PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Trey Anderson #10 of the Pittsburgh Panthers drops back to pass against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the game on September 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
When Todd Graham inherited the Pitt football team, Tino Sunseri quickly became the starting quarterback after a solid Spring. Anthony Gonzalez became the apparent, though unconfirmed backup, and the team's leadership was set.
But with the news of Gonzalez' arrest, things began to unravel a bit.
Gonzalez, if you'll recall, was arrested for a marijuana charge. With the now infamous Sports Illustrated report on the off-field issues that plagued Pitt, Graham did the right thing by suspending Gonzalez. But what he did afterwards is what may be haunting the team.
Graham relied on Mark Myers as the de facto backup in the wake of the Gonzalez suspension and, as a bit of insurance, brought in freshman Trey Anderson over the summer. Anderson was a lightly-regarded recruit with no major offers to play college football, despite the fact that he won a State championship in Texas. It wasn't believed that he would compete for immediate playing time, but that's exactly what happened.
Despite only joining Pitt in the summer, Anderson quickly passed up Myers on the depth chart and became Pitt's backup quarterback. But the problem with that is that not only was Anderson a true freshman, he'd only been just getting familiar with Pitt's system. Now in October, he still has just over two months of experience with not only the system, but Pitt's receivers as well.
On a team that has an unquestioned starter, that might not be so bad. But with Tino Sunseri struggling this year, Anderson was forced into duty this weekend against Rutgers. The result? He completed two of five passes for only four yards and also threw a bad interception. In the limited amount that we've seen him play so far this season, he doesn't appear to be ready to lead a Division I-A team right now.
So the question is, where's Gonzalez, the former backup? As most Pitt fans know, he's been moved to the H-back position and is now basically playing as a receiver. After serving a two-game suspension, Graham decided that Gonzalez was better served getting on the field at another position since Tino was the starter. With the season at the halfway point, though, it's now too late to ask Gonzalez to go back to quarterback since he hasn't played the position since the spring.
At the time, moving Gonzalez sounded like a good idea. He's a tremendous athlete and to get him on the field in any way possible seemed to be a good decision. But with Sunseri struggling and Anderson not yet ready, it's looking like a colossal mistake. Mark Myers likely isn't the answer, either. If he was passed up so quickly by Anderson, there's no reason to believe that he would be an upgrade.
It wasn't expected that Sunseri would play so poorly this season - he has seven interceptions already when he had nine all of last year. But in taking his best backup quarterback and moving him to a different position, Graham has not left himself with any other real options for the time being.
The bottom line is that the quarterback situation isn't getting much better this year. Until it does, Pitt will continue to be a mediocre team in Graham's up-tempo offense.