Max Browne, once a highly-touted quarterback prospect, transferred from USC to Pitt for this season. The idea is that, in his last year, he will be the unquestioned starter.
According to a recent Post-Gazette article, however, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi says, not so fast:
"Max Browne is leading the way," Narduzzi said last week, "but he's got a guy right on his footsteps, Ben DiNucci."
"It's a tight race, and there's not a lot of separation," Narduzzi said. "At the end, E.J. came to my office and said hey, we need somebody, so I said here's what it looks like to us right now. We talk about it every day. But Ben DiNucci has done a great job of developing."
By the way, Narduzzi is referring to the preseason depth chart he had to assemble for the athletics department in that last part.
My general thought on this is no different than it is whenever high-profile transfers move to a program - they expect to play. I won't come out and say Browne was guaranteed anything here but there is zero chance (in my mind) that he would come here if he didn't feel he was going to be the guy going into the season. Any number of teams are looking for quarterbacks and no coach will ever sell me on the idea that a kid like Browne, who could go to a lot of programs and start immediately, would come here with only the expectation that he might play. It's common sense.
Now, if Browne comes here and struggles with the job, he obviously won't keep it. Or if he gets to camp this fall and is so bad that even he realizes he shouldn't have the job, I could see an exception there, too. But if both guys are reasonably close, he's getting the job.
You also have to keep in mind that playing transfers doesn't only have an implication on the current team, but the future. Pitt has been fortunate in the transfer game in landing Nathan Peterman and others who have been above average. If they want to continue to land guys they need to play the ones that come here so they can point to some past successes. You don't think what Peterman did here at Pitt had an effect on Browne?
I'm all for Narduzzi putting this out there and keeping pressure on his top guy (and no, not these top guys). Browne should be under pressure to play well. But do I buy that there's a chance Browne doesn't start to the season unless it's due to injury?