Breaking News: James Conner just declared for the 2017 NFL draft… Anyone surprised?

Onto our QB situation. One thing about Pitt Head coach Pat Narduzzi is that he doesn’t hesitate to get transfers in on offense to bolster future teams. 

QB Nate Peterman’s time at Pitt is a good case in point. He was brought in specifically to compete with the incumbent Chad Voytik for the QB1 position back in June of 2015.  We know how that went down; one QB responded well to the move  while the other didn’t and two games into the regular season the Pitt offense was in different hands.

Now two years later Narduzzi is doing the same thing again.  I say again because he also reached out for transfer QB Bo Schneider from UCF to compete with  rsFR QB Thomas MacVitte in the 2017 offseason.

Now Bo Schneider is intent on moving on from Pitt without ever taking a snap and in doing so leaves us with a remaining QB corps that is shaky at best and in dire straights at worse.

Is this getting confusing yet?  It is a bit head scratching but is more like Deja’ Vu in the sense that we’re scrambling around to get an experienced transfer in at QB to cover a rather wide gap in talent that is on hand to start next season.  One such target in on Pitt’s campus as we speak – USC’s Max Brown.https://i2.wp.com/a.fssta.com/content/dam/fsdigital/fscom/college-football/images/2016/11/01/011114-CFB-TROJANS-MAX-BROWNE-DC-PI-CQ.vadapt.980.high.53.jpg

ND’s Malik Zaire is the other although he seems to have his nose pointed in a different direction.

If we remember ex-Pitt HC Paul Chryst was forced to take action to grab Tom Savage as a starter on 2013 to cover for rsFR Voytik’s inexperience at the time. Voytik was the presumptive starter after the 2012 season ended but Chryst and OC Joe Rudolph didn’t want him in that position yet as he wasn’t ready to take the helm.  So enter Tom Savage on a one-and-done deal for 2013.

Later after the spring camp prior to the 2015 season, following Voytik’s sole year as the starter (save two early games in ’16), Narduzzi and our then OC Jim Chaney have a grasp on what Voytik does and does not bring to the table and they do their own talent search.  Voila! Peterman comes onboard and the scene plays out.

Pat Narduzzi and Matt Canada recognized this same situation that Chryst had and that they themselves faced a year ago with the difference being that QB Thomas MacVitte was being cast as the presumptive starter and Bo Schneider was being brought in to really (and truly) compete for the starter’s gig and not just to be a back up in case of injury.

Everyone got that OK?  Lots to process there…

I have a bit of a different take on this staff’s  ‘trolling for QBs‘ then some fans do I believe. I read yesterday that a writer felt Schneider leaving was a testament to the belief that Thomas MacVitte was a lock to be the starter come 2017.

I’ll disagree.  I think we are seeing that 2013 situation repeat itself in that the staff isn’t comfortable with MacVitte at this point and realize immediate help is needed for 2017.  I mean experienced and quality immediate help who can step on the field next September and produce right away.

Fans get wrapped up in local recruits and always want to see them do great things out on the field.  MacVitte’s hometown of Cincinnati isn’t too far from WPA and his high school years at Archbishop Moeller, a very good football school, has made Pitt fans excited for his being here.  That’s great and that’s what makes college ball so much better than the NFL in my opinion. 

That is doubled if a kid comes out of HS with high recruit rankings.  I think we saw that happen with Chad Voytik. He was ranked 4th in the country for QBs; a consensus 4* recruit with ten offers from D1 schools including Pitt, Penn State, Clemson and Louisville.  We so wanted him to be the answer after Tino Sunseri left.

MacVitte is a different matter altogether.  He has only one full year of playing HS ball at QB and while he put up some numbers there he was unranked as a QB and was a 3* recruit.  He signed on late with Pitt and had written offers from only Miami, OH, and Cincinnati along with a very late in the game phone call from Les Miles at LSU.

