Pitt's Voytik is No. 2, and he tries harder
Dark clouds rolled overhead at Pitt's South Side practice field late Tuesday afternoon, almost like someone had turned off the lights in a big room.
But the light went on for freshman quarterback Chad Voytik, who ignored the rain and wet grass and dived into the end zone on a rollout play that generated a loud roar of approval from his teammates.
There is no current quarterback controversy at Pitt, with fifth-year senior Tino Sunseri entrenched as the starter. But Voytik has seized the No. 2 job after an injury slowed sophomore Trey Anderson, and he is getting a firm grip on an offense that was foreign to him only a few months ago.
“He's getting better with repetition,” coach Paul Chryst said. “Not that every rep is always right or what you want it to be. But I think he is learning. He is taking advantage of the work he is getting.”
Offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph offered high praise of Voytik when he said, “It's important to him. He has a lot to continue to learn, but I like his approach.”
Voytik has performed well the past two days as training camp winds down before the team begins preparing for the Sept. 1 opener against Youngstown State. Not every pass is perfect, and he got lucky earlier Tuesday when cornerback Cullen Christian dropped what should have been an interception.
But he has placed a few passes perfectly over the shoulder of receivers streaking down the sideline and shown poise in the pocket, albeit against a pass rush going at practice speed.
But Rudolph has noticed some characteristics about Voytik that could signal future success.
“I think he does a nice job of being in the moment,” he said. “He makes good decisions. He throws the ball well. He throws it on the move well. He is starting to pick up the offense. Athletically, he has some real tools. I'm happy about his progress.”
Voytik might be considered former coach Todd Graham's parting gift to Pitt. Before Graham left for Arizona State, Voytik committed, thinking he would be playing in the option-read offense — the same scheme in which he threw for more than 5,000 career yards at Cleveland (Tenn.) High School.
To Chryst's credit, one of the first telephone calls he made after he was hired Dec. 22 was to Voytik, reassuring him that the new staff wanted him for its dramatically different pro-style attack. Voytik, who operated out of the shotgun in high school, was going under center for the first time.
His response? A shrug of the shoulders.
“I don't feel like it is (a big deal),” he said. “I feel like I can pick it up and get rolling with it and get the timing. It's a great thing for timing in the passing game.”
It was much more important to him that Chryst called him so soon after taking the job.
“That was big for me,” Voytik said. “That's something you want to know. I had already committed to the university and everything in my mind was still what I wanted, so I tried to stay faithful to it.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7997.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.