Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Look Ahead- Quarterbacks

Quarterback: Redshirt junior Chad Voytik returns as the starter and to say that his development is crucial for the program over the next two years is an understatement. The 6'1" 205 pound Voytik made strides in his first year as a starter, but that was under former head coach Paul Chryst. What new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney does with him is the top storyline of the next two years.

The main thing that Chaney needs to get out of Voytik is the ability to take over a game if need be. Voytik has brains, leadership ability, toughness, good mobility, and a good enough arm. But his arm proved inaccurate often last season despite a 61.3% completion percentage. In the last six games, however, he completed 64.6% so he was clearly improving. He also had 7 touchdowns to just one interception in the last six games. Those interception numbers are obviously fantastic but 7 touchdowns in 6 games is not going to cut it this season.

Chryst changed the offense in midseason to get Voytik to run more, and one would assume that Chaney would also utilize Voytik's mobility. But clearly more production is needed in the passing game. Voytik averaged just 171.8 yards passing per game on the season and it forced the Panthers offense to be one dimensional. If Voytik can routinely make the big pass, the Panthers offense will take an enormous leap forward.

Behind Voytik the backup will be 6'2" 220 pound redshirt junior Nathan Peterman who is transferring from Tennessee after spring practice. A one time highly regarded recruit, Peterman was once considered the quarterback of the future for the Volunteers, but his two starts did not go well, and he was passed up depth chart. A graduate transfer, Peterman will be able to play right away and has two years of eligibility.  Peterman has the physical skills to do well, but in limited action he has picked up the reputation of somebody that doesn't handle pressure well, so he has a lot to prove.  Peterman was recruited by Chaney at Tennessee so it helps that the two are familiar with each other. It's also not out of the question than Peterman could eventually unseat Voytik as the starter at some point, but it's more likely that he'll be the veteran backup that the Panthers desperately need.

Third string, at least for now, will be redshirt freshman Adam Bertke. He may have a size problem, but it's not that he's too small. He may actually be too big at 6'7" and 245 pounds. But he has good mobility in the pocket, and a strong arm. He's not capable of starting now and it's too early to know if he will ever turn into a starter in the future. If he doesn't show progress soon he may get lost in the shuffle since he was brought in by a different staff, and because the quarterback unit will only get stronger. He's very similar in size to former 6'6" Tennessee QB Tyler Bray, who wasn't good enough to get drafted, but whom Chaney coaxed into a 3,612 yard, 34 touchdown season at Tennessee in 2012.

Another possible quarterback of the future is incoming local high school star Ben DiNucci. The 6'2" 190 pound DiNucci is a very good athlete, has a strong, accurate arm, and good brains and leadership ability. He will redshirt this season, but his future will be very interesting. It's entirely possible that some day he will be leading the Panthers offense, but that day will probably at least be three years away. By then he would be a redshirt sophomore.

Bottom line: After having basically a half of a quarterback for the first half of least season, the Panthers now have three quarterbacks that are ready to play, at least in an emergency, and a very promising freshman.  But let's be honest, if any team, college or pro, outside of Ohio State, is down to their third string quarterback, their season is over. The Panthers now have should have at least two that could get through a game without it being a train wreck.

Still I would expect that Chaney will look all over the country for the '16 class to bring in the best quarterback he can get.

Talent:

Excellent
Very Good
GOOD
Average
Poor

Depth:

Excellent
VERY GOOD
Good
Average
Poor

28 comments:

  1. Obviously how Chaney develops Voytik is the big question for next year but im curious to see what he does with the whole offense. I think that at least with Voytik in the game were going to see more spread elements, some read option, maybe even some up tempo stuff. Although, the core still has to be a power run game with Conner and that stable of

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  2. I can understand the love for Dinucci. I really can. But what boggles my mind is how Bertke is now some afterthought. He clearly has the size, a cannon for an arm and was a multiple state title winner. And if I recall, even ran for 1000 yards so he is certainly not a statue. Why are people just assuming Dinucci is going to be THE guy in two years. Its not even like he has some lengthy pedigree that shows a large sample size of success. Help me understand why he is being hailed as a undisputed savior of the QB position

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    1. I couldn't tell you. I didn't see anybody say that.

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    2. I saw Bertke win his 3rd state title on TV a couple of years ago, and as Doke wrote, he has size, mobility and a strong arm. But he also may have been the biggest kid on the field, remember he played at the lowest level of 7 divisions in Ohio.

      My impression was that he certainly had a chance of becoming a good D1 QB, but cannot guarantee it. bill

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    3. Point taken ^ but he still seems like he'll be the biggest kid on the field haha.

