Monday, November 28, 2011

Panthers could add immediate transfer at quarterback

Tino Sunseri has clearly struggled in Todd Graham's new system and it would be best for star recruit Chad Voytik to be eased into big time college football.  Few junior college transfers can make an immediate impact and those that can have already committed.  Mark Myers, Anthony Gonzalez, and Trey Anderson would have to improve immensely to make the Panthers a better team next season and transfers have to sit out a year- unless they have one year of eligibility, have graduated from their current school, and transfer to a school that has their current major in their graduate school.  In that case, the player can be eligible immediately.  And it appears that the Panthers staff are thinking that could be a viable option.

When asked tonight about the team bringing in a fifth year transfer, a member of the Panthers coaching staff said that it's a "great possibility I would think".  This development itself does not mean that the staff has thrown in the towel with Sunseri.  It's obviously best for the program to have as many options at quarterback as possible.  If Sunseri plays better next season, and he deserves to start, then so be it.  But if he does not improve, it will would be great to have as many options as possible.

The source said that the Panthers have yet to target such a player and are more on a wait and see basis to see who becomes available.  Here are three possibilities that the Panthers are aware of, though there could always be more.

Dayne Crist, Notre Dame-  This has to be a player that most college football fans are familiar with which is what comes from being a starting quarterback for the most famous program in the country.  But while being a successful starting quarterback for Notre Dame makes you popular, being a failed starting quarterback means you always have an albatross around your neck.  Crist has something to prove and Pitt could be the place to do it.  

Coming out of high school Crist was generally ranked among the top 2 or 3 quarterbacks in the country but he had to wait for two years behind Jimmy Claussen.  In 2009, as a redshirt sophomore, Crist got his chance and started the first nine games of the season before rupturing his patella tendon.  In those nine games, Crist completed 59.2% of his passes for 2,033 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.  

Crist came back this season and was again named the starter but was pulled for Tommy Rees in the first game.  Rees held on to the starting job for the rest of the season and inexplicably to many, Crist's playing time has virtually disappeared.  

As a player, Crist has pro size at 6'4" and 235 pounds, and has good athleticism and a very strong arm.  He is not a running quarterback but even with two major knee injuries in his career, he can run pretty good when he gets going.  In other words, he's at least as good as Sunseri when running with the football.  And while he runs the spread offense for Brian Kelly, it's slightly different than Graham's.

Crist is from Sherman Oaks, CA and majors in management consulting.  He has yet to say if he wants to transfer.

Ryan Katz, Oregon State-  Katz is from Santa Monica, CA and graduates in March with a business administration degree.  At 6'1" and 215 pounds, Katz is solidly built, has decent mobility, and has a cannon for an arm.  He started last season as a redshirt sophomore and completed 60% of his passes for 2,401 yards while throwing for 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  Prior to this season, Katz did not practice in the spring because he was recovering from a broken wrist in the last game of the year.  That led talented redshirt freshman Sean Mannion to gain valuable experience.  Still, Katz started this the first game of this season but Mannion took over at halftime and remained the starter throughout the season.  The move was very controversial for many Oregon State fans who thought that Katz should have remained the starter.  Mannion led Oregon State to a 3-9 record while throwing for 3,328 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions.

Ted Stachitas, Wake Forest-  Talking about something to prove.  Stachitas has played little at Wake Forest attempting only 49 passes in his career, while throwing zero touchdowns.  But the 6'1" 205 pound Ponte Vedra Beach, FL native is more of a running quarterback.

Stachitas started three games as a redshirt sophomore including the opener.  He ran for 76 yards in one of those games and 77 yards in another.  In his career he has run 43 times for 218 yards (5.1 avg.) and 3 touchdowns.  His major is psychology.


  1. Is Voytik in a position to graduate early and attend Pitt to become eligible for spring practice?

  2. No he isnt. This is an option they really need to look into. Adding another HS QB really makes no sense. It wouldnt help next year and it might make Voytik hesitant about their commitment to him. Also, as you said, QB juco's rarely work out. Cam Newton is the exception. I dont know anything about the WF QB.

