Pitt's quarterback progression in state of flux
The quarterback landscape at Pitt has changed so dramatically that the No. 1 backup is now catching passes.
The freshman walk-on who couldn't get a scholarship after leading his Texas high school to a state championship is threatening to seize the No. 2 job.
And the biggest, most physically imposing player on the depth chart needs to consistently get "a little fire in his belly when he steps between the white lines," according to quarterbacks coach Todd Dodge.
At least starter Tino Sunseri has no issues at the moment. Even his bad days turn into good ones before anyone has a chance to worry about him.
"Mistakes that Tino made 16 hours ago, he didn't make (Wednesday)," Dodge said.
The situation turned upside down this week when Anthony Gonzalez, a redshirt freshman who is suspended for the first two games after his arrest on drug and other charges, was moved to H-back — Pitt's version of tight end in coach Todd Graham's offense.
The move was not a punitive measure — just a way to get a good athlete on the field, even if it's only to improve depth.
Coaches can't stop raving about him.
"Every film we watch, he is a natural," Todd Graham said. "He can be a big contributor for us at that position."
Gonzalez was not available for comment because of his suspension, but tight ends coach Tony Dews admitted Gonzalez "had some reservations (about the move), but excitement at the same time."
"It was one of those things," Dews said. "(He said) 'I'll try it and see, but my heart is at quarterback.' He still wants to be a quarterback. It's hard to give up."
Dews is excited about Gonzalez's potential at H-back.
"He has the potential to be one of our best athletes on offense," he said.
Meanwhile, two other quarterbacks — freshman walk-on Trey Anderson and 6-foot-4, 230-pound redshirt freshman Mark Myers — wage an interesting and unresolved battle for the top backup job.
Dodge, who tried to recruit Anderson to North Texas State where he was fired as head coach last year, calls him "a real operator."
Anderson, who doesn't look the part at 6-foot, 180 pounds, was set to join eight of his high school teammates at Tyler (Texas) Junior College where he would have been the starter. Then, Dodge lured him to Pitt without offering a scholarship and challenged him not to settle for a minor role.
"He didn't come in with the attitude that he is going to be No. 3," Dodge said. "He came in with the attitude that he is going to compete."
Dodge, who coached 6-foot quarterback Chase Daniel (now of the New Orleans Saints) in high school, said Anderson has the skills Pitt seeks in its quarterbacks.
That includes versatility, mobility and accuracy, even on the deep throws.
"What he has done is put himself right in contention for the backup job," Dodge said.
Still, Myers won't go down without a fight.
A day after Dodge challenged him to become more of a leader, Myers had a good day yesterday, hitting 16-of-24 passes, according to the coach's count.
"He is kind of a laid-back personality guy," Dodge said. "He has to get a little fire in his belly when he steps between the white lines. When you step between the white lines, you have to inspire other people. I saw that in him today."
Redshirt junior — 6-2, 215 pounds
Did you know• He completed 64.5 percent of his passes last season, but Pitt quarterbacks coach Todd Dodge wants it to be more than 67 percent this season.
Redshirt freshman — 6-4, 230 pounds
Did you know• He was considered the top high school quarterback in Ohio in 2009.
Redshirt freshman — 6-3, 215
Did you know? He led Bethlehem Liberty to a PIAA Class AAAA championship against Bethel Park by rushing for 205 yards and three touchdowns, throwing a scoring pass and intercepting a pass in overtime.
Freshman — 6-0, 180
Did you know? He chose to walk on at Pitt over Oklahoma and Boise State because he believed it was his best chance to eventually win a scholarship.
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.
- The IRS scandal: Is a shocking new email the smoking cannon?
- Gorman: Goda a model for success after football
- Pirates notebook: Bucs to target pitching on trade market
- Police investigating death of 4-month-old in Aliquippa
- State police investigating Lawrence County murder-suicide
- All-star Watson blows late lead as Reds rally past Pirates
- Scaife donates art to Brandywine, Westmoreland art museums
- Associate: Tommy Ramone, last of the original Ramones, dies
- Seinfeld takes Irwin man’s Jaguar for a sip, spin
- Plum school board rejects fact-finder’s report in dispute with administrative aides
- Woman in Route 28 crash has outstanding warrants