March 19, 2012

About That QB Spot

Filed under: Football,Players,Practice — Chas @ 1:47 pm

Spring practices are reaching the pads stage. No more of the helmets and shorts look.

We could try and break down what the O-line will look like. Whether the linebackers will be better. Who will be stepping up to the D-line.  We could. Or we can obsess over the status of the QB position. Give the people what they want.

Here’s the extent to which Coach Paul Chryst has spoken about QBs over the past two practices.

On whether he loses patience over fumbled center-quarterback exchanges:

“No, but they were ugly though, weren’t they? You’ve got no chance. You’ve got to prevent beating yourself first. It’s hard enough to beat the opponent. If that was a game we would say you beat yourself and those are things that need cleaned up and we can’t tolerate it.

“As coaches, negative things happen. We’re going on the assumption that no one wants to have a bad quarterback-center exchange, the receiver doesn’t want to drop the ball, the defender doesn’t want to lose contain. If they’re in there and they want to do that then that’s on us. You can’t tolerate it but making a big stink doesn’t necessarily fix it either.”

And before that:

On whether the quarterbacks and receivers improved today:

“Yeah, I think there were some moments where they did. They better, right? They better keep improving. Tomorrow we’ll be going full pads. You’ll always have some good and you can build on that. And then there are a lot of things you still have got to clean up.”

Gotta lot to go on, huh?

Oh, yeah. There were a couple puff-pieces on Mark Myers. The vessel for which all hope rests at QB — er, something like that.

The focus for which seems like you could read it while “Jane’s Getting Serious” plays in the background.

To wit:

When Mark Myers walked off the practice field Thursday, sweat flattened his hair and he appeared a little tired from the first day of Pitt’s spring football drills.

But there was no mistaking the athletic, 6-foot-4, 230-pound build that got former coach Dave Wannstedt’s attention two years ago. In fact, Myers looks so much like a quarterback that you wonder how he could have been so ignored during his first two seasons at Pitt.

There is more to a quarterback than the wrapping on the package, and Myers said he is a changed player under his third coaching staff in three years.

“I definitely feel like I matured a lot,” he said. “I’m spending a lot more time in the film room and (getting) a lot more field work.”

“I’m definitely relieved (at the change at the top). I think I have a real good chance to get on the field and help this team out.”


Sorry, that got away from me. Let’s take a look at this piece, and totally keep it in context.

Around the team, Myers was not known for being the hardest worker.

Coaches tried to motivate Myers early in training camp last summer by moving an undersized walk-on, Trey Anderson, ahead of him on the depth chart, but it didn’t seem to move him much and that added to the staff’s frustration.

Myers, from St. Ignatius High in Cleveland, is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, has a strong arm and is a prototypical pocket passer.

The spread offense of former Pitt coach Todd Graham did not fit his talents, and Myers didn’t feel as if he would have a real chance to compete.

Myers said he was energized when Paul Chryst was hired to replace Graham because Chryst uses a pro-style offense.

“I was definitely relieved when coach Chryst was hired,” Myers said. “I think now with this offense, I have a real chance to get on the field and help this team out.”

If Myers, a redshirt sophomore, is ready to put the past two years behind him and get serious about playing football, he will be able to push Sunseri, even though Sunseri has started 26 career games and has far more experience.

There are six players at the position this spring, but two of them, Anothony Gonzalez and E.J. Banks, are likely to move to other positions at some point.


Okay, I’m better now. Let’s go with one bit of context:

I’m not saying that is definitely the case with Myers, but he was actually talking about watching film, maturing, understanding what it takes and being re-energized with the new coaching staff. Again, if he does indeed get it there will be a quarterback competition because from what we’ve seen these past two days this job has to be wide open as none of them has been impressive, or even good for that matter. I think Myers may be the best suited for this pro-style offense but we will see if he is indeed ready to compete.


All those qualifiers. And to declare that none of the QBs have looked good in practice — which includeds Myers — means no one is going to grab the job right away.