  3. I'm not a big fan of this route.

    If we go this route, I would fully expect Voytik to redshirt. First of all, why would these "Rent a Seniors" come to Pitt and look over their shoulder to a hot shot Freshman...AGAIN. This only works if Tino takes a backseat, Voytik redshirts and the transfer comes in with better than Tino skills. And these are all big IFs.

    I'd rather tank the season with a Freshman and let Tino back him up. If the kid gets hurt, you have a guy in place that can at least hand the ball off to Shell. If the kid flourishes, then he will likely end up no worse than 6 or 7 wins and position us for 2013.

  4. Have seen Stachitas live in his starts at Wake Forest. He is horrendous at throwing the football and as a running quarterback isn't an explosive runner. He is a physical kid back there and would be ok in a wildcat type deal but isn't close to an answer at QB.

  5. Dear Santa,

    All I want for Christmas is for someone in the know and/or in charge at Pitt to announce that Tino Sunseri has started his last game at Pitt.

    And if I cannot get that, then my second choice is to work for Todd Graham. Because no matter how much I stink up the joint or how thoroughly I disobey / tune him out and kill my team, incredibly he comes out with a presser to announce that he's sticking with me.

    Thanks, Santa!

    Imma Man! Im 40!

  6. Graham is on record as saying he is against what Dokish has described. More lies from Graham...the best 6-6 team? 4th down is really 3rd down on the opponents side of the field? Championships or bust? This guy is a total joke.

    Dokish you just want him to be successful because you want pitt to be successful. Thats not being objective on your part.

  7. I'm nothing but objective. If I wasn't then I would have wanted Wannstedt to stay at Pitt for the same reasons. For some reason, some people are obsessed with crucifying a guy who has coached for one year. It's ridiculous. If people got rid of coaches after one mediocre year then there would be very few great coaches. Lombardi, Belichick, Noll, and on and on and on. If Graham still doesn't have an excellent program after year three then people have a right to criticize. Anybody who calls a coach a failure after one season simply doesn't know football.

  8. Don't listen to that guy Chris. We all know Pitt, with even Buffalo's quarterback, would be a 10-2 team after Saturday. This system will work and our defense is better than C-USA's defenses so it won't be a shootout every game. ALL we needed was a quarterback who is actually capable of playing the position and all the Graham haters would be Graham lovers. I can't wait to see how it starts to look in two years.

  9. Yeah, nobody could convince that with just a decent QB, Pitt wouldn't wouldn't have won the BE this season. I'm convinced of it. That doesn't mean the team was excellent because they weren't, but they would still be something like 8-3 right now and nobody would be saying anything.

  10. At this point, I don't care who the QB is as long as it isn't Sunseri. I can't take another game with him.

    And Chris you're right, Todd Graham needs at least a few more years before people decide that he's not the right coach.

  11. I totally agree that Graham needs time before we decide he has failed. I still support him and think most people in Pitt world do as well...however, starting Tino at Syracuse on Sunday is an unbelievably bad decision. I don't care how bad Mark Meyers is at this point, Tino is not the guy to be playing QB...He simply does not have what it takes. I'd rather lose on Saturday and find out that Mark Meyers sucks than lose Saturday and have it reaffirmed that Sunseri sucks.

    Also, I love the Dayne Christ idea...Look how Russel Wilson has done in Wisc...would be great for Voytick to get a Red Shirt year to learn and grow.

  12. Yeah, I think Crist would be ideal. He isn't a perfect fit for the offense, but he is a talented kid with a lot to prove. And if Sunseri does fail this week, I think you may see Myers.

  13. Crist has to be better than Tino, he cant be as unintelligent anyway. At the very least, he provides competition. While he cant run he can throw. They could use Voytik in conjunction with him in packages where he mostly runs and makes easy throws.

  14. I believe that if the coaching staff does not bring in a one-and-done QB, Sunseri will start next year. Meyers is the only option with any experience and if we don;t see him in extended game action (Syr) this year the coaching staff will have ruled him out completely for next year.

    Coaches hate inexperience which is what we have seen with Graham. Sunseri will have so much time in the system that Graham will hesitantly start Sunseri next year and then move to Voytek, as needed.

