Starkey: 'King Jameis' and Pitt's perpetual dilemma
TribLIVE Sports Videos
This space almost was reserved for Pitt, after yet another less-than-stellar season opener.
It was going to touch on the sad fact that the Panthers haven't had a quarterback drafted in the first round since 1983, or any round since 1993 (when Alex Van Pelt went in the no-longer-existent eighth round).
It was going to compare Paul Chryst with Walt Harris on the following basis: While both obviously are excellent quarterbacks coaches — guys who can wring the most out of average pedigree — that will only get you so far; Chryst needs to find a star.
It might have mentioned Dave Wannstedt, too, and how his entire head-coaching career — pro and college — was ruined by the inability to find a transformative player at the most important position on the field.
All of that was scrapped, however, because there really wasn't much news from the Pitt side of a 41-13 drubbing. Everything looked the same, from the product on the field to the near-empty stadium near the end.
What was the slogan the year Johnny Majors returned to Pitt? Back to the Future. It's always back to the future at Pitt, only not far back enough.
For 30 years, this program has been running a treadmill of mediocrity.
For 30 years, it has been looking for its next great quarterback.
But instead of talking about all that, we're going to talk about somebody else's great quarterback and what might be the biggest story in college football this year: King Jameis.
In a few years, Jameis Winston will be Florida State's third consecutive starting quarterback to go in the first round. He might go first overall. He might also pull a Johnny Manziel and win the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman.
He's that good.
I heard some cautionary, “Yeah, but …” talk after Winston debuted by going 25 for 27 for 356 yards, five total touchdowns and no interceptions.
He almost had his own 30 for 30 (literally) ESPN special by the end of the night.
Yeah, but he had open receivers all over the place.
Yeah, but it was only Pitt.
Please. The kid didn't throw a pass that hit the ground until the second half.
He made accurate throws on the run. He made subtle moves in the pocket (his first TD pass). He took a hit and delivered a 25-yard rope down the left seam. He made all the right decisions — including his touchdown run, when he cast a frightful sight sweeping to his left.
Consider the first-and-30 play late in the first half. It started with the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Winston pinned in the pocket as he stepped up. So he stepped back, rolled right and fired a dart 25 yards to the right sideline, hitting receiver Rashad Greene between the numbers.
After the game, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher flashed the smile of a man who knows he has a superstar quarterback. He got a kick out of the first question, when a reporter jokingly asked, “What happened on the two incompletions?”
After trying to downplay what we'd all just seen, Fisher had to admit: “You don't ever expect anybody to do that.”
Winston walked into the cramped visitors media room wearing a compression shirt that read “Be Elite.” He lit the place up. He projects a Cam Newton vibe, both in physical stature and charisma.
Somebody asked if he'd made any mistakes.
“I had two (play) busts,” Winston said. “I got sacked. I don't like getting sacked. I mean, there's so many things that are under the table that people don't see.”
I guess we'll have to wait for the first mistake we can see.
In the meantime, I was going to say that Winston is the type of quarterback Pitt never gets, but that would be unfair, because he's the type hardly anybody gets. It also would be unfair to paint a negative picture of Pitt quarterback Tom Savage after one game. Under Chryst's guidance, Savage might very well become a productive quarterback.
But until Chryst finds a star at the sport's most critical position, his rebuilding project will be stuck in neutral. Pitt will be stuck in the past.
Just not far enough.
Joe Starkey co-hosts a show 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays on 93.7 FM. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency
- Rossi: Pirates must pay for Mr. Right
- Coyotes proliferate despite year-round hunting
- Under Rutherford, it’s been a sizeable shakeup for Penguins
- Burnett’s farewell tour wishlist has just 1 item: Pirates World Series
- Against Wake Forest, Pitt looks to reverse fortunes on road
- Experts call for deer hunters to step up game
- Winnik impresses Penguins in first workout
- Blaze rips through Salem house
- Baby Penguins notebook: Goalie Murray on historic run of success
- Big names become available this week via free agency; will Steelers be tempted?