At the NFL level, there is an old proverb that says that if you have two quarterbacks, you really have none. While that may be the case at the professional level, deploying two signal callers with different skill sets at the college level has worked in the right situation.
The Florida Gators used their quarterback tandem of Chris Leak and Tim Tebow to help them win the National Championship. Even the Notre Dame Fighting Irish used a combination of Tommy Rees and Everett Golson in 2012 as they made their march to the National Championship game.
Though not on the same level as the Gators or Irish, as Pittsburgh prepares for their week two matchup against the Akron Zips, they will too have to prepare for a team that will deploy two quarterbacks with two different skill sets.
They themselves have their own quarterback questions they must answer heading into Saturday.
Pitt Must Prepare For Akron’s Two Quarterback System
All though Chad Voytik played in all but two series’ for the Panthers, Tennessee transfer Nathan Peterman saw his own share of success, and failure in his brief time under center – and head coach Pat Narduzzi didn’t do anything to dispel a competition at the quarterback position.
“I think we’re going to put him in there,” The new Panthers head coach said at his weekly press conference. “If he doesn’t come in and throw a pick, you probably give him another series [vs YSU].”
“We have a lot of confidence in Nathan, we really do,” He continued. “ We have a lot of confidence in both of those [quarterbacks]. Maybe we should’ve put him back out there and gave him a second chance. I think everybody deserves those, so Nathan is definitely going to get another opportunity to go out there and show what he’s got.”
While Pittsburgh sorts through their own quarterback situation, Akron has one of their own – one however that they deploy purposely.
A fifth year senior, Kyle Pohl has the most career passing yards on the current roster, with 5,081. He threw for 2,189 yards and nine touchdowns last season as a junior. Against Oklahoma last week, he dropped back to throw 26 times, only completing six of those as the Zips dropped the game 41-3.
His counterpart, Tra’Von Chapman, is a name familiar to Pitt fans and a face recognizable to the players themselves. A former four star recruit, Chapman signed and joined the Panthers until he was dismissed from the team for his part in a domestic abuse incident.
After spending part of last year with Division II Ashland, Chapman moved on to the Zipps, and gives Akron a multi-dimensional attack at the quarterback position. Despite this being Narduzzi’s first year on campus, he is familiar with Chapman, having recruited him at Michigan State.
“I recruited him [at Michigan State]. I watched him on his [High School] practice field,” Narduzzi said of Akron’s quarterback. “We did not offer him at Michigan State, but I thought he was a very good athletic quarterback that can throw the ball down the field and make plays with his feet.”
After the first week of the season, Chapman finds himself the team’s leading rusher after gaining 48 yards on 14 carries. He struggled in the passing game, as did the entire Akron passing game as Chapman failed to complete any of his eight pass attempts.
The redshirt sophomore however, is a player that the Panthers need to key on this week, especially after a second half against Youngstown that saw the defense allow a lot of big plays. Narduzzi recognizes the challenges their offense could bring to the table, “They’re going to be a Baylor-type offense.”
“They’re going to spread the field and they’ll have receivers lined up on each sideline, so well have to prepare for all of their splits and some of the tempo.”
Pittsburgh has had the tendency to make ball games out of ones that shouldn’t be as close. Akron was one of them, beating the Panthers at Heinz Field a year ago. Now with another offensive threat in Chapman awaiting them, Pittsburgh will have to cut down on the big plays if they are to go to 2-0 on the young season.
Kyle Pohl Photo by Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Tra’Von Chapman Photo by Jackson Laizure, Getty Images Sport