Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi stated previously that the Pitt quarterback job was not yet won by presumed starter and USC transfer Max Browne.
I’ve shared my thoughts previously on why I’m not sure I buy that but this week in a radio interview, Narduzzi repeated that stance.
“Max Browne is the guy that came out of spring thought as the number one guy, but Ben DiNucci is right there,” said Narduzzi. “There’s competition. And if Max Browne thinks he’s got it all by himself he’ll have another thing coming.”
Perhaps more interesting is that Narduzzi said he wants to name a starter earlier this year than he did two years ago when Nathan Peterman and Chad Voytik were fighting for the job.
“I think I made that mistake my first year (having a QB competition into the season), I think I cost us the Iowa game because I couldn’t make (a decision) fast enough,” said Narduzzi. “I’d like the kids to make that decision, I don’t really want to name the starting quarterback, I want it to be so visible that everybody knows. I’d like to have that thing set in stone before we start the season, but if we have to go into it and see who’s going to make plays, we’ll do that.”
The point about the Iowa game is interesting. Now, Peterman did play most of that game and Voytik got only a couple of series. But if you remember (and here’s a refresher if you’re like me and didn’t), Peterman came on and threw two early picks before he was replaced. That was Peterman’s first start and it came in a pretty hostile environment with a night road game. Narduzzi’s thinking is likely that if he had started the season all along, he would have been better prepared and more capable of leading Pitt to a win in a game that came down to a last-second, 57-yard field goal.
All of that is important contextually because of how Narduzzi handled that situation. Perhaps he felt that Peterman should be the starter and Voytik got the nod based on his tenure here. Remembering back on the extremely short leash Voytik was on, it’s even easier to see that Narduzzi was never sold on him. Looking back, he now feels like that could have cost Pitt the game and wants to avoid making that mistake again.
Does all of that mean there could be a legit competition this year? I mean, maybe. Personally, I still maintain that Browne will be the starter for Pitt’s opener. Maybe as things go along, that changes if he struggles. But as I said before, if I’m Browne and I’ve got only one year to prove myself, I don’t walk into a place where there’s a chance I might not play. I go to a school where I’m guaranteed to play.
And seeing him sit the bench all season just doesn’t add up.