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Cignetti: Former Pitt QB Slovis Didn’t Want to Compete With Jurkovec in 2023

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Pitt quarterback Kedon Slovis

PITTSBURGH — Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. had an initial plan with quarterbacks Phil Jurkovec and Kedon Slovis, following the 2022 season.

He wanted to bring in Jurkovec, not initially as a starter, but as someone to compete with Slovis for the starting position in 2023.  This all occurred before Slovis chose to leave after the season and transfer to BYU for his final year of collegiate eligibility.

“We were actually bringing in Phil Jurkovec before Kedon left,” Cignetti said at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex Tuesday. We wanted Kedon to compete with Phil and obviously he didn’t want to…”

Cignetti and Jurkovec had a relationship prior at Boston College, where Cignetti served in a similar role. He worked to improve Jurkovec’s game and it showed in the stat sheet, as he completed 205 of his 336 pass and threw for 17 touchdowns compared to five interceptions in 10 games in the 2020 season.

Jurkovec struggled with injuries in 2021 and behind a weak offensive line last season. The Pine-Richland alum now has the chance to come back in his final collegiate season in front of a hometown crowd.

“You can just see the experience in the system,” Cignetti said on Jurkovec. “The accumulation of reps, I’m so impressed with him. First off, we know he’s a great leader. We know he’s tough. He brings that Pittsburgh grit. Those teammates got great respect for him. He’s done such a great job just making the right decisions. He understands the play designs. He understands all three phases, whether it’s the run game, the protection or the passing game. In terms of running the offense. The checks that might happen at the line of scrimmage. I’ve really been impressed with his accuracy. He’s playing great football and I’m really proud of him.”

The respect that Jurkovec has garnered from his teammates is something that Slovis lacked at Pitt. Teammates had little respect for Slovis and his lack of leadership, which redshirt senior defensive back Marquis Williams posted about on Twitter this summer. 

Cignetti also loves the quarterback room. This includes redshirt sophomores in Penn State transfer Christian Veilleux and Nate Yarnell, as well as first-year Ty Dieffenbach.

Slovis struggled at Pitt in his sole season under Cignetti in 2022. He played terribly in poor losses, particularly against Louisville, where he threw two poor first half interceptions, and completing just 14 of 31 passes in a loss to North Carolina. Slovis finished with just 10 touchdowns, which included three games he didn’t throw one, to nine interceptions in 2022.

One part of the game that Slovis also struggled in was standing strong in the pocket and using his feet to avoid sacks. Cignetti said that his lack of mobility is something his quarterbacks won’t have an issue with this season. It also helps that the other position groups, the wide receivers, running backs, offensive line and tight ends have one year in his system and are ready to go.

“We’ve developed young wide receivers, the tight end group has gotten better, the running backs know the system and now we have quarterbacks that not only can play in the pocket, but now they can extend plays,” Cignetti said. “Plus, I mean you see our guys. They’re 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6 and they can sit in that pocket and deal that ball. When you look at the makeup of our offense, the scheme hasn’t necessarily changed a whole lot, but probably how you call the game’s going to.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Joe
Joe
11 months ago

In fairness to Slovis he probably thought with the year he had in 2022 , sticking around with Phil coming from BC would be a waste of his time as Phil would in all likelihood get the starting job.

SRS28704
SRS28704
11 months ago

Perhaps Kedon Slovis did not want to get folded in half anymore from poor tackle play. Dial up the 2nd Half of Louisville game after Louisville gained lead and tell me that looked enjoyable. For underutilized TEs in 2022 it is not clear why there was so many four person routes instead of chipping rushing edges.
Jared Wayne and Israel’s play was stellar for an otherwise pedestrian offense last season.

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
11 months ago
Reply to  SRS28704

Wayne dropped several, what would have been long gainers, possible game changing receptions. And don’t even get me started on Bub. or the TE.

mdtkd
mdtkd
11 months ago

It just seems more and more unfathomable why they would have wanted him back, and why they stuck with during such poor play last year.

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
11 months ago
Reply to  mdtkd

So you think the coaches didn’t think Kedon was the best option. LOL

Sharon
Sharon
9 months ago
Reply to  mdtkd

Slovis looked really good against West Virginia, Tennessee and Miami. He had some bad games too. He is far better than Jurvivic.
Cig is a joke. Cig is a con man.

SRS28704
SRS28704
11 months ago

Write a story on Dorian Thompson-Robinson entering the Sun Bowl in December 2022 needing 285 yards to break Cade McNown’s 10708 yards record. Ends up with 271 per box score on ESPN, but is shown on internet as having thrown 10710 for Career.
Maybe Enron accounting up in Pasadena as Statisticians.

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
11 months ago

That’s pretty funny. Don’t blame Kedon from leaving…he was totally misused after the Tennessee game.

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
11 months ago

Cignetti the legacy coach….should keep his legacy trap shut.

Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
11 months ago

Additionally what a low class thing to say…about a kid who came to Pitt….when there were no QB’s and getting a new a-hole O-coordinator like Stigmata. Kedon knew the handwriting on the wall. I would have left too….who wouldn’t.

Maz1960
Maz1960
11 months ago

First I will admit to being a Pat Narduzzi fan. With that said this situation was a result of Narduzzi’s pride and stubbornness. Narduzzi went on record as saying this transfer was his personal recruit and his choice. Slovis transferred Dec 21, 2021. Cignetti was officially announced as OC on January 21, 2022. It was Pat would made the promise and stuck with his word. Was Patti the better choice, who knows. I would guess you will not see another Slovis type QB in a Cignetti offense. This year Jurkovec a tough Pittsburgh kid. Next year Veilleux (although not a… Read more »

Sharon
Sharon
9 months ago

Low class remark from a low class guy.

Scott
Scott
11 months ago

Mean to say it. Mean to write it. Let us look forward.

Cougar in MI
Cougar in MI
11 months ago

Pretty unfair to the QB’s in BYU stable. Slovis had to compete here at BYU, too. We didn’t just roll over and give him the job.

Giovanni
Giovanni
11 months ago
Reply to  Cougar in MI

Unlikely that Slovis made the move to BYU without being informed that the starting QB position was his to lose. Pitt coaches made a critical error not starting Patti last season — especially after it started to become clear that Slovis was losing the confidence of the locker room (huge problem). Hopefully, the coaches can capitalize on a valuable lesson learned. Sounds like they have.

Sharon
Sharon
9 months ago
Reply to  Giovanni

Cignetti is too hard headed to learn a lesson. He is also a bad coach.

Sharon
Sharon
9 months ago

If you believe Cignetti, that Slovis left because he had to compete with Phil, then I have a bridge over the Allegheny to sell you.
Slovis was not about to spend another season in a room with Cig. Nor was Patti.

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