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Pitt names Nathan Peterman as starting quarterback

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Nick Cammett-USA TODAY Sports

In the most obvious of moves ...

Nate Peterman will be the University of Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback moving forward, football coach Pat Narduzzi said on the ACC coaches teleconference today.

This wasn't a surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with the situation. Despite head coach Pat Narduzzi not declaring Peterman the guy after last weekend's game, it was pretty obvious that was the direction things were headed.

Incumbent starter Chad Voytik played only two series against Akron the week before and two series against Iowa, despite the fact that Peterman tossed two early interceptions against the Hawkeyes. Peterman was also the starter for the Panthers' contest against Iowa. Taking all of that into consideration, it was clear that he was going to be guy.

Does this mean the complete end for Voytik? Narduzzi, FWIW, says no:

"I think Chad will continue to battle back," he said. "We will have a package for Chad."

I hope this is the case, but really, I'm not holding my breath here. It makes all the sense in the world for Voytik to be on the field in situations such as 3rd and short when his running ability could be utilized, but we haven't seen anything in the way of situational playcalling on offense.

My hope is that Voytik could get inserted for designed runs or in situations such ones I just mentioned, but we haven't seen the latter at all this season to my recollection. I don't remember the exact series but I mentioned it in one of our gamethreads during the Akron game. Pitt had a 3rd and short that screamed for a mobile quarterback and didn't go in that direction. Things can change but to date, we've not seen that sort of innovative substitutions at quarterback during games.

It would be nice to see Peterman take hold of the job now that he has it, but the interceptions still are concerning. I said going into the last game that I had reservations about Peterman's ability to play mistake-free ball and that was amplified with the early picks in that contest. He has five interceptions in only 93 career passes - and that just isn't very good. What can't be denied is that he played very well after those mistakes against the Hawkeyes.

The question is will he be able to eliminate those kinds of plays in future games or if Pitt will simply need to take the good with the bad. Perhaps with the job in a full-time role and more experience, that trend will reverse itself. But historically (short as it may be), turnovers have been an issue for him.

I'm also very interested to see how this plays out with Voytik going forward. He's often described as uber-competitive and I'm not sure how he'll react to officially being relegated to the bench. I have a hard time ruling out a transfer here because I'd be shocked if Voytik didn't think he was being treated at least somewhat unfairly. The fact remains that he lost his starting job with only two series with Tyler Boyd on the field. A transfer may not even be likely at this point, but you'd think that it's (at the very least) something to watch if Voytik doesn't get much more of a chance this year. And you need only look back to Pitt a couple of years ago with Tom Savage when wondering if a quarterback would transfer with only a single year of eligibility.

Getting back to that Trib article, a very weird piece of the puzzle for me was this from Narduzzi:

Narduzzi said Voytik was "clearly" ahead of Peterman at the end of training camp.

I'm not sure I'm personally buying this for a myriad of reasons. But even if you are, it's not all that great of a statement - here's why.

If Narduzzi and company really were sold on Voytik being the clear winner out of camp, what does that necessarily say about their evaluation of the two quarterbacks if we're being honest? If Voytik was the obvious pick, why would he be on such a short leash? The fact is that if Voytik really did appear that far ahead, one of the following almost certainly had to have happened:

1. The coaches were very, very off in their personal evaluations of the players

2. Voytik virtually forgot how to play football within the span of a few weeks

3. Nathan Peterman turned into the second coming of Joe Montana - again, within the span of a few weeks

To me, it's not possible that the coaches feel Voytik is even close to Peterman based on the few reps he's taken over the past two games. If the two were neck and neck, you'd expect to have seen a little more of Voytik on the field in those two games.

What we've seen here is Voytik being the unquestioned starter (as conceded by Narduzzi) to Peterman being the unquestioned starter (since Voytik hasn't played very much) all in the matter of a few weeks. Based on that, I'll leave it up to you to decipher which of those three options above is the most logical.

Here's the thing,

As I've said on numerous occasions, I have no real problem with Peterman being given the reins - particularly based on the way he fought back last weekend. At this point he's earned it, I think, and there's no doubt that the offense responded well with him in there. If you told me to pick a starter at this point, I would pick Peterman.

My issue, I suppose, is with the process in getting here. Even the most ardent Peterman supporters can't honestly believe that Voytik was given much of an opportunity this season, and that's a shame because the kid waited his turn, played well in the second half of last season, and was by all accounts, a very hard worker. He was on one of the shortest leashes you will ever see for a player deemed to have a stronghold on a job.

He sat behind Tino Sunseri as a true freshman. When it looked like he would get his shot as a redshirt freshman the next year, Pitt brought in Tom Savage. He's been with the program for over three years and while merely waiting your turn is certainly no reason a player should win a job, to have said job taken away when you've had two series with your top receiver seems unfair.

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