In the second half of Pitt's game against Florida International, head coach Paul Chryst made a curious move by replacing starting quarterback Chad Voytik with backup Trey Anderson. The move only lasted a series but with the Panthers up by only seven, the move made little sense to, well, just about everyone.
Afterwards, Chryst spoke on his decision. Per the Trib-Review:
"I just wanted Chad to take a step back and see things from a different vantage point," Chryst said. "Not to make the game too big.
"I just wanted him to catch a breath."
Chryst also said it was an opportunity to give Anderson, a junior who hasn't played much in the past three seasons, some work.
"Get one guy some work and let the other guy step back and see it's still a game," he said.
Count me among those not sold on the decision.
In a blowout, obviously, it makes sense to get Anderson a little work and protect Voytik. In a close game, however, knowing your team needs the win since it's one that should have been a gimme? A benching in those circumstances just doesn't pass the smell test.
Getting Anderson some work hardly could have been the real reason for his entrance into a tight game and I think (I emphasize the word 'think' here) it really had more to do with Chryst not being pleased with Voytik's play to that point. Voytik wasn't stinking up the joint, but he wasn't making huge plays with his arm, either.
Still, yanking him in favor of Anderson didn't make sense for several reasons. As I said, the game was a tight one and he doesn't give you the best chance to win. Not only is Anderson a downgrade from Voytik, but you could argue he's a significant one. Plus, while Voytik may not have been hitting all of his receivers, he was making plays with his legs. Voytik's scrambling ability is one reason he shouldn't have been lifted there.
I don't know - you look at the end result and everything worked out. But teams just don't take out their starting quarterbacks in situations like that.
The one thing that keeps coming back in my mind is Chryst's late decision to name Voytik as the starter. despite everyone's assumption that it was going to happen way back at the beginning of last season. He's never sounded all that impressed with him and I don't know if Chryst thinks he might need Anderson at some point this season even if there's not an injury to Voytik. He's closer to this than all of us, but at the end of the day, I have a really hard time believing that Anderson can be the answer under center.
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