PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – There have been several points in his life where quarterback Ben DiNucci has probably felt forgotten. Like the guy you put aside to move on to the next, big thing.
The redshirt sophomore isn’t remembered like most college quarterbacks at his own high school. Even though he was the first Pennsylvania quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season and state player of the year, Pine-Richland touts Notre Dame recruit Phil Jurkovec, one of the best in the country.
DiNucci had to cringe when he heard that Pitt was bringing in grad transfer Max Browne from USC in the winter. Even though there were other quarterbacks on scholarship at Pitt, Browne was a starter at the beginning of last year with one of the premiere college programs in the country.
Head coach Pat Narduzzi has said a few times already that there is a battle to start at quarterback and DiNucci is in it. Remember DiNucci is the only quarterback on the roster who’s played at Pitt. The righty came in when Nathan Peterman was hurt in the Pinestripe Bowl, going 3 for 9 for 16 yards, a touchdown and 2 picks, although one was not his fault. DiNucci also ran for 18 yards against Northwestern.
“I think that bowl game did a lot for his confidence,” Narduzzi said. “He did a nice job in the bowl game, made some plays and he kind of said ‘hey, I can do this’.”
And DiNucci does believe and thinks he has a chance, but he knows it will be tough.
“I have to approach every practice like it’s a game,” DiNucci said. “At this level, it’s hard. You can’t really have an off day, have a bad day.”
New offensive coordinator Shaun Watson said the two are comparative as good students and good passers that feed off each other. Watson said both know the offense, where DiNucci is different is his ability to extend plays.
“I’m just focused on what I can do better, try to worry about myself and control what I can control,” DiNucci said.
If there is advantage that DiNucci has that Browne can’t match, its proximity.
“I live 20 minutes away, that’s a huge stress reliever for me getting to go home and have a home-made meal and have my laundry done by my parents,” he said.
And who doesn’t appreciate that.