Smith Appears To Have An Edge

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh didn't shed any light Tuesday on who will be the Panthers' starting quarterback against Grambling State Saturday at noon at Heinz Field, but all indications are that redshirt freshman Kevan Smith with open the game.

Freshman Pat Bostick will compete with Kevan Smith this week in practice, according to the Pittsburgh coaches but unless he can clearly outplay him it looks like Smith will get the start. And Bostick will play some as the backup.

"It'll be a little bit of a challenge, but Kevan got a lot of work in the spring and summer and had a good summer camp last year,'' Cavanaugh said. "Bostick is getting caught up after missing some time during summer camp, but he's been back for a while and is doing much better.

"So, it's a challenge for all of us, but we've got some people around those quarterbacks. And I've told them that this is not something that they have to go out and do by themselves. So, we've got enough talent around them that they should function very well.''

Wannstedt said that the two would split time with the first team in practice, but several players believed that Smith had the edge.

"We're behind Kevan Smith 100 percent,'' fifth-year senior cornerback Kennard Cox said, "just like we were behind Bill. ... Right now, he should be the starter. It's his time. Bill went down, and it's a bad time for us. But we have to keep pushing on and keep moving forward. So, we're behind Kevan or Pat, whoever gets behind center Saturday.''

One of those weapons Cavanaugh referred to is redshirt junior wideout Marcel Pestano. A starter along with redshirt sophomore Oderick Turner, Pestano had three catches for 72 yards to lead Pitt against Eastern Michigan. And he had a long catch of 41 yards.

"We're really not worried about our quarterback situation, because I think that both guys have enough capability and ability to step in and do a great job,'' Pestano said. "They're both young, and they're both good players.

"Kevan's been getting most of the reps with the first group, but Pat's a great player, too. And no matter who steps in, I think they'll both do a great job and get the job done. (And) they both can throw the deep ball real well.''

Wannstedt and Cavanaugh both said that they expected to make a decision about the starter by Friday, but the head coach didn't rule out waiting until game time Saturday.

"I think both guys have to be prepared to play,'' Wannstedt said, "but we'll see how they execute the offense and prepare themselves for the game, how their presence and demeanor with the other players is on the field. ... Being around me and Matt and Tyler and seeing how we've done things, Kevan probably has a better feel today for what we have to do to win.

"I would hope so, but Pat has not shown any signs of trying to win a game by himself. Pat's pretty smart, and we'll find out this week when we start calling plays in practice. It'll be pretty obvious where their mindset is. I foresee both guys playing regardless, and (Bostick) is excited about playing, (so) he'll be prepared to play Saturday one way or another. And he's excited about it.''

And he'll need to be ready, because he's one play away from starting.

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