When Kedon Slovis arrived at Pitt from USC, arriving as the high-profile transfer quarterback expected to take Kenny Pickett’s place in the starting lineup, some wondered whether Nick Patti would stay and others wondered whether his Peach Bowl performance would be audition — for Pitt or elsewhere.
A collarbone injury ended Patti’s promising performance in the first quarter of the Peach Bowl and staring down offseason surgery, the quarterback competition seemed to be tilting toward Slovis.
However, at Pitt’s first spring practice indoors at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side Monday, Patti ran out alongside Slovis — and threw alongside him too. According to Pat Narduzzi, Patti is 100 percent healthy.
And, Narduzzi said, Patti looked good.
Both Patti and Slovis took reps during the practice, with both displaying nice touch on deep balls during Monday’s portion of the drills open to the media, but it was with the pads off and no defense. Narduzzi still wants to be able to get a good look at both on tape to evaluate their performances.
“We’ll look at the videotape,” Narduzzi said. “It’s kinda hard, you watch (Slovis) throw the ball, the ball comes out of his hand really good. Same thing for Nick. … Happy for where he is.”
With Patti at full health for the entirety of Pitt’s spring practices, it gives new depth to the quarterback competition. Narduzzi previously said that every position will be an open competition, and a few players have echoed the sentiments, but Slovis and Patti both looked up to the task on Monday.
Slovis has the pedigree — and is already fitting into the program as Carter Warren said Slovis is one of the boys — and production from his time at USC. Patti hasn’t had as much experience or production, but his teammates have seen the growth he’s undergone during his time in Pittsburgh as Pickett’s backup.
“We believe in our teammate,” Deslin Alexandre said. “A lot of guys, when you sit there and watch it on TV, they’re not out here with us every day. We’ve seen Patti do it over and over, so it’s just like he did, when it came to an opportunity, he went out there and made a play (in the Peach Bowl).”
The competition will continue well into the spring and likely into the summer before a starter is determined ahead of the renewal of the Backyard Brawl against West Virginia on Sept. 1. And while Slovis is still the favorite to win the starting spot, Patti is going to compete the entire way.
Warren and Pitt’s offensive line will be blocking for either Slovis or Patti come then, but for now, it’s just been exciting for him to see the two quarterbacks going head-to-head for the spot.
“Right now, it’s been exciting,” Warren said. “Kedon and Patti right now they’re battling out. It’s been good so far, seeing them work and competing.”