But we fans tend to inflate expectations of these kids’ abilities to the point that we assume they will 1) be starters early on and 2) have great careers with Pitt.  Alas, we don’t see what the coaching staffs do and they are the deciders for the way forward. 

Does that mean MacVitte isn’t good enough to start at Pitt?  No, no and hell no.  It means that he’s not ready to be a starter in 2017.  Folks – he just isn’t a kid with early stardom written all over him as does happen with some freshmen.  Maybe in 2018 as a rsSO?  That sure could happen -that extra year learning certainly  helped in Voytik’s case.

I wrote years ago that I felt 4* Chad Voytik wasn’t going to be the star QB fans wanted him to be and I have to say I have the same feeling now.  The prospect of having a rsFR in MacVitte being the field leader out there in only his 2nd year on the roster and being backed up by a terminal reserve in QB Ben DiNucci is too much apparently. 

Thus the coaching staff scrambling around trying to land either Zaire or Max Brown… or someone else before next fall camp starts – and it may take that long but they will do it. 

Why do we so desperately need to land someone to play QB for us aside from what I’ve written above? Read the very top of the page again please. 

We are going to be Connor-less next year.  We lose him and Nate Peterman – right there are 42 TDs combined.  I think Ollison most probably transfers and Scott Orndoff  graduates as does 2/5ths of a great offensive line.  Add to that our defense is scary as hell (in a bad way) and maybe just as ineffective next year and you can see how important it is to get big production out of that QB spot ASAP.

College ball is built around recruiting and having to replace graduating players every year.  What we have seen with the Pitt QB shuffles since 2013 is a result of the upheaval and major problems the football program had after Wannstedt left.  When that happens you need to inject known experience and talent into at positions you know are critically deficient.

For the 2017 season the QB position is at the top of that list..  Let’s hope we hear good news about Max Brown this weekend,  we really do need him or someone else to step into the gap.

Browne stats.PNG

 

62 thoughts on “POV: Why is Pitt Trolling for QBs?

  1. I hope Max Browne signs for the year but what really concerns me is our inability to sign good QBs and develop them. McV, DK’s overoptimism aside, is not ready with one season as a high School QB. Sooner or later though we are going to have to bring in and develop QBs. If you dont play McV this coming year then when? Sooner or later you must bite the bullet with the young QBs. This year our backup QBs STocker got a series or two against GT I believe and Ben D got to take a knee. They wont develop on the scout team.

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  2. Bo knows football, but doesn’t like the cold?
    What is his story for leaving?
    Was he a walk-on or did he have a scholarship?
    In his game films, he looked serviceable, and I would have thought had the inside chance over a redshirt freshman with one year of high school QB experience.
    And if Max comes on board, any chance he brings southern Cal coeds with him?

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  3. This team should be better next year because of the number of injuries on defense, and all the experience returning on offense. This team on paper should be better at most positions. I think the secondary is going be way better.

    Price will be the biggest loss to replace. No Hendrix, zeise, Hamlin for almost the entire season. Jarret injured. Whitehead injured, all of our lbs missed playing time , and Webb stinks. All those redshirts will be a year stronger, plus get that 5 star tight end, Ford, Sibley, maybe Wade. And a healthy Moss. Plus I see a alot of potential with Henderson, Weah, Ffrench, and Matthews. And these guys were all freshmen and sophomores. All teams lose players. But are young guys showed good upside.

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  4. Plenty of RS FR QBs start and are ready. Canada isn’t the coach we already know he is if it takes him two whole years to get MacVittie ready to start. He’s had a year of practice and learning Canada’s offense. If he needs another year to be ready then something is very wrong somewhere.

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  5. Connor God Bless him is 5th round type talent at RB. Maybe a tram has a longer term plan for him and works him into a defensive player.

    If you are going to declare now is it smart to play the last game of the year and risk injury. Sounds crazy but if you are a first rounder an injury can cost you millions of dollars.

