Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt laid out the reasons why Bill Stull would go into the season as the starting quarterback for the third straight year.
"We went into spring practice, and I opened it up,'' Wannstedt said. "We obviously keep track of everything every day. And I thought coming out of the spring, that all our quarterbacks got a little better. But when we evaluated completions, interceptions, decision-making, everything involved with it, checks at the line of scrimmage, Billy came out with the nod.
"So, that was the fair thing to do going into camp. ... Has Billy made the big strides? I would say, probably, no. But has Billy performed at the level where you would say that he's the starter? I would say yes. So, I'm just trying to be as honest about it as I can. He's got 13 starts under his belt, and he's our starting quarterback. I feel good about the other guys, and I feel good about Billy.''
The other guys are redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri and junior Pat Bostick, who has played in 16 games with nine starts, including eight as a freshman in 2007. Stull opened the 2007 season as the starter, but suffered a season-ending thumb injury in the opening game. And Bostick was pressed into action. Stull started all but one game last fall, as Bostick opened the game at Notre Dame.
"I feel that, obviously, if I don't play well, then, I'm not going to play,'' Stull said earlier in camp. "I feel that it is a competition. I know how it is around here, and I know how camp is around here. I definitely feel that it is a competition, and I'm always going to compete and do my best.
"And I know that the guys behind me are going to do the same. ... It's good to hear that (I'm the starter), but like I've said before, I have to prove them right. I have to do my job every single day. (And) the things I do mess up on, I have to check it out and not make the same mistake again.''
After the first week in training camp this year, Stull and Sunseri basically split reps with the first team, while Bostick handled second-team duties. By the end of the second week, Stull and Sunseri probably had twice as many reps as Bostick overall. And Bostick got no reps with the first team.
"I've never been around a training camp where we rotated two and three guys with the first group like we did (this year),'' Wannstedt said. "We've had a lot of offsides with our offensive line because of rotating those guys in there. And Tino has had as many snaps with the first group as Billy has had.
"And Pat had a share of them. ... Pat has gotten a lot better. Tino has shown the type of ability that he has and the type of player he'll be. (So), I think our quarterback position as a whole is better than it's been the last couple years, even when we had Tyler (Palko). We had Tyler with Billy behind him and no experience. So, we've improved the depth of the position and the experience.''
Wannstedt has said that he would like Stull to get back to being the quarterback he was before the Rutgers game when he suffered a concussion and missed the next week at Notre Dame. He was less than effective the remainder of the season with a low point in a 3-0 loss in the Sun Bowl.
"Everything is just about live in our scrimmages, but he's going to have to go out there and play when it's real,'' Wannstedt said. "Teams are going to pressure us, don't get me wrong, but we're probably not going to face many teams with a pass-rush like the one we have here. And he's handled that well. I believe he has gotten back to where he needs to be.''
In 12 games last fall, Stull completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,356 yards and nine touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
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