Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wrapping Up

Ray Fittipaldo of the PG confirms something I posted yesterday - that Coach Wannstedt didn't have the most logical of reasons for Bill Stull remaining the starter after a lackluster camp:

"I'm just trying to be about as honest about it as I can. He has 13 starts under his belt, so he's our starting quarterback. I feel good about the other guys and I feel good about Billy."

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement from the coach a week and a half before the season starts.

I'm not ready to throw Bill Stull under the bus and am more than willing to give him a chance. I just hope that if he struggles, someone else will get a look. Based on the number of reps that Sunseri got in camp, I think that he would get a shot.

Rod Rutherford is of course familiar with this situation:

As a mini-quarterback controversy swirls around Pitt, one Panthers staff member knows exactly what incumbent Bill Stull is going through.

Rod Rutherford, a first-year graduate assistant, heard the same type of clamoring in 2002 as a junior quarterback for the Panthers.

Just like this year, there were calls to bench the maligned upperclassman in favor of a gifted freshman with local ties.

Back then, it was true freshman Tyler Palko. These days, it is redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri, who attended the same high school as Dan Marino and excelled at training camp for the Big East-favorite Panthers.

"My advice to Billy would be just to continue to do the things that you can control," Rutherford said. "Let everybody else say or do whatever they want."

Things worked out pretty well for both Rod and Tyler.

With camp over, I'm more than happy to shift my attention to actual games. Stay tuned.


  1. Actually that quote from DW is about an accurate statement of the situation as possible... neither Sunseri or Bostick played well enough in camp to unseat the experienced returning starter. Sunseri stated off camp doing pretty well - against the second and third string defenses. During the last week of camp when the staff split the reps between Stull and Sunseri against our first team defense it was a different story altogether.

    As is done countless times in sports - when there is no other compelling reason to change - go with experience.

  2. Ordinarily I tend to agree with that sentiment. But when you have a quarterback who has struggled as Stull did at the end of last season (and according to reports at camp that he hasn't played much better so far this year), experience at some point has to be disregarded.

    I don't particularly have a big problem with Stull starting. I just think that should he struggle, the leash should not be long.

  3. I agree to a point. What fans have to understand about the Sunseri situation is that 'you get what you wish for" sometimes - and that's not always going to have a positive outcome.

    Here's what we know about Sunseri - he throws a great pass, perfect spirals, quick and pretty accurate.

    That's about it.

    What scares me with him though is the big drop off he had from the beginning of camp when he was doing well against the second and third defenses, to the rather poor performance he showed against the number one defense - and it was a marked difference, but one that few Sunseri fanatics want to acknowledge.

    So, I would be very hesitant to throw Sunseri in for major playing time without his getting his feet under him with safe gametime experience - which is DW's approach also I think.

    On the other hand - its entirely possible for Stull to struggle at first and then hit his stride. Possibly. In that case I'd think you leave him in to get snaps... as long as it's not costing us games.

    In essence it's a crap shoot and I think a tough decision - but I do know one thing - Sunseri is no lock for success as a starting QB. He has potential to be good just like other players, but fans who see him as a sure thing are overreacting to some camp success, and that may end up disappointing in the long run.

    I'd love for PITT to have a QB who reaches a high level of production and stays starter for multiple years - and I think Sunseri could be that guy. But I sure as hell don't want to gamble a season on 'potential' when we may well have a good shot at a strong season otherwise.