Pitt’s Quarterback Questions Somewhat Answered…

As Majors asked in a comment to the Spring Game thread – here is my very shaky stance on Pitt’s QB room…

As I look into my college Pitt football crystal ball I see a few things. Wait a second, let me get the two years of dust off of it first. OK, done sneezing, and here we go;

First off,   having no ex-USC QBs on our Pitt roster is a good thing. They have all sucked…yes, even Kedon Slovis. Here is the roll call of those USC guys Pitt HCs have pinned their hopes on – Max Browne, Ricky Town, and Kedon Slovis… Let’s go through them one by one.

Max Browne out for season with shoulder injury - Cardiac Hill

Enter 5* HS recruit Max Browne. The Golden Armed Someone who, while starting for Pitt, was lucky enough to play the 1-11 Rice Owls so he could have at least one dominate showing. In that game he threw for 410 yards and 4 TDs. The fact that Rice ended up 120th in Pass Efficiency Defense made a BIG difference there.

Unfortunately in his five other games at Pitt Browne averaged 14/21 for 117 yards – with a total of 1 TD and 2 INTs.  But hey – he was a 5* USC QB – right!!  I got pretty sick of the professional pundits saying “If he could only have stayed healthy…” Look we were 2-4 with Brown and after he was hurt 3-3 with DiNucci so Browne was no real big loss.  Wonder why we went 5-7 in 2017? Look no further.

New Pitt QB Ricky Town steps into 'unique' situation | Pittsburgh  Post-Gazette

Then we get 5* HS recruit Ricky Town: Came to Pitt via transfers from USC then Arkansas then Ventura, CA JC and finally stumbled over to Pitt. He completed 1 of 1 passes for 15 yards for an awesome QB rating of 226, albeit with a small sample of work. We ran a three-part series about him on the Pitt POV way back when. I had fun writing it and was truly sorry he was so bad at actually playing the game of football because his story was pretty compelling. Town left Pitt because of the California wildfires (I kid you not).  Here is that series about Towns football experiences if you are interested.  Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3.  Busted my ass writing that and it turned out well (and was printed elsewhere).

Then we have 4*HS recruit Keeeeeeedon Sloooooovis!! Kedon was just misunderstood here at Pitt. We all felt he could (please God) be another Kenny Pickett when in reality he was more like another Max Browne – but a bit better looking. Slovis had two decent games. One was a shoot out loss to Georgia Tech where he threw for 3 TDs and a late season win against Miami that had another 3 TDs passes.  He was just another transfer QB in a string of bad transfer QBs.Kedon Slovis explains decision to transfer to Pitt - Cardiac Hill

Of course, he had a very hard act to follow after Pickett’s record breaking season but the gist of his time in a Pitt uniform is that he was average at best. Not real surprised he cleared out his locker before the bowl game. I don’t know if that is true but you know what I mean – he wasn’t coming back under any circumstances.

The second issue about QBs is that starting a younger QB to give him (they/them, he/him, she/her, it, we/us, you) game experience so as to prep them for following years under center at Pitt is just decrepit old school thinking. Yes, I do engage in that and sometimes to a fault – but the reality is there is not any loyalty left in college football if there is any sort of positive incentive to leave (Right Mr. Fancypants Addison?)

With the NIL and the no-sit out a season Transfer Portal now there is no absolute guarantee that any young QB will stay at Pitt at all even if he starts early. Especially if he starts early at a school like Pitt because we are a mid-range program of the P5 schools. Yes, we are, even with the good last two seasons.

I have no doubt in my mind that if Kenny Pickett had his breakout year in his fourth (2020) season vice his Covid-allowed fifth season in 2021, he would have been gone to the highest bidder for that last season of eligibility. I really believe that and based on his shagging out of the 2021 bowl game it shows he does love that $$$. Don’t kid yourself – if Addison could get $3M then Pickett would have commanded a very high price for his on-field presence elsewhere. Color him Green & Gone.

So, grooming a young QB (hopefully one recruited and coached here at Pitt in his underclass years) has probably gone the way of old Pitt Stadium as something to be remembered fondly but never replicated. I just don’t see it happening any longer.

Now the third point.  I don’t like coaching staffs having already made up their mind about who is to be the starting QB even before spring practice starts. Rambling Man Phil Jurkovec was brought here by Cignetti to start and Narduzzi will not override that thought no matter how well the other QBs play. I truly believe that.

NCAA grants Boston College QB Phil Jurkovec transfer waiver

Here is a bit about QBs from the Tribune-Review this morning written by Jerry DiPaola:

Teammates have praised Jurkovec’s leadership skills, but here’s the question. Is he a better quarterback than Kedon Slovis, now at BYU?  Slovis has played in more games (38/24) and completed more passes than Jurkovec (836/416), who was a backup his two seasons at Notre Dame.

Slovis (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) has thrown for 9,973 yards, 13th among active FBS quarterbacks. Jurkovec’s total is 5,406 with a career completion percentage of 59.7%, compared to Slovis’ 66%.

Viewed from a specific lens, it should be noted that Slovis has played the bulk of his career at USC. Jurkovec (6-5, 215) spent three seasons at Boston College, the last behind a bad offensive line. Jurkovec is a threat to run (568 yards, including sacks, and nine touchdowns); Slovis has a negative rushing total (minus-218).

By the end of the season, Pitt was ready to move on from Slovis. If some coaches are being honest, they might express regret that Nick Patti didn’t get more of an opportunity.

Got that right Jerry!! Narduzzi is horribly slow to make waves in his offense because he has no real idea how it works.  Yes, he has Offensive Coordinators (OCs) to carry that load – but the problem with total delegation is that you take so many steps back from the situation you cannot make strong, quick decisions when necessary.

Competition is a good thing and IMO a HC should keep the starting QBs options open until there are 10 days left in Fall Camp. Look, the two best candidates for QB1 & QB2 are going to be known going into that camp. That is standard in every team’s fall camp plans regardless of what the HCs say publicly.

