Don't Worry About The QBs

While the University of Pittsburgh's football fans might be concerned about the team's developing quarterback derby this summer, don't count a Pitt offensive captain among that growing group.

Senior wideout Derek Kinder believes that either junior Bill Stull, redshirt freshman Kevan Smith or frosh Pat Bostick could lead the Panthers this fall even though Stull is the only one with experience. Stull has played in six games during his first two college seasons, while Smith has had just one year in the program. Bostick, kind of a wild-card in the mix, has only been on campus a few weeks and hasn't even graduated yet from high school.

"I think all three of the people in competition right now all have the ability to step in and do a good job,'' Kinder said. "They all have some leadership skills, and they all have different abilities. They have strong arms and are athletic.''

Bostick has been shuttling back and forth from Pitt's UPMC Sports Complex to Manheim Township, Pa., his hometown, to complete his requirements for high school graduation. Even though he's been taking classes at Pitt, he still hasn't been working out there on a full-time basis.

"Bostick, he's picked up the offense rather well thus far,'' Kinder said. "So, I'm real impressed with that, but I really believe that all three of them have a shot to be the starter. And I trust that any one of them, whoever does win the starting job, can step in and help us win.

"I think that Bostick got a playbook early, and he came to some meetings in the spring. So, that really helped him advance and learn the offense a lot quicker than most freshmen.

"And throughout our 7-on-7s, I can tell that he's ahead of the game from where a freshman should be. And that's going to be a big help. So, when camp starts in August, he'll definitely have a chance to step in and play.''

While Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt has consistently noted that the starting quarterback position is open right now, sophomore tight end Nate Byham believed that Stull had to have an edge with Smith pushing him.

"As far as the quarterback spot goes, I know only Bill has taken a few snaps in a game,'' Byham said. "Kevan and Pat are just freshmen, but at least Kevan has been here one season. I really believe it's going to come down to Bill and Kevan, because it's so tough for a freshman to come in and play at this level. And it's even tougher when that freshman's a quarterback.

"Pat's only been here for two weeks, and he's done a good job. But it's a tough task to ask a freshman to come in and win a starting job, let alone a quarterback. I know when I got here, I thought I could do it. But it was so tough. If he does it, I'm sure he'll do a good job, but it'll be a tough task.''

Byham added that while the offense might get off to a slow start this season due to its inexperienced signal-caller, he remained confident that things would eventually come together for the Panthers.

"We have a lot of talent around our quarterbacks on offense, and that's going to be a big help,'' Byham said. "So, I don't think we need to worry about our quarterbacks. All the weight isn't going to be on their shoulders, and that should give them some time to get comfortable.''

And it should allow Pitt fans to rest a little easier about the team's quarterback situation this season.

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