Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Wrap-Up

So Spring ball has now concluded and it's a good time for a few last thoughts.

The question about the starting QB position appears to be answered. Even though I havne't seen an official announcement, here's what we know:

- Tino Sunseri took a greater number of the first-team reps in practice.

- Sunseri played much better in the Blue-Gold game.

- Comments by the coaching staff seem to slightly favor Sunseri.

As I alluded to yesterday, Wannstedt seemed like Tino was his favorite and in comments about Bostick, there was a lot of talk about, and I'm paraphrasing here, not to leave Bostick out of the discussion. I think it's a done deal. And I give Wannstedt credit for putting himself in position to do what he said he wanted to do - name a starting QB by the end of the Spring. He hasn't done that yet, but it appears he's in a position to do that. The advantage is that Tino can take the bulk of the snaps in the Fall and give himself time to get in sync with teammates. And if he really struggles early on, there's nothing that says he can't go back to opening it up (though I think once Tino is named, he'd really need to struggle for Wannstedt to do that).

Looking back at the Spring game, the easy observation is the whole caveman "Offense good. Defense bad" theory. But you've a few reasons that contributed to the defense's domination:

1. The offense was likely watered down due to the game being televised nationally:
"I don't think there was much concern about [scoring only one touchdown]," said quarterback Tino Sunseri, who completed 9 of 17 passes for 82 yards. He scored the lone touchdown on a 9-yard run on a bootleg.

"We wanted to keep it very simple because [the game] was on the NFL Network and things of that nature, and we wanted to establish the ground game and get certain guys touches and we wanted to spread the ball around and we did a good job of that.

"It was very vanilla by design. We wanted to come out here and just do some things that were very basic in our offense."
2. The offense's two stars, Dion Lewis and Jonathan Baldwin didn't play a whole lot. Lewis did nothing to make fans think he won't have a strong season with that long run yesterday.

3. The wind didn't help.

Plus, I think defenses tend to do a little better in these types of games. It's early in the season and the offense is working with a new quarterback and many new players on the O-Line. It will take some time to grow, but I'm not concerned at this point.

Moving on from the final game, it looks like Greg Cross is finally going to get his chance. After scoring a TD on his first play with Pitt, I think it's safe to say that no one thought that was the last we'd really see of him. But that's exactly what happened. It's premature to think he's going to come in and have the same impact as Dorin Dickerson did in moving to tight end. Pitt has several quality receivers including Baldwin, Mike Shanahan, and Devin Street and it may be hard to crack that rotation. But I'm glad it appears he's at least going to get a shot.

Looking at tight end: Call me crazy, but while I don't expect the same production in terms of touchdowns from the position this year with the loss of Dickerson, I think Pitt fans will be pleasantly surprised by the the production the position produces this year. Much of the success at tight end had to do with Dickerson being an absolute freak. But I think Offensive Coordinator Frank Cignetti really knows what he's doing and I believe he'll find a way to again get good numbers at that spot.

Of course we'll know more once the Fall comes and we'll see if any incoming freshmen can make an impact. There's much work to be done and I can't help but think that Wannstedt would much rather have New Hampshire as the opener rather than a tough road game at Utah. Still, should be an exciting season.


  1. Small correction: Bostick didn't get any reps with the first team offense all Spring. Sunseri took every one of them.

    While I understand you're complimenting regarding DW "doing what he'd said he'd do" in regards to having a QB1 at the end of Spring camp - he also did the exact opposite when he said there would be an open competition for the starting QB position during camp. So there is no way he can 'go back to opening it up'... but I agree, it will take a magnitude of great failure for DW to look at Bostick apparently.

  2. I agree with you to a point - Wannstedt may not have been completely honest in saying it would be an open competition, but I think it probably was open to a degree. If Bostick had come out and really outplayed Tino early on, he might have been given more of an opportunity later in the Spring and a chance to work with the first team. By all indications, that didn't happen.

    I believe Wannstedt may have had Tino in as the favorite going into the Spring, and thus, he got the first team reps. But if Bostick had done more with his work with the second team in either of the scrimmages, it still might be open. Not saying he was awful, but from everything I've read, it seems as if Tino has played slightly better. And he certainly looked better in the Blue-Gold game.

    Even though I haven't seen anything official on it yet, I do believe that Tino is now the starter.

    So, technically, I believe it was open to a degree. Bostick probably really needed to come out and knock the socks off of the coaching staff, but I do believe he was given a chance to win the job.

  3. I'll disagree also. Especially since DW was stating - at the same time he was espousing an open competition - that Sunseri was "no.1"... Cignetti said the same thing.

    BTW - Bostick did outplay Sunseri over the first two scrimmages - at one point Sunseri had five scrimmage INTs to Bostick's one - and still Bostick never got even one snap with the first team offense.

    Think about that - not even one snap in 15 practices! That sure as hell isn't an open competition by anyone's definition.

    Lest my opinions be misconstrued I agree with Sunseri being on top of the depth chart at this point. My problem has been the way it was handled by the staff.