Now that I’ve had my fun, I’ll give some semi-serious thoughts on Myers and the QB spot. I just don’t know. I would like to see Myers take the opportunity and at least legitimately challenge to be the starting QB.

I’m much closer in thought to the ABT crowd than the view that Sunseri is unfairly treated as the receptacle for all the blame on Pitt’s offense. I don’t have a lot of faith in Sunseri based on his decisionmaking the last couple years, his arm strength, handling pressure, and his footwork. Regardless of the system in which he operated, Sunseri flat struggles with fundamental aspects of the position. If you told me tomorrow that there is no way Sunseri would be the starter this year, I would smile and want to believe.

That said, I won’t be surprised if he is still the starter come the end of August. He has the experience. He seems to know what he’s doing in practice. If the positions are open, everyone is getting a fresh start with the new coaching staff, then he’s got a pretty good chance of being the starter.

Myers hasn’t proven anything yet. And what happens if he doesn’t manage to pass Sunseri in the spring? Given Myers’ past work ethic, it is still a question of how he responds to that when there are still several months before training camp. Does he redbouble his efforts to try win the job in the fall and/or be ready if needed. Or does he slip back to limited effort and not trying because he didn’t get named the man this spring? I don’t know the answer, and neither does anyone but Myers.

I’ve said it before. You can point to all of his youtube highlights from high school. Show off all the measurables. Point to now 3-year old scouting reports from recruiting sites. It means nothing. It comes down to what he does now. It can’t keep being the mistakes by the coaches for not using him after a certain point.

You just gave DRW a heart attack, good article though.

Comment by Reed 03.19.12 @ 1:58 pm

Tino all ways does well in practice but when the game starts he fall apart he is a putz.
if he starts this year and i hear that he is our best chance to win i will puke than go get drunk
and EMel will most likeley go crazy.
and Dan will become depressed.
and a another year will go down the drain till they sit him on the bench.

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.19.12 @ 2:11 pm

any news on who looks good in spring practice

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.19.12 @ 2:18 pm

Hey it’s encouraging that Meyers is looking better and working harder. I think they, for the most part, all welcome going back to a pro-style system. When players were recruited for a pro type offense it tough to mold them into a spread. Yes, it’s even harder than we were led to believe.

Comment by Justinian 03.19.12 @ 2:30 pm

It is good to be missed but not forgotten. Chas that was an insightful commentary on Myers. I am chocking on my statements from last year on your straight on commentary. I was speaking purely from emotionfailing to realize that the mental and emotional obstacles are often harder to overcome.

It was hard to believe that Myers could not be better than Tino, and as for Trey it was obvious why he was not offered a schlorship. The clicher for me was, and I was correct here, that Graham was in it only for himself -and he is far from compoent in his job i.e., Myers wasgetting screwed.

The point you made was dead on, he was but who was screwing him?


Comment by drw 03.19.12 @ 2:59 pm

I have a hard time ruling Tino out as QB. His first year as a started had a lot of growing pains as many first year starters do. Last year I am not sure all was his fault given what we know now about Fraud. And I have to give Tino credit for taking the high road last year when Graham clearly pushed him under the bus. Anyway 2 years of experience under tough circumstances he may do just fine. I am willing to give him a chance if he wins the starting job. Not saying he will but if he does then he earned it. And if he earns it he needs to work hard to keep it!!!!

Comment by giveitarest 03.19.12 @ 3:09 pm

Jane’s getting serious? Is that to suggest Myers looks like Tarzan, but plays like Jane?

Comment by 66Goat 03.19.12 @ 3:14 pm

I just hope Tino plays better than Cheeta.

Comment by TX Panther 03.19.12 @ 3:24 pm

Keep those spring ball updates coming! It’s great to have criticism on something constructive. Although I do love some good ole’ expansiopocolypse tidbits.

