Posted: 9:00 a.m. Saturday, April 13, 2013
Pitt's spring game took place yesterday and there were lots of things of interest to say the least. Let's take a look back at some of the highlights.
The big news was the quarterback situation. We'll have much more on this later today and then on Monday, but the Cliffs Notes version is that Tom Savage played only briefly while Chad Voytik got the majority of the snaps. Pitt later said that the 'benching' (if you want to call it that) wasn't injury related. Voytik definitely took advantage of the situation and opened plenty of eyes, throwing for 358 yards, three touchdown, and completing about 82% of his passes (27-33). In other words, there's going to be plenty to talk about regarding the quarterback competition this summer.
Voytik talked about the game afterwards:
"I got the adrenaline going a little bit," Voytik said. "You always like to go out there and compete under the lights. It felt like high school days, it was a fun time."
Felt like high school? That's cool and all, but it goes back to my original point of Pitt not doing enough to make this game a big deal. If the players are talking about how they felt like it was a high school atmosphere, you're doing it wrong.
Moving along ...
The big concern has been running back Rushel Shell transferring. But if tonight was any indication, Isaac Bennett could fill in quite nicely. Don't get me wrong - I still think most of us would prefer Shell if he wanted to be here, but Bennett could be just fine. He ran for 114 yards and a touchdown, and ripped off a nice 48-yard touchdown run. It was only one game, but Bennett showed some big play ability last spring, so it's safe to say he's capable of ripping off some nice runs.
The more noteworthy item, though, may have been the play of running back Desmond Brown. Brown clearly outplayed Malcolm Crockett, rushing for 90 yards to Crockett's 45. Each ran for a touchdown, but Brown averaged five yards per carry to Crockett's 4.1. Brown won't be threatening Bennett for the starting job, but should push Crockett for carries.
Another concern of mine has been the wide receivers. But due to Voytik's big game, a couple of guys really stepped up. Kevin Weatherspoon had 11 catches for 175 yards. 65 of those came on a long touchdown pass from Voytik on busted coverage. The other guy with a big night was tight end transfer Manasseh Garner, who had ten catches for 100 yards. I swear that Garner must have been targeted about 15 times - had a lot of passes thrown his way.
One problem area was the kicking game. Pitt attempted a pair of field goals from 42 yards (Drake Greer and Brad Lukasak each got one attempt) and missed both. But incoming freshman, Chris Blewitt, is expected to also compete during the fall.
The last thing I wanted to mention briefly was the defense. No, they didn't have a great game, but it should be noted that the effort often appeared half-hearted. They weren't allowed to sack the quarterback and also just didn't seem all that interested at times. And there were also injuries to some key guys. In other words - don't panic just yet.