Why Can’t We Have the Good QBs

We feel it, hear it and say it all the time; “Why can’t Pitt get good QBs?”  It is a damn fine question and one that strikes to the heart of the matter when looking at our mediocrity as a football program over the last 16 years.  And yes folks, we have been of “moderate ability or value” on the whole over that time period. Some good years but overall…

We can point to the coaching changes we have gone through in that time period – as I count on my fingers I list Harris, Wannstedt, Haywood, Graham, Chryst and Narduzzi… and that isn’t counting the interim HCs we had in that period either.

We can point to the administrations we have had also – Nordenberg and now Gallagher or  the Pederson-Long-Pederson hires, that surely didn’t help.  But in my mind the root cause of our tepid play on the field, and the associated overall  record of 115-99 (53%), is the lack of being able to recruit, retain and get quality play out of good quarterbacks.

Sure the other positions are important, but I don’t think we’ll find a college football fan who will disagree that it starts and ends with a strong QB at the helm.  It is from there every offensive play begins and where strong leadership and sharp execution is expected.

So let’s take a look at our history at that position… starting with last Saturday’s game.

Yesterday a commenter on here made a rather witty remark in saying that when I write about Nate Peterman, who is currently Pitt’s starting QB,  “it’s like a patriot fan talking about Tom Brady and deflate gate.”

I had to laugh at that because just a day earlier in the Monday Morning QB article for the Villanova game  I had listed Peterman’s play as the #2 negative issue for the game (behind the play of the OL).  He didn’t do what we all wanted to see him do with the passing game and that bothers us fans – makes us nervous for this coming game especially.

But I have been a supporter of Peterman of sorts.  I guess that stems back to his June 2015 transfer in when I was pretty much the lone voice in the wind when writing that Peterman was brought in to compete for the starting QB position held by the previous year’s starter Chad Voytik.

That brought howls of protests from Pitt fans because Voytik had just had a decent year as our QB and was, hopefully, poised to do better in his 2nd year with experience of already playing under his belt.

And it also has to be said the Pitt fans really liked Chad Voytik because as a consensus 4* recruit, something we hadn’t had in a QB in a long time, he stuck with Pitt when Todd Graham shed his Pitt skin and slithered off in the dead of night… and then Voytik got to work on his cell phone to convince other recruits in his class to hang in with Pitt also.

That was a mature and admirable thing to do in my opinion – Hell, I love it when an 18-year-old makes a commitment and actually sticks with it even when external events change the situation.  Good for Chad with that absolutely.

But when the Peterman news broke that he was transferring in the general opinion  was that he was being brought in strictly for depth.  But I wrote that Voytik hadn’t played so well that he couldn’t be sat down.  And that was true and that is what happened.

It wasn’t that I thought Peterman was really good – I had no idea how he could play ball because he had such limited playing time at Tennessee – and he didn’t do well there at all.  I felt he could compete for the starting job because we had a brand new coaching staff who hadn’t recruited Voytik thus had no real ties to him whatsoever.

And let’s not kid ourselves that thoughts like that don’t come into play with college coaching staffs – we need look now further back then when Dave Wannstedt proclaimed “It’s Tino’s Time!” the week after Stull’s last game.  He cut out camp competition right then.

It sure does happen that staffs make decisions based on things other than play on the practice field or during games sometimes. They are humans and with that sometimes make choices where emotions come into play.

I really believe that QB situation, where Peterman usurped the job from Voytik was a 50/50 split of Voytik playing poorly and Peterman playing some better and it was pretty much a no-brainer at that point to go with Peterman.  Or it may well have been a toss-up between the two kids and Chaney went with his guy.  Who really knows?

But the bottom line with both of those QBs is that neither were (are) really “good” quarterbacks.  They just aren’t and neither has been any QB Pitt recruited in the recent past.

I guess my definition of a good QB is one who is under center for games we win; who can lead the team with his skills and his personality and who can compete and excel under pressure.  When you get one of those you have a great starting point to fill out the rest of the offensive starting lineup.

If we look at the recruited starters we have had lately no one kid jumps out as a ‘star’, or even close to one.  We have to go back to West Allegheny’s Tyler Palko to find a highly rated QB recruit who actually lived up to his billing.  And he was highly recruited back in 2002 as an across-the-board 4*,  was rated #8 nationally,  and he did play well for us.  But 14 years ago is a lifetime in college ball where most programs have a new starting QB about every two years on average.

What is the root cause of this for Pitt?  Is it poor recruiting scouts?  Is it inefficient coaching at the college level?  After all some HS QBs don’t play like all-stars in school then when they get to college they blossom.  That is almost always due to a quick mind in the student and excellent coaching.  When a staff can look at a HS QB and see him not for what he was last year but for what he’ll be in two years and then teach them to reach that potential – a star is born.