However, I am a bit worried about the O-line, even if we do see a change up in the QB, its not going to matter if the line acts more like bowling pins. I know the Wisc has had great O-lines in the past, but there is only so much you can do with what you’ve been given. It’d be great if we could get some news about them, so far what I have been reading across the board is QB related.

Comment by Benzene 03.19.12 @ 3:25 pm

Can we get Dan Marino one more year of eligibility? Just to allow the transition to Voytik? And so maybe Pitt can win a few games this year against its exceedingly difficult schedule?

Comment by velvil 03.19.12 @ 4:02 pm

Ok so I am one of those people who thinks Pitt will have a six or seven win season. I have noticed other people & even some analysts calling for Pitt to thrive under Chryst’s new system and exceeding 10 wins this year. But Houston, we have a problem. It’s Tino Sunseri.

We all know how wretched he was last season under a system that did not suit him. Everyone thinks he will be better under the pro style again, but please remember how awful he was then too. Tino was lucky to have a great supporting cast at the skill positions to even give Pitt a chance at getting 8 wins that year. The roster now, may not be so helpful. And even with a first round draft pick at WR in 2010, I remember Tino missing his target by what, like 10 feet in his attempts to throw to a huge Baldwin.

So for those of you who thinks this team will get to 9,10, or even 11 wins please stop and remember games like Miami, ND, and WVU. Man it still makes me cringe.

I would love to see Chryst/Bollinger work with Myers and see what you can get out of him. Because we know a dorm room ceiling in Lothrop on the 1st floor is the limit for Tino. How much worse could Myers be?

Comment by Timmeh 03.19.12 @ 4:15 pm

You are right on the money Frank!!!!!!! LOL.

I love Chryst and his hire. (allthough I was pumped about Fraud, so, take that for what it’s worth), but, if I here “he gives us the best chance to win”, my goodness, I just don’t know.

At least tell Chryst not to use that particular phrase!!!! LOL

Comment by Dan 03.19.12 @ 4:50 pm

The jury is out on the offensive line, it did a respectable job until Graham tore up the knee . If the QB can’t stretch the field vertically making the defense get out of an eight man box then the offensive line has no prayer. Don’t blame the offesive line for Tino’s shortcomings.
Opposing defenses don’t respect Tino’s arm, he can’t complete a pass 20 yrds in the air.

Comment by spindler's spirit 03.19.12 @ 5:58 pm

Timmeh: last year, despite all the injuries, Sunseri’s play, and the apparent “problems” Graham had in being a coach, Pitt won 6 games. And actually, they could have won 11, but for now we’ll stick with 6 wins.

WVU is off the schedule, replaced by a MAC team. An FCS scrub replaces a BCS foe. That alone is 2 wins.

The only notable departure who played all of last season was Brandon Lindsey.

Unless the Big East improves a ton from last year, or the decision is made to start Voytik from Day 1, there’s no excuse for less than 8 wins.

Comment by OriginalEther 03.19.12 @ 6:11 pm

Any hope Gonzalez plays QB at Pitt? He cannot be a worse ball thrower than Tino and he is 5x more athletic and faster. If not, make this kid a safety and let him play some football. He is way too good of an athlete and football player to keep jerking around with position changes (I realize he didn’t help his cause with the pot bust last season).

Comment by Mike 03.19.12 @ 6:41 pm

I expect Chryst to play several guys at QB. Make the most of what he has and that means variety.

Comment by SFPitt 03.19.12 @ 7:07 pm

Please, dear God: ABT

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 03.19.12 @ 7:09 pm


I know, we lost a total of 4 games by 11 points. But can we really say we were that close to 11 wins. I don’t know. We all know a ton of that was on Sunseri. So I am skeptical. I would love to see an 11 win campaign though in our last year of the Big Least.

Comment by Timmeh 03.19.12 @ 9:03 pm

Justinian – I’d hold off on saying that Myers “looks good in practice” for right now. All the positive reports have been about his new positive approach and attitude, not necessarily about his actual play.

