Bostick Most-Improved Offensive Player

After leading the Pitt quarterbacks in passing percentage during the initial two intra-squad scrimmages this spring, the third time wasn't charmed for junior Pat Bostick.

In fact, the entire Pittsburgh offense struggled against a hard-hitting defense, as the Blue (defense) beat the Gold (offense) 54-23 in the annual Blue-Gold game Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field.

Working with both the first- and second-team offense during the scrimmage, Pat Bostick completed just 4 of 10 passes for 31 yards with a long pass for 15 yards to wideout Greg Cross, one interception and one sack.

"Our offense, obviously, isn't where we want it to be,'' Bostick said. "It's going to take a good summer and fall camp for us to improve, but we also didn't come into this thing with our whole repertoire, either.

"So, it was pretty vanilla for us on offense, but that's no excuse. We have to eliminate the things that killed us today. (That's) penalties, lost yardage, turnovers and missed assignments. Those are a recipe for failure.''

Despite the way he finished in the final scrimmage, Bostick's spring was a success. And he was rewarded for it by winning the Ed Conway Award as the most-improved Pitt player on offense. Since his freshman season when he was thrust into game action immediately, Bostick has improved his conditioning and strength dramatically.

Redshirt sophomore weak-side linebacker Max Gruder was the most-improved defensive player for the Panthers.

"No one has worked harder than those two guys the last six months,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "I know how hard Pat has trained, has lost weight and gotten stronger and has worked on his release. He really has made strides as a quarterback.''

Bostick actually was somewhat shocked that he won the award.

"I knew it was me when (Wannstedt) talked about the guy being overweight in his introduction,'' Bostick said. "I really didn't think about it too much, but I thought guys like Aaron Smith, Chris Jacobson, Chris Burns, they've gotten a lot better this spring since they got a chance to perform.

"(But) it's definitely a treat, and I'm very honored. There's been some great players to win this award in the past, and I'm just honored to have won it. I believe that I've worked very hard, so it's nice to be recognized for that.''

Bostick is well award that there's still much work for him to do, as well as Pitt's offense, but he's certainly willing to put in the time.

"Getting older, you become more honest with yourself,'' Bostick said. "And as you become more mature, you are more ready to accept coaching. So, I've done that and worked tediously to improve my speed, even though I'm never going to be a fast guy. But I wanted to be able to move around in the pocket.

"That way, I can avoid sacks and (prolong plays), and I also want to get the ball out of my hand quicker. My arm strength has improved. I've lost weight, and I've improved my conditioning, and that's a real testament to guys like Buddy Morris and James Smith. They've pushed me very hard, and I've responded.''

Bostick played in 10 games with eight starts as a freshman and nearly redshirted last fall before playing in the final six games with one start at Notre Dame. He has completed 177 of 293 passes (60.4 percent) for nine touchdowns with 17 interceptions.

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