By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — It appears to many that redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri is gaining on fifth-year senior starting quarterback Bill Stull, as the Pitt football team is in its second training-camp practice week.
However, Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt did not subscribe to that theory.
“I would just say that (Tino Sunseri) is having a good camp, but so is Pat Bostick and Bill Stull,” Wannstedt said. “So, we’re evaluating them every day and talking about it four times a day as coaches, but things are status quo.
“It’s just the first week into it, and we haven’t even had a live scrimmage yet. Tomorrow will separate a lot when we turn everybody loose. But Tino is making progress, and he’s getting better. He’s learning a lot, and I’m very encouraged with where he’s at right now.”
The Panthers will hold their initial intra-squad scrimmage Tuesday afternoon, following a morning walk-through, and the quarterback play will be closely monitored by the coaching staff, the media and Pitt’s fan base.
Wannstedt believed that position, as well as several others where guys are competing for playing time, since there will be “no coaches on the field, the players will be on their own, and officials will be used.
Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti offered his thoughts on what it will take to be the Panthers’ starting quarterback.
“When adversity strikes, he must be able to overcome it,” Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti said. “So, the mind-set is going to be very important. Who can run the offense? Who can keep us away from bad plays? Which quarterback will go out there and compete? Who wants the ball in his hand?
“Who wants to make the play? And also which quarterback is going to protect the ball? So, which quarterback can manage the game? Which quarterback can protect the ball? And which quarterback can make the best decisions? There’s run-game decisions to be made and pass-protection decisions to be made.
“And, obviously, every time he drops back to throw the ball there’s a decision to be made on where to throw it,” Cignetti added. “So, whoever is the most decisive decision-maker that completes the ball. You must be able to complete the ball, that guy has the best chance to be our starting quarterback.”
Stull and Sunseri got the majority of the first-team snaps, while Bostick was relegated primarily to second-team work in the two-minute drill Monday. Sunseri and Bostick were the most effective under pressure. Stull appeared to get rattled and didn’t make many plays.
Stull was picked off by Ricky Gary on the first series in the two-minute drill, which actually is only 90 seconds. He did have a nice pass to Jonathan Baldwin down the middle, but Dom DeCicco made a big play. And under pressure, he unloaded the ball into the flat where Gary was the most open.
Sunseri utilized Baldwin on his series with the first group, connecting on a crossing pattern for about 15 yards. The two also hooked up on consecutive shots downfield on cornerback Jovani Chappel. The first set up a first-and-goal, and the second was a lob for the score.
Bostick threw two big passes to Aaron Smith, beating Antwuan Reed to change field position and for a touchdown in front of Jason Hendricks.