What that does is winnow down the QBs who are sucking hind tit as far as playing time goes and gives the two best candidates equal time to work against the best defenders Pitt has (D1 & D2) then  also work with the first and second string Pitt offenses (O1 & O2) to get their views on how the two QBs are doing (in the huddle, locker room, adversity, etc.) Good HCs do that – they solicit some upper classmen’s and team captains’ input on how the players actually are doing all around. They don’t just go by what their other coaches see in practice.

My though is that it would have been very nice to have SR Nick Patti back on the roster and competing for an honest shot at starting. At least he can move his feet when needed. I’m not sold on Jurkovec at all and when you end up on three different college rosters there is usually a reason the door is held open for you twice.  Maybe I’m wrong and he’s the next Tino Sunseri...who, by the way was actually pretty decent you Tino Haters! But I very much doubt he’ll be anything like the next Kenny Pickett.

As I said above – I was a bit removed from Pitt football the last couple of seasons, but still – as long as none of our QBs have this on their arms we’ll be in decent shape:

Tattoo uploaded by Joe • USC Trojans. (via IG - louieburger ...



128 thoughts on “Pitt’s Quarterback Questions Somewhat Answered…

  1. Good article. I agree, PJ should not have been named starter yet. CV looks good.

    Who were the OCs for those USC QBs? Big factor.

    If Nate Yarnell doesn’t weigh in at 215 by summer camp he should give up football. He’s still a stick and looks like a high school QB. Start eating young man.


    1. Rocket – I thought the opposite of Nate. I thought he looked like he bulked up a bit from last season. I didn’t see or hear where he is weight wise so I could very well be wrong. I also thought he looked pretty good in limited action Saturday.


  2. I respect your view on the QB situation Reed as you have a pretty good track record of identifying the winners (Pickett) and impostors (the list is too long). However, I still believe that PJ deserves the chance to show what he can do with an offense that he is very familiar with and allow CV to learn from the sidelines.

    However, with that said, one of my complaints (of which I have many) with Cigknownothing is his refusal to integrate the back-up into the game plan for a few sequences to give them the game experience needed in case of emergency. He’s as hard-headed as HCPN and only sees one QB once he’s decided who his starter will be. It’s a real detriment as an OC to not be able to develop more than 1 QB at a time.

    By giving CV some time with the starting offense 2-3 times in a game, you can begin to see if he may be the better option, especially when the real season begins against ACC opponents. I don’t mean to have two starting QBs but merely exposing the backup to a bit of game day experience, and not only mop-up duty after the game has been decided.

    This is particulary important with a starting QB who has lost significant time in the past to injuries like PJ.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Unless it’s a really important/tough game and the starter is lighting it up, I agree with you completely. Of course, Tomlin did that to Pickett as well—putting him in at halftime in mid-season after getting virtually no reps with the starters since the season began. And look at what happened tomPickett. Horrible first few games and then success.


  3. Reed, you have hit a bullseye with this article. I read through the Ricky Town saga and the memories of complete fan frustration came flooding back instantly.

    Pj will start because he is Cigneti’s “boy”, however, if he falters there is NO EXCUSE for being stubborn and leaving him to rot on a vine like Slovis. Duzzi is a stubborn mule and one would hope that after seeing Patti’s performance last year in the Sun Bowl that he will remember that he has a 2nd string, talented QB who just might become a superstar.


  4. Reed as Isnore stated you have hit a bullseye with this article. Glad you are back in the game on the POV commentary front. Jerry D in no uncertain terms has written several articles commenting on Narduzzi’s big mistake in sticking with Slovis when he had alternatives on the Pitt roster. That’s what I have been saying almost all last season.

    And the sad part is that Pitt seems to repeating the same formula from last season in handing the QB job to Jurkovec before giving others a fair shot at the job. What’s even worse is I think Narduzzi and Cignetti will stick with Jurkovec even if he stinks it up on the field of play. The only way they will replace Jurk is if he goes down with an injury IMO.


  5. I actually have no problem with Jurkovec being the starting QB if that is a result of a fair and strong competition for the job being undertaken by the coaching staff. But given PN’s track record for not doing that I don’t see it panning out that way.

    Both Max Browne and Kedon Slovis were assured they would be the starting QB as a condition (and incentive) for their transfer to Pitt. Peterman wasn’t exactly but the handwriting was on the QB Room wall with him given DiNucci was his only real competition. I very much believe the same terms were offered to Jurkovec.


  6. I think this is a good subject for me to return to commenting. As I’ve stated before, I’m really happy with the qbs. Here are some thoughts and clarifications:

    1) PJ was the best HS qb I’ve ever seen. From Tommy Clements to Huffy to Chuck Fusina to yes, even Dandy Dan. BUT: HS is HS . Biggest difference is it looks like he gained weight, and not in a good way. I see no progression in his game. Not that he is bad, but seems slower, and doesn’t make the greatest decisions. Big disappointment, but glad we have him. Strange comment, huh?

    2) CV, well, I’m a huge fan. He was the biggest addition to this team in a long time. The kid can play. Sure, he makes some mistakes, but nothing that can’t be corrected. Good size, excellent arm, decent to good mobility. Allard May be the stud of studs, or the next Hackasack, but I firmly believe they screwed the pooch again letting this kid go. Such is the life in college nowadays, but I’m glad we benefited.

    3) The Cignetti factor. I’m not sure what to write here. I have never, ever been impressed. Maybe that offense is good when you don’t have top flight talent in the qb room, but he does have that talent now. Will he progress??. I’d be so glad to be wrong on him, but……….

    4) I firmly believe this offense can be so much more. All ball control does is keep the score close and keep the other team in the game. Great if you have inferior talent, but good way to loose close games to bad teams.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. joeknew, just curious. Where would Terrell Pryor fall on your list of best HS QBs, as he was the best I ever saw.


