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Bostick fine with losing redshirt

He used a season of eligibility for the sake of handing off three times and taking a knee to run out the clock against Navy, but Pat Bostick insists he isn't upset about losing an opportunity to redshirt.

"I'm the backup quarterback on a team that's trying to win a championship," Bostick said Tuesday. "Whatever they deem necessary to do that, trying to prepare ourselves to win a championship. We're getting into the thick of things now. I've got to get ready to help this team win."

After starting the final eight games as a freshman last season, Bostick was beaten out for the starting job by redshirt junior Bill Stull in August.

Bostick, however, handled the bulk of second-team snaps in practice. Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said he planned to play Bostick but never had the chance because the Panthers' first five games were so close.

With No. 17 Pitt (5-1, 2-0 Big East conference) heading into the thick of its conference schedule with a game against Rutgers (2-5, 1-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Wannstedt said Bostick's playing time against Navy, little as it was, could prove invaluable.

"If Billy gets hurt the first play against Rutgers, I feel a lot better, even though Pat only played four minutes," Wannstedt said. "He took some snaps, the crowd was screaming and he got the signals. If you ask Pat right now, Pat would feel better today about going in than he did if he hadn't ever taken a snap. That's a matter of how you're looking at it, but that's how the decision was made."

Bostick called the Navy appearance "very important," considering it was his first in a game since Pitt's 13-9 victory at West Virginia in the season finale last Dec. 1.

"Practice is one thing," Bostick said, but "in a game situation, it's totally different because there's 11 guys on the field, and you're the ringleader."

Wannstedt hopes the move sent a clear message to the Panthers that he wants to win now. Pitt is in first place in the Big East and needs two victories to clinch its first bowl berth in four seasons under Wannstedt.

"It was mentioned that (a redshirt) was a possibility," Bostick said, "but the primary focus of both myself and this coaching staff -- and this team -- was to win a championship and put a good product out there on Saturdays. ... If you're not thinking about that, then you don't belong here."

Wannstedt also noted the significance of saving a redshirt for season-ending injuries, pointing to receiver Derek Kinder, defensive tackle Gus Mustakas and Stull as examples of players who benefited by having one available.

On the flip side, playing Bostick could be construed as Pitt coaches no longer believing he can be its quarterback of the future. If Stull and Bostick remain in their roles again next season, Bostick would have only one remaining season to compete for the starting job.

Yet Bostick downplayed taking a redshirt, saying it "shouldn't even be talked about during the season."

"The important thing is, I'm not worried about the future right now, and this team is not worried about the future right now. We're worried about right now," Bostick said. "I think it's natural to think about the future, and there are questions that arise as a result of what happened. But it's also important to know that I'm helping this team to win every game, every week, and whatever the circumstances are for me to go on the field, that's what I'm prepared for."

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