PITTSBURGH — The Pitt Panthers won their second bowl game in three years behind the player who tried to make it three in a row. And from the small glimpse we all saw against Michigan State in 2021, many believed he would’ve walked into the 2022 season as the leader and Pitt’s next star quarterback.
Sometimes, the most forgotten thing about college football is it’s still college, and not everyone is going pro – nor should it be able how many players you’re sending to the pros. Yes, a program needs their resume to shine of high-class NFL talent to continue reeling in recruits with high potential. But sometimes, you just have to let good college players shine in college.
Pat Narduzzi didn’t do that.
When Pitt named Kedon Slovis their starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, skill certainly went into the equation. There’s no way this program looked at everything and said, “All right, Slovis has higher potential in the NFL, he’s our guy.” But there’s no way that didn’t go into the equation, either.
There are certain things in each profession that have somewhat of an addicting trait. For college head coaches, one of those things is watching your quarterback go in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Coming into the season, it was no secret which of the two quarterbacks held NFL Draft potential.
In Pitt’s offense, a quarterback doesn’t need to be able to sling it 60 yards downfield or produce 300 passing yards per game. This was a running team, and the identity was to run the football all season. Which only backs the argument of Patti.
Kedon Slovis’s biggest downfall in Pittsburgh was his inability to lead a team without being the headline of it. If the Panthers were throwing the football effectively, he was the star of the show. If they only needed him to show up from time to time, he was a liability.
That doesn’t happen (as often) with good college quarterbacks. What makes Patti great is it doesn’t matter what the situation is, he’s happy to be there, and he’s looking to win.
If you need him to work his legs, he will. If you need him to throw it deep, he will. If you need him to do nothing for three quarters and then try to win the game in the fourth, he will.
That’s what good college quarterbacks do.
Pitt should’ve made the switch once Patti came back from a knee injury after doing everything he could, on one leg, against Tennessee. But they didn’t. Narduzzi made his decision and he was sticking to it.
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And it’s not Narduzzi’s fault for wanting the best overall talent on the field, but sometimes, you have to understand the situation. And for the Panthers, they didn’t need a superstar quarterback, they already have a superstar running back and a superstar defense.
All they needed was a winner. And above anything, Patti was a winner.
He proved that every time he stepped on the field in a Panthers uniform.
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