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    4. Questions are due to the level of competition with Bertke. I hope he is great and DiNucci lives up to his highschool career and the Pitt staff have hard decisions in the future.
      DiNucci, of the two, is by far the more tested QB based on the competition he played in highschool. Did you see his stats in the playoffs this year? DiNucci was the starter for 3 years so it wasn't just his senior season. He completed 70% of his passes for over 2,000 yards as a junior but threw twice as much as a senior. His accuracy is proven and is the PA player of the year, I believe. pghfan1992.

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    5. It's because DiNucci just has that "je ne sais quoi" -- it feels as tangible as a guy's height / weight / 40 time lol, but is just that factor of, "I want the ball in 'That Guy's' hands when the game is on the line!"

      You watch his tape, and he just with no-fear throws dimes 40 yards past the Line of scrimmage, no hesitation. He puts balls with zip (even with awful lower- body technique) on-the-money dozens and dozens of times in only his senior year tape --- when you watch, you realize that he's doing this all seasons, every game, against AAAA opponents.

      When you watch high school tape of guys like Hornibrook / (I'm so sorry lol) Pat Bostick / (this is just me) Chad Voytik to a degree --- they are not making the big-time-QB, Power-5 / NFL throws...

      Just how I see it in regards to the DiNucci excitement --- it's literally like the more you see of his play (and swag) you do not comprehend what "analysts" at Rivals / Scout are watching (or if they're soccer fans who lied on their resumes haha glad Narduzzi watches the tape and makes his own analysis too)

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    6. You need to review Voytik's tape again. The ball is much, much faster off his arm than the rest on Pitt's roster. He has real flaws, but it is entirely inaccurate to say that DiNucci's arm strength and "pop" is better than Voytik's. It's the opposite of the truth and the tape shows that.

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    7. Apparently, you haven't seen Bertke throw.

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  3. Does the kid from Elizabeth Forward go back to receiver or DB now?

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    1. I'd be shocked if he doesn't stay at WR.

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  4. Speaking of QBs, Chaney offered 4 star VT commit Logan Byrd today per Byrd's twitter. http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/player-Logan-Byrd-148686

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    1. I have watched a lot of tape on Logan Byrd, he looks REALLY good...Problem is he's a southern kid, and I would be shocked if he ends up at Pitt once the snowball effect happens with new offers for him. My guess is he ends up at a Georgia/Florida type SEC school. I think he's got big NFL possibilities written all over him.

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    2. Jim Chaney is an exceedingly southern dude, really. Don't count that out. Our two top QBs are from Tennessee and Florida. Georgia isn't more southern than that.

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    3. Well the one from Tennessee is a graduate transfer, so that doesn't really count...he's on his last hurrah..

      Logan Byrd will get SEC offers. Mark my word. And he'll take them. He projects at his age much more as an NFL QB than 6'0 Voytik did. And his arm is 2X better, too.

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    4. Don't kid yourself, Voytik is very close to being an NFL QB prospect after this year. If he gets better statistically this coming year and next, as expected, and actually measures 6'0", he will be on an NFL roster somewhere. Chaney worked wonders with Brees and Voytik has a pretty good arm and a good head so NFL scouts will take notice. Why do Pitt fans constantly disparage Voytik? He was a highly ranked recruit who has played well so far. pghfan1992

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    5. "Why do Pitt fans constantly disparage Voytik? He was a highly ranked recruit who has played well so far."

      --- That's the only, fairly-objective issue. It's that it is hard to buy-in to a quarterback who could be at-the-helm of the offense, and be a part of the Iowa / Akron / Virginia losses.

      The Iowa second half, yes the defense gave up 11 points over the second half. But once Conner was shut-down, the offense did absolutely nothing. Akron was a loss the program can never live-down. Had to laugh at the moment ---- the offense was useless against a 4-8 MAC team when they sold-out against the run.

      Virginia is a bad team, and the one saving grace was that their defense was supposed to be very strong, but as the season wore-on it turned out their defense was only average, and that Pitt's offense was simply horrific.

      Everyone is actually doing the opposite ---- rooting incredibly hard for Chad Voytik because he has a very positive, team-first attitude.

      Everyone is doing their best to support him, when the truth is it is clear that Jim Chaney is 110% not convinced --- shown by his Desperation in bringing in fresh QB blood to compete for his offense.

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    6. Narduzzi flat out said that Peterman was brought in to be a veteran backup.

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    7. Nathan Peterson will only ever see the field in a dire situation. He was put into tough situations at Tennessee --- but in his two chances he showed he just can't play at this level. Some guys just can't. At least Voytik showed if his head's-right he can play D-1 ball.

