PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Pitt coach Todd Graham addressed the quarterback position and his team’s 35-29 win against Maine Monday afternoon in his weekly press conference.
Starting QB Tino Sunseri was pulled early in the fourth quarter Saturday against the Black Bears for backup Trey Anderson, who quickly led the Panthers down the field on a scoring drive. Despite Anderson’s quick success, Graham ensured that Sunseri is his starter.
Graham did say, though, that we could possibly see Anderson in a package at Iowa this weekend.
“Tino is our quarterback, we’ve got confidence that he’s gonna get it done,” Graham said. “Has he played well? No, he hasn’t played well. He’s made some good plays but he’s got to play better and execute our system. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him.”
Graham later added, “I wasn’t gonna go through Maine and not have our backup quarterback play. Trey has some things that he brings to the table that you could see him in a package in the (Iowa) game.”
Also of note are some depth chart changes. Brandon Lindsey is now listed as the team’s starting defensive end. He was originally the Panther Linebacker, but now Juan Price is listed as the starter at the Panther.
Other talking points from Graham:
- Graham thought Juan Price played really well Saturday. He said he’s too good of a player not to be on the field and with a lot of moving parts throughout the Panthers defense there was the ability to get Price playing time. Graham said Price is still trying to figure things out in pass coverage — he was used mostly in rushing situations. He’s one of the most impressive freshmen on the team and he was markedly better from Week 1 to Week 2.
- As stated before, Lindsey will move to defensive end. Graham said he’s really appreciative of Lindsey and his approach to the position change. He’ll move around and Graham says it will help his game. Graham said he talked with Lindsey and told him he’ll have to play multiple positions and Lindsey was open to the change.
- Graham went on to talk about the offensive balance and he said that Pitt is 50-50 in run/pass ratio and they’ll continue to play that way, despite problems in pass protection along the offensive line. “We’re gonna take what the defense give us, ” he said. “We won’t flinch, we will not change. We’re gonna run this offense. We’re gonna run what we’re running defensively. We’re gonna attack on defense.” Graham said the biggest problem is understanding the execution before the ball is even snapped.
- Graham noted several times throughout the press conference that his team’s execution at the end of games has been a huge problem. He said Pitt has left points on the board and it’s unacceptable.
- Graham said the passing game is all about timing and the offense has been holding the ball too long in the passing game. “The ball should be one-two-and out on our quick passing game. It should be one-two-three-and out on our drop-back passing game.” He said Pitt ran 90 plays but all the sacks and turnovers took away from what the offense could have produced. He said it’s all about teaching the system and it obviously hasn’t been taught well enough yet. He wants everyone to be decisive in everything they do.
- Graham wants more speed on both sides and said that a few more freshmen could play this week at Iowa and throughout the rest of the season. He also suggested that the whole playbook hasn’t been used in the first two games of the season and we might see more at Iowa. “We’ve been fairly bland about what we’re doing. We felt like that we could win the first two games and do that, whether that was right or not I don’t now. The bottom line is we’re 2-0.”
- Anthony Gonzalez is eligible to play this weekend after serving his two-game suspension. Graham said he’s worked his tail off and has been selfless in learning a new position this year. He’ll play the 3-back and Graham expects him to play along with Hubie Graham. Drew Carswell could see time as well at the 3-back.
- Graham said Saturday’s game would have been completely different had Pitt not gone out and turned the ball over in the second half. He said too much ad-libbing has gone on and that’s not part of this offense. The offense has to be executed exactly as it’s taught. If Pitt has zero turnovers and forces a few they’ll win at Iowa, he says. Tino has to limit the plays that stall drives because they should have scored two more touchdowns in each game.
- On kicker Kevin Harper’s problems so far, Graham said he’s tried really hard not to yell at Harper because he doesn’t like to do that with kickers. He said he gets really frustrated when kickers miss. He said he’s not worried about it, though, and Harper is by far the best kicker on the team.
Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog