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Pitt Football Spring Practices: Sorting out the Panthers' Quarterbacks

Photo used with permission of the University of Pittsburgh athletics department -

Pitt football's spring practices continue with another week until the spring game. The team has another (closed) scrimmage this weekend before next week's practices and spring game.

One topic discussed after a recent practice was the pecking order of the quarterbacks. Head coach Pat Narduzzi was pretty tight-lipped but offensive coordinator Shawn Watson gave a little bit of insight. There's some separation between the four guys, according to both of them. Only one wanted to talk about it, though, and that was Watson.

So, who's leading right now? "I think the two older guys, because of experience," said Watson. Those older guys, by the way, are senior transfer Max Browne and redshirt sophomore Ben DiNucci.

When asked about the separation, Watson elaborated a little.

"Yeah, it's Max [Browne] and Ben [DiNucci]," added Watson. "Then Thomas [MacVittie] and Kenny [Pickett] came right along with them."

I found it amusing that Watson gave some insight and that same day, Narduzzi actually talked about the media not knowing who was leading because there weren't any leaks in the office.

"I think there's some separation," said Narduzzi. "Every day we talk about ‘Okay, who is the starting QB after today?' in the staff room. It's good that you don't know; it means we have no leaks in the office."


In all seriousness, though, none of this matters all that much. As I said when Pitt landed Tom Savage, he didn't come all the way across the country to transfer to Pitt and sit on the bench. I'm convinced that there was an understanding, whether implied or expressed verbally, that if he came here, he would start. Why would he come here just to compete for a job in his last year?

It's similar to the Browne situation. Pitt doesn't land a kid like that from USC with merely the hope of playing in his final year. There are a million places he could have gone. Unless he absolutely stinks up the joint in training camp or DiNucci turns into the second coming of Dan Marino, Browne is going to be the guy.

I don't even mind the game of cat and mouse that Narduzzi likes to play with trying to keep everyone in the dark about everything. As I've said before, that works when you're winning games and Narduzzi has won games. Pitt will eventually need to break out and get to that nine or ten-win level but there's no doubt that the program has improved under his watch and he also has some very nice wins on his resume like beating rival Penn State and taking down Clemson on the road.

Trying to keep everything secretive and closed off can be a little obnoxious, I suppose. But that won't really start getting under the skin of fans if he's successful.

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