      I still think it's a travesty that Trey Anderson didn't even get a few more shots this year --- People can keep shouting "he wasn't a D-1 player" and "He Couldn't play!" all they want, forever --- he would have turned-heads with some more series : so much more fiery and passionate than Voytik (kid led his team to a state title in Texas's highest classification)

      It's going to come down to : Voytik vs. Bertke this year, which in itself is exciting.

      It'll be interesting if to see if Voytik improves or not ---- after the Little Caesar's ball I jumped on the band-wagon and thought we had the next Russell Wilson / Drew Brees hybrid.

      Then, half-way through this season it felt like we might as well give Bertke a shot ----- cutting down on the turnovers was good the second half of the season, but this season teams will sell-out against James Conner and Tyler Boyd from the get-go.

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    8. Bertke has been far behind Voytik. He'd have to improve an awful lot to even be in the discussion and that's doubtful.

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  5. I don't think Peterman would have come to pitt if he didn't think he had a legit chance to start. Should make for a good competition this year. Both qbs will have a great line, great running game, superstar wr, and quite frankly a lack of stellar defenses to go against. Instead of changing the system for what we can't do, we shold only have to change it when we want because we have an added skill ( voytik running). Should be exciting.

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    1. I disagree with that actually. Kids graduated, likely has little to no chance of going to the NFL, is supposedly a smart kid...could very well be a combination of coming to Pitt for academics with the opportunity to play ball.

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    2. There is a big difference between "the best player will play" and Peterman could be the starter. One QB got an entire season of starts playing almost 100% of the time, and another played 2 partial games. The experience gap is substantial, and even if there talent is equal - nothing about Peterman's college tape says he's superior - the experience is heavily in favor of Voytik.

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  6. PittOfDreams to disparage Voytik's future at QB in 3...2...1....

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  7. "He may have a size problem, but it's not that he's too small. He may actually be too big at 6'7" and 245 pounds."

    Whaaaaaaat Adam Bertke is that big??!! My goodness! Mike Young playing QB!

    To be super-fair to Nathan Peterman (this is from a football fiend not just D-1, NFL-----heck I'll stop by a pee-wee game or catch some local Semi-Pro's --- love the game)

    ----Peterman had two starts against Florida (two years ago, it was kind of like Tino Sunseri vs. Ole Miss in that last bowl game, then Peterman got hurt) and first first and only start in 2014 against Alabama (where he was like 2-4, Alabama went-down 13-0 and he was taken-out for who became their new starter).

    Adam (The Redwood) Bertke --- always saw him right next to Coach Chryst with the headset, and talking intensely with Voytik...

    DiNucci --- he has the *it* / star factor for sure, you can sense it.

    Chad Voytik -- knocks are totally not personal, I can see what people are saying: He just seemed to totally lack the "arm-talent" to scare any talented defense. Not just throwing power, but just the feel and "sixth-sense" to get the ball downfield into the hands of pass-catchers...

    In a dream-world the defense will just be ball-hawks this year, James Conner will barrel for 1800 yards and 15 TD's (Chris James / Ollison / and Ibrahim all cleaning-up too) --- and Voytik can just go out there with flip-flops (and change-it-up to crocks when the cold comes lol).

    It's a total long-shot, but just because he is such a good-kid I wonder if Voytik has NFL aspirations?? I know it sounds insane lol but: Trevone Boykin from TCU was 4-8 (!!!) as a RS Freshman, 7-6 as a RS Sophomore as a RS Sophomore, and this year, 12-1 as a RS Junior ...... But Jim Chaney is clearly turning up the heat on everyone.

    Best man must win the competition for sure ---- but all hopes are that Chad Voytik is evolving this off-season!

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    1. Trevone Boykin is also an elite athlete with as much arm talent as any college qb not named Cardale Jones.

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  8. Tennessee has not been good for years and were in a rebuild when Peterman got the initial nod to start. When an OL and Team is not good, the QB usually doesn't shine. I agree that he was thrown into a terrible position and to say he couldn't handle the pressure is probably not fair. The fact that he competed against Alabama and Florida let's me know he understands the speed of the game and knows what it takes to compete.

    We might be surprised on that one. Secondly, is Bertke starting to look like Ryan Mallett. I think he compares favorably from a size and arm strength capacity. I think he is an intriguing prospect.

    Dinucci is also intriguing for all the reasons above. I can't say that I have watched him live. Pitt needs another 4 star next year or risk losing Bertke and Peterman after the season. Similar to OSU without the talent level. Somebody is going to leave.

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  9. This is a late opinion that most will never read but any way you cut it, the only competition at QB in Spring drills is Voytik and Bertke. Fall camp gets Peterman into the mix but unless Bertke has a lot less talent than I give him credit for, Peterman will be competing for 2nd string reps against Bertke rather tha challenging Chad as the starter.

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