    I like the young man and feel
    Is it what is good in college sports. My fear is if Narduzzi and or his agent is feeling his head that he is a RB in the league then that isnt in his best interests.

    What did Reed do wrong about saying he is going Pro again? I think it was a good addendum to the article.

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  6. Leaving Charlotte Dad (Emel) just connecting through. Cold as a Witches Titty. Next Stop Burgh. Miss West Palm 73 degrees already.

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  7. Schneider must not be ready, either, then. Or he just stinks.

    Regardless, having to seek out yet another transfer to plug a gaping hole on the roster is just plain demoralizing. Who are we, IUP?

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  8. lol upitt. You will be shocked to know it’s much colder in da Burgh. So better refuel with some Rocket Fuel.
    Actually they are only predicting 1 degree lower in overnite low in Burgh than the Queen (Charlotta of mecklenburg) City. (yea the English Royals are actually German. fancy that)

    Have a safe trip son.

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  9. @Reed I believe what you state is accurate. We want these young guys to succeed as the next new thing. It heightens our expectations when these guys remain true even through change such as Voytik with Fraud and MacVittie with Chaney.

    Pitt loses Bisowaty, Johnson, Peterman, Conner, Orndoff and Ford as starters from offense. We only saw backup play significant downs for Ford and Conner. Biz and Johnson were fixtures for years. Watching Savage be pummeled seems like a long time ago. A lot of uncertainty on OL and QB.

    Pitt loses Price, Galambos, Caprara, Jarrett, Soto, Webb and Lewis as starters from defense. Bradley also played a good bit and is gone. Most of these guys saw backups receive playing time. The big issue will be that those replacements didn’t play as a full unit of starters. I suspect the defense will again struggle to find itself next year.

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  10. Hey dad, luckily I got the upgrade from Charlotte to Pittsburgh and The older broad liked me and gave me two doubles of Jack on the rocks

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  11. ^^ LOL Upitt

    Anways — Bo Schneider was a really low recruit — I believe Central Florida was his only D 1 offer? He only played in their 0-12 season because the other QB’s got rocked, and Schneider was just awful (no offense).

    Again just a bigger Trey Anderson with a much weaker arm, and he probably not only got blown outta the water by now eligible to play Thomas MacVittie, but early enrollee Kenny Pickett got on Pitt’s Campus now and Schneider — who also is behind DiNucci in Talent and on the depth chart, knew it was Finito::

    dude’s got SPEED:

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  12. ^^^ @Upitt when James Conner has a Beast Combine, gets drafted in the 4th round with a Superbowl Contender and ends up a Starter by game 4…..I’ll be the (figurative, lol) “Bigger Man” and I’m not gonna say I Told Ya SO!!! lol

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000754275/article/pitt-rb-james-conner-intends-to-enter-2017-nfl-draft

    NFL fans across the Nation think James Conner is gonna be a Beast for their team!!! You’re just Spoiled getting to watch him week-in, week-out and you don’t appreciate just how Powerful and Talented a Player James Conner was for Pitt!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  13. MacVittie lack of offers from HS—Reed please take into account that most high ranked D1 programs have already committed QB’s for their freshman teams well before their senior season begins. So it’s highly likely that nobody had offered MacVittie prior to him ever starting at QB in high school. Why are we looking at another transfer QB this year? For the very reason that had Peterman gone down this year we would have been lucky to win 3 games IMO. We need depth at the position now and for the very reason we needed it this year, but never really had it.

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  14. Yup, rkb is correct in that I was busy in the morning so when I sat down to write the article it was the first time I’d seen that Conner was leaving.

    But in all honesty I don’t know what else there is to be said about James Connor’s time at Pitt.

    I’ve written extensively about him, every other media outlet in the world’s written extensively about him and so there’s nothing that I could say that would make a difference at this point.

    We love him, we wish him the best of luck and we’ve been lucky to have him for a three season run.

    But I don’t think another article is on it’s way about James Conner from me.

