Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
The 2014 Panthers need more watershed moments from probable starting quarterback Chad Voytik like the kind that took place when he relieved outgoing Tom Savage in the Little Caesars Bowl.
Plus, as long as we're stating the obvious, let's throw this out there: Until Paul Chryst arrived in Pittsburgh, the program wasn't exactly knocking it out of PNC Park when it came to recruiting and developing quarterbacks, which has been a tremendous hindrance. Chryst got an awful lot out of two men who, at the time, drummed up guarded optimism at best.
First there was Tino Sunseri, whose career at Pitt, under multiple coaches, got worse before it got better. When it did get better, though, it got better in a big way. Chryst developed a much healthier relationship with the Pittsburgh Central Catholic product, who set single-season program records for completions and most consecutive attempts without a pick. Sunseri went on to the CFL.
Then there was Savage, a pro-style journeyman who transferred to Pitt—his third different school—to make good on one more year of eligibility. He indeed made it a good one, throwing for the fifth-most single-season yards in Panther history, and attracting attention from the Houston Texans, who drafted him in the fourth round this past spring.
The pressure now shifts to Voytik, a dual-threat signal-caller who has waited his turn since being recruited on Todd Graham's watch. He and his teammates understand the importance of leaving that bowl victory in the past, but not doing so without learning from it.
"We've got to trust what Coach is telling us, and he's telling us the right things," Voytik told me. "If we take what he's teaching us and apply it, the sky's the limit."
The 6'1", 205-pound redshirt sophomore has shown he can scramble just as well as he can hit a speedster like Tyler Boyd in stride. His ceiling appears much higher, and once Chryst gets him to reach it, Pitt may finally have the caliber offense the head coach envisioned from the beginning.
It isn't insane to think Voytik could one day break Rod Rutherford's Pitt single-season record of 3,679 passing yards in 2003. It isn't insane to think he could do it soon. Until then, his objectives are to stay upright, think on his feet and not turn the ball over more than 5-10 times.
Oh, and to make the occasional 60-yard splash play, too.