But we also see that vaunted HS star QBs who are over-hyped get to college and for whatever reason; better competition, not adjusting to college life, harder academics, or just plain attitude.. we see them not live up to their rated potential or they just fail altogether.

So let’s take a look at our QB history and try to figure this out.  Because as we all know in our damn hearts that things will get better next year and that the next QB we get is really going to be The One…

I’ll list our QB recruits by stars and then we’ll talk about them. (Note: I use Rivals.com)

Year 4* 3* 2* What Happened
2002 Palko Getsky Both starters
2003 Flacco Transferred
2004 Angone Transferred
2005 Stull Two year starter
2006 Davidson Kevan Smith Smith starter then quit, Davidson transferred
2007 Bostick Starter
2008 Cross (JUCO) Sunseri Sunseri three-year starter, Cross moved to WR
2009 Gray Transferred
2010 Myers Gonzalez Myers transferred, Gonzo moved to LB
2011 None Recruited
2012 Voytik Starter, Transferred
2013 Chapman Expelled
2014 Bertke Transferred
2015 DiNucci On roster
2016 MacVitte On roster

As you can see I put Palko in blue as the only star QB we had and the only QB to live up to that 4* ranking.  Some others lived up to their billings also – those I bolded.  It is safe to say that Getsky, Stull and Sunseri played like 3* and 2* recruits respectively.

But some didn’t – Voytik didn’t play at a 4* level nor did Mark Myers or Pat Bostick.

But the busts we had were pretty spectacular at the same time (in red) – 4* Mark Myers didn’t like D1 ball and didn’t put the effort in so transferred.  4* Tra’von Chapman was expelled for criminal acts; 3* Dexter Davidson did nothing as a QB for us, as didn’t Cross, Bertke or Gonzalez.

We recruited 18 QBs over that time period and eight transferred or quit; two were moved to different positions and one was expelled.  With the exception of Palko the others played average ball.

Only one of 18 QBs can be considered a star QB for us in 16 years.  That is sad on the face of it and has held us back terribly.

Is it just that we really suck at looking at HS quarterbacks and actually being able to see what they will be in college? I’d have to say yes in the main.  Granted some of those kids just couldn’t or wouldn’t succeed but others – Bostick, Voytik and Myers particularity were big time recruits who should have had very nice careers but didn’t.

Maybe the reason is our track record with QBs going into the NFL.  That sucks also.  In the last 33 years we have had three QBs drafted; Marino in 1983, Van Pelt in 1993 and Tom Savage – a transfer in but Pitt grad – in 2014.

Whatever it is it brings us full circle back to 2016 and Nate Peterman.  Because of our crappy ability to acquire and retain quality QBs we are at the point of debating the merits of yet another transfer quarterback – because all our recruited ones fell short of the mark.

The bottom line with Peterman is that he’s what the staff wants and he’s what we got. He was the QB for a pretty good Pitt season in 2016 and might get another winning season under his belt this year. Let’s hope anyway. For a Pitt QB that’s as good as it gets.

Look – for some reasons the future great QBs just don’t want to come to Pitt to play football. They just don’t. The best ones we have had lately have been both transfers… and Voytik, who was also an average QB, didn’t stick around to try to win his starting job back and went to greener pastures.

I’m not sure we are going to see a change in this trend any time soon either.

I know Pitt fans are putting their eggs in the basket for Thomas MacVitte but I’m not holding my breath that he’s The Answer.  He might be a sort of an answer but perhaps not The Answer.  The reason I say that is that in football – especially in Pitt football – history tends to repeat itself.

Narduzzi just recruited a transfer QB in Bo Schneider.  He did that because Peterman is gone after this season and there is no one on the roster, even MacVitte, who he feels comfortable with being a starter in 2017.  Remember one important thing – our HC got Schneider to transfer in on March 16th – after MacVitte signed his LOI.  That was also when we had Bertke and DiNucci on the roster for the ’17 season.  That says something right there

Optimists will say that Schneider was signed only as a back up and that MacVitte is a lock for the starting job next season.  Realists will say ‘put your hand to your ear and listen to the echoes of the offseason between the ’14 and ’15 seasons“. We saw pretty much this same scenario just last year fans.

There is going to be an open competition in the spring practices and fall camp next year and honestly, and especially given our poor QB track record with QB recruits, anything can and will happen.

On another note:

Hey, speaking of Pitt QBs – my childhood paperboy’s best friend at Central Catholic actually reached out to me for money…  He remembers me!!


