What do we expect to see out on the field in April when Pitt holds its 2017 edition of the Spring game? Will anyone jump out at us and make us shift focus from players we already have penciled in as starters? Is anyone going to make us forget the players who just graduated from that position leaving it open?
I don’t know but let’s look at a prime position where this will happen. First we’ll start as every football fan does – looking directly at the QB.
I don’t believe anyone who has been logically following Pitt football over the past two years thinks that Pat Narduzzi brought in ex-USC Trojan QB Max Browne to do anything but be the starter in September. Recent history shows that he wants results from that position right away and will do what is necessary to make sure that happens.
He sat down the incumbent starter returning after the 2014 season and tossed Peterman to the top of that QB heap. He’ll do exactly the same with Browne with the only difference being there is no one returning that has played more than one half of a football game.
However I’ve had conversations with some Pitt fans who are just sure that Browne was brought in to back up the heir-apparent rsFR Tom MacVitte. Had to burst their bubble on that thought right quick. Others feel like Browne will be the starter but that we’ll still see a lot of MacVitte as the QB2, that he’ll get a good amount of playing time and maybe even platoon with Browne.
Well, you guys have heard this from me before but… I’ll believe that when I see it. In two years under Pat Narduzzi we have seen virtually none of the back-up QB once the starter is ensconced. None at all last season until an injury forced him and Oh Canada to reach into the QB depth in the Pinstripe Bowl.
And that move opened up another can of worms and made some fans think all of a sudden that rsFR Ben DiNucci was put in instead of SR QB Manny Stocker, who had been taking the QB2 snaps all season long. Apparently taking them anyway – after the game reports from Narduzzi when asked about the surprise insertion was that DiNucci was taking practice snaps prior to the bowl game so that’s why he flung him into the fray.
Anyway – all this adds up to, in my opinion, a non-issue (but still fun to discuss). Browne is the starter no matter what happens before April and straight through until the opener against Youngstown State.
Now, I’m not at all sold on Browne as a D1 Power Five starter being super successful. The fact that he started a few games at USC in the Pac-10 conference means nothing really. I also really don’t care at all that he was the #1 recruit back in 2013 – we just read an article that showed what highly rated recruits did 10 years later and the super recruits failed just about as often as others did.
But on the other hand Peterman had even less experience than Browne did and he just had the best year any Pitt QB has had in decades. So it is a mystery and a fun one to think about and discuss.
here are Browne’s career stats to date:
Here is a compendium of Browne’s experience at USC. I think the most interesting thing in all of this is a mention from his FR year: He won USC’s Co-Lifter of the Year Award.
That ties in perfectly with what the PSN guys just posted a few days ago – this quote on Browne from HCPN:
“Max was one of those guys that had a lot of faith and kept sticking with us through looking for an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. … He’s been nothing but a leader and a tough guy in the weight room.”
Hooo Raaa!! We all know games are won in the S&C gym…
If I sound like I’m down on Browne that isn’t the case – I think he’s a potential lifesaver for our offense because I don’t think MacVitte is anywhere ready to play and I don’t believe DiNucci has D1 talent for a starting gig or even 2nd string role.
I am of the thought that our defense is going to give up big points again in 2017. Maybe not the outrageous 35.2 that we graciously allowed our opponent’s last year.
Sirs, Good afternoon – here is your table. I’m Josh and I’ll be your server today… You say you’d like a touchdown? Then may I suggest you pass the ball? That seems to be the all the rage this season!
I think we’ll still be giving out 30+ points in ’17 so our offense again is going to have to keep pace to pull our asses out of the fire as they did eight times last year. With Peterman and Conner gone, and with a new vagabond OC I’m not so sure that will happen – so the QB play is going to be under even more pressure than usual.
It may sound like I’m parroting the PSN piece I did read it when published but stats are stats…and there is only so much to talk about. Maybe I am …but in a ton more detail.
Anyway, my worry is that Browne can’t throw the deep ball as well as Peterman did last season. Peterman had a truly outstanding average of 15.4 yards per completion and as PSN stated that was good for 4th nationally – that’s to go along with his overall 8th nationally in total Passing Efficiency.
Here is what we have had from our last decade’s QBs in terms of their best Yards Per Completion. As you can see Peterman blew his predecessors away with this important production.
Guys – I know I harp about this and I know that is because I have been a Peterman fan since June of 2015… but he did such a damn excellent job for us last year. We may not see an as effective QB as he was at Pitt for a very long time.
Browne’s career YPC at USC was a poor 9.4 yards and that six yards is a huge drop off. Plus he’ll be throwing to receivers who, for the majority, don’t have a ton of experience past the two returning starters Weah and Q. Henderson. And Weah is still a crap shoot as to whether he brings the ball in or not.
But we have speed in the WR waiting room and I’m hoping Watson & Browne (Purveyors of Fine Foods) can take advantage of that.
So I’m thinking we’ll go backwards in that area and that would hurt our offense a lot. Browne just has never been known for a real strong arm since he’s been in college.
Now, there is a dynamic at play that could make a ton of difference in 2017. Browne just saw a Pitt QB who also transferred in not only have a great year but also positioned himself to be an NFL draft pick – no small potatoes in any young man’s eyes.
So I think the motivation factor will be there for sure.
Another real plus for me about Browne is that he graduated USC with a degree in only 2.5 years after he enrolled. That level of dedication and intelligence says something to me and it may just be that stats and numbers aside this young man has the desire and grit to really succeed at Pitt and let’s hope that’s the case because we sorely need him to stay healthy and be as effective as possible.
I think we’ll see a smart and confident leader out there and one who will be productive but just that. Something along the lines of Peterman;’s 2015 year when he first took over the QB job:
|Year||CMP||ATT||YDS||CMP%||YPA||LNG||TD||INT||SACK||RAT||RAW QBR||ADJ QBR|
We’ll get our first public look at Browne at the Spring Game in a few months but I’ll go up a couple of times earlier to watch as much as I can of spring practices and tell you what I see.
Check out this piece by PSN today – you won’t ever see that happen on the POV. They do it their way and that’s fine, we’ll do it our way and remain a family.
Our great POV’er Erie Express, Mr. Eric Caldwell, is really ramping up the plans for the POV Golf Outing in April. It will be at the Quicksilver Golf Club – close to Pittsburgh and it looks beautiful. He’s busting his butt making things just right for everyone and I can’t wait. Thanks Eric…
I have no idea who these ladies are but they show up when you look up images for Quicksilver on Google… Right there doubles the entrance fee. Also the course has a house band…