    1. Wrong there Mark. Pryor was the best high school player/athlete who you ever saw. He never was a great QB per se. He was throwing to wide open kids at the single/double A level.

      One of the best performances by a WPIAL football player in a championship game happened when Jeannette routed Dunmore in the 2007 AA game. Terrelle ran for three, caught one and threw for one.

      He became a decent passer at OSU. If he would have listened to some wise people and focused on being a receiver or tight end, he would have had better NFL success. He had all the tools.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Eric, yes I see what you mean, and playing at the Single/Double A level I’m sure was a factor, but vs Greensburg CC Pryor definitely looked like a man amongst boys.


  8. Only had a chance to see him in person twice. I do think he was the second best athlete I saw as a qb. He had the size and athleticism. Saw him more on the hardwood.
    If you want to know the best athlete I ever saw as a high school player that’s easy, Tommy Clements. Thing most people don’t know is his older brother, Frank, was even better until he suffered a catastrophic kneee injury first game his senior year.
    All these guys were great athletes, multiple sport stars. But as a qb, we’ll PJ was the best, and also the most disappointing in college so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As first posted once his coming to Pitt was announced… How IRONIC would it be that Pitt was not good enough for Jurkovec and we find now the “Wayward Quarterback” from the Pine is not good enough for Pitt?

    Just might be the case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point POD. I think he’s going to have a good year. Of course, he has to stay healthy.


  10. Reed and Joeknew, glad to see you back commenting you make the discourse much stronger.

    I have been on record saying that I don’t agree that it is a given that Patti would have been a better choice last year. QB’s do not play in a vacuum and the loss of Addison, poor start by the other receivers, injuries on the O-line, and a stellar running game had a lot to do with Slovis’ production. Add to that his injury and the missed field goals in the Tennessee game and you may have had a much different outcome.

    While Patti had a legendary game vs. UCLA, it doesn’t mean he would have made it through the season, in fact we don’t know when he would have been ready to go after Tennessee or how he might have played in the other games.

    As far as this year, I think it is much better to have a clear number one going into the fall than the uncertainty of a QB contest up until game time. So I am glad to see that as far as we can tell PJ is the man. I would say he was the best I have seen as a passing QB coming out of the WPIAL. Pryor the better overall athlete because of his legs so probably better overall.

    My concerns overall going into this year has more to do with the quality and performance of the receivers. There are no superstars. Without Addison we may hav..e not known about the greatness of KP. He had as much to do with Pitt’s overall successful season as did Kenny.

    I do think this is the strongest QB room Pitt has had in many years, but time will tell. I really would like to see CV get a series in each half to prepare him and keep him sharp and ready for any eventuality, especially since PJ has been injury prone.

    QB controversies are loved by sportswriters and fans when there is no clearcut star. They make the naysayers very happy when things don’t go as planned. Pitt won’t go undefeated so with each loss there will be room to replay the discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gordon, must disagree on a named QB1 going into fall camp. If that player is a returning starter then yes, the job is his to lose.

      But that isn’t the case with Pitt this fall camp. Spring practices mean nothing when talking about fall starters. I’ve heard that from numerous coaches I’ve talked to over the years. All spring practice does is get the roster together in the locker room and practice field so they, in essence, know each other.

      Here are the Spring rules mandated by the NCAA:

      Practices can be conducted over a 34-day period with 20 hours per week of unrestricted activities. Players must receive one day off per week.

      15 on-field practice sessions may be held, with no more than 12 involving contact.
      Full contact may not occur until the third practice.

      Eight of the 12 contact practices can involve tackling, and no more than three of those eight may be devoted to 11-on-11 scrimmages.

      During noncontact practice sessions, headgear may be worn.

      In the fall schools can hold 25 practices over 29 days and while the NCAA has changed how those practices are conducted (the 8-9-8 model) it still is much more intense than the Spring drills.

      So, giving the two competing QBs 10 or 15 early practices in the fall with the O and D gets them truly ready and then the winner gets the rest of the 10 or 15 later practices with the rest of the O starters.

      I think Pitt’s poor results history of unused QB2s coming in suddenly due to a QB1 injury is proof that these back ups need as much time with the O as possible to give them. I can’t think of any time where that situation has occurred where it went well for us.

      One good example of two QBs getting equal practice time in the fall was with Voytik and Peterman where after two games the switch was made and Peterman lit up the passing game. That was a case where Voytik was QB1 as a returning starter but everyone knew Peterman was more talented.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. GC nailed everything 100%. Recruiting from the portal requires some guarantee of playing time. That’s just the way it is. It is perfectly reasonable that Jurkovec was promised it would be his job to lose.

    Slovis was a victim of circumstances with a new system everyone had to learn, and all the injuries. He was not a great runner but the OL injuries didn’t help.

    Cignetti’s offense will be plenty good now that returning players understand it. It should be judged by how many points per game they score. If they’re getting 30 points on average, that’s good enough to win 10 games with the Pitt defense.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. See my reply to GC above.

      Look, if you are enticing a player to come to you in the portal then yes, playing time is the bait (and now NIL $$) but that doesn’t mean a HC has to tell the kid he’ll start every game.

      The HC can say anything he wants but the players themselves, other than the transfer, can tell who are the best players to have out on the field. I’ve read about promises made to transfer players that backfired because that player just wasn’t as good as advertised and the rest of the starting O players knew it. Yet, because of promises made the transfer got the PT.

      Maybe Narduzzi didn’t promise anything to Jurkovec, it isn’t like other good teams were slobbering over him to play for them. And truth be told, I doubt he’d be here if it wasn’t for Cignetti being the OC.

      Do we really believe that PJ is so much head and shoulders above any other QB on the roster that he should be guaranteed starting?

      Let them compete and actually win the job I say…just like the other 21 starters out on the field had to.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I agree that no one should be PROMISED a starting role. But I do think it’s fine to tell a portal guy like Jurkovic that the job will be his to lose. Subtle difference perhaps, but important.