78 thoughts on “Why Can’t We Have the Good QBs

  1. Hmmm… This is interesting. I guess I’m not the only writer who feels the way I do about the Pitt-PSU rivalry. Paul Zeise says pretty much what I wrote last week…


    “1. As much as “recruiting” is at stake, if you look at the past 20 years, Pitt and Penn State don’t butt heads nearly as much for players as they once did. It just isn’t the case.

    2. Players who played in this rivalry grew up watching it and understood how important and intense it was. When they got to campus, they were schooled by older players about just how important it was. That’s not the case with these players. The last time Pitt and Penn State played was 2000, when the current senior class would have been about 6

    4. The game won’t go on. It will go on for four years and then never be played again, or at least not any time in the near future. It’s like toying with fans — giving them a taste, and just when the rivalry seems to be up and running again, yanking it away from them

    Any of that sound familiar – he’s right on the mark…


  2. I think a big part of the problem is that most big time QB’s want to play in front of big time crowds
    filled with adoring fans. When you add the fact that there just are not that many great QB’s coming out of high school it makes it exceptionally difficult to find one.

    Marino came soon after the NC when Pitt was at its peak and he was a local guy.

    Forty thousand people in a 70,000 capacity stadium just won’t get it done.

    These kids have huge egos and they are not going to pick Pitt over the SEC or B1G teams.

    Pitt needs to get lucky with a second tier kid and that has been and will be very hard to do.

    If Narduzzi can establish himself as a consistent winner it should get easier, with bigger crowds and better teams.


  3. The 1976 team is being recognized on Saturday — 40 year anniversary

    AD Barnes was asked if he would consider a 2 for 1 with PSU … and he said sure, as long as it was 2 games a Pitt and 1 at PSU


  4. Reed, not exactly a who’s who list of QBs on that chart. Maybe with future success we can attract the kind of talent that currently tends to go elsewhere. And oh, by the way, screw PSU.


  5. I mean, the recent high quarterbacks played for Cal, Memphis and North Dakota State. I think QBs want a HC and offense that’s impressive.


  6. I also think playing at a half empty off campus Stadium under NFL Steelers shadow has a lot to do with it. On Campus practice doesn’t even take place. Plus winning and playing for an exciting offense. We have none of those.


  7. Western PA has had many great quarterbacks over past decades, emphasis on past, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly probably being the last and most recent. Especially as passers. So many spread offenses prevalent today in college and high school emphasize a kid’s overall athletic ability, especially running, with passing ability a secondary skill. Pitt has not chosen to go with the spread, except for Graham’s aborted attempt, with Sunseri as not a good fit. Maybe if Pitt chose to go the spread route, maybe the QB prospects might prosper at Pitt. Weren’t there a couple of Western PA kids who went to WVU several years back and were great running,and, secondarily, passing QBs in the spread offenses there? This is an alternative approach I am taking here since the quarterbacks being discussed in this article seem to be pro-style quarterbacks. I don’t like the spread, but the Big 12 lives and dies by it as do many southern teams and western teams (Oregon) who might not compete otherwise with big powers (e.g., Johnny Manziel with Texas A & M against Alabama). Ohio State and Notre Dame use it against everybody. Our next three opponents use the spread. We might have to outscore the spread opponents on our schedule the way the Big 12 teams do in basketball score fashion. Can we do it with a pro-style offense that is not quick-strike and a defense that struggles against the spread offense? As you advise above, I am not holding back.


  8. Amen UPitt, qbs like crowds where they are in the limelight. You practice at the Steeler facility where you are not, I believe, allowed to have contact with the pro players and then go over to the Steeler Hall in a crummy pro stadium filled with empty seats and headphone sets that don’t work. Nothing traditional at all. What a thrill.


  9. I was a Voytik fan & supporter, but I was a Pitt fan first. I just want a winner and I’m on board with NP. He is our QB for 2016. Did he have a mediocre game vs nova, sure. Was it by design, I don’t know. What I do know is NP has shown flashes of leadership, the ability to move the ball down the field and the toughness to take a hit. He hasn’t shown much in the way of down the field, long passing abilities…

    What I also know is we have had way too many OC’s in the past seven years. Pitt must find stability with an OC to get better QB play. I must say I was happy when OC Chaney left for Georgia, but his replacement, O’Canada did not start well in his first game by going 3 and out on the first 3 series against a D2 team.

    Better days ahead? Come this Saturday I expect NP and O’Canada to be on the same page. This offense must show up in the 1st qtr or the pedos will run to a lead we cannot overcome – remember unc, nd, miami and navy?

    Punish the pedos!!!



