By all accounts so far, fifth-year senior Bill Stull will be the Pittsburgh starting quarterback through his third straight training camp and second straight season. Junior Pat Bostick and redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri are battling for the backup role.
"When adversity strikes, he must be able to overcome it,'' Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti said. "So, the mind-set is going to be very important. Who can run the offense? Who can keep us away from bad plays? Which quarterback will go out there and compete? Who wants the ball in his hand?
"Who wants to make the play? And also which quarterback is going to protect the ball? So, which quarterback can manage the game? Which quarterback can protect the ball? And which quarterback can make the best decisions? There's run-game decisions to be made and pass-protection decisions to be made.
"And, obviously, every time he drops back to throw the ball there's a decision to be made on where to throw it,'' Cignetti added. "So, whoever is the most decisive decision-maker that completes the ball. You must be able to complete the ball, that guy has the best chance to be our starting quarterback.''
Once again, the Panthers signal-callers struggled with the first- and second-team defense. There was pressure on nearly every passing play, and there were five interceptions with two by Pitt linemen -- Jabaal Sheard and Craig Bokor. Stull threw three picks, and Bostick had two. Stull also had two touchdown passes, while Bostick had four and Sunseri had one.
"I thought the defense made a ton of plays this afternoon,'' Wannstedt said. "We had two defensive linemen get interceptions this afternoon, and that front four -- as long as they're making it happen on defense -- we've got a chance.
"They're putting a lot of pressure on our offensive line and a lot of pressure on our quarterbacks. Today wasn't real pretty, but we're getting better.''
The Panthers practiced twice Sunday, but the morning session was closed to the media. Here are some highlights from the afternoon practice:
Each offensive possession generally lasted just four snaps, and then substitutions were made. Stull had three possessions with the first team, while Bostick got two opportunities and Sunseri had just one Sunday afternoon.
Sunseri's set with the first group was mostly forgettable. Linebacker Greg Williams snuffed out a reverse to Oderick Turner and knocked away a short pass on the only attempt.
Stull's first-team plays weren't too good, either. He was picked off by Aaron Berry, who stepped in front of Cedric McGee, and he tried to throw on the move but was off-target. Tough to sit in the pocket with the D-line barreling in on a regular basis, but short passes were inaccurate as well as long attempts.
Berry intercepted Stull a second time, in the end zone with excellent coverage on Baldwin, and Jabaal broke loose into the backfield, snagged the ball and ran it back for a touchdown. Stull also had two drops that would have been scores. Turner lost concentration in the end zone, and Dion Lewis did not judge a long pass correctly and couldn't come up with the catch. It wasn't really a drop, but should have been a catch for a score.
Bostick was picked off by middle linebacker Adam Gunn off a deflection, but he came back with a long touchdown pass to Jonathan Baldwin. Safety Dom DeCicco tried to get physical with Baldwin in the end zone, but he held on.
Bostick also threw a touchdown pass to Oderick Turner, who went up over cornerback Jovani Chappel to make the grab. A nice throw and excellent catch.
Freshman tailback Ray Graham had another solid afternoon. He caught a short pass from Stull and turned it into a big gain. He also got around the left end on a run, and cornerback Ricky Gary came up to make the tackle. As Gary tried to wrap him up, Graham shifted gears and made him whiff. Graham continued the long gain into the end zone.
A second reverse was attempted with WR Aundre Wright, but DE Brandon Lindsey played off his block and drilled him for a big loss. Fullback Kevin Adams caught a pass out of the backfield, but he was quickly cut down by safeties Marco Pecora and Jason Hendricks.
Ed Tinker caught a nice pass from Sunseri, beating Dan Cafaro on the play. The two hooked up a bit later, as Tinker caught the pass over Jeremiah Davis.
Sunseri also hit Shanahan with a comeback route and a sideline connection. He also scrambled for some yardage, as Dan Matha threw a nice block downfield. He tried to go to Wright on one occasion, but Fields broke it up.
Sunseri went back to Wright again on a crossing play, and he took it the distance for a score. Sunseri also connected with freshman Devin Street for a touchdown.
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