  12. Maybe I’m missing something here but didn’t we also get CV from the portal? So did we have to guarantee both PJ and CV the starting job? Actually I’m still trying to figure out how we ever got CV to transfer to Pitt. Because once PJ transferred in there was no chance that CV would ever get a shot at the starting QB job barring a PJ injury. If I wanted a shot at starting in a P5 program I would never have committed to Pitt after PJ committed.


    1. CV is in a great position. He’s the #2 behind a QB with a history of injuries. Even if he doesn’t see the field this year, he’s in year 1 of a new OC and he’ll have 2 years of eligibility after this season.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jurkovic played three years in Cig’s system while CV has been in it for three months. That alone makes Phil the starter for now. There is no substitute for knowing an offense like the back of your hand. I do expect CV to make a push by late summer with a better grasp.

    So glad since arriving at Pitt that Narduzzi has turned over every stone to try and solidify the QB room. Had Foge done it he would have coached for a long time at Pitt. Isn’t it funny the guy who is the alleged QB guru left Narduzzi an awful room and wasn’t hired by another school after his early dismissal?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chryst was making $5.5M per year. He was at Whisky for 7 years. What makes you think he didn’t just say ” Got the $$ so I’ll just kick back”?

      But what do you think about PN inheriting Ollison, Darrin Hall, Tyler Boyd, JP Holtz, etc on offense? Or did that slip your mind…

      But you do beat that dead horse, don’t you?


    2. No it isn’t “funny” (yes I know “terrible” was used ironically). Watson was indeed terrible and he was terrible for a reason (he didn’t know what he was doing). All knew he was terrible including Narduzzi. The problem was that only Narduzzi didn’t know he would be terrible.


  14. Ishmial Leggett- 6’3” 190 – 2 guard.
    34% from 3/ 84% free throw
    Just finished watching undoctored game tapes.

    What I noticed most was his quickness on defense! He has good shooting form and a very quick blow by move. However.. that was on a horrible Rhode Isle team. He only had 10 pts vs Duquesne and disappeared most of the game due to foul trouble.

    How does all this translate to the ACC???

    My best guess is that his experience will have him as 1st or 2nd off the bench.
    I don’t think he’s nearly as talented as any of our new incoming recruits
    but you can’t coach steadiness and poise and Leggett has both!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Any info on getting another forward? I see they are targeting a shooting guard from Niagra but we desperately need another big body, unless Capel is counting on Jeffress for that?


  15. There is a different approach for CV who has3 years left. Jurkovec will start the first game but after that he has to keep it. The recruiting message is slightly different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess my point is I don’t think Jurkovec has to prove anything and will be the starting QB come hell or high water whether he stinks up the place or not. He will not be easily pulled with Cig and Narduzzi calling the shots. Narduzzi as HC has the final say but tends not to say much of anything when it comes to the offense.


  16. One thing had me in stitches reading the comments: Phil and Christian have not taken an official snap yet as a Panther and I get the feeling the second string quarterback is already more popular…Pitt fans always seem to love qb looking back at the eras of John Turman, Tino, Max, and Slovis. Let’s watch a few games and see how things pan out before passing judgments.

    After watching the spring game and not seeing one pass thrown the entire fourth quarter, I’m glad I didn’t make the trip. It seemed as if Nard just wanted to get everyone home and healthy. I’m not sure we can make much assessments about anything from that game. Heck, all 7 qb’s played in the game…maybe they could have had a raffle and had a fan get in for a few snaps.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. So, with the new ACC setup and the top two teams playing for the Championship, does that allow Notre Dame to be one of the two?



  18. Chryst was making $5.5M per year. He was at Whisky for 7 years. What makes you think he didn’t just say ” Got the $$ so I’ll just kick back”?

    But what do you think about PN inheriting Ollison, Darrin Hall, Tyler Boyd, JP Holtz, etc on offense? Or did that slip your mind…

    But you do beat that dead horse, don’t you?


    1. The article was about the QB position. What dead horse? Those are the facts.

      Wouldn’t shock me if Paul decided to kick back. He did that with his recruiting at Pitt then those stories that broke after his firing at Wisconsin about how lazy he got recruiting there. The criticism is warranted I’d say when if you’re making all that money.


  19. Max Browne’s OC at Pitt was the great Sean Watson. It was the worst Pitt offense and worst OC under Narduzzi. 101st in points per game. 5-7 record. I agree Max wasn’t good but no one else on offense was either.

    Ricky Towne was never going to play at Pitt, he was a back up at best.

    I still think Kedon was a victim of Frank Cignetti. This year will prove me wrong or right based on PJ’s success and what Slovis does at BYU, if he even starts.


  20. Chryst was fired at Wisconsin, he didn’t walk away. He is a great OC, not even a good HC. I’d take him as OC any time.


  21. I think a lot of the Phil J love is because he is a Pittsburgh kid and was a great high school QB. I could care less where he is from, he needs to produce. It’s not like Pitt brought in an All American QB. Phil has a lot to prove. The first step is staying healthy. It should have been open competition into fall camp.
    I hope the kid balls out and has a fairytale ending to his college career.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I’m fine with the QB situation. Slovis was an air raid QB and the transition to a pro-style offense was a little painful (mentally and physically). He was still the best QB on the roster. Add in the fact we had to install a new offense and voila … a rough season for the offense.

    I hate the pro-style offense in college. HATE it. But, it’s what we are stuck with. Fraud Graham ruined any chance of us getting weaning off of it. So it is what it is.

    One of the things I hate about it is that it’s very complicated to install. You can’t plug and replace like you can with an RPO offense. Get rid of the OC and the next OC can easily get another RPO up and running quickly. Not so with a pro-style offense. Each one is fundamentally different. Difficult by nature. In this era of transfers, running one is even more precarious because in a sport already with constant turnover the turnover is now accelerated.