  10. Your teams are only as good as your QB in college and the Pro’s. Reed, you were not alone in your musings surrounding the Peterman transfer. There were several writers that indicated that the best QB should play, regardless of stars and regardless of who did the recruiting. Give us the best man for the job and we will be happy. Just make sure it is the best man for the job and remove biases. Let’s not kid ourselves that personal biases come into play when it comes time to make out your lineups. Chaney/Narduzzi recruited Peterman. In that process, they promise him an opportunity. If all is close skill wise, they go with who they recruited so it builds trust with new recruits. That is why there is such a large turnover when coaches leave and the new sheriff comes to town.

    With regard to not recruiting talented /highly ranked QB prospects, one need only look at our reputation. We tell everyone we are a run first offense. That is a major turn-off when these young gunslingers look at potentially tossing the ball only 18-24 times a game. The perception is the reality. We run the ball. Our offense won’t score 70 points until we pass it as much as we run or even more. As a recruiter, it is easier to go into a qb’s house and say look, our qb last year threw for 3 td’s and ran for another on average per game. With you, we think we can get that to 4td’s passing. Our recruiter says, we run a pro balanced attack. You will hand-off 65% of the time, yet shoulder the blame when you see 8 in the box and have pressure from run blitzes on every occasional drop back. We only expect to score in the high 20’s for each game, including our cream puffs. We are game manager’s and rely on a strong defense to win. Uh-OH! That is not attractive to a top tier qb.

    That said, when I watch the MacPitt tape, I have hope! I would pull the recruiting numbers for QB’s from the big programs and say look – Mich., OSU, ND, Dairy College all have four 4 stars at QB on their roster. You can go there and hope to play, or come here and play. We will open the offense and need a QB with your talent to deliver. That is my commitment to you and as you know, I stand by my commitment. Sign here.


  11. Just looking at your list of quarterbacks goes to show you that star rating is so freaking inconsistent when it comes to quarterbacks… The most successful quarterback out of the lot was Joe Flacco…

    Enjoyed watching that 18-year-old freshman Buchele from Texas the other evening… now that was somebody who lived up to a star rating…
    Personally, I put most of the blame on Mark Nordenberg Who had his head totally buried in the sand during his watch when it came to football


  12. I like Nathan Peterman but from the games that I have watched I do not expect great things… I don’t think he is capable of being an elite quarterback. He just needs to manage the game… We have to win consistently to attract a better candidate. Hopefully, our head coach develops A smothering defense which can control and win ballgames.
    Our offense should progress as the season rolls along but it needs to start this weekend particularly on the offense of line where we have two potential “all Americans” anchoring the left side…


  13. 2015 – 21 TD Passes
    2014 – 17 TD Passes
    2013 – 21 TD Passes
    2012 – 21 TD Passes
    2011 – 12 TD Passes
    2010 – 16 TD Passes
    2009 – 23 TD Passes

    We run. We don’t Pass. Elite QB’s go where there is a better balance and an opportunity to showcase their respective ball throwing skills. At a minimum, an offense should have 2 throwing TD’s per game.

    Defenses are well aware of our run first culture. We need more throwing TD’s. This will spread the field for the run game. A run game does not open up a passing game anymore, because of run blitzes on every down. 8 in the box, crushed the run first mentality to open the pass game.


  14. @Anonymous I got news for you, get used to this type of QB under Narduzzi. We will not be getting the elite guys at QB….more like game managers.


  15. Reed, never figured you to be timid! At the risk of being blog berated, I assert that Tino actually played ABOVE his recruiting ranking. Pitt had major offensive line problems for much of the Tino era. Tino did however benefit from good receivers (Shanahan and Street) and running backs (Dion Lewis for a year and Ray Graham).

    Let’s not forget that Pitt fans also rode Bill Stull so hard that features were actually done about how his parents refused to sit in the stands so that they didn’t have to listen to the detestable things being said about their son. It was nice of Wannstedt to give them the Tino upgrade.

    I don’t believe that a spread improves the quarterback play. I think it mitigates or conceals the quarterback’s weaknesses.


  16. Huff – loved the run down of TD passes thru the years. And don’t think for a moment that opposing QB recruiters don’t pocket that same list. I know I would, if I was recruiting a QB against Pitt coaches.

    That being said; since we are a run first team – and will be for the foreseeable future , the question to ask is, ” How good a QB passer do we really need?” Do we really need to have 25-35 (or more) TD bombs per year? Or do we need great possession receivers, a la Holtz, Orndorf, Boyd, and a reliable 20-30 yard passer? Is that enough to keep the defense back? If so, we should be OK with NP this year. The 2nd question would be: ” how many times do we need to throw to keep the D back?”


