Without actually anointing him as the starting quarterback at the University of Pittsburgh, head coach Dave Wannstedt all but handed the job to junior Bill Stull after another solid performance during the Panthers second intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning at the UPMC Sports Complex.
"I think it's Billy's job today, but I'm not going to name a starter yet,'' Wannstedt said. "We've got another scrimmage coming up (Wednesday) and a couple more two-a-days, but I'm pleased with the progress that Billy's making. (So), it's Billy's job, and we'll see what happens.
"I know we can win with Billy Stull, and I have all the confidence in the world in him, as do the coaches and the players on this team. ... So, the better football team that we become over the next few years, the more this competition's going to be getting better and better.''
Neither of the three Pitt quarterbacks threw for a lot of yardage, but Stull and Bostick were fairly efficient. Stull completed 9 of 15 passes for 58 yards with one touchdown to T.J. Porter from 11 yards out and one badly thrown pass that was intercepted by outside linebacker Shane Murray that was easily returned for a touchdown.
Bostick was even sharper at 10-for-13 for 79 yards and two touchdowns, a long toss of 17 yards, and no picks. He played almost exclusively with the third-team players Saturday morning. The media requested to talk to him afterward, but he was not brought out.
"It was good for Pat,'' Wannstedt said. "He got about 25 plays, and I think he did great. When you talk about just showing up four days ago and coming in and getting with his teammates and the media and all that's involved with that, from the start I thought he responded well and got his feet wet.''
When asked if he thought that Bostick still had a shot to compete for the starting job, Wannstedt answered no, but quickly added that "I think we just keep competing.'' So, while a starter isn't likely to be named for at least another week, Stull certainly has the look of a No. 1 quarterback.
"Once again, we started off a little slow, and I'll take the blame for that,'' Stull said. "But once we got going, everything went pretty smooth, especially on the ground. Every time we get down in the red zone we try to put up 6, and we did a good job with that. We had a good percentage down there.
"I need to make better decisions, clean up the pick that I made, and never do it again. Coach says you can only control the things that you do, and if that's watching more film then that's what I'll do until I don't make any mistakes. And I definitely don't want to make the same mistakes more than once.''
Redshirt freshman Kevan Smith was the least consistent among the three quarterbacks. He was 6-for-12 for 34 yards with three interceptions, three sacks and no touchdowns. His long pass was for 15 yards.
Redshirt junior Marcel Pestano and redshirt sophomore Oderick Turner were the first-team wideouts for Stull, but the backups got more work. Walk-on Austin Ransom caught three passes for 30 yards and one 17-yard score from Bostick, while Aundre Wright had the other scoring toss from him. Wright also burned the defense for 34 yards on a reverse to validate claims from his teammates that he's the fastest player on the team.
The starting linebackers were Scott McKillop in the middle with Murray and Adam Gunn on the outside. Scott McKillop led all tacklers with nine total stops, including four solo. Cornerback Ricky Gary and safety Dom DeCicco had interceptions, as did defensive tackle John Malecki off a batted pass by end Jabaal Sheard. Defensive end Chris McKillop had two sacks, while outside linebacker Jemeel Brady had one.
"The defense as a whole, I think we did a good job,'' Scott McKillop said. "The first couple series we did pretty well, but maybe the third series the offense drove the ball on us. And the offense got into a rhythm and got some big plays, so we have to work on that and how to react to adversity.
"But we had a bunch of big plays and interceptions, too. They had some big plays, but that's going to happen. It matters what you do after that, how you respond to those plays after they happen. And that's what we need to look at and see if we can handle it a lot better than we have.''
The Panthers have completed two weeks of training camp and have one to go. they practice once Sunday afternoon and Tuesday, twice Monday and Wednesday, with the third and final scrimmage from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The annual FanFest is from 6-9:15 p.m. Thursday at Heinz Field, and camp ends with a workout Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Stull's The Man
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