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  15. Pat Narduzzi is COMIN’ FOR YA @NickSaban haha

    My favorite part of that video is it the 1:31 mark when Ford catches a TD pass and Henderson is celebrating for him on the bench.

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  16. jrnpitt, if a player is really worth pursuing he’ll have offers right up until he commits or even to LOI Day. Macvitte’s not ready to start and succeed at this point and that certainly isn’t unusual for a young quarterback.

    We see this happen more often than not. Usually a quarterback will start as late as his junior and senior years, maybe even his redshift sophomore year if there’s no other big competition against him.

    But the fact that Pitt reached out for two experienced quarterbacks leads me to strongly believe they’re reaching out for starting quarterbacks not just for depth… they have that with DiNucci and Pickett if necessary. Much better to have a known entity at QB when you have major questions at other positions.

    What would be best IMO is to land senior quarterback transfer to be the starter and then give Thomas MacVitte as much playing time as possible this season to get him ready to start in 2018. Not just mop up time, but some series when we have a lead and the series have some importance to them.

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  17. ^^^ Yeah so Nathan Peterman also struggled-mightely at Tennessee to the point they thought he was a complete lost-cause —> yet at Pitt somehow he became a Real Big-Time QB!!!

    —- To be fair on 6’5”, 225 Max Browne…..He had some Spoiled-A$$ USC teammates who thought they were wayyy better than they were —— i.e. Jester Weah is a Stud vs.overrated Brat* Juju Smith Schuster who is 3 inches shorter, slower, with way less athleticism but the Media has ‘Annointed’ him as a big-time WR lol —- Max Browne at Pitt may be a Hit lol. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  18. ^^ I think Matt Canada orchestrating a throwing session with Max Browne and Jester Weah, Chris Clark, and Quadree Henderson might have Max Browne thinking — “Holy Smokes, We’re Gonna Win a National Championship Here!!!” lol

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  19. ^^ @Reed….urgh….lol at A&M with KevinSumlin Starting one-5’10”, 3 star Central Texas Redshirt Freshman kid (Yes, I know he’s well-off from Oil Money lol) John Manziel was a “Huge Decision” for him and look how it turned out…. Chip Kelly deciding to start a Super-Skinny,barely 200-pound 6’4” 3-star kid from Hawaiii (Marcus Mariotta and you gotta appreciate the heritage!) turned out quite well….

    @Reed I have to just let you know you have very…VERY LITTLE…. ability to comprehend Quarterback play and to understand their Insticts + Arm Talent ….As in you never comprehended that: Tino Sunseri + Pat Bostick + Chad Voytik = players whos should never, EVER, have gotten D-1 scholarships PERIOD.

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  20. ^^ I think Jordan Whitehead wants to play running back full time and I think Pat Narduzzi and Matt Canada need to make it happen….

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  21. ———————>Got the feeling Max Browne threw with Jester Weah #1….then Chris Clark, and Quadree Henderson…….

    #HailToPitt —- Matt Canada is: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  22. Dark – I wasn’t out recruiting those QBs you mentioned above. I comment(ed) on their time once they arrived at Pitt and started playing ball for us.

    Although you personally have done a complete 360º on Nate Peterman in just four months. You went from thinking he was great to complaining that he should never play in D1 ball and then back to thinking he’s great again.

    So forgive me if I take your criticism with 25 pounds of salt.

    And please – who was the lone voice on here when discussing Voytik’s play between the time he was in 2012 recruited and before he became the starter in 2014… I constantly wrote that he wasn’t going to be the star QB everyone was hoping for. Why? Because I had personally watched him in about ten open practices with Paul Chryst & staff, had multiple conversations with people at those practices and knew he was going to have about average play because of his average skills.

    Then again… I was also the only guy who was saying that Peterman was being brought in to 100% compete for the starting job and not as a backup to Voytik only. Everyone else, and I mean everyone else, assumed that Voytik was a sure starter for the 2015 games and I continually wrote that wasn’t going to be the case.

