Perhaps the biggest way Paul Chryst can impact this Pitt team is by putting his stamp on Pitt's quarterback position the way he did at Wisconsin. In fact, here's a look at what Chryst's quarterbacks did in his tenure as offensive coordinator at Wisconsin and Oregon State.
2011 Russell Wilson 225-309 (72.8%), 3,175 yards 33 TD, 3 INT
2010 Scott Tolzien 194-266 (72.9%), 2,459 yards 16 TD, 6 INT
2009 Scott Tolzien 211-328 (64.3%), 2,705 yards 16 TD, 11 INT
2008 Dustin Sherer 104-191 (54.4%), 1,389 yards 6 TD, 5 INT
2007 Tyler Donovan 193-333 (58.0%), 2,607 yards 17 TD, 11 INT
2006 John Stocco 158-268 (59.0%), 2,185 yards 17 TD, 6 INT
2005 John Stocco 197-328 (60.1%), 2,920 yards 21 TD, 9 INT
During the same stretch, here's what Pitt's quarterbacks—the leading passer in each season—have done:
2011 Tino Sunseri 247-385 (64.2%), 2,616 yards 10 TD, 11 INT
2010 Tino Sunseri 223-346 (64.5%), 2,572 yards 16 TD, 9 INT
2009 Bill Stull 209-321 (65.1%), 2,633 yards 21 TD, 8 INT
2008 Bill Stull 188-330 (57.0%), 2,356 yards 9 TD, 10 INT
2007 Pat Bostick 155-242 (61.5%), 1,500 yards 8 TD, 13 INT
2006 Tyler Palko 220-322 (68.3%), 2,871 yards 25 TD, 9 INT
2005 Tyler Palko 193-341 (56.6%), 2,392 yards 17 TD, 9 INT
2004 Tyler Palko 230-409 (56.2%), 3,067 yards 24 TD, 7 INT
2003 Rod Rutherford 247-413 (59.8%) 3,679 yards 37 TD, 14 INT
The last two years, Chryst's quarterbacks—Scott Tolzien and Russell Wilson—had as efficient a year as any quarterback in college football, both with completion percentages in the 70s, both with a high touchdown to interception ratio. Tino Sunseri connected on 64 percent of his passes—a pretty good number—but not nearly as efficient as Tolzien and Wilson.
Can Chryst turn Sunseri into another Tolzien or Wilson? The scenario is certainly similar, as for a third year in a row, Chryst will be working with a senior. This time last year, Chryst had no idea he would have Wilson under his tutelage. Two years ago, though Tolzien's passing yardage dropped a little, he was more efficient—throwing less interceptions in 2010. That's what Chryst will be in charge of, or at least under close watch with in his first year at Pitt. Fans are clamoring to see how much Voytik will impact the position. We won't get to see much of that in the spring as Chryst will work with Sunseri, Mark Myers and Trey Anderson. There's also the possibility of Anthony Gonzalez moving back to quarterback, and even E.J. Banks moving over to add some competition. Voytik will then join the team in August.
There were a couple questions tossed at Chryst on signing day about the quarterback position. One asked him his policy on getting freshmen playing time. The other was geared towards his philosophy on freshmen quarterbacks.
"Anyone new to the program is new," Chryst said, answering a question on freshmen playing. "That certainly could be a possibility."
As for freshmen quarterbacks, Chryst says he's seen freshmen come in and start. He hasn't had any, but he knows it's possible. He also knows there's a tough transition for any player regardless of position, in getting to the field as a true freshman.
"I've seen them, I haven't been with them, but I've been in conferences where they've been at," Chryst said. "The one thing that I know is that Chad will get opportunities. The decisions are made on the field.
"It's tougher on a freshman than it is an upperclassman. I do believe you have a window. You have five years to play four. You want to make sure you can maximize the experience with the player. I think just first thing with quarterback, is can they throw. There's a lot of different types of throws. Talking to (Voytik), he understands and appreciates the position. He checks in on a lot of different categories."