  17. Walt made every QB that he coached play above expectations.

    All his were serviceable:

    Pistol Pete
    Matt Lytle
    John Thurman
    Dave Presely
    Tyler Palko
    Rod R

    More than half the list played in the pros. WOW

    Look at the other qb’s walt coached to great success while he wasn’t at Pitt. Pretty impressive list.

    I say Pitt should hire him back…hell pay him cash off the books and give him one job….Tell us how to develop and coach up a QB.


  18. Huff – NP threw 2 TD passes last Saturday. He’s off to an ok start.

    I’ll take 2 more this Saturday for Pitt, with a few rushing TD’s, a Blewitt FG or 2 and a defensive safety for good measure.



  19. gc and Upiitt hit the nail on the head. It’s unlikely many 4 or 5 stars QB’s are going to come to Pitt to hand off the ball in a half filled stadium.


  20. What killed Pitt was not landing Thaddeus Lewis as he would have been a four-year starter and Pitt would have won more games from 2007-10, which may have led to Savage coming to Pitt straight from high school. Having those two over a seven-year period may have made it easier to recruit better players for the position.

    All I know in college football you can’t win with game managers unless you have an absolutely stacked team like Alabama does with its QBs, but even some of those kids have been good enough to make an NFL roster.


  21. Tino looked sharp coaching up FSU’s Freshman QB on the sideline. Meet your 2026 Pitt Coach when Narduzzi leaves and takes YSU’s job. His true Dream job. If his oline keeps it up that might be the only job he can get. Haha.


  22. FWIW, Albany upset Univ of Buffalo last Saturday giving Greg Gattuso his best win as HC since at Duquesne. Ex Pitt LB Coach Bernard Clark is his DC, and Nate Byham, Jim Sweeney and Aaron Smith are all assistants


  23. +1 for bringing Walt Harris out of retirement in some type of QB coaching role if he would do it.

    I seem to recall that one of the benefits when Harris coached was that he would put a nice passing offense on the field which enable him to recruit some good wide receivers (e.g. Antonio Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald). Which, in turn, made the QB’s job a lot easier. I think Walt had a knack for the passing game and coaching up QB’s and WR’s. I believe he still lives in Pgh, and would like to see Pitt succeed.


  24. Saw where Matt houses Florida international University defense was leading the Maryland terrapins 13 to 12 going into the fourth quarter and then gave up 22 unanswered points… Since were talking about Tino… Just saying


  25. I agree with Barvo, why did you only write Palko’s name in blue on your QB list above.

    How about Tino?!?!?!

    If anybody should have been written in blue it definitely should have been Tino, because without a doubt his play BLEW!!!!

    Since Tino’s departure, all through Savage’s, Voytek’s & now Peterman’s tenures as our QBs, I’ve never once felt the need to scream at the top of my lungs, “throw the God Damn ball away” nor have I been tempted with a desire to hurl a beer bottle through my TV screen. Can’t say the same during the three years of frustration that encompassed the Tino Sunseri era.


  26. Walt is a Pittsburgh boll weevil. Saw him on channel 2 the other day and he still talks funny. I wouldn’t mind seeing him as a QB coach or advisor. The one thing he did was over coach when it came to QB’s throwing out of a wide receivers breaks. Something about the final step and which foot would be planted A little convoluted. It takes time and timing to learn something like that.


  27. Peterson will be a terrific QB and lead Pitt to some great wins before year end. I am sure that Narduzzi and staff will get us a stud ASAP at QB. Get Pitt into the top 15 and empty stadiums will no longer be a problem. Even at that hole Heinz!


  28. No doubt about it, Narduzzi is gearing up for this game as a special event. He is fully aware of the historical significance of this game as well as the implications that such an OOC contest still has on the institutions regarding state bragging rights, future recruiting and forward surging momentum.
    In contrast, Franklin is downplaying this game to the point of hardly recognizing that this rivalry remains in existence. BIG MISTAKE, HUGE!


  29. Pitt needs to do what the SEC schools do to get good QB’s. Let the boosters buy them cars, give them cash and let them skip classes!

    OK….maybe not….


  30. “Pitt needs to do what the SEC schools do to get good QB’s.”

    Well… living here in Louisiana, I’d have to take exception when it comes to LSU. Great football school; seems to have a top 5 recruiting class each year; packs the stadium; recruits good, fast receivers; not primarily a running team… BUT… has a hell of a time putting a decent QB on the field the last several years. They get 4* QB’s but have a knack for getting them to play at the 2* level. It’s likely to cost Les Miles his coaching job if QB play doesn’t do a 180 real quickly.

