Posted: 10:00 a.m. Monday, April 8, 2013
I preface this piece by saying that if you're not already reading the Post-Gazette's Sam Werner for spring football updates, you're missing out. He's got regular updates on every practice and the bulk of my links in this post are to his blog. Check it out.
It's virtually assumed that quarterback transfer Tom Savage is Pitt's quarterback for 2013. Redshirt freshman Chad Voytik could overtake him at some point, but when the Panthers open the season against Florida State, it would be a bit of an upset if Savage wasn't under center.
That doesn't mean he's impressing a ton in the spring. Savage has had some bright spots, but there have been plenty of signs to indicate he may struggle this season.
Savage looked pretty sharp in Thursday's practice according to the Post-Gazette's Sam Werner, but struggled mightily in Tuesday's session, tossing two interceptions. That was preceded by a miserable scrimmage where he completed only five of 18 passes earlier in the week.
Werner also has said that Savage has struggled with safety reads. And he's also had some passes that should have been interceptions.
For what it's worth, he played better in the first scrimmage (16-30 for 149 yards and two touchdowns), but it seems as if the bad performances have outweighed the good so far.
It's interesting to note that it seems that while Savage is getting the bulk of the first-team work, Voytik is getting his opportunities as well, as the Trib's Jerry DiPaola pointed out recently. That's a good thing in my opinion. Savage needs to work with them to get acclimated to the receivers, but head coach Paul Chryst also needs to get Voytik work with them as well. There's no guarantee that Savage makes it through the entire year as the starter.
The spotty play shouldn't surprise anyone at this point. Savage has not played competitively for a few years and even when he did at Rutgers, wasn't spectacular.
One thing I want to make clear, though, is that Pitt's secondary is expected to be good. Very good, actually. Lafayette Pitts will be a dominant player at some point in his Pitt career, I'm convinced. Jason Hendricks was the Big East leader in interceptions last season and K'Waun Williams returns as a starter last season. The secondary could be the best unit on the team.
That said, Savage's struggles aren't making me feel real good so far. And, oh yeah, the Rushel Shell loss doesn't help matters. We keep hearing about how strong his arm is, but if he's not accurate, that doesn't really matter. He's still got a while to get things figured out, but there's reason to be at least a little concerned about Pitt's passing game.