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Manny Stocker and Ben DiNucci battling for Pitt backup quarterback job

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt is settled at quarterback with Nathan Peterman returning as the team's starter. However, one spot that is still up for grabs is the backup job.

Currently, Manny Stocker and Ben DiNucci seem to be the leading candidates there over true freshman Tom MacVittie, per head coach Pat Narduzzi. And of those two, Stocker holds a slight edge.

"Right now, if I had to guess I would say Manny [Stocker] is a little bit ahead of [Ben] DiNucci right now, but they've been neck and neck. And then [Thomas] MacVittie has shown some good things out there as well, so there's some competition at that spot. After day six, the heat will be on with the live reps and decision making. Everybody has to play until they get hit."

That Stocker is leading in that competition now isn't a big surprise. He's played the position at North Carolina State and at Tennessee-Martin before coming to Pitt. Also, as a redshirt senior, he has some years of experience over DiNucci, a redshirt freshman. He doesn't have much game time (more on that in a bit) but he has a lot more practice time under his belt.

Some wondered if MacVittie could overtake one, or possibly even both, as soon as this year. But that doesn't seem as if it's happening right now. And as a true freshman, that's not terrible for Pitt, anyway, since you'd hate to burn his redshirt if it's not necessary. Narduzzi added that he has 'shown some good things' but really, this appears to be down to Stocker and DiNucci.

It's also worth pointing out that Stocker led in the competition this spring as well. That's not to say he's a lock going into the season to be the backup, but things are obviously in his favor right now.

Stocker, of course, is no sure thing should he need to play. He hasn't played the position at the D-I level since 2012, after all. That season he played to mixed results as a true freshman with the Wolfpack and even there, he barely played. In five games, he was 0-2 and was mostly used in a running role on a handful of plays. Ditto for his role at Tennessee-Martin. He played in five games there, but was only 2-5 passing while rushing twice. Make no mistake, he has little experience in actual game action as a passer.

Pitt's best case scenario remains to keep Peterman healthy and hope that it doesn't come down to needing one of these guys to play significant snaps. It might be worth it to get both of them some reps in a few of the non-conference games if they can take control early. Outside of that, Pitt will be better off if they can keep Peterman on the field and upright.

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