One reporter on a pay site said that Myers has been continually missing his short and intermediate passes yet completing some of his deep throws.

This is exactly the same thing that I reported last season, that Myers has real problems with accuracy. Last year I said the Sunseri was a more accurate passer than Myers and so far that hasn’t changed.

I really do caution us PITT fans about thinking that Myers is some lurking superstar that just hasn’t gotten a chance to play. He is what he is, a kid who started one year of HS football and needs work to progress to become a competent player in college.

If Sunseri wins the starting job again it may very well be not just that he has more experience but he actually is a better QB all around.

DRW – you’ll keep believing what you like but the fact is that yes, Myers got screwed in that he wasn’t considered a starting QB by Graham as soon as Graham was hired, but even if there had been a true head-to-head competition Sunseri would still have been the starter. He was just a better QB all around.

Let’s also not forget that for whatever reason it was that Myers went into his funk and checked out of the program mentally – and he did – the fact is that he allowed that to happen.

When Sunseri faltered so badly that we were losing games due to his play and Graham was willing to move away from his entrenched offense, the staff was scrambling around to find anyone to take his place and they turned to Anderson, Jones and Gonzalez to take that role before putting Myers in. That was because Myers didn’t keep himself in the running by ensuring that he knew and could execute the offense. Quite the opposite happened. Myers had removed himself from ever being considered to do anything but come in to throw specific passes and didn’t do that too well either.

This is a new year and Myers seems to be re-energized to give it a 100% effort. At least I hope so because we need an alternative to Sunseri at QB… but I’m not holding my breath that Myers sweeps the competition to become the starter. Other than having a strong arm he’s shown nothing to make me think he’ll do so.

It is early and that could change obviously and I’ll be ecstatic if he does – but Sunseri could also hold onto the job when the staff is considering who gives PITT the best chance to win.

If this staff is truly allowing all the players to start with a clean slate that is another factor for Sunseri. They don’t dislike him like the PITT fans do.

Comment by Reed 03.19.12 @ 9:33 pm

I think the OL could be better this year simply because of fewer injuries and with that more cohesiveness.
I never played football but it seems in Grahams system OL are more vulnerable for knee injuries because they run horizontally rather than in a pro set were they initiate the contact straight ahead and can protect their kness.

Comment by drw 03.19.12 @ 9:42 pm

A great home schedule, future NFL QB, what’s not to love about the 2012 Panthers?

Comment by The Big A 03.20.12 @ 11:05 am

Nice to hear Tino already kissing coach @ss — his only method of survival…I’m sure Sal sent a few cases of beer and a cheese & sausage gift basket to Chryst this winter. Nauseating, purely nauseating.

Nice to hear Myers has some spark about the season and all QBs are potentially getting a close look. As someone said, I’d also like to see Gonzalez get an honest shot at it — and Ronald Jones for that matter. And if Voytik has it, who cares if he’s a freshman, just throw him in the competition too. Enough already with the playing favorites horsesh#t and let the best men win!!!

I am hopeful this staff may finally right the ship on the past seven years of foolishness.

Comment by Matt N. 03.20.12 @ 1:41 pm

Pitt can’t afford to play Tino this year. This season should be viewed as a warmup for the new coaching staff getting players ready for the ACC in 2013. We can’t afford to enter ACC play with out a returning starting QB.

Comment by spindler's spirit 03.20.12 @ 4:40 pm

Tino is one of the oldest players on the team and has sooo much more game experience than all the other QBs on the roster combined. Unfortunately that experience has exposed Sunseri’s many weaknesses to examination by anybody interested to pick it apart. The Tino Sunseri train has left the station IMO. HE IS JUST NOT THE GUY THAT CAN CARRY THE TEAM ON HIS BACK WHEN THE PRESSURE IS ON.

Comment by Dr. Tom 03.20.12 @ 5:48 pm

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