September 7, 2009

Boo! Boo! Whatever

Filed under: Fans,Football,Media — Chas @ 5:30 pm

I am stunned that this is taking any semblance of an issue. I really am. Yes Bill Stull was booed. He was booed early. He was booed late. He was not, however, booed incessantly or mercilessly.

Do I agree with the booing? Eh. In general I don’t have a problem with it, but it seemed a little premature.

I didn’t boo during the game. I was not surprised, though, even on the opening drive that quickly died. The early poor throw was not going to help him with the fans.  When I pulled into the lot that morning, the attendant said he was taking a poll: How soon until Stull gets yanked?

In the parking lot, waking into the stadium and in the stands, I kept hearing similar questions. People talking about “Tino time.”

The whole time, though, I never thought of it as hating Stull. Just simply that he had proven to most that he was not the guy to be the starting QB.

Yet the whole thing has taken on a ridiculous life. It now seems that Stull was being booed non-stop in the game from the moment he ran on the field to garbage being thrown on him as he was leaving the field.

Both the Trib and P-G columnists focused on it for their Sunday columns. Ron Cook:

I had to check three times yesterday to make sure Kordell Stewart wasn’t playing quarterback for Pitt.

That’s how rough many in the home crowd at Heinz Field treated Bill Stull in Pitt’s easy, 38-3 win against ridiculously overmatched Youngstown State.

It was pretty pathetic, actually.

At least Stewart was a highly paid professional when he was booed and jeered by Steelers fans. Stull is a college kid. He deserved better from those in the stands who jumped his stuff as soon as his second incompletion ended Pitt’s first possession.

“That’s not giving a person much time,” Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said, clearly saddened by the Stull treatment on an opening day when just about everything else went right for the Panthers, the lame competition considered.

Stull’s teammates weren’t thrilled, either.

“I was really disappointed that our fans would boo our starting quarterback,” offensive tackle Jason Pinkston said. “They are supposed to be our fans and be up screaming for us. But, instead, they boo him.”

Pathetic, I tell you.

That’s pathetic? Cook had to check 3 times because there were 3 instances during the game where there were boos. The opening series when Stull looked like he hadn’t changed a whit from the Sun Bowl. The interception where Stull threw it right to the DB. Regardless of whether there was confusion on the route, the DB read Stull’s eyes and stood there waiting for the throw. Then a half-hearted booing when Stull inexplicably came back in after Tino Sunseri was in for one possession.

I get Pinkston and Wannstedt defending their guy. He’s part of the team and to them it is unfair.

Joe Starkey treated it as a meditation on when booing is appropriate.

But the most pertinent question to arise yesterday was this: What is acceptable and what is not when it comes to criticizing a college athlete?

Like Wannstedt, I thought the booing was a bit premature. But I’ll say this: Like it or not, dealing with boos and calls for the backup are part of the deal in big-time college athletics.

I don’t think it’s wrong or bad for fans to do that.

It’s the other stuff — the name-calling, the vicious message-board attacks, the insults that Stull’s family surely must hear in the stands — that is beyond uncalled-for.

It is pathetic and needs to stop.

“Yeah, it’s rough,” said tight end Dorin Dickerson. “(Stull’s) my roommate. I live with him, see him every day. I feel bad for him. He deals with it really well, you know? He’s trying so hard.”

Pathetic seems to be a favorite word from that day.

On the subject of Stull getting booed for coming back in the game in the 3d quarter. Both Cook and Starkey seem to acknowledge that it was on Wannstedt to some degree.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Tino Sunseri played three of Pitt’s final four possessions, but he should have played all of them. Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said Sunseri was supposed to play the rest of the game after he replaced Bill Stull up, 21-3, with 6:44 to play in the third quarter. But Stull returned after Sunseri’s first drive culminated with a 26-yard field goal. Stull led Pitt to a touchdown on his final series. “I was tied up doing something else,” Wannstedt said. “Tino was supposed to play the rest of the second half. That was a miscommunication on my part.”

Exactly how hard is it to communicate: Sunseri’s in there for the rest of the game? Stull was on the sidelines with a baseball cap on, and everyone knew he was done for the day. Yet his inexplicable return provoked a confused and WTF response. Yet, in terms of volume of booing, it was definitely half-hearted.

The booing, was clearly not directed at Stull that time. That time it was at Wannstedt and the coaches for putting Stull back in. Mainly because it made no sense and seemed to be about holding Sunseri to a standard Stull wasn’t held to.

Sunseri went 2-4 and had to settle for a FG. Not horrible, but since they blew a TD opportunity from 1st and goal he got yanked.

Then Bob Smizik felt it wast time for him to go off.

There might be some discussion about the runnerup, but from what I’ve seen and read it happened at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

That’s where the so-called fans of the Pitt football team booed the team’s starting quarterback following his second pass of what was a scoreless game. That’s the quarterback who helped lead Pitt to a nine-win season last year.

Slight factual correction, it was his second incomplete pass. What offends me is that he flat out lies in his description of events.

It was worse: With Pitt leading, when Stull came back into the game in the third quarter, he was booed again and this time more loudly.

I know you are still learning how to blog Smizik, and I’m guessing you don’t hold the format in the highest regard. That said, like anything, factual accuracy only helps a position. In what report do you base that the booing was loudest when he came back in late in the 3d quarter?

The loudest boos for Stull was on the opening drive of the 3d quarter when he threw that hideous interception. If you think boos then were without logic or reason, then I don’t think we can effectively discuss the issue.

I really feel that the only reason that this is an issue, is not that it is necessarily media driven. It’s that the trade-off for having an easy warm-up game against a 1-AA patsy is that it results in the on-the-field stuff is discounted because of the competition.

That leaves the other stuff. The most significant — Stull not a beloved icon by Pitt fans.

Trust me, they boo on the D III level too.

They just don’t write articles on it there.

Comment by BURGHBOY 09.08.09 @ 2:04 pm


Remember those classy tOSU fans cheered Navy because they thought Navy would be a push-over.

Do you remeber those classy tOSU fans that chased Texas fans around Columbus when tOSU lost in Columbus to Texas?

You should, it was in the Columbus papers and there was a ton articles nationally.

My point is, fans will be fans, good and bad, most cheer, some boo and some turn over cars with Michigan license plates and light them on fire if they are parked in Columbus after a loss to Michigan.

Comment by Woody Hays 09.08.09 @ 4:42 pm

Those boos for Stull will turn to cheers if he performs and wins.

Question is, is he capable?

We shall see this week because Buffalo will be a stern test similar to the Toledo and Ohio U games.

Win and silence the critics.

Comment by John 09.08.09 @ 4:46 pm

Thanks for reminding me , “Woody”(thought you were deceased). I never said the Buckeye fans were ALL gentlemen and ladies. Believe me, Columbus has more than its share of poor sports. Oh yes, a correction–The Buckeye fans cheered Navy because they are a service academy. George from Columbus

Comment by rev. george mehaffey 09.08.09 @ 5:34 pm

[…] booed louder in the second half when he was inexplicably reinserted after Sunseri played a series. He wasn’t Smizik, and you were not there to even claim you witnessed […]

[…] Even as camp went further along and Stull re-asserted himself as the best QB in practice according to reports, there was plenty of skepticism, doubt and hostility. Why? Because of how Stull looked in 2008. Not just because of how he finished the season, but his overall mediocrity. That his best wasn’t going to be enough for Pitt to compete and win the conference. Stull went into the start of the 2009 season with a lot of fans against him. […]

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