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Waiting to be named starter, Pitt QB Voytik keeps working hard

| Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

Pitt quarterback Chad Voytik couldn't get a grip. All he could do was laugh when his pass went straight into the grass with a splat.

“I kept driving them into the ground,” he said.

Pitt fans need not worry. The object Voytik couldn't control was a water balloon used in the after-practice activity coach Paul Chryst organized Friday for his players, who haven't had a day off since training camp opened Aug. 3.

Meanwhile, Voytik's education with a football in his hand continues.

After two weeks of training camp, Chryst hasn't publicly named a starter between Voytik, the presumptive choice, and junior Trey Anderson, who has thrown 35 passes since arriving three years ago (two in the past two seasons).

Chryst doesn't speak much about it, but it appears he didn't want to hand the job early in camp to a quarterback without an extensive resume, wary of the message that might send. Voytik has played one half in two seasons, albeit an impressive comeback in a 30-27 victory against Bowling Green last year in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Voytik said the delay in naming a starter doesn't bother him.

“I'm taking each day like I'm the starter,” he said, “and I'm working as if I'm still in competition. So you get the best of both worlds.

“I'm not trying to think too much into it. I'm just trying to attack each day, and hopefully, I can step into that role.”

Meanwhile, he said, he enjoys breaking down practice film with Chryst, one of college football's most respected quarterback coaches, and applying what he learns on the field.

It's not always pretty — safety Terrish Webb intercepted a pass intended for Tyler Boyd on Friday — and Chryst acknowledges there's much to learn.

“I've never been around a quarterback who doesn't go through growing pains,” Chryst said. “I like the way he has taken the film study and applied it. Not perfect. Gotta keep going. I've been happy with it.”

Voytik said the process is “going a lot better than expected.

“I feel myself growing but in a way I didn't expect. I don't know if I set my expectations too low, but we kind of jumped past the mark that we set and need to keep going.”

Voytik played in a spread offense at Cleveland (Tenn.) High School — he first was recruited by former coach Todd Graham — but he has worked hard to adapt to Chryst's pro-style offense.

“This has opened my eyes to a different type of football,” Voytik said. “I've really enjoyed growing with it. I like it more than my past offense.”

The offense has a chance to be the strongest part of the team with Boyd, a deep stable of running backs led by James Conner and an experienced offensive line.

“We have some athletes,” Voytik said. “I just want to get them the ball and let them do the work.”

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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