Quarterback Picture is still Cloudy

Dave Wannstedt said that after last year's spring scrimmage, he didn't know if he had one quarterback who could take the lead. Now after this year's Blue-Gold game, he has too many to pick from.

Not that he's complaining. Bill Stull, Kevan Smith, Pat Bostick and Greg Cross all performed during this year's scrimmage, and Wannstedt said he would have to sit down and try to figure out a depth chart for the position that was perhaps the biggest liability last year.

"I was pleased with all the quarterbacks today," Wannstedt said after Saturday's scrimmage. "We're going to have to sit down and figure this thing out. It's a good problem to have."

Start with Stull, who's been the top quarterback all spring. He showed why during Pitt's first drive, completing all of his six passes to five different receivers, marching the offense down the field for a score – a 1-yard LeSean McCoy run that was set up by a 17-yard connection from Stull to tight end Dorin Dickerson.

"I didn't even know I hit five different guys until somebody told me on the sidelines," Stull said. "I know what Coach [Matt] Cavanaugh is trying to do with each play that's called. I was just sticking to my reads and trying to find the open guys. It just so happened I was able to get the ball off real quick to my first read."

Stull finished the day 7 for 10 for 56 yards, pacing an offensive scrimmage that was sharper than years past.

"Usually, it's been like, first series make some mistakes. I throw a pick or something," Stull said. "Then on the second series we start rolling. I think it was awesome that we were able to get the first series under our belts and put six on the board."

Stull didn't play the second series, but Bostick did, and completed 5 of 7 passes, leading to a Conor Lee field goal. Bostick threw the most of any of the four quarterbacks who played, completing an efficient 11 of 15 passes for 105 yards, what Wannstedt called "a good day."

After being thrust into a starting role and showing signs of struggles last year, Bostick has slimmed down physically and has grown mentally.

"It's just a physical transformation, and just the confidence factor," Bostick said. "But I wanted to put a little zip on some balls. I think it just shows people that I have made some improvements, and I am getting better. The next step, I'll become a better player. But right now I'm far from being the player I can be and I want to be."

Bostick said he knows that comes with hard work, and after breaking through a "mental barrier" last season, he's in for the long haul.

"It's not a sprint. It's kind of a marathon. Day in and day out, you got to show up to work. That's my attitude," Bostick said. "No matter what day it is or what the circumstances are, I'm going to bring the same attitude. When the dust settles, I'm going to be there to help the team, and I'm going to put all I got into everything."

Bostick was in a similar situation with Kevan Smith last year, both first-year quarterbacks thrust into starting roles. Similarly, Smith also seems to be improving in his areas of need.

"I think he's more accurate," Wannstedt said. "Kevan's always had a strong enough arm. He's always been smart enough. I think his accuracy is the only thing that hurt him last year. I think Kevan has worked real hard at that, and is getting better, and will continue to get better."

Smith completed five of his 10 passes, and hit Mo Williams for 18 yards on his first throw. Seven plays later, he found Williams again for 15 yards and the offense's second touchdown.

Although Smith threw for Pitt's only passing touchdown, the longest throw of the day belong to, surprisingly, Greg Cross, considering his affinity for running. Cross, a junior-college transfer who has seen the least action throughout the spring while he learns the offense and adjusts to the faster speed of the game, found Williams for 37 yards on his second pass.

"I knew the change of speed was going to be a lot faster," Cross said. "I knew the decision making was going to be a lot faster. It's all what I expected. I thought I was going to have to adjust more to it. But you know, I'm adjusting pretty well."

Cross also ran five times for 33 yards, including a 29-yard scamper on a third-and-long that moved the chains.

"Greg comes in here and plays," Wannstedt said. "[He does] the athletic things that are different than anybody else we have."

With all the competition abound, each of the four seems to still have his eye on the same goal.

"All together as quarterbacks, we're just trying to win," Cross said. "Whatever it takes to win. Whether I'm playing, Kevan, Pat, Bill – whatever it takes. I just want to win."


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