That said, I'm still not sure why Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt burned a redshirt for Pat Bostick just to mop up for Bill Stull in the blowout win at Navy. That certainly can't be considered beneficial for Bostick, a way to get him ready to perform in a backup role.
Stull it the Pittsburgh quarterback for now and for next season, barring injury. Bostick could redshirt then, if needed, but Wannstedt certainly isn't looking that far ahead. At 5-1 and poised to enter the top 20, since several teams ahead of them in the polls lost, the Panthers coaches are only concerned about now.
And Stull is Pitt's quarterback. His teammates and his coaches are behind him. They view him as a tough competitor and strong leader. He might not be the most-talented among the Panthers' quarterbacks currently on the roster, but he won a lot of games as a starter in high school (19-4) and Pitt is 6-1 in games that he has started. Stull is a proven winner.
How far he can take the Panthers remains to be seen, but the chances still appear to be good that Pitt can win the Big East title. That's as much a commentary on the Conference's lack of an elite team, but the Panthers are the class of the league right now.
What I like about Stull, and I believe it's the characteristic that has endeared him to his teammates, is that he's tough and he bounces back quickly. Whether he's been banged up, and he certainly was knocked around a bit against Navy, or makes a poor play like the end-zone interception Stull has battled back.
Take that pick, for instance. That was a bad decision before Stull even threw the ball. Pitt was running the ball right through Navy and just needed five yards for a first-and-goal. I believe that the Panthers got a little greedy there. That was the first mistake. The second was Stull's weak, telegraphed attempt. The third was T.J. Porter's effort. He did little to come back for the ball, although that wasn't the worst of it, but he did even less to stop the guy from returning the interception 91 yards.
That was disappointing, but Stull didn't let it deter him. It could have hampered his play for the rest of the game and maybe even carried over into the next one against Rutgers Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Heinz Field, but Stull wouldn't let it. He kept his head on straight, utilized the talent around him and kept pressing until the Panthers had a blowout.
Stull came up with more than a few big passes against Navy, before and after the interception, as Pitt called three pass plays on the next series. On third down, Stull hit Porter for a 24-yard gain down the middle. He later hooked up with freshman Jonathan Baldwin -- who should have earned a start ahead of redshirt junior Oderick Turner -- and kept Pitt's running game moving smoothly.
And that's the most important thing for the Panthers and Stull. He didn't have his best day, 15-for-23 for 255 yards with one touchdown and two picks, but he doesn't have to be perfect. As long as Pitt's offensive line continues to jell, and it really appears to be coming together more every week -- kudos to Tony Wise and Wannstedt for hiring him -- the Panthers will be successful.
When the line is humming, LeSean McCoy is in high gear, and that will open up some passing lanes. Stull has been able to find open receivers more times than not this season. He's completing nearly 60 percent of his passes and has a lot of weapons around him. They all can't be used every game, but each will get a chance along the way.
What this game might have been, instead of initiating a quarterback controversy for now, is set one up for the future. Maybe Pitt believes that frosh Tino Sunseri, who definitely is redshirting, is the best bet after Stull graduates.
But that's another story for another day. Stull is the man right now. Pitt doesn't need him to play great all the time, but it might need him to win a game here and there in the future.
So, it sure was nice to see him bounce back when he needed to this season.
No QB Controversy Here
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