    Even the mainstream media kept reporting that Voytik was a lock and that Peterman was a backup even when Voytik was stinking out the joint in fall camp.

    So – first off try not to be personally critical to other readers and commenters if possible. Civility is what makes this site one of the best. Secondly no one knows what a young QB will do… not even you Dark. you mentioned two instances where wunderkinds came in and did well right off the bat – but I’ll tell you this right now – MacVitte’s physical skills are no where near Manziel’s or Mariotta’s.

    MacVitte is right where he should be given his only one year at QB in HS. The vast majority of recruited QBs take a few years to be ready – if at all. Pitt fans always want everything RIGHT NOW and that’s OK with RBs and WRs. We are spoiled by the likes of Dorsett, Fitz, Boyd, McCoy, Dion Lewis, etc… coming in and blowing things up right away

    QBs are a whole different animal.

    I don’t think this staff wants to risk going backwards offensively by playing at kid at QB who isn’t ready. If we get a transfer in then that isn’t necessary to do and we can go forward.
    .

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  23. When you consider they wouldn’t let Peterman throw much till the fifth game, it shows how cautious these coaches are. Interceptions are killers, and inexperienced guys throw too many. Unfortunately it is hard to get experience without playing.

    Next year’s QB won’t have Conner to hand off to. We still have good backs, Ollison is a 1000+ guy plus Moss and Hall have showed a little talent and Sibley is coming. But they are not Conner.

    Peterman had great skill handing off the ball, running a complicated offense, reading defenses and making some good throws, few interceptions. All of these things take skills and lots of reps.

    Hopefully MacVittie is getting a lot of reps this month to get him ready.But obviously looking at transfers is a strong indication that he may not be ready to start next year.

    This year everything came together to have a great offense. Conners comeback, Peterman’s senior year, Orndoff’s senior year, Bisno and Johnson. The emergence of O’Neil, Weah, Aston and especially Henderson as impact players. Individual contributions from the rest of the guys. Almost no weaknesses.

    Next year may not be a total rebuild, but pretty close when you lose your QB and all-time great running back and TD producer. Plus two guys that have held down the left side of your line for four years.

    The other amazing thing this year that Ford was the only significant injury on the offense all year, that is pretty remarkable. Most importantly Peterman stayed healthy with no back-up.

    Another reason to bring in a senior transfer. QB’s do get injured. Especially young ones that can’t feel the rush coming or take a hit. Another important skill set.

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  24. It is remarkable that we have gone many years without losing a QB for a long time. Savage in the bowl game the only one that comes to mind. All the rest have been pretty durable, especially Tino who took a lot of hits. Pass protection was the best in years, this year. Going to be even more important next year.

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  25. Any word on which injured players will b ready for the Pinstripe?
    Tyrique was practicing.
    I would think Whitehead might be ready.
    And as for QB’s, it is all a crapshoot. For every Dan Marino there are a few Pat Bosticks

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  26. Schneider news was around same time as Houston and USF and UT jobs changing. I bet he ends up at one of those schools where HC’s changed.

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  27. gc you are so correct about our good fortune with QB injuries. As much as I rail against Tiny as a QB for his poor decisions etc I will say he was one tough SOB; too bad he didnt have the speed to play defense.
    It is now 11:57 a.m. and all is quiet with DK – i think he gets on RedBull/MOnster rushes then goes into a caffeine crash. 🙂 DK Reed is correct on his assessment of NP (though he did waiver a little after NC when he said it is why CV should have stayed), I liked NP, I think he could be a journeyman NFL QB but he has to get rid of his tendency to get happy feet and then throw without planting which leads to periods of inaccuracy. Again i think we need to get McV some real playing time which Pitt hasnt done well over the last 7 or 8 years. Of course this year with no defense and close games maybe it didnt work out but we need to risk it for young qbs to get them and develop them.
    Pickett is fast though his offense doesnt seem like Pitt;s as I saw no deep throws. For you recruitnicks – does he have a long arm? Was Temple the only other offer? Gotta do better on QBs.
    wwb hope you are well and just resting. thinking of you.

