March 18, 2007

Spring Practice: No Rush on QB

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 3:24 pm

Seriously, I would love to know the logic of spring practice schedules. WVU and UConn were the only ones to start earlier than Pitt. Cinci and Louisville are latest — not for another week and a half or a bit longer. Wisely waiting until after third and fourth round to start practices. I know, some of it has to do with the academic calendar, but still.

The early round of quarterback competition is the lead story starting for spring practices.

For now, their sights are set on winning the starting job. Not since 2004, when Palko and Luke Getsy dueled to replace Rod Rutherford, has Pitt had a wide-open quarterback competition during spring drills.

This derby might not be decided by April 14, when Pitt holds its annual Blue-Gold Game at Heinz Field. With highly touted quarterback recruit Pat Bostick of Manheim Township planning to enroll in May, the position might not be settled until training camp in August.

“The quarterbacks, it’s going to take time,” Wannstedt said. “We’re going to have to be smart with what we can do with those guys and not get ahead of ourselves. … We’re going to have a whole different opinion of that position a month from now than we do today.”

Cavanaugh noted that Palko’s indefatigable work ethic rubbed off on Stull and Smith. He said Stull was studying film three hours before practice and that Smith stayed afterward to take extra reps with several receivers.

Both quarterbacks delivered precise passes in drills. Stull zipped a pass to tight end Darrell Strong in traffic and used a pump-fake on a rollout to connect with Pestano on a deep go route. Smith threw a picturesque deep pass that dropped over T.J. Porter’s shoulder on the left sideline, but he later fumbled a snap in 11-on-11 drills.

The sense is that this is battle 1a, the real battle will be in the fall when Pat Bostick arrives. Can he show enough to wrest the job right away?

You know what, though, most Pitt fans will be watching what happens on the lines. Let’s face it, nothing else will matter if the QB can’t be protected, if Pitt can’t get to a QB, if the RBs have no where to run and if the opposition continues to run wild on Pitt.

It also looks like there is some shake-out with players.

Sophomore safety Elijah Fields did not attend practice yesterday and will not be with the team for the foreseeable future because he is suspended for what Wannstedt called a “violation of team policy.” Fields, who is expected to return before the end of the spring, was the third player suspended this offseason. The other two — linebacker Tommie Campbell and defensive tackle Corey Davis — are suspended indefinitely and not expected to return.

I initially thought it was about offseason workouts and conditioning sessions, but I’m now of the opinion that this nebulous suspension is primarily about academics.  The biggest issue for Fields has always been about his academics. Maybe Pitt is using an all-encompassing term, but academic issues seems most likely.

I like that Lowell Robinson will be competing for the starting safety spot. When he was recruited, he was a JUCO All-American at Safety, so not letting him compete there seemed like a questionable overestimation of the depth and talent there (not to mention wasting a year of his eligibility shifting him about).

Fields’ suspension is academic related. Campbell and Davis’ suspensions go beyond academics. In fact, Campbell was recently arrested for for disorderly conduct in Bouquet Gardens two weeks ago. This was after he was already suspended indefinitely by Wannstedt.

Comment by pittengineer75 03.18.07 @ 3:33 pm

I have harped on this for awhile, the staff has completely misused Robinson. I don’t think Fields will ever contribute.

Comment by DK 03.18.07 @ 10:26 pm

A weird aside, but Chas noted on Friday morning that some scouts were in town to look at Revis, Blades, etc. One was former Pitt player Teryl Austin, a DB coach with the Ariz. Cardinals, who I actually knew grewing up. He went to Sharon, which was a football and basketball rival to my high school, but was friends with my sister in high school and used to come to our house here and there.

Any case, I took Friday afternoon off to go watch hoops and ended up at Fat Head’s on the South Side. At one point, I turn around from the bar and there are four guys in pullovers with logos of various professional teams on them, including an Arizona Cardinals pullover.

Teryl was eating so I waited to go talk to him. He finally looked done, so I went to the pisser, and when I came out and was going to try to get a report on the Pitt workouts, all 4 guys were gone! I was totally bummed. My chance to provide some original reporting to this site was up in smoke.

Lesson learned: next time, pee later!

Comment by Carmen 03.19.07 @ 10:00 am

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