    End rant.

    Now, having established that we run a pro-style offense, bringing in a QB with several years of experience in the exact same offense, and one who has been successful in it, is great. Best case scenario. Having an experienced QB behind him to groom for a year is another best case scenario. Especially since QB1 has a history of injuries. Albeit, not soft tissue ones so less worrisome. Soft tissue injury history is the bigger red flag.

    I’d be more concerned about the actual offense than the QB playing in it. Phil is a legit P5 QB. Comparing him to Slovis is apples to oranges because Slovis was an air raid QB. His stats are going to be inflated.

    I still think Slovis was the best option last year. I would have played him over Patti, too. Patti did not look like a starting ACC QB IMO.

    Good story but not who you want running your program. Phil is a good story, too. Hometown kid leaves and decides to come back home.


  23. Got no problem with any QB on the roster. I just feel that honest competition always brings out the best in players ( and sailors, sales people, techies, etc….)

    Remember the phrase ‘Practice the game the way you are going to play the game”? Well, I want every player, regardless of position, to give 110% in practice because he just might not get that starting nod otherwise.

    That way he’ll know without a doubt that he actually earned a starting spot instead of having a handshake deal in Transfer Portal negotiations.

    And truthfully – to tell a kid he’ll have a starting job even before he’s put on a uniform is just very damn poor leadership and sends a crap message to the rest of the roster who are busting their asses each practice to get in the starting lineup.

    Now – tell the kid he’ll be in the QB1/QB2 competition mix right off the bat and thus he’ll have an real shot to win the starting job is a whole other matter. But you have to have a fair competition in place first.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there was honest competition but the Canadian French guy is so far behind in the offense that the coaches realistically don’t see him catching up. Now, while Phil implied to be the starter I don’t think Duzz all out said he was the starter. He left some room to hedge. I could be wrong there but I thought the announcement was very informal and more assumed than indoctrinated.


    2. My recall is that when Jurkovec announced his transfer, he specifically stated that he was not given any guarantees. Truth? Who knows. NONE OF US KNOW, AND TO SAY YOU DO IS PURE SPECULATION. Did Veilleux actually come to Pitt after being told that Jurk would be the starter and would be given no opportunity to compete? I doubt it.

      Here’s a thought: instead of conspiracy theories, maybe the coaches DID go into camp with an eye on it being an open competition. But Jurkovec’s knowledge of the offense made him the clear choice. ESPECIALLY after we saw Slovis seemingly struggle with learning a new offense last year.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Most of the above comments are theoretical in nature Wlat.

        Too bad Narduzzi doesn’t have a drinking problem and isn’t telling anyone who will listen about all the dirt on Pitt football in the Shadyside Mardi Gras bar at 3am. Those were the good old days.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If you’re a Commanders fan you can do that in Loudon County … those coaches are not afraid to talk. Haha.


  24. I am withholding my opinion on QB until I watch the Spring Game tomorrow afternoon on ACCN.

    Love both Jurc and CV. Like CV’s arm and competitiveness. Jurc has been totally underwhelming at BC but there’s something about that “last chance” and the irony of him being at Pitt that I think will make him spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. @Dan – I think everyone is underwhelming at BC. Haha. Might be more the school than the QB. Big talent gap with the best of the ACC there.


      1. I’m just saying it’s a very vanilla program. We haven’t even played since 2020 … and 3 years ago Pitt had the same problem as BC. That wasn’t propping Pitt up … but Pitt has progressed the last two years and BC hasn’t.


  26. ESPN is now saying that the Steelers will take Flowers in the first round. The situation just keeps getting crazier. I wonder if Flowers would be younger than his old QB mate Jurkovic who is now at Pitt, when Pickett is throwing to him on the Steelers?


    1. After the trade the Steelers made today, I think they’ll wait until round four to select a pass catcher. Way too many glaring needs.


        1. I’ve been thinking for weeks that they will draft Addison with their first pick in the second round. I think that he might fall there. I’ve read multiple articles that say that only two or three receivers will be picked in the first round.


          1. Steelers did the same head fake w Picket last year. I’ll be stunned if Addison isn’t their first or second pick.


  27. Dan, Spring Game highlights are on YouTube. You’ll be completely underwhelmed by all the QBs…of course it is still spring practice and Jurkovec is still learning the offense.

    Just kidding!!


    Liked by 1 person

  28. Reed – nice to see you jump back into the pool. I’m looking fwd to reading your insights this season about the current situation.

    Love Nick Patti – gritty, fearless player and a leader. That final drive against UCLA was a fairy tale ending for him. Glad he rode out on that horse. What a shame he was injured in the Tenn game. He may have gotten the chance to lead the team the rest of the season. And he might have been more effective because he could scramble… not as good as Kenny, but much better than Slovis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was less than 50% for the UCLA game. Great drive. Great ending to his career. But there is a reason he didn’t start. I like Patti. Good backup and team guy but I doubt Pitt’s record is different with him playing. I would take Patti on my team all day. I just wouldn’t start him. New offense. New WR’s. New QB all lead to last season’s struggles. Slovis wasn’t great but there were a lot of contributing factors. Slovis went 4-0 down the stretch.

      Liked by 3 people

  29. Reed – thanks for the article, QB-talk always brings out comments.

    I think a huge factor for a QB is experience. Coaches fear turnovers so much that they are almost guaranteed to go with the QB who had been there and done that – and hopefully learned from their mistakes.

    The thing that bothers me about Phil J. is that he doesn’t appear to have a fastball. He seems like he’s okay lofting passes down the field – but I wonder if he has a tight window at 15 yards whether he can burn it in there.