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  28. Narduzzi and Canada are looking ahead to next year when we have to travel to a hostile environment in Dairy College, PA. That is not a place where you want to start a RS Freshman at QB. Too many things can go wrong. You want a game manager at that point. MacPitt appears to be really good from the tape I have seen of him. To ruin his confidence in game 2 would be a big mistake.

    Let a transfer take that heat and then work MacPitt into the lineup more regularly. Makes sense to me, but I am on the bottom of the totem pole. We will have a nice squad next year with improvements and reinforcements coming. Gotta keep up with the OL and DL. Trench warfare and a qb difference maker is where it is at for college football.

    If you all want a good listen, dial up the Army Navy National Anthem and then write a letter to espn and the nfl about how disgraceful it is to show any player kneeling or lifting a fist during our national anthem. That statement was not political.Doesn’t matter if you are Dem,Rep or Indy. You live here, now act like it means something!

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  29. @ Reed – I think there were plenty that weren’t pulling for Voytik or Peterman and only wanted the “best” qb to play. That again is my hope for next year although I am a bit tilted toward letting a transfer take on the dairy crowd first if the talent level is equal…

    MacPitt should have another 8 months in the playbook.Did anyone confirm Schneider is gone? That would be another schollie freed up. + 2 with number 24 going too. Our TE position is better. Charles Reeves reminds me of Eric Green from the Steelers with skill set. Hope I am right. I also hope OSU stays away from him because he will flip if offered. Same with the big OL in my opinion. Reeves needs to study the depth chart as OSU signed three TE’s last year all ranked higher!

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  30. TMac reminds me of Kevin Smith — excellent athlete and strong arm but limited HS QB experience. I suspect with his limited number of HS snaps, Pitt would like to ease him in. I hope to see him get some snaps next season.
    Go Pitt

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  31. Everybody agrees that infrastructure development is the next big thing. One plan says that developers would get a 10% tax break to build. They will probably opt for money making ventures for payback. Light rail and even stadiums seem to fit that. Shovel ready projects will get first crack. Are the City of Pittsburgh and Pitt ready?

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  32. Ever since the Theisman broken leg, I refuse to watch replays of injuries -and I’m a friggin doctor.
    As for whiteheads injury, stick a few rods on the ulna and radius. If break was simple, no biggie. If compound fractures and bone grafts, or joint involvement, that is a bigger issue.

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  33. Kevan Smith spent some time in the majors with the White Sox this past season at catcher.

    If Pitt does land a transfer QB & start them I hope they would still try to get MacVittie a lot of reps. I didn’t like that Voytik got pretty much none in 2013 until being forced in to the bowl game. You have to get guys used to game speed when you know the starter is gone at the end if the year.

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  34. Heard Narduzzie speaking and he said he likes to keep 5 QBs on his roster. As I make it for next year he only has 3 and those are woefully short on playing time which it is hard to get when your defense never lets you build up a safe positon to insert them. Therefore he could take 2 transfers just to get up to speed .H2p

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  35. Could Reed or someone give me a breakdown of North Carolina’s QB situation?

    Because they are going after Zaire, just offered Pitt recruit Kenny Pickett, Browne might be visiting North Carolina, they have 3 Four star QB’s returning, and 3 more Qb’s returning that are 3 stars. 4 of these players will be at least juniors.

    Pitt has redshirt freshmen Macvittee, Kenny Pickett who is a true freshmen, and zero star redshirt freshmen Ben Dinucci that was ranked the 38th best QB in Pennsylvania, not Nationally, but Pennsylvania.

    So North Carolina is going to have 9 or more QB’s next year. And Pitt has Macvittee and what exactly? Totally missing something with the analysis here since Pitt struck out on everything and has nothing at QB except Macvittee. We should be bringing in 3 more QB’s, not 1.

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