Pat Bostick Is Like Avis

While talking with Pat Bostick, as interesting a kid as there is on the Pitt football team, one could get the impression that he's just happy to be here if you don't listen too closely.

In his third year at Pittsburgh now, Pat Bostick is intelligent, engaging and hard-working. He certainly looks good after a couple years with Buddy Morris, who joked that he finally looks like a football player and not a mailman.

But all that hard work hasn't earned him the starting quarterback job with the Panthers. While some might make waves, Bostick appears to be the consummate team player. Inside, though, his competitive juices churn.

"I want to play,'' Bostick said. "I'd be lying if I said anything different. But, at the same time, I thank the Lord every day that I get a chance to work with this group of coaches and players. And hopefully, I'll be able to help this team win a lot of games over my next two years here.

"We have a lot of cohesion on this team, and I'm really looking forward to being part of it, being part of a team that has a chance to do a lot of good things this season. So, individually, I'm very fortunate to be working with the coaches we have here and to be with these players. What a great group.''

Bostick has played 16 games with nine starts in two seasons and has completed 60.4 percent of his passes (177-for-293) for 1,770 yards, nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He threw for 1,500 yards and eight scores with 13 picks as a true freshman.

"The first thing with Pat, you have to go back to when he first started here,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "Obviously, he was thrown into the action way before he was ready and we were ready, but we had no choice. He had to play. Billy (Bill Stull) got hurt in that first game.

"I think Pat has worked on his foot quickness. I think he's worked on his arm strength. They would be the two key things. There's not a player on our team who's more committed, understands the offense, what to do with the football more than Pat Bostick does.

"It's those physical skills that he's been working extremely hard at,'' Wannstedt added. "He's had a great summer. Pat's one of those guys you don't count out. You don't count him out, and we'll see how he does in training camp. I'm glad he's on our team, I'll tell you that.''

When Wannstedt hired Frank Cignetti to handle his quarterbacks' development and run Pitt's offense, it appeared to benefit Bostick as much as anybody. Cignetti held his famous quarterback school in the offseason, and Bostick was his prized student.

"Pat Bostick loves football, and he has a passion for the game, on the field and in the classroom,'' Cignetti said. "He loves to come in and get involved, playing the game or watching film. He's functionally intelligent. He really gets it. He's the first one to answer questions when we ask them. He's just a real sharp guy.

"He's going to be a tremendous coach when his playing career is over. He's worked so hard in the offseason, and he definitely has improved. But all our guys have improved their physical skills by working with Buddy, and Pat has shown a great deal of improvement in the time that I've been here.

"Pat's a passer,'' Cignetti added. "And we really like passers, as compared to throwers. He completes passes. He throws a very friendly ball to catch. His time clock is not too fast. It's on time as he goes through progressions and makes completions. And he was very accurate in this first practice.''

Bostick evaluated Cignetti as well.

"Coach Cignetti has done a fabulous job tailoring our system to this team, and it's a system that he believes in,'' Bostick said. "And I think we've all bought into it, and it's going to take 100-percent belief in it for this offense to succeed. That's what we need to do.

"I've really learned a lot the past year, and there's absolutely no gray area concerning a player's responsibility on every single play. And that's great, because that means we can all just go out and play. And if you don't succeed, it's up to us to do what we're coached to do.

"I loved Coach Cav a lot,'' Bostick added. "He was very laid-back, even though he had his moments when he believed a point needed to be made, but Coach Cignetti is extremely regimented. And he's very organized. Not that Coach Cav wasn't, but with Coach Cignetti there's a big difference.''

And Bostick believed that difference could put the Panthers over the top.

"We're a very close-knit group,'' Bostick said, "especially at quarterback, where we're as tight as ever. As long as we keep working hard, I expect everything to fall in place for us. We've had a very good offseason, a hard-working offseason, and we expect that to continue during camp.

"I want to be part of a championship football team. I want to wear that ring, and I'd like to be a big reason we get it. If I'm not, I'll still root very hard for my teammates, and 10 years later I'll be able to say that we were pretty darn good. And I'll be so glad that I was part of it.''

As the consummate teammate, Bostick wouldn't have it any other way.

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