  15. Wasn't Myers supposed to be some major coup on the part of Wanny?

    Are you thinking of doing a post on the coaching carousel, both this year and last? Do you think Edsall will turn things around at MD? Will Schiano get consideration at Penn State (and would he go)? Is Cuse stuck at 5-6 wins in perpetuity?

  16. The problem is that this is exactly the type of game Tino actually plays well in. It essentially means nothing (either a crap bowl game or stay home). Put him in a pressure situation (losing in the second half, game vs. a heated rival, overtime situation (Utah last year)) and he falls apart completely. Then he gets cupcake meaningless games and does enough to keep his job.

    I think people aren't just sickened by his play but more by his attitude. They showed him on the sidelines after the fumble vs. Cincinnati and he had this arrogant, carefree attitude that was irritating to watch. Not only that but in his post-game press conference this week he blamed freshman for making mistakes and instead of saying I didn't get rid of the ball constantly used the word we as if to place blame on others besides himself. I'd rather play with 10 guys then watch him play at this point.

  17. I believe Tulsa's QB is set to graduate. I know he transferred from Texas at some point. He is a senior but don't know if he has any eligibility left at this point do you Chris? He would be ideal b/c he knows the system. Does it also depend on being released from your current program or do you not have to do that when you've graduated? I doubt that he has eligibility or would consider the move if he did, but it would be terrific.

  18. You have to be a redshirt junior who is graduating. The Tulsa QB is a redshirt senior.

    As for the coaching, Edsall is getting brutalized in Maryland and they are practically going bankrupt there. It's a pretty bad situation. Schiano turned down Michigan and they don't have the issues that Penn State has, so I don't see why he would go there. Apparently Dan Mullen is the top guy on Penn State's list, but I still say they are going to have a tough time finding somebody.

  19. I think Pitt will fine. If I'm a recruit I'd give Pitt a look. I've spent significant time in State College, Lincoln, NE; Boise, ID;, Norman, OK, etc., and if those places can recruit urban athletes, Pitt surely should be able to,(Boring zzzzzzz). Kids like the urban setting and Pitt should sell that. I know I hated being in a place where it was hard to even get a haircut.
    Recruits who will give Pitt a look:
    1. QB's who like to run and chuck the ball 30-40 times a game
    2. RB's who want to gain 1500 - 2000 yds a year
    3. Smaller athletic O-linemen
    4. Receivers - see #1
    5 Any defensive player who likes an attacking style of defense
    4 Any young guy who wants the opportunity to compete for a starting job early in his career. Per TG if the guy can play they're going to get him on the field.
    5. You share facilities with the freakin' Pittsburgh Steelers. That's got to be exciting for a kid.
    Given those factors I think Pitt will be fine. They may not be national championship fine, but they should be a consistent winner.

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  21. Hi Chris,

    With Pitt reportedly already in the process of seeking better QB options, can you shed some light on how the process works to "recruit" transfers and 5th-year special-case guys?

    Do players cold-contact the schools that might have playing time for next year? Or do the schools reach out to the players somehow, selling them on need (i.e., Pitt selling its near-desperation at QB to guys wanting a shot at playing time)? I’m guessing the schools cannot contact the players directly (tampering); so do their parents or friends act as go-betweens?

    These special transfers are the flavor of the month, so (presumably) there must be some kind of process, whether formal or informal.

    [note: This comment is perhaps too late for this post, so you may want to post separately, as I'm sure others are interested.]

  22. Crist would seem to be a real good idea for Pitt...low risk as he's proven to be at least competent and has talent, and only will be there for one year. He's not a sprinter but he can chuck it and is pretty athletic, and has to be smarter/more pocket aware than Tino. Why not give it a shot if he's game -- and if we play ND next year, he's got mega incentive to win the job and kick their arse.

  23. A skeptic at first, I am starting to believe in Todd Graham. He pulled off a bowl game as a first year coach, joining Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherrill, Walt Harris, and John Micheloson. If Graham can beat SMU and finish 7-6, his first year will be a success. Pitt will have strung together 9-4, 10-3, 8-5, and possibly 7-6 seasons over the past four years - not a bad streak at all, considering we are 2-1 in the bowls.