    I guess on the positive side his passes may be easier to catch…

    Christian V., on the other hand, has some mustard on his passes. At least that was my take after seeing a small sampling…

    One thing Phil did at BC was take a beating – so he’s tough. I’m thinking our OL should be decent, so that may help Phil as he tries to become the next hometown hero, al a Nellie Cummings…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 4 people

  30. Majors, when I watch the Spring Game on YouTube I had the exact same thoughts that you had above. I was really unimpressed with are PJ’s arm strength and whether he could actually zing it or not like you said. Most of his passes were soft and thrown in the general direction of his target… at them but not really “to” them.

    I think a lot of those passes would be intercepted by quicker linebackers and defensive backs then the Pitt players he was against in the scrimmage, and who I think we’ll see in actual competition.

    But then again Spring Games are just a more formalized practice session and can’t really used to project we’ll see in the actual games.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the (teen) spirit of Nirvana, just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you. We know HCPN prefers closed practices, hates revealing anything, about anybody, any time. Is there some slight possibility he might have hinted to some of his key players to dial it down a few notches during the Spring Game? I haven’t watched it, and probably won’t. It’s just a thought.


      Liked by 2 people

  31. PJ was not the most impressive quarterback in the spring game. I have the same problem Reed does about handing him the starting job! It is doubtful PJ will stay healthy through the OOC schedule so we will be able to see what the Canadian can do early.

    Pitt would have done just as well last year with Patti at quarterback or possibly better. He was a better fit in Cignetti’s system.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Played the Golf Club of Indiana yesterday with two retired college football coaches. One a 1965 graduate of Uniontown High School, they were a powerhouse back then. Many good stories.

    Reed we’ll have to agree to disagree. I can’t remember any championship season that ever started with a QB competition. I think that Jurkovec’s experience starting with three years of ACC work and two years with Cignetti is much more valuable than CV’s potential which is strong. Athletes perform better with as much repetition as possible, getting ready for the season is better with less uncertainty. A year as a backup will help get him ready as the heir apparent and with PJ’s history of injury he may get his chance this year.

    QB is a unique position where the second string guy rarely sees the field, unlike most positions where guys routinely get subbed. I don’t remember many successful seasons with teams playing multiple QB’s.

    By the way, Narduzzi has not made an official announcement that PJ is the starter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dad went to Uniontown Hi.

      I was utterly terrified playing them in football. Most intimidating team I’ve ever played! We were in warmups pregame 67-68 when their kicking team came on the field. Collectively the entire Baldwin team stopped to watch. Never played another HS team that hit as hard!!

      Baldwin hadn’t beaten them in 21 years when we played in 67. We won on a fourth quarter hook and ladder play!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Agree with your comments, Gordon.

      My POV – its totally fair and understandable that a QB transfer who played for the OC in the OC’s system may have a leg up on someone who didn’t. They are not coming in with the same status. If CV wants the #1 job, he’s got to show he knows the playbook as well as the presumed #1, makes the right decisions in scrimmages, demonstrates an ability to manage the huddle and execute the play. Its great that he has zip on the ball, but he needs to show he’s overall better than the presumed incumbent… can’t be close.

      Share your concerns about WR – that’s this year’s big question imo. We need either someone who can get separation or make catches in traffic.

      Don’t know that the QB room is the strongest, but it certainly looks like a full room.

      As a young lad, my Mount Lebanon Blue Devils would play Uniontown and it was a big big game and an even bigger deal to beat them, particularly in Uniontown. Late 60’s, early 70’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Didn’t know you were a “cake eater” Joe!! Lebo beat everyone back in the day. Especially Baldwin 1967.


    3. With that logic GC no freshman would ever start for any team if they had QB’s around the previous year with the same OC. If a Dan Marino carbon copy showed show up at Pitt he’d have to wait his turn to gain experience under the OC before he could see the field.


      1. I might be wrong but I don’t think Danny started his first game as a freshman.
        Of course if anybody is obviously more talented than the incumbent he is going to start.
        Case in point is Addison. Skilled players have the best chance as freshmen. A lot more difficult for QBs since there is far more to learn. It is pretty rare for a QB to beat out an incumbent starter with a winning record.


        1. GC you are correct in that Dan Marino did not start in his first game at Pitt. But he entered into the first game early on and was never replaced there after. So from where I was sitting it took Danny less than 1 quarter to learn the offensive system he would lead throughout his career at Pitt.


          1. In 1979, Marino led the Panthers to a Fiesta Bowl victory after replacing injured Rick Trocano in the season’s seventh game.


  33. We have seen during the Pickett and Slovis years that Narduzzi doesn’t like QB controversies. He will pick someone like PJ and ride him until disaster strikes. If CV were to start the entire year would be quarterback controversy. So expect Jurkovec to start and be the guy no matter what happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Shout out to Mrs JeanieB, who is most likely to be out of surgery by now for another knee replacement on the same knee. (not as simple as the first time) Best wishes Mrs B and good luck, we know you’ll be in great hands rehabbing.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. Watched PJ play a few times in high school, it seemed like he built his reputation on short quick type passes. Honestly, I thought he was over-rated at the time. Although impressed with his running ability.


    1. Watched him play a lot in high school and he was unstoppable in most games. Threw beautiful, accurate long balls and had many long runs each game. Was usually taken out shortly after half time because of lopsided scores. He may have peaked at 18, though. We’ll see.


  36. Spring games are dumb, ladies and gentlemen. They mean nothing. I’m actually proud of Pitt fans not wasting their time going to a practice. Lol.

    Duzz has already said that Cignetti does not even pay attention to winning the game. He’s focused on getting looks against different coverages, etc.


    It will be base offense vs base defense, and Narduzzi confirmed that Cignetti will be calling plays as he has all spring — with an emphasis on installation and evaluating plays against different sets.

    “It will be — keep it a little bit vanilla, but you know, there’s times where we go out and do an inside drill and I tell the defense, ‘Hey, you can’t blitz.’ So, that’s nothing unusual,” Narduzzi said.