    So, not sure the various “explanations” offered above, are really the issues.


  31. Reasons why we have not landed top QBs:

    Program instability for the past several years. Stability does not come with the hiring of a good coach, it comes with having a good coach for some time.
    An offensive minded HC or a highly regarded OC on staff. One of those guys needs to be known as a groomer of QBs. Walt was one of those guys, the Stache…far from it!, lets forget about the dark ages, HCPC had one good QB transfer in and HCPN is….well, lets see. And we really don’t know what Canada will do yet.
    A track record of success. We’ve been meh as the record indicates.
    A heritage of developing and sending QBs to the NFL who start at some point in their careers.
    A reputation as an exciting place to play – game day, big wins, dramatic wins and grand traditions. A vibe about the program. Gents, that needs to be re-built and it will take time.
    there are fewer QBs available than any other position on the field…and everyone wants them.

    To be honest, I doubt we will ever consistently get 4* QBs. Occasionally? Maybe. But as it stands, Brian Kelly and a few other guys pretty much control the QB scene.

    Having said that, I still think we can win consistently in the ACC if HCPN puts together great defenses. If that happens, the gameday crowd is more consistent, the bowl games are better and so on. Maybe a local kid like Jurkovec stays home as a result.

    I hope you all are going to the game Sat. Should be a great atmosphere.


  32. Joel… some nice thoughts, but if you look more closely at the LSU example just before your post, I can add the following:

    LSU has had a strong winning program for quite some time.
    Les Miles, a highly sought after coach, has been at LSU for years.
    Cam Cameron is a highly regarded offensive coordinator with pro football experience.
    LSU stadium and school pretty well known as an exciting place to play, with game day festiviities, big wins, dramatic wins and a grand tradition.

    I’m not suggesting that these are not important issues for Pitt, but rather that other schools may have all these and still not be able to field a decent QB.


  33. Speaking of Tiny, UPitt I hope you are joking – any Sunseri as HC would cause me the Big One, It struck me on the one early bad snap near the goal line that NP kept his head and threw it out of bounds for no loss; Tiny would have, if he recovered it, run it through the end zone for a safety and come off the field clapping his hands as if he were the hero, DW would slap him on the back and mommy and daddy would’ve been so proud. NP given the bad snaps kept his head (wont stick him with the TD). If Officer cannot snap better , bring someone else on.


  34. @Reed I think your wrong about the recruiting aspect. Just like a few weeks ago when you were downplaying this game and saying it wasn’t as important as other games on the schedule, like ACC games. Pat Narduzzi completely disagrees with that line of thinking. He’s treating this game as a huge game.

    The fact is, in intra state rivalries these games matter when it comes to recruiting. Also is the reason why when one rival has a chance to run up the score, they do it in a heart beat.


  35. Reed, you are entitled to your opinion.

    IMO, if penn state continues to flounder as a middling B1G team while Pitt improves to be competitive for ACC Championships, then who the winner of the Pitt-penn state games over the next four years would seem to be a significant factor in recruiting to me. Winning in general matters to recruits, simply because they want to be part of a successful program. To assume that a local PA recruit would not consider head to head competitive records of the major football programs in their own state just seems weird to me when considering what program he would like to play for. Just sayin.


  36. Pitt seems to have missed recruiting several kids that were very good in college that were local. Bruce Gradkowski of Seton LaSalle, Toledo and several NFL teams, latest being the Steelers. I believe he led a Toledo team that beat Pitt with Larry Fitzgerald.

    The kid last year for Bowling Green, was one of the top passers in NCAAF. Matt Johnson was 2nd in passing yards with 4,946 yards (that’s like 2 seasons worth of passing for Pitt QB’s), he was 4th in all of D1 in Total Offense per Game, 5th in Passing Yards per game, He had an incredible 46 TD’s and only 8 interceptions last year. He went to Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg and Pitt didn’t even recruit him.

    And then this year, former Pitt recruit Travon Chapman sits on the bench behind this kid who played at
    Gateway HS, a stone’s throw from Oakland more or less. That would be Thomas Woodson who just threw 6 TD passes last Sat.

    Pitt didn’t recruit him either but they did his backup. lol

    If you can’t identify star players, you won’t be able to recruit. And these ones were literally in Pitt’s backyard. Sure there are many others as well in this timeframe.


  37. Thankfully for some reason the Woodson kid didn’t play against us last year, or that Akron game would have more than likely been a loss.


  38. BigB – House is no longer DC he’s the LB coach at U of Kentucky ~ MarkP

    That’s too funny, because Kentucky just had their biggest meltdown ever (ala Pitt/Houston), after being
    ahead 35-10, they end up losing 35-44 against Southern Miss.

