FanPost

Featured Fanpost: Savage's Play is a HUGE Issue

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I think one thing that isn't being taken hard enough is the poor play of Tom Savage. Everyone mentions it, but then moves on to coaching. Coaching is obviously a huge issue, but I think it's blown up even more by Savage's poor play. Being fortunate enough to be at almost every game, I've been watching Savage, and only Savage, when Pitt is on offense since about halfway through the VT game. When he drops back to throw, he has his mind made up of who he is going to throw the ball to (most of the time Devin Street, so no surprise he caught almost half of the completions), and does not ever look off that player. If that read is not there, he simply waits too long, then tries to run, usually without much success. The struggles of the offensive line have been well documented this year as well, but I think they're getting a bit better since VT, and at some point Savage just has to know he has to get rid of the ball. He's taking way too many 1, 2, 3 yard runs and just as many sacks; these are all results of just not throwing the ball because he doesn't look for more than one read. His performance yesterday reminded me way too much of Tino Sunseri.

Also, he cannot throw the mid range ball. They complete a lot of them, yes, but that doesn't mean they're good throws. One play in particular sticks out from yesterday, Devin Street was coming across the middle and Savage saw he was open, threw it, but Street had to slide down to his knees to catch it. The biggest problem with this is, not only was no one around him, so not much pressure to get the throw in, but also that Street could have run for 10+ more yards on the play IF the ball was placed better. That was just one specific example of a few of those kinds of throws yesterday, and all season (This was overlooked in the first few weeks because it allowed Tyler Boyd to make some amazing catches, but still poor play from Savage). Mistakes like that add up faster than anything else, missed opportunities to get within striking distance early on in a drive really slow the team down.

It's probably too late in the game to think about seeing Chad Voytik take over for the Panthers, but honestly, I think it could only help the team; the switch would definitely not hurt anything. The goal of the season has now gone back to 6 wins to get to a bowl game and keep up on this amazing streak of mediocrity. Pitt has (what I believe to be) three winnable games left on the schedule: Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Syracuse. Inevitably, the Panthers will lose one of those three and actually probably beat Notre Dame or Miami, because... it's Pitt. It's hard for anyone to argue that Savage's play lately gives Pitt a much better chance to win two more games than Chad Voytik would, because I think a lot of the result of yesterday's game can come back to missed opportunities by Savage. I would like to think Voytik knows how to make at lest two reads compared to the single read Savage makes every play, and I think that's enough to justify considering the switch at this point.

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