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Sorry, Pittsburgh, there is no quarterback controversy at Pitt


There is no quarterback controversy in Pitt coach Todd Graham’s mind. Not even close. Not now.
But the message boards, talk shows and even some reasoned water cooler talk will try to ignite one. Give them time. It’s coming, whether Graham or Trey Anderson likes it or not.
This is Pittsburgh. Anderson is the backup quarterback, which automatically makes him the most popular guy in town whenever the starter struggles.
Right now, the perception is that Pitt starting quarterback Tino Sunseri is struggling. Two interceptions in one half say so, but Sunseri’s protection was poor against Maine (Maine?). Would it have been any better if Anderson was catching the snaps? I don’t think so.
Still, Sunseri isn’t blameless. What was up with running out of bounds, instead of throwing it out of bounds, which would have saved a sack?
Plus, he threw no touchdown passes after getting one against Buffalo (Buffalo?). His overall completion percentage isn’t bad (37 of 63, 58.7 percent), but it isn’t great, and it needs to be as long as the defense is going to be mediocre.
He has thrown for 403 yards in two games, but some of those nine sacks are on him.
“We took some sacks,” Graham said.
Nonetheless, benching Sunseri in favor of Anderson would be a mistake, and Graham knows it.
Yes, I think Anderson has an ally in quarterback coach Todd Dodge, who tried to recruit him to North Texas State. But Anderson is 2 inches shorter, 35 pounds lighter and significantly less experienced than Sunseri. As late as July, Anderson was making plans to join his high school buddies at Tyler (Texas) Junior College. Is he really the guy you want running the show in Iowa City on Saturday?
Maybe Sunseri won’t be able to defeat Iowa, but chances are, Anderson wouldn’t win the game, either.
And you don’t want to go back and forth between quarterbacks. You see how well that has worked at Penn State.
— Graham is confident that Sunseri will be fine whenever he gets comfortable in the no-huddle, hurry-up offense.
But he isn’t surprised that Sunseri has been slow to make big plays.
“Every single one of them we have had (his quarterbacks at Rice and Tulsa) have struggled in the first two or three games,” Graham said. “He is learning a new system and I think that is what you seeing.”
The point is: It takes time to perfect this offense, and the situation might get better.
“The best teams we ever had have had some of the worst wins,” he said.
The fact that Pitt is 2-0 while suffering the growing pains is a credit to athletic director Steve Pederson, who scheduled two weak teams at the outset of the season.
— Pitt may have a problem in the kicking game after Kevin Harper missed a field goal and extra point against Maine. He also missed two field goals against Buffalo.
Harper needs to get better; the backup is senior Chris Yankoski, who played soccer and volleyball at Plum. He didn’t kick for the football team.
“(Harper) makes every field goal in practice,” Graham said. “We have to get more consistent about what we are doing there.”
— In case you are keeping score, Big East teams were 4-4 this weekend. But here are the Big East victims: Maine, Norfolk State, Rhode Island and Ball State – three FCS teams and a MAC.



  1. Joe N says:

    —well maybe some think there isn’t a quarterback controversy at Pitt,

  2. Let us all hope that Tino can settle down and get comfortable versus Iowa next week. And since Pitt has some tough opposition coming up, let us all hope as well that the Panthers overcome their growing pains fast.

  3. Swift Eddie says:

    We should all agree that for the time being, Sunseri is the Man. The main problem is that Tino has been trained for a pro-style offense, and is adapting to the new system a little too slowly. In the end, he might never be the type of roll-out, quick-release QB needed in Graham’s system; on the other hand, he could catch fire, and make all of the nay-sayers forget their misgivings.

    True, Anderson looked comfortable and capable, rolling out and hitting receivers both to his right AND his left (something Sunseri is having a lot of problems with), but an inexperienced Freshman walk-on QB, working behind a poor and porous offensive line isn’t the answer with the meat of the schedule coming up.

    Of far greater concern right now is the Defense – there simply is no secondary to speak of, nor are the inside LB’s playing to potential (or ARE they? – in which case Pitt’s in trouble). So far the new 3-4 defensive scheme has shown that it is not compatible with the Panther’s personnel, who were recruited by Wannstedt to play in the 4-4/ 4-3.

    The kicking game? At least the kickoffs are getting deeper, although I’ve heard a wild rumor that some teams actually score points, and even sometimes win games, by successfuly making placekicks.

  4. dave says:

    Pitt will be a below average program until they regularly beat quality teams. This upcoming week does not appear to be one in the win column.

  5. jim says:

    The fact that you wrote this article is proof that there IS a QB controversy. While the O line isn’t filled with All Americans, most of the sacks are on Tino. He holds the ball too long. Graham said that the ball has to come out by the count of 3. Tino his waiting on 8, 9 and sack. This is like Wanny hasn’t left. Stick with the guy even if he’s not the best option. I would rather lose with a true freshman that gets the system and will improve with experience than to lose watching someone struggling to adapt.

  6. ROBERT says:

    I think it’s a shame for Trey Anderson to even be Pitts backup quarterback, when there are several quality and far more superior quarterbacks all ready on the roster. He is only being considered and was given a scholarship because the quarterback coach likes him. That is going to hurt Pitt innthe long run if Sunseri can’t play.Gonzalez should transfer thats aslap inthe face to say you are a good athelete and we should have you ion the field, but yuor not good enough to be quarterback and run the offense. If coach graham is as fair as he and the media claim then gonzalez and meyers should get a fair shake at quarterback.

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