Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stull WILL be the guy

The Stull to play or not to play question seemed to fire up quite a few readers, so I wanted to continue the discussion. In short, Bill Stull will be the guy going into the next two games and next season. To everyone who is so upset with his play: I'm not sure what your expectations were of him. Does this team need better play from the quarterback position if its going to be a contender nationally and within the Big East? You bet. But mark my words, Stull gives them the best chance and he is going to be the starting quarterback the remainder of this season and next.

Some things to keep in mind:

There is nobody else to play. Remove Kevin Smith from the discussion completely. He has demonstrated that he is completely inept. Pat Bostick is horrible. He can't run and he can't throw. Yes, he was the starting quarterback in some big wins, but the offense certainly didn't shine in any of those wins. I'm not sure how you can call for Stull to be benched when Bostick is the next guy in line. Last year when he was the starting quarterback he threw 8 touchdowns vs. 13 interceptions. So far this year Stull has thrown 7 touchdowns to 8 interceptions. Bostick had a passer rating of 111 (last in the Big East), and while Stull's is nothing to gloat about, he does hold a 124 which is good for 5th in the conference. Last season, Bostick threw for 1500 yards on 252 attempts. Stull has thrown for 2163 yards on 288 attempts this season with one game remaining.

Also, let's try to keep in mind that Stull is still adjusting to the position. I would hope that he improves as he'll have several weeks of practice and an extra game with the bowl and then continue to mature through spring ball.

In 2003 Rod Rutherford led the conference in pretty much every statistic related to quarterbacking. He finished first in completelions (247), yards (3679) and touchdowns (37) to interceptions (14). In his first season as a starter, however, Rutherford's statistics were comparable to Stull's. 129 passer rating, 2783 passing yards and a completion percentage of 52.3 (Stull's is slightly better at 59.4%). Also, in their first season's under center Rutherford and Palko took 44 and 38 sacks, respectively. Stull has been sacked only 22 times to date. Part of this is due to a stronger offensive line, but Stull may actually be better at getting rid of the ball. If you look at sacks per attempt Rutherford was sacked 38/409 (9.3%) and Palko was sacked 44/367 (1.20%) while Stull was sacked only 22/288(7.6%). I'm not claiming that Stull will be better than Rutherford or Palko, he probably won't. But I think we need to keep in mind that he is young and still developing as a quarterback and decision maker and that there is room for improvement. One needs to look no further than the drastic improvement Rutherford made between his first and second seasons under center.

Someone made the comment:

Why do we have to be happy with "good enough"? Why can't we want good? Especially since there's lots of "good" around on the offense.

Well, we have to be happy with "good enough" for now because he's literally all we have. There is no doubt we need to recruit talent at the QB position, but that isn't going to help us this year or next.

So let's all temper our expectations and try to be a little more patient with this kid's development.

Hail to Pitt!


  1. thanks for being responsive and continuing the discussion on Stull........

    We all get that there are no better options. We don't want Stull benched; we just want him to play better.

    It's just very frustrating to think that Wannstedt and Cavanaugh thought that Stull was good enough to lead the team this year. This isn't a "he's going to get better as he develops and plays" situation -- this kid has no tools to develop. Add to that how horrible their judgment was on Bostick and it's impossible to have any confidence that these two can locate a good QB prospect and turn him into a success.

    All we can hope for is that he muddles through the next two games and there's an open competition next year and they bring in some new recruits as well.

    It's a depressing scenario. Wannstedt's built a nice program with some depth and talent at every position except the one that matters most.

  2. I have to disagree with one spot. That you said he has no tools to develop. Every player in every program in the country no matter how good or bad can improve. Yes, he may never have elite arm strength, or foot speed. These can be increased some. But, I think if he improves his decision making, which was good most of the season, he can be very successful.

  3. Stull is most likely our quarterback next year too. It's an extremely tall task to bring a freshman quarterback into the system right away. There is just so much info for him to grasp that it's nearly impossible to succeed with a freshman. From play terminology, personell, protections, blitzes, formations, motions, signals, audibles, check-with-me's, timing.. The list goes on and on and can be absolutely overwhelming for a freshman QB.

    If you look at Ohio State, Pryor was only able to work in after several games. Additionally, if you've been following their games closely, the severely cut down their playbook when he started. Recently it's been growing a bit more. However, Stull will continue to be the guy for us. I just hope that we can give him a confidence boost as fans to get our offense clicking.

  4. The only shot of Stull not starting next season would be if Tino Sunseri explodes this off season. They aren't even recruiting a quarterback for the 2009 class so don't expect to see some stud freshman come in. They only offered one QB and he is already fully committed to Rutgers. For better or worse Stull will the QB next season.