April 18, 2007
Spring wrap-up: Quarterbacks
Entering spring camp, the big question on everyone's mind regarding the Pitt football team concerned the quarterback position: with the graduation of three-year starter Tyler Palko, who would step in and take over the spot?
For head coach Dave Wannstedt, it was a question that needed to be asked but didn't exactly require an answer. Or, at the very least, it was a question that didn't need an answer this spring. As such, with no imperative to name a starter coming out of spring camp, Wannstedt and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh focused on getting the two candidates accustomed to the offense and improving their fundamentals.
Fortunately for the quarterbacks (and their coaches), the Pitt offense also returned last season's starters at tailback, fullback, flanker, and split end, a veteran tight end, and a fair allotment of playmaking underclassmen at running back, wide receiver, and tight end. And while the offensive line had its struggles at times this spring, the unit was comprised almost completely of returning starters, and when one starter on the line went down with an injury, his replacement excelled.
To add to the assortment of talented players surrounding the quarterbacks, Cavanaugh and Wannstedt made a point of repeatedly stating the fact that they did not want the quarterbacks to feel, at any point, as if they had to win the game themselves. Some called it a 'vanilla' offense, some called it safe play-calling, but the goal was to create a comfort level and give the quarterbacks an opportunity to succeed.
As such, there were moments of success for the Pitt offense this spring. But, as is to be expected, there were also moments of uncertainty, poor decision-making, and general sloppiness.
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