    Matt House must be a jinx as well as a piss poor coach.


  39. I mentioned earlier that one of the problems Pitt has had is the lack of coaching stability and administrative backing.

    It seems like those two things are settling into a positive for Pitt FB.

    I personally like the stable of young QB’s. The competition next year should be exciting from the inside (we & the media won’t know due to closed practices -lol).

    We need NP to have an improved SR year over his JR season. If that happens and James Conner finds his inner “Beast Mode”, this team could win ten games.

    Number 2 should be this Saturday against the hated pedo state nittany liars.

    H T P !!!


  40. Emel,
    Saw Matt Johnson play at McDevitt – 50 yard tosses with a flick of his wrist, all spot on. And yet never so much as a sniff from Pitt.
    Hard to believe we can’t come up with a playmaker at QB.


  41. I think some of the lesser program qb’s mentioned are going to spread offenses where they can have some success. If your offense runs 66-70 plays in a game, one half should be passing. Chuck the pig around the tilt with success and the qb’s will come. The OC needs to stay awhile and feel like he can be more aggressive without fear of reprisal from Narduzzi.

    Conner played slow Saturday. If he is not ready, Narduzzi needs to let Hall, Olli and Rachid try to carry the day. TE will be our weapon again. Hopefully we use him in the red zone more.


  42. Where is Rod Rutherford’s place is this? He was a good QB, but no mention of him here. I skipped read most of article did I miss him?


  43. Huff – what did Hall look like to you on Saturday?

    NP, JC and the D will be primed and ready vs the pedos. Allen Edwards will also record his 1st of many sacks at Pitt.


  44. Coaching changes and the lack of patience has been the problem lately. Could we not have gone 6-6 with CV instead of Savage? Had Voytik had a chance to play early and develop he may have been a 4 year starter. Maybe-maybe not, we’ll never know. Savage,Peterman, and Schneider all tranfers.Nobody is developing within the program. For example, Stocker was named the backup at the end of camp. Stocker adds no value to the future of this program. If all things are close to being equal why not let DiNucci be the backup and get those reps so if he plays in the future that’s valuable experience.


  45. –Two big local QB misses by Pitt were Marc Bulger (CCHS – WVU) and Mike McMahon (North Allegheny – Rutgers). McMahon would have been dynamite under the coaching of Walt Harris — McMahon started in 1997 as a freshman for Rutgers. This kid had a great arm and he could run. Pitt missed the boat.

    –Nola – LSU always looks like an NFL team to me. No other school seems to bring in such big bodies. They often look like men playing against boys. But as you wrote – they do struggle, as most teams do, with finding a QB.

    –Because of all the spread-option offenses, I would think that leaves more “pro style” QBs available for teams like Pitt. And they can’t all go to schools like ND and Alabama. I think Pitt may have found the real deal in MacVittie – but I have felt that about a few other of those QBs who didn’t work out, like Myers and Voytik.

    –Pat Bostick is the quintessential example of how difficult it must be to judge HS talent at the QB position. Matt Cavanaugh should know what to look for in a QB. But Pat Bostick was recruited when Pat C. was the OC. How can that happen?

    Go Pitt.


  46. Firstly, RKB, good call. I too remember thinking that NP looked like a cool customer when he through that ball OOB on the bad snap early in the game. Second, I still think we will never know Pat Bostick’s ultimate potential because it was “Tino Time”…


  47. The best HS QB I have ever seen is the kid at PR who committed to ND. I have seen them all since the late 60s and this kid is the real deal. It figures he is a lifelong Domer fan. A kid like that could change Pitt from being average to being top 10, he is that good!


  48. Hall is straight ahead fast. I sometimes think he is too fast for his eyes. I prefer a back that has great vision and a burst versus fast, or big, or big and fast. I keep mentioning Hall because he is a Narduzzi recruit from Narduzzi’s back yard, versus Ollison and Ibrahim who are talented but not bonded to the staff. This plays into previous comments about Chaney and Peterman versus Chaney and Voytik. Coaches ride their guy if the talent is similar.

    I watched PR versus St. Ed. The PR QB is very good against High School competition. He will need to get stronger and faster. I don’t think he could beat out the two 4 star qb’s currently on ND’s roster. The good news is that those kids will be gone. If Kelly brings in a 4/5 star in 2016 and another 4/5 star in 2017’s class with similar talent to what they have now, he will be in trouble. Projecting these kids is so difficult.


  49. There has been silence for 16 years, 16 long years. It is time to resume the war against our natural enemy. As in the animal kingdom, where the lion battles the panther, hence once again our Panthers will battle the lions of Mt Nittany.
    It is our time to slay the lion and send it back to its lair in the middle of No-Wheres-Ville, PA.
    We Are the Pitt Panthers and we WILL slay the lions this Saturday!!!


