Setting aside the arguments that know we are going to get into on a regular basis from now until Sept. 1 regarding who should be our starting QB going into the 2012 season, lets discuss how we got to be where we are today with that position and what this staff needs to do to correct it.
I’m going to piggy-back on Chris Peak’s work over at Rivals.com with his excellent article on the subject. Please read it in its entirety and post your thoughts after you finish with this post. (Thanks Chris, great work).
Needless to say we just experience a full six years under Dave Wannstedt where it was obvious that his idea of an offense didn’t begin with a top shelf QB. He was stuck in his NFL rut to where he felt that if every other aspect of the offense is strong then all the QB has to be is a delivery system for getting the ball to the running backs.
His choice of NFL QBs ain’t Murder’s Row. When he was HC of the Bears he had: Harbaugh, Walsh, Kramer, Krieg and Mirer. Wait, it gets better. When he was HC of the Dolphins he had Dan Marino, whom he forced out for Fielder and followed up with A.J. Feeley. Awesome Dave!
At PITT he took his inherited QB, Tyler Palko (It’s Tyler Time!!) anointed him the starter basically forcing Flacco to split and then tied one hand behind Palko’s back to fit that NFL mold. Flacco’s leaving left us with nothing after Palko.
Problems continued because of this – “Of course, those issues were compounded when neither of the quarterbacks signed in Dave Wannstedt’s first class – Kevan Smith and Dexter Davidson – turned out to be viable options. ”
OK guys, you can break out the kleenex now and I’m sorry to have reminded you. Kevan Smith and Dexter Davidson. Two answers to PITT trivia questions 25 years from now. My God.
Does that sound familiar? “neither… turned out to be viable options”? Think Myers, Gonzalez and Anderson this season.
Because that boulder of crap rolls downhill, here is the crux of our QB situation as it stands in 2012 and Chris Peak nails it with this thought.
There is considerable evidence in favor of signing at least one quarterback in every recruiting class. Pitt didn’t sign a quarterback in the recruiting class of 2004 (Walt Harris’ final class), so the transfer of Joe Flacco (Pitt’s 2003 quarterback recruit) after spring camp 2005 left Pitt in a vulnerable position two years later when the coaches had to turn to true freshman Pat Bostick for the bulk of the 2007 season.
Similar to what we have with the Sunseri/Voytik situation today. PITT fans want to see anyone but Sunseri and that means in most cases Voytik. But we need to remember what transpired with Pat Bostick also. Sometimes a true freshman just isn’t ready to step in and compete at this level.
I admire Bostick for his 2007 season and there are many reasons for that but the one that means the most to me is the way he battled through adversity and kept his head up when nothing else seemed to be going right.
But do we even want to put Chad Voytik in that same situation? We can talk about character, maturity, guts, cool under pressure, etc. until we are blue in the face but the bald truth is that we have no idea how this 18 year old kid is going to react under the pressures of college football.
That’s why HCs at this level almost always redshirt these kids, so they have time to acclimate in every aspect of being a student athlete. More importantly the HCs and staff then have time to really evaluate the QBs strengths and weaknesses to see what they have in him.
But here’s the scary part when looking at our recent past. DW followed that 2007 season up with shoving his chips forward in getting Greg Cross – who couldn’t accurately throw a bucket of water if his feet were burning – and then Kolby Grey. Grey is an excellent example of coaching ineptitude at its finest. DW went on Craig’s List to find a QB and Grey responded.
Following the timeline, then, Bostick was the only quarterback in the class of 2007, and Wannstedt followed that by signing Tino Sunseri and Greg Cross the next year. The coaches entered the recruiting class of 2009 without any plans to sign a quarterback, but the 2008 season’s quarterback debacles – capped by the 3-0 Sun Bowl loss – changed those plans in a hurry.
Scrambling at essentially the last minute, Wannstedt signed Kolby Gray as that year’s quarterback. The next year, offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti missed on several national quarterback prospects, instead turning to Mark Myers and Anthony Gonzalez (although not all of the staff was sold on Gonzalez as a quarterback). The coaches then planned to sign Gary Nova in the class of 2011, but those plans fell apart with Wannstedt’s resignation/firing.
Forward to the present. Chryst is now left with a substand QB roster and has to try to win football games with it. That’s this season. For the future he has both Voytik, who was recruited by Graham, and Chandler Kincade in the class of 2014… maybe.
Paul Chryst and the coaching staff have been getting to know Kincade, and while he has been looking at other schools, the odds seem to favor Kincade sticking with his commitment to Pitt.
Assuming Kincade stays with the Panthers, this sets up an interesting decision for the coaching staff to make in the recruiting class of 2013 (the class they’re currently building). Simply put, should the coaches make it a point to sign a quarterback?
This is the deal. Chryst didn’t recruit either Voytik of Kincade. They may not be what this staff sees behind center at all. That means two things. It doesn’t matter what they think for 2012 because this is the hand they were dealt and 2) they must get someone who they do envision behind center ASAP.
Pitt’s current quarterback situation also can’t be ignored: Sunseri graduates after this year, meaning the 2013 roster will be Myers, Anderson, Voytik, and walk-on redshirt senior transfer Tom Savage (assuming Gonzalez moves to another position); that leaves Myers, Anderson, Voytik and, most likely, Kincade in 2014. Another name in that mix would seem to be a good thing.
If they skip a year here in recruiting a QB and Voytik doesn’t develop, we have to march out either Myers or Anderson in 2013 and probably 2014 give that Kincade will be a true freshman that season also. Imagine how this will impact the football program for the future. We could have six straight years of below par play if that come to pass, Sunseri for three years and then whomever for the next three.
I’m getting heartburn just typing this.
In my opinion Chryst has to recruit at least one QB per year at least until we are sure we have a QB who will give us multiple years of decent play at that position. Hopefully that will be Voytik in 2013 after he has a year in the meetings and in practices to get ready for play at the D1 level .
If that doesn’t pan out with Voytik then zip up your G-suit because we will be pulling some major pressure in our rapid descent on the football scene.