Monday, August 25, 2008

Season Preview Day 1:Quarterbacks

Last year we did the full season preview position by position and this year we thought we would continue the tradition. On the podcast we did this and all week I'm going to do accompanying articles. At the end of the week I will do my prediction article for the game and DPJ will preview our opponents Bowling Green. Let's start with the most important position on the football field Quarterback.

So in the most obvious conclusion to a camp positional battle was Bill Stull winning the job. Stull has been the penciled in guy at QB since camp started last year. A cheap shot during a meaningless Eastern Michigan opener last year ended his season. Now Stull is completely healed and took his redshirt season to work on every aspect of his game. The coaching staff has the most confidence in Stull and he has been in the program the longest.

The main drawback to Stull is that he has no experience. One game and a little bit of garbage time snaps is not an indication of how a player will perform in the Big East. Growing pains are to be expected with a first year starter but the hope is that Stull has enough experience in practice that it can translate into a stable year at the quarterback position. Stull doesn't have the biggest arm or the fastest feet but he can make the throws and hopefully is a good decision maker. This offense has so many weapons that the quarterback just needs to control the game and protect the ball, the skill position players will make the plays.

A successful season for Stull will be a season where he plays steady if a little unspectacular football. He doesn't need to be a star he just needs to be effecient. The coaching staff will give him every opportunity to be successful and to work through any problems and hopefully he will make this job his own. If Stull fails as the starter we do have other options to go to and I hope the coaching staff isn't too rigid as to what the future of this position is.

Behind Stull is last year's starter for the majority of the season in Pat Bostick. DPJ and I are unabashed Bostick fans, we feel he is the most talented QB on the roster. Last year Bostick had an up and down season from the second he arrived in camp but this offseason has been one of hard work and improvement. Bostick has dropped all of the extra weight that he was carrying last year and has continued to work on improving his arm stregnth. I think this season could be a redshirt season but there is a prospect of Bostick having to play due to injury or poor play. He is the most experienced QB on the roster and could be ready to go if need be. My prediction is that he does what Palko did a few years ago behind Rutherford being the backup but ideally not being used so he can get his redshirt.

Kevan Smith is the other QB that saw time last year after Stull's injury. Smith had a very tough time in his starts last year and hasn't done much to distance himself from Bostick this camp. All the physical talent is there its just a matter of the on field decision making and play not being there for Smith. A guy with his ability you hope will eventually get it and be able to make that next step to becoming a productive QB. Could feature in garbage time or as a backup if the staff is insistent on Bostick Getting a redshirt.

Greg Cross is the wildcard for the wildcat, see what I did there. He is an athletic option that was brought in to run the wildcat formation that we saw last year. Cross is a run first QB with a big arm that may be a little unpolished but he is going to have an impact because of his legs. Giving the offense an opportunity to change the pace at the position is going to be a great weapon to play with. Cross also could figure into the backup QB postion but that all depends on how much the staff trusts him to run the entire offense.

Tino Sunseri will redshirt this year and will be in line to compete for the job in 2010. I look for big things in the future from the Central Catholic star.

Overall the position is in so much better shape than it was last year. Coach Wannstedt learned his lesson and we will never be caught in a position where we don't have options. Stull's actual game inexperience is one of the question marks going into the season but he is an upperclassmen with a long time in this system. I think Stull will struggle somewhat early but will get some success behind him and have an adequate season.

I will be back later with the running backs, enjoy the first day of classes at Pitt.

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