Can Tino Sunseri keep his starting job in 2012?
Ever since the graduation of Tyler Palko, the quarterback position at Pittsburgh has been a source of frustration for the fans, with the exception of one season where Bill Stull surprised everyone. In order for coach Todd Graham to succeed in Pittsburgh, he needs to find a quarterback capable of making his high-octane offense move.
This article examines the four candidates to start at quarterback for the Pitt Panthers in 2012.
Tino Sunseri is a good leader but not a great option as a starting quarterback.
The incumbent at the quarterback position, currently in his second season as the starter, is one of the leaders to won the job. That puts Tino Sunseri in the lead to win the starting job in 2012 despite his struggles in 2011.
Sunseri has completed 63% of his passes this season for 2,174 yards to go with 139 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, but he his touchdown to interception ratio is 1:1 as as has thrown nine of each this year. Surprisingly the numbers are down from last year despite the presence of Graham's spread offense, as Sunseri threw for 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year/
His inability to throw the ball down the field usually leads to him throwing more short passes than one would expect from a high-powered offense, possibly because he is under-sized for the position. The fact that he holds on to the ball too long leads to too many sacks against the team, and that may also be a product of him not being tall enough to properly see the field.
Sunseri is the leader in the competition to start next season, but a strong performace by any of the competitiors will bring him back to the bench.
Trey Anderson has emerged for Pitt after coming in as a walk-on.
Trey Anderson came to Pittsburgh this summer as a true freshman walk-on, but he quickly established himself as the No. 2 quarterback during fall training camp. Anderson was able to earn a scholarship shortly after, and he found himself in a quarterback rotation before an injury ended his season early.
Anderson appeared in four games, completing only 12-of-33 passes for 55 yards and no touchdowns against three interceptions, but he did add 30 yards on the ground. Anderson was put into a tough spot, as quarterback rotations hardly ever work, and it's tough to throw any true freshman into the mix that early—let alone a kid that wasn't really recruited out of high school.
Given some time to work on refining his skills, Anderson should better be able to compete for the starting job in 2012. He is a nice fit for the offense, as he played in a similar style offense in high school, and the coaching staff gave him rave reviews from practices.
Anderson likely has the second-best chance of the four competitors to win the starting job.
Mark Myers came to Pitt as a 4-star recruit from powerhouse prep program St. Ignatius of Ohio. However, the left-handed quarterback only started for one season on the high school level because of the presence of another talented quarterback that was a year older.
Myers took a red-shirt season his first year on campus in 2010. He came into the season as the favorite to win the backup job despite being a little raw, but was beaten out by true freshman walk-on Trey Anderson. Through 11 games, Myers has only appeared in one offensive play—an incomplete pass—and that's only because Anderson was out with an injury.
Myers has all the talent and the big arm to end up succeeding on this level. However, after receiving little playing time in high school, he is very raw and has yet to put his skills together.
Myers is likely the biggest long shot of the four to end up as the starter in 2012, but he does have the talent to take everyone by surprise.
When Pitt landed the verbal commitment of 4-star quarterback Chad Voytik from Tennessee this summer, it was a sign that coach Todd Graham could be a successful recruiter for Pitt.
Even though he's a bit under-sized at 6'0", Voytik has all the tools to succeed. He has excellent field vision, something necessary to succeed in a spread offense, and one of the quickest releases on his throws, something that's especially important when the Pitt offensive line has issues protecting the quarterback.
Voytik's accuracy also sets him apart.
Voytik has a real chance to end up starting next year, because none of the returnees have done much to separate themselves from the pack, while Voytik is a talented player that Graham brought in to run his offense. Odds are likely that he won't open the year as the starter, but if he is the real deal, he could be the starter by October.