    “Coach Cignetti isn’t game-planning,” Narduzzi said. “I remember a year ago, he ran four plays four times in a row, and I’m listening to him on the headset, and he’s like, ‘I want to get this on tape vs. four different defenses.’ And I’m like, ‘We’re trying to win the scrimmage here. Don’t call four tosses in a row.’ But he wants to get plays in, which I get.”

    Arm strength is not a knock on PJ … draft profile …



    1. “… They mean nothing…”

      I protest in the loudest voice possible!!!!!
      Its of vital importance to shake the rust off and get into game form!

      Oh, you meant on-field?… I was thinking about the tailgate.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Ha – Yes, they have relevance but do not help you gauge the team. It’s a glorified practice.


  37. Just for clarification… Jerk-a-bit… OK not fair. Jurkovec is certainly a step up from Slow-vis. But if you’ve actually taken some time to watch some of his highlights since his day at the Pine, outside of a flash here or there, he plays down to AVERAGE.

    My prediction is that we get into the season, Jurkovec will be pressed to stay as the Starter.

    One reason is the quarterback sitting on the bench with the ARM.

    The other is the quarterback who has already shown he brings more than a little bit of MOXIE.

    However, any way you look at it, we’re a LOT better off than just one year ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. CG, again competition isn’t just about the guy being the starter. Competition is about showing the whole roster that you have to work and as hard as you can to try to win the starting job. When you name a starter, especially someone who hasn’t been on the team before, that sends a message to the rest of the guy saying that well some things are just preordained and they might not work as hard as I want them to.

    PN can think and do what he wants, but to tell everyone that somebody has already gotten the job when they haven’t really even been in the real and strong practices in the fall camp yet is just wrong.

    Now PN hasn’t publicly said that but there’s ways to send a message without actually saying the words. I hope he doesn’t do that until at least a week or two at midpoint of fall camp.


  39. Reed, I’m all for competition when it is real and minds have not already been made up, but if a decision has already been made it is better to give the number one guy the majority of reps to get prepared for the season. As I said QB is a unique position where the second string guy doesn’t see the field much. There was a real contest last year and there is still controversy on how that ended up.

    Everyone else knows they are competing everyday or they would not have advanced to Division one ball. I’m pretty sure that when CV decided to come he knew that he would be number two this year since he signed after PJ who has much more experience. Face it PJ didn’t come to Pitt to sit on the bench after starting for three years. He didn’t come to Pitt when he left ND because he knew CV1 owned the job. CV2 is only going to play this year if PJ is injured or throws a bunch of interceptions.

    PN really values experience unless there is a major difference in talent level pretty much at all positions. Guys wait their turn and they and he have had success with the model.

    The bottom line is that PN and company have done a great job putting together a strong group of QB’s. If PJ does go down there is a lot of talent backing him up, unlike the majority of Pitt teams of the past.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. By the way everyone lauds CV1’s greatness, but he was bested by PJ and Cignetti in PJ’s first year at BC.


    2. Yes. Why delay an announcement to make fans believe there is a competition. Haha. If the competition is won, it’s won.


  40. Spring Game question:

    What is the reasoning to take a knee with 35 seconds left before halftime?

    I’m impressed with CV and NY at QB 2 & 3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have to practice taking a knee. It doesn’t come naturally to competitors and it has to be done just right. And it’s not just taking a knee, it’s also necessary to practice getting back up. And just think of all the athletes who have been injured because they didn’t practice celebrating. Edwin Diaz wouldn’t be missing the season if only he’d practiced jumping up and down. And remember Gus Frerotte who sprained his neck because he missed wall head-butting practice. There’s a lot more to the game than just X’s and O’s.


      Liked by 2 people

  41. Well Gordon, I’ll have to disagree again. We see kids in the transfer portal every single year who are D1 players and and also feel that no matter how competitive they are and no matter how hard they bust their ass the coaching staff isn’t going to give then a honest shot at starting…

    Just ask Nick Patti. Why do we believe he left Pitt? Because as soon as Cignetti got his own QB on the roster the deck was stacked against him.

    What Patti should have done is read this blog over the past four years to see how the QBs Narduzzi has convinced to play here did for us. They basically fell flat on their faces. Sure, they had a game or two that got our hopes up but, as stated in the article above, neither one lived up to any percentage of the hype from the pundits and coaching staff.

    Look, Slovis had pretty much the same success as Jurkovec had at BC. I do remember the grand hopes Pitt fans pinned on him this time last year and what did that matter once he put on a Pitt uniform. Not much.

    Last season Jurkovec could have played after his injury but after the “UCONN Debacle” HC Hafley sat him down for the rest of the season
    . He slid downhill from the field of play, to the bench, then right into the transfer portal. Almost exactly what Sovis did after his poor play then benching before coming to Pitt.

    And guess what? I’ll bet you two of Fran’s beers at the next tailgate that PN gave Browne & Slovis the same concrete assurances that they would start right off the bat as I’m pretty convinced he gave Jurkovec before he signed on the dotted line.

    I’ll say again. Anointing someone coming into the unit with the top dog position in any walk of life without giving the existing members a true and fair shot at it also is detrimental to the group as a whole.

    I hope Jurkovec plays lights out if he’s the starter but I want him to actually earn the job first.


    1. You folks have been way too kind about Slovis. He was a talentless hack, slow to make reads, slow as a runner, took 5-7 seconds to set up for pass and with one of the weakest arms in all of football. The fact that Narduzzi stuck with him over Patti cost Pitt at least two games last year shows his ignorance as a head coach and his complete inability to get involved or understand offense!!


      1. Sorry Dan but I am tired of hearing how Patti who got knocked out after one series in a bowl game, gimped his way through the Tennessee game, was unavailable for the next game, was somehow obviously a better choice than Slovis who won seven games.
        He probably would not have made it past the WV game if he were the starter.
        Slovis had to follow KP and without Addison. He beat WV and Miami in the same season, something only done by 2 or 3 other guys. To call him a talentless hack with one of the weakest arms in all of football is just a bit hyperbolic.

