Pitt's Chryst must decide between seasoned Savage, youthful Voytik
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Friday, April 5, 2013, 11:12 p.m.
Chad Voytik stands tall, head high, chest pumped. And not just when he's in the pocket, trying to see his way toward the starting quarterback job at Pitt.
He has a long way to go, but he's playing with more confidence these days.
“I'm really taking the next step,” Voytik said. “I'm trying to dive in deeper this year, and I feel like I've done that so far.”
Voytik's second season finds him locked in competition with more experienced teammate Tom Savage. If he's made up his mind, coach Paul Chryst isn't ready to reveal a decision, but Savage has a slight edge.
First of all, he's nearly four years older than Voytik, 19. Savage started as a freshman at Rutgers in 2009 and learned at transfer destinations Arizona and Pitt the past two seasons.
Most important, Savage has a big-time arm.
“This is about as strong as my arm has ever been,” he said.
The key is securing a connection with the receivers, a difficult task without a true starter opposite Devin Street. Chryst has been patient, noting there's been good and bad.
“That's OK right now,” he said. “I love the approach that he has, and he's learning (to throw) to different guys who are also learning about being in the right spot.”
Voytik brings a different dimension to the Pitt passing game than Savage, a stay-at-home, survey-the-field quarterback, who stands 6-foot-5, 230 pounds.
Voytik, 6-1, 205, also has a strong arm, but he can make things happen with his feet.
That's the tricky part. Chryst and quarterback coach Brooks Bollinger want to see what Voytik can do while sitting in the pocket, reading defenses and finding quick outlets for his passes.
Yet they don't want to restrain his athleticism.
“When it shuts down, speed up the legs and go do something,” Chryst said.
Voytik has impressed Chryst with his ability to run the two-minute offense.
“He didn't get a ton of those reps last year, and I thought he did a pretty good job,” he said after one recent practice. “Chad is working through (progressions) a little bit better.”
Voytik has good speed and instincts when he tucks the ball under his arm and runs, but he's trying to become a complete quarterback.
“I'm trying (to rely less on his mobility),” he said. “It's a struggle. I want to use it more as a weapon, not my first option.”
Voytik describes the competition as “unique.”
“(Savage) has had more background,” he said. “He's already played in some college games, had more time to learn the game. But as far as the (Pitt) offense goes, we are going through it together We both help each other out.”
Voytik has four years of eligibility remaining and may enter another competition next year with freshman Tra Chapman. Savage is in his last year.
“I don't have time on my side,” he said.
He points to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who transferred in 2011 from North Carolina State to Wisconsin and flourished in one season under Chryst, who was the Badgers' offensive coordinator.
In a conversation with former Pitt quarterback Pat Bostick, who is part of the game-day broadcast team, Savage said he admires what Wilson accomplished at Wisconsin.
“If he can do it in one year, so can I,” he said.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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.
- Pitt’s Donald sweeps Outland, Bednarik awards, named All-American
- Pitt’s Donald wins Lombardi Award
- Pitt to face MAC champ Bowling Green in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
- Pitt’s Dixon discusses local signees
- Pitt defensive lineman Donald brings home Bronko Nagurski Award
- With Pitt men ahead, gauntlet continues for Loyola Marymount
- Pitt slows down Loyola Marymount, 85-68