Stull, Panthers Hear Boos

Don't worry Pitt football fans, Bill Stull heard your boos during the Panthers' game against Youngstown State Saturday afternoon.

Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt heard them, too, and didn't like it one bit.

"I thought Bill Stull played well, considering the scrutiny that he's been under,'' Wannstedt said. "It's rough. It hasn't been easy on that kid. He's doing everything that he can. He's a tough guy, and he deals with it.

"(But) when you're playing the first game, in the second series, that's not giving a person much time. So, I admire him for battling through it and being able to keep his focus and going back in and competing.''

The competition wasn't that stiff against YSU, but Stull still was inconsistent. His longest pass was a 31-yarder to Jonathan Baldwin, but he nearly got the 6-foot-5 leaper cut in half with a high pass that lost steam about halfway there.

Stull had a decent game against a bad team, completing 11 of 16 passes for 123 yards and two scores. He threw one real bad interception that was partly Cedric McGee's fault, as he turned the wrong way. The pass was still poor, and boos pelted Stull from every direction.

"It comes with the territory, and I know it's going to happen,'' Stull said. "But you just have to block it out. There's no special way to do it or secret. You just have to stay focused on the game and do your job. If you do that, the success will come.''

Giving credit when it's due allows one to mention Stull's short TD pass to Dion Lewis. He appeared to look right to Cedric McGee and then scan back to the left where Lewis was wide open in the flat for the easy score. But Stull explained that there was a little more too it than that.

"We kind of had to go to my fourth check in the play, and I don't think we hit that even once in practice, let alone a game,'' Stull said. "So, when I talk about the little things, that's pretty cool for that to happen. ... That was awesome.''

Stull's other "long'' passes included a 14-yarder to Oderick Turner that tallied about 13 yards after the catch and a 13-yard scoring toss to tight end Dorin Dickerson that actually should have been redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri's drive. Sunseri had entered the game in the second half for an early series, but Stull went in after that even though he wasn't supposed to.

"I was tied up doing something else,'' Wannstedt said. "Tino was supposed to play the rest of the second half. That was a miscommunication on my part.''

Not sure how that happened. It would have been nice to get Sunseri reps with the first team, but there will be other chances. At least he got three series in the final four. The Pitt students chanted for Sunseri to come into the game early on, and this didn't sit well with Pitt left offensive tackle Jason Pinkston.

"I was disappointed that they would boo our starting quarterback,'' Pinkston said. "They're supposed to be our fans. They should be backing (Stull) 100 percent. I just don't understand that.''

The attacks on Stull should not be vicious with name-calling, addressing his character and things like that. He hasn't done anything to warrant that. However, his quarterback play during the second half of last season and at times in this year's opener left a lot to be desired.

Pitt most assuredly will need to run the ball this season, primarily because doing that successfully will give it the best chance to win. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself). However, the Panthers will need to have a more vertical passing game to offset that running attack or they'll have to run against nine- and 10-man fronts. And that's not an easy task.

When asked if he's still confident that he can get the job done for Pitt, Stull replied emphatically: "Absolutely.'' That remains to be seen, and until then Stull is certain that he'll hear about it after every poor play.

"It happens, but you have to ignore it,'' Stull said. "If you let it get to you, then you won't play to the best of your ability. That's not the way I want it to be. I wasn't raised that way, and our coaches don't teach it that way. So, I just want to play to the best of my ability and give our team the best chance to win.

"You have to be confident in yourself and your abilities, and you build that confidence by doing the right things on and off the field. ... Every win builds confidence for a team and especially for the players, and we did some good things today in our running game and our passing game.''

And if those areas continue to improve, coupled by Pitt victories, it's likely that the boos will diminish in the process.

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