Spring preview: Quarterbacks

Written by Sam Werner on .

Doesn't it feel like the 2013 season just ended and just yesterday we were enjoying the beauty of Detroit in December? Well, it's already time to start looking forward. Pitt starts its 2014 spring practices March 16 and, in the 10 days leading up to that date, let's go through and take a look at where each position stands heading into Paul Chryst's third spring session at the helm. First, let's take a look at the guys who will be under center this spring (spoiler alert: there aren't many of them)...

Projected depth chart (returning starters in italics)

1) Chad Voytik, RS So., 6-1, 210 lbs
2) Trey Anderson, Sr., 6-0, 195 lbs

And that's it. Pitt will go through spring practice with just two quarterbacks on the roster. Both guys will obviously don their usual red jerseys, and it wouldn't surprise me if Chryst used up Pitt's entire supply of bubble wrap on Anderson and (especially) Voytik during the spring. While they obviously won't receive any contact, the dearth of options is a unique opportunity to get plenty of worked. I spoke to Voytik earlier this offseason and he said that, despite two years in the system, he's still learning the finer points of the system. As the presumed starter heading into the season, he's going to need all the practice reps he can get. He showed some flashes in the bowl game, but one half of good football is a far cry from being able to start and be successful for an entire season.
The biggest benefit of all these reps in the spring could actually just be Voytik's ability to develop some chemistry with his receivers. Most of Pitt's receiver options are younger guys, who Voytik could already have a rapport with. He has probably thrown plenty of passes to Zach Challingsworth (and other young guys like that) in second-team drills this year, so it'll be interesting to watch which guys he seems to target in the spring.
At this point, Anderson is really more of an emergency option than competitor for the starting job. Barring injury, it'll be Voytik under center (or in the shotgun) for the Delaware game in August. Anderson doesn't really have a big enough body of work to make any judgements on how effective he could be, but a spring with plenty of reps couldn't hurt him either.
The other aspect to watch this spring is the coaching situation. Chryst is now the quarterbacks coach, along with new graduate assistant Jon Budmayr. Voytik had some good things to say about Budmayr when I talked to him, and one thing to keep an eye on is how much Chryst is working exclusively with the quarterbacks versus how much of it is Budmayr. Obviously, Chryst won't be able to spend all of practice with one position group, but I think you'll definitely see an uptick in terms of how much time he spends with his passers.

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