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.
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.