Bostick Says He's No Playmaker

To paraphrase former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, there's a fine line between being a playmaker and just managing a football game.

After passing for more than 7,000 yards and 82 touchdowns at Manheim Township, Pa. High School, Pitt freshman quarterback Pat Bostick certainly made more than his share of big plays. Bostick has also made a few during his brief stint as the Panthers starter this season, but he certainly doesn't consider himself to be a playmaker.

Bostick gets his third straight start when Pittsburgh (2-4) plays host to 23rd-ranked Cincinnati (6-1) Saturday at noon at Heinz Field.

"If you go out and stress too much to be a caretaker -- which isn't really a bad thing against a team like Cincinnati that leads the country in forcing turnovers -- I think you tend to get happy feet and maybe bypass open guys,'' Bostick said. "So, I'm not going to look at it ... as playing it safe.

"I'm not going to hold back, but at the same time you can't really cut loose. So, I have to find the happy medium to win football games. The Connecticut game was more of a gunslinger-type game, obviously, throwing 44 times in one half, but the past couple games we've been trying to find that medium. But the bottom line is that we've still got to eliminate turnovers.''

Instead of calling himself a playmaker, however, Bostick has a different idea.

"On the field, I try to take on the moniker of making sure that I can help the guys make the plays that they want to make, that I'm going to get the ball there and they can make the plays,'' Bostick said. "It's not me making the plays. I just have to put the ball in a position for them to make the plays. That takes confidence from me, so I'm very confident on the field.

"And I believe we have a lot of confidence in our offense. But I don't like to boast or brag. And I don't look at myself as anybody but a guy just trying to do his job. Honestly, I felt like if I was going to play ... I thought that with the talent that we have, I wouldn't have to force the issue and be a spark. With all the weapons that we have, it's my job to get them the ball to make plays.

"If doing that provides a spark for the offense, that's great,'' Bostick added. "But I just look at it as something I need to do. If you ask Shady about that, you might get a different answer, because he is a playmaker. He's a total playmaker. I just try to do my job and let those guys make plays for me. ... I just think we have a lot of playmakers and a lot of leaders on this offense, so we just have to put it all together to see what we can do.''

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt called Bostick a playmaker after the Navy game, despite what the young quarterback believed.

"He was good,'' Wannstedt said. "He never really forced anything. He made a couple plays when he was in a little bit of trouble. I was very pleased with him. He's getting better all the time.''

For his part, Bostick has been looking for balance on offense and balance in his life as a student-athlete at Pitt.

"I think for the most part that I've settled in, but the most difficult thing ... the biggest challenge, I'll say, is to balance everything,'' Bostick said. "I have my priorities straight. I'm here a lot, and I'm doing everything that I can to help this team win. As far as transitioning, I guess it's getting there.

"Football-wise, I'm comfortable with our practice schedule and playing in the games on Saturdays. So, I feel good about that. But it's the middle of football season, and things are going 100 miles an hour. So, it's probably going to be a little while until I can actually settle in and put a lot more time into school. But that's probably the case with all the guys on this team.

"Sure, I was happy with the balance we had in the last game,'' Bostick added, "but I'd rather have the win. I know that sounds like a broken record, but the only important thing is to get a win. The balance was good, and the offensive output was good. The passing yardage was OK, but I'd rather win the game.''

As the starting quarterback, some might believe that Bostick needs to take charge of Pitt's offense for the Panthers to be successful.

"It's as much my team as it is the other starters on offense and defense,'' Bostick said. "There's 22 starters out there, and it's our team. I'm listed as the starting quarterback in the program, but it's just as much the other starters' team as it is mine. The same thing for the other 90 guys on the team. That might sound like a cliché, but it's everyone's team.

"It's Coach Wannstedt's team as well, but we have to take ownership of this team. And we have to take it to a level where everyone, not just the starters, but ... everyone has to take ownership in their part of the team, and the result will be something good.''

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