Sep 6, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Tino Sunseri (12) drops back to pass while being pursued by Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Nick Temple (43) during the first half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Pitt Football: Why Paul Chryst will stick with Tino Sunseri


We’ve seen this story plenty of times in the past when it comes to Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri- costly mistake after mistake, the inability to throw the deep ball, and most importantly the inability to lead the Pitt Panthers football team to victories.

Sep 6, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Tino Sunseri (12) drops back during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

That’s a quarterbacks job, but despite Sunseri showing the inability to improve in any area throughout his three seasons under center, don’t expect new head coach Paul Chryst to make a quarterback change anytime in the near future.

Chryst has enough other problems to deal with, most notably a run defense that has been gashed for 463 yard on the ground in two games.

Fixing the defense is a must for Chryst as Pitt has been outscored 65-27 and outgained 845-784 on the season. By now it has become common knowledge that the Panthers can’t win consistently with Sunseri’s mistakes, but a quarterback change is out of the question right now.

Pitt fans everywhere are screaming for Chryst to turn to true freshman Chad Voytik and put an end to the Sunseri era, but Chryst would be foolish to make that switch now. Not with No. 15 Virginia Tech up next for the Panthers. That’s a horrible situation to put a freshman in and despite Pitt’s struggles as an offense, knowing he has a senior signal caller to lean on is a good thing for a coach.

It’s almost amazing that Dave Wannstedt was able to squeeze eight wins out of Sunseri in 2010, but things have been all downhill from there for the Pittsburgh native.

It’s been a rough go for Sunseri, who’s under his fourth head coach in his third year as Pitt’s starter. While that certainly can be used to explain some of Sunseri’s struggles, results speak for themselves and that’s something Sunseri has been unable to deliver. The fifth-year senior has had plenty of opportunities to show he is worthy of being the No. 1 quarterback at Pitt, but despite 28 career starts in a Panthers uniform, Sunseri is still making the same mistakes he’s made during his first season.

His statistics aren’t the problem. Against the Bearcats, Sunseri finished a respectable 24 of 37 (64.3 percent) for 278 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Granted, a large majority of those completions came against the second string Cincinnati defense, but the numbers aren’t horrible. On the season Sunseri has completed 43 of 67 attempts (64.1 percent) for 517 yards, a pair of touchdowns and a pick.

The problem though is Sunseri lacks the intangibles a quarterback is supposed to have- leadership, playmaking ability, pocket presence, clock management, etc.

Too often it is Sunseri that single handily kills Pitt drives and in turn any chance of the Panthers winning football games on a consistent basis.

A quarterback change is definitely needed, but won’t happen immediately.

Eventually you would think that Chryst is going to want to go his own way, with his own people. That means eventually you will see Voytik as the Panthers starer this season.

However with all the problems surrounding the Pitt team through two games, switching quarterbacks is probably way down on the to-do list of Chryst. A change won’t mean more immediate wins than losses. Not the way this Pitt team is playing as a whole.

So sadly for Pitt fans, until all of the other holes get plugged, Sunseri’s job isn’t in jeopardy.

That means the same old story- inconsistent quarterback play and not enough Pitt wins.

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