Funny, but a little over a month ago, we thought Pitt's roster for 2011 was pretty well set. We knew it was. Beyond that, the quarterback spot was fairly stable. Sure, Anthony Gonzalez' suspension likely dropped him to third on the depth chart, but Mark Myers wasn't a reach as the backup and things seemed under control.
Then came the
bombshell pindrop. with little fanfare, Trey Anderson was announced as a walk-on quarterback.
Most, including myself, didn't think much of Anderson's signing at the time. Sure he won a state championship in high school, but who would have thought that a walk-on true freshman who was headed for junior college would come into a respectable D-I program and, in less than a month, turn into the backup ... over Mark Myers, who more than a few people called to start last season over Tino Sunseri? As I mentioned in my initial write-up about Anderson, even he all but conceded that he expected to redshirt this year.
People just didn't see anything like this happening.
Any story like that deserves a good ending, and Anderson got one when he was given a scholarship. It goes without saying that any backup quarterback should have a scholarship. He's one play away from leading a football team and anyone with that kind of responsibility should be rewarded as such.
Even in the short amount of time, quarterbacks coach Todd Dodge says he's gained respect from teammates:
"He is exceeding expectations from the standpoint of making the game slow down for himself as a young player. He has tremendous intangibles, a lot of moxie, a lot of 'keep-the-play-alive' ability. He's nothing to write home about yet, but we've been really pleased. And I think he has gained some respect, even from his older teammates, in a very short time."
Dodge also said it was because of his familiarity with the system that he was able to pass Myers:
"I don’t think [Anderson] had an advantage because everyone else had spring reps in this offense," Dodge said. "But big picture, being a no-huddle quarterback, being in shotgun his whole life, he’s been running a similar offense in a no-huddle fashion since he was in the seventh grade."
Anderson was likely brought in as an insurance policy, but the coaches were familiar with him. So then, the question's asked: If Gonzalez doesn't get suspended, would Anderson even be on the team?
After the announcement, Graham also said something about supporting walk-ons in general, which I thought was pretty cool:
"One of the big things we want to do is build our walk-on program," he said. "At Tulsa, every year, we gave two scholarships to walk-ons."
I understand that coaches can't reward every walk-on with a scholarship, but it's great that Graham seems to try to help them out as much as possible. With the late defections after Dave Wannstedt left, Pitt was four scholarships under the limit (now using 82 of 85 available) and had the space, so I'm all for this.