        While I agree he had his faults he was no bum. He did get the bum rush out of town, mostly because it is hard to follow a legend.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’d suggest you listen to Nick Patti’s interview with Chris Peak after last season if you haven’t already. It’s a good listen.


      1. Correct, and it will make you like the young man even more. Unfortunate you will probably doubt Duzz & Cig’s judgement even more.


  42. Reed, Slovis won 7 games and got knocked out of one and missed an easy one. In the year previous to the ACC Championship Pitt with KP won 6 games total. Football is a team sport.

    While I agree that the best guy doesn’t always get rewarded coaches are hired to make the tough decisions. Kids can obviously enter the portal whenever they like to try to improve their situation. It is Cignetti’s and Narduzzi’s prerogative to decide who and when individuals win jobs. Do they always get it right, of course not, no coach does.
    You are assuming that that CV hasn’t been given a fair chance to win the job. We don’t know that. We also don’t know that Patti wasn’t given a fair shot or why he chose to end his football career. I certainly hope that players are not reading this blog to get career advice from bunch of opinionated old fans.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Who are you calling old? I don’t look a day over 66. And I’m not assuming anything. I’m saying that IF PN told Jurkovec he had to job before there was a true competition I think that is poor leadership.

      Players do read the blog, or at least used to when I was interviewing them on Media Day, but I’m sure they don’t make decisions based on this or any media outlets.

      Quick story: toward the end of my Coast Guard career I held a collateral duty job as a State Department Liason Officer (we had two from HQ & it is a big feather in the promotion cap). I was retiring and my Admiral asked me to determine which of the two candidates should take over and that I should interview both and choose.

      My immediate supervisor was a Captain (high rank) and told me he wanted Commander X because he was an Academy graduate and Commander Y wasn’t.

      I conducted the interviews and Commander Y was head and shoulders above the Academy guy and so I told the Admiral my choice. He was fine with it but my Captain hit the roof and threatened me (rather stupidly as he did it in public and I was retiring in a month anyway.)

      Of course the Admiral had my back and the Captain was transferred out early.

      Now, every member of the command knew Commander X would have been a poor choice and it would have had a real negative impact on the unit had I bent to the pressure from my Captain. It was the right decision for me to make but I went into those interviews with an open mind and ensured a level playing field for them to convince me they were the better choice, even though everyone knew one guy was a way better officer than the other.

      This may not mirror the Pitt QB situation exactly but I needed to insure that all concerned knew that it was a fair and honest competition. If the fix was in and I went along with it team morale would have suffered and the members would have been distrustful of their senior officers.

      Just saying…

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Just finished watching the Spring Game. As far as QBs, we may have the best QB room since the Marino era except for Pickett. Jurc is a tough finesse QB who can make all the throws, run like a fullback and provide experienced leadership to Pitt! Stage is not too big for him!

    CV has a rifle for an arm and a slick touch on his long throws. Either one is better than anything we’ve had for years other than Pickett.
    The fact he has big time game experience is a huge asset!!

    Means really can hi point catches and our starting backfield looks solid, especially Carter.

    What a beautiful day you had. Spring game brings back a ton of memories. My first two 1958 and 1959. H2P


  44. Doing my daily check of the TP. I think we have a winner for shortest time at a school before entering the TP.

    Shawn Battle signed his LOI with Boston College 12/21/22. Per 24/7, he enrolled at BC on 3/10/23. (I’m assuming BC is on a trimester system.) He entered the portal today 4/19/2023.

    Here is his 24/7 recruiting page. Scroll down and read the 24/7 article on his decision. Read the comments. Hafley is not a beloved HC.



    1. Wow. One of BC’s better recruits, enrolls early, has spring ball, then jumps ship.

      He had a nice offer list, including Pitt, but we didn’t make his final five. Looks like that’s the good news…

      Go Pitt.


      1. That probably is a good sign for Pitt who has BC on the schedule for 2023. Unless HC Hafley strikes gold in the portal over the next few months, Shawn Battle’s departure is probably a sign that BC FB is going to be bad.

        I use the word “probably” carefully as Pitt and Duzz have struggled against the Eagles.


  45. Speaking of struggles, Pitt baseball lost to wvcc last night at PNC Park. Pitt and Pittsburgh’s very own National Champion wrestler Nino “Bambino” threw out the first pitch (could have used his arm in middle relief ).

    The Panthers jumped out to a 4-0 lead after 2-1/2 innings but the bats were silenced and the pitching arms weakened as the eers stormed ahead for a 9-4 win. The go ahead run was walked in during the bottom of the 3rd inning.

    The eers have owned our HC with many of those games over the last 5 years being played at PNC Park.

    Mike “Taco” Bell was going for his 100th win last night – instead he earned his 105th loss.


    1. After watching us blow the 4 to 0 lead, I had to turn it off. This team is having a rough year…poor pitching and poor fielding. Not sure what the solution is.


  46. I don’t know if Alston is a big loss but Pitt needs some more receivers. Hopefully productive ones.


  47. Pitt softball hosts #6 Clemson this weekend. The Tigers started their program just 3 years ago and are 41-5 on this, just their 3rd season.

    Pitt is 1-5 vs the start-up Clemson program over the past two seasons.


  48. Hope PJ is as good as advertised — Ian Book was very good at ND so hard to criticize him for not getting the nod there…BC numbers okay but not overly impressive. Maybe he puts it together like Pickett did in his last season but really hoping Duzz is able to switch gears if needed. Cignetti’s running game should take pressure off QBs from having to star every game, but certain throws have to be made — Slovis missed too many of them last year.


    1. I think we’ll see a much more balanced offense this year. The line should be better if they stay healthy this year. Mumpfield and Means have had a year in the system. The running game should be solid with depth. Plus a reliable kicker returns.


Comments are closed.