  50. Maybe the Philly kid who followed Chryst to Wisconsin will get tired of riding the pine — don’t think he’s starting anyway — and transfer back here? MacVittie sounds good from the reports so eager to here about Spring practice performance there…and Dinucci must have something if he was the first WPIAL kid to ever throw for 4K yards?!


  51. Saw a text yesterday on this topic –

    Anyone else concerned that we shit the proverbial (SOP) bed this weekend? National game, big game with old rivalry, sold out stadium, celebrating 1976 team…

    It has happened countless times before. This is another Narduzzi “monkey off the Pitt back” game.

    Has me nervous.


  52. We’ll see about the recruiting aspects of this game. but as I wrote in my two-part recruiting article I believe Penn State and Pitt are no longer rivals in the recruiting field save a few PA players. We need to worry about Pitt and our attraction to these kids on every level they will experience at school and forget about anyone else.

    I say again – the overall winning program, the schedule and chance at early playing time means way more than just beating one team.

    That is how fans think – not how players, their HS coaches and the players’ families think.


  53. @ JackAgain, I love it! Now that’s getting the fur flying in our upcoming 2nd cat fight in as many weeks. I especially enjoyed reading the comments in this BSD article. The 30 year old kid who is pretty sure his 70 yo Dad is going to end up getting arrested with his buddy after mixing it up with opposing fans on Saturday.
    (Exactly why I decided to attend our home opener in person rather than the game this Saturday.)

    That’s what I’m talkin bout. Shit on Pitt,,,,,penn state SUCKS. I love to hate penn state.


  54. As mentioned above, this game is about winning at home in front of a huge crowd on national TV. Doesn’t matter that it is Penn State. If Pitt wants to draw it has to win the big games at home.


  55. Peterman bailed us out more than once against Villanova with his heads up play. Scrambling, recovering bad snaps and NOT TAKING THE LOSS by falling on the ball or getting sacked. He threw two balls OOB in such situations that a guy named Tino would have taken a drive killing 20 yard loss instead.

    The only huge blemish on his performance was coughing up the ball for a fumbled quick six into the end zone. This tarnished the appearance of what otherwise was Pitt’s defensive shutout by posting an easy 7 on the scoreboard.

    So much room for improvement on our offense. Pitt’s fortes, big, deep, experienced OL, an experienced super senior QB, a RB stable filled to the brim with studs fighting for playing time. And these are the sore points on the team that screamed for improvement after our home opener. What fantastic problems to have to work through.

    Let’s hope this team has a fire lit under them by Narduzzi & Co. this week during their clandestine week of closed practices preparation. Nothing would be better for this team right now than putting a dominating hurt on an opponent that looks down their noses at there inferior little in state rival that they haven’t played for 16 years.


  56. The Pitt Brand

    Reed wrote some great articles on the Pitt brand. Just some observations after attending the first football game since the change (the change involving the entire university):

    The Pitt script was every where and I am not talking about the field decor. The fan clothing was mostly script, car magnets, hats, etc. Sure some old Dion Lewis shirts exist, but for the most part it was great to see. I didn’t think that one logo could make such a huge difference back when they announced it, but it is clear now. The revenue stream has to be a great help to the University especially adding the throwback version.

    The brand itself, well, I see it on TV, commercials, ESPN, local news, newspapers. It was always this mixed cluster F of logos and different fonts. Now it is one every where.

    So far, well done by the University! Keep it going.


  57. For the life of me Reed I don’t understand your thinking on psu and PITT not being recruiting rivals? Practically every high school player in Pa lists both teams as interested. WPA is even worse. The players left are pretty much going to decide between the schools. Now whether or not this game sways their decisions is up in the air if psu wins but I think a PITT win will bring the couple of big recruits on board for PITT. Reason being is that I think Jeter and Wade are PITT leans right now. or I could be wrong.


  58. I agree with Rocket on how we never win these big games, with Dr. Tom about Peterman making big plays getting rid of the ball behind our crap OL & Waltspappy about recruiting….not to mention team pride and confidence.

    We NEED this win!


  59. One QB not mentioned in the discussion is Gary Nova who was recruited by Matt Cavanaugh and went to Rutgers with him.after the Wanny debacle. He was a respectable recruit by Matt and had a good career at Rutgers. Support by the adm. and good consistant coaching chain will bring this QB situation around but it will not be overnight. There is also no substitution for being a top 25 team that gets play in the national media all the time. Beat PS as a start to this. H2P


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