughness that I think they demand with the program they want to run. You know, I think Coach Narduzzi and Pittsburgh is certainly a good fit, because I think they are used to doing what he wants to do and have been good at it, and he’s got a good reputation, and I’m sure it’s going to continue for a long time.
Q. I wanted to ask about defending Pitt in terms of the team you saw last year depended a lot on James Conner to just overpower you. This year’s team has been a little more balanced, and I guess the big threat is probably (Tyler) Boyd. Can you talk about is there a difference in defending them this year than last year?
FRANK BEAMER: I don’t think so. You know, you’ve still got Boyd that you’ve got to contend with, and what a tremendous player he is. But they’ve got this freshman, (Qadree) Ollison, I believe he is, 6’2″, 230, and he looks like the same guy back there to me, a big ol’ fella that can really run, and then they’ve had a couple other guys, (Chris) James and (Darrin) Hall that have come in there and really run the ball. They haven’t really missed a step with their tailback being out it looks like to me. It looks like they’re the same football team, and they brought in a quarterback that has done a fantastic job for them in Ollison — excuse me, (Nate) Peterman I believe is his name, I think throwing the ball extremely well, so they’ve got their quarterback from last year still there, and so they look tough to me. They look hard to defend. When you throw it like Peterman can and you can run it like Ollison can, I think you’ve got it and then got those guys up front, and then got the threat out wide with Boyd. They’ve kind of got the complete team, and (Dontez) Ford out there wide, you’ve got another guy that’s about 6’2″, 215, and the tight end, you throw him in there, they use him quite a bit, Holt. To me they’ve got a very good, well-rounded offensive football team.
Q. I wanted to ask about one of your receivers. Isaiah Ford really seems to have stepped up his game as a sophomore. Can you talk about what he’s giving you?
FRANK BEAMER: Yeah, he’s a good receiver. You know, I think both our starting guys, he and (Cam) Phillips, have done very well, but they can make plays, they’ve got good height to them for a receiver. They’ve got great speed for receivers. You know what we’re interested in doing right now is getting more guys involved at wide receiver. Those two guys played about the whole game last week. You know, I don’t think you can play them the whole game and expect them to be at their best in the fourth quarter. We’re going to try and get some of these other guys in there and through our personnel grouping, maybe get those guys some rest as we go through the game.
Q. I want to ask you about Kevin Sherman on the Pittsburgh staff. What kind of job do you feel you did for you when he was at Virginia Tech, and what led to the decision not to bring him back after that 2012 season?
FRANK BEAMER: Well, you know, Kevin is a tremendous coach, did a great job for us, and I have nothing but good thoughts about him, and I really feel that way. I mean, he’s a solid guy that does a good job of coaching and did a good job recruiting. You know, good football coach.
Q. How come you didn’t want to keep him after that 2012 year?
FRANK BEAMER: Well, that’s — I think sometimes you have to do things for different reasons. Sometimes change in a program, you just need a little change, and it’s not particularly a personality or the total coaching situation, it’s other things involved. You know, those things get in there sometimes.
Q. Pat Narduzzi mentioned earlier this week you coaching against his dad when you were at Murray State and his dad was at Youngstown. Do you have any recollection of going up against Bill Narduzzi back in the day?
FRANK BEAMER: Yeah, I was talking about that with some guys here yesterday. Yeah, I know it was a long trip up there to Youngstown, and usually you were in for a battle when you got there. That’s kind of what I remember. I don’t think I ever looked forward to going up to Youngstown and playing a football game against Coach Narduzzi.