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Vukovcan: Jurkovec Has to Know Better

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Pitt quarterback Phil Jurkovec.

Phil Jurkovec was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and is well aware of how passionate the fan base is.

That’s certainly the case when it comes to how football fans feel about the quarterback position.

Whether it’s for the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Pitt Panthers, when the starting quarterback is playing well, no one is more popular and well-received in town.

After starting out slow his first couple of seasons and having people calling for him to be benched, very few athletes are more popular in Pittsburgh right now than former Pitt and current Steelers starting quarterback Kenny Pickett.

This is nothing new and goes back to Terry Bradshaw, Mark Malone, Cliff Stoudt, Kordell Stewart, Rod Rutherford, Tyler Palko, Tino Sunseri, etc. When you’re playing well, they love you, when you’re not, they want the backup quarterback to replace you.

Everyone in Pittsburgh knows this and that’s what makes Jurkovec’s postgame comments all the more puzzling.

The only thing worse than the performance of the Pitt offense and the offensive game plan was Jurkovec deciding to take on and criticize the Pitt fan base.

Really, really, really dumb move.

If Jurkovec was a freshman or sophomore making his first start, I could somewhat understand it but that’s certainly not the case. Phil is a sixth-year senior who’s started many games at Notre Dame and Boston College. Whether it’s true or not, there’s no way that those comments can come out of his mouth.

The reality is that he’s made things much more difficult on himself, probably impossible, and to be honest, I don’t think he’ll ever recover or get a break from the fan base. Calling out a fanbase, especially in Pittsburgh, isn’t a smart move. From here on out, with every interception, every average to below average game, the Pitt fans are likely to let him know about it. That’s unfortunate but probably reality.

Instead of saying, “If you’re a grown-ass man booing … I think that’s pathetic,” here’s what Jurkovec’s postgame answer should have been — “Hey, they paid good money for a ticket and certainly can voice their displeasure if they want. If I would’ve played better, which I’m certainly capable of, they wouldn’t have booed. I can’t be worried about that; I need to find a way to play better and make this offense more productive so that they won’t want to boo. I’m a Pittsburgh kid, I know the expectations that football fans have, especially for their quarterbacks. My performance will improve.”

The good thing is that Pitt will be on the road next weekend instead of back at Acrisure Stadium, so the entire unit will have a chance to get back on track.

However, if things don’t go well in Morgantown, W.Va., the next home game against North Carolina could get very interesting.

Jurkovec made the decision to transfer back home to play his last season for his hometown team with high expectations. There’s still plenty of time to get things together, but the clock is ticking. Unless the entire offensive unit gets better, and trust me they were all awful last night, it could be a real long season and a nightmare one for Jurkovec.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Craig
Craig
9 months ago

It’s surprising that he’s a 5th year senior and has poor footwork. Even Last week against wolford was throwing off his back foot. You still have to step into throws even though there’s pressure. Hopefully he will improve on that, and quickly.

TJ
TJ
9 months ago
Reply to  Craig

i’m not a student of the game/QB position but .. as a 6th year senior QB, is footwork something that can be corrected ? how did it suddenly get bad, or was it always poor ?

TJ
TJ
9 months ago
Reply to  TJ

5th yr ?

Sharon
Sharon
9 months ago
Reply to  TJ

Always poor

Tom D
Tom D
9 months ago

While I was at the game and was disappointed, I could never boo the Panthers. And while Phil should know better, I don’t think a player who was frustrated can be held accountable for saying things out of frustration right after a bad loss. He just needs to play better and win games. If they win the next two things will be largely forgotten. I do agree he needs to know better to say what he said but no bid deal.

TJ
TJ
9 months ago

I’m not going to pile on at this point. His comments, whether ill-timed or poorly chosen, were made from a point of emotional distress and frustration. He knows he played poorly and probably has higher expectations on himself than we do …. it was a knee-jerk reaction/comment. I will support him and the team as we move forward, warts and all.

Randy Joseck
Randy Joseck
9 months ago

As a Pitt alumni and diehard Panther fan, I am really disappointed in PJ post game comments. He just dug a huge hole not only with the fans, but his team mates, and the coaches.
His performance against Cincy was horrible and needs to won it. Full stop. I thought game vs Louisville was bad but PJ just set the new standard.
Get CV ready to start, maybe vs UNC.

Section 122
Section 122
9 months ago

Another tip would be quit pouting after incompletions. Those are the immeasurable things that pro scouts take note of.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
9 months ago
Reply to  Section 122

wait, you think Phil has a shot at the NFL?

Need a new OC
Need a new OC
9 months ago

There is a reason that Frank Cignetti has a has had 9 coaching jobs in the last 15 years. He is not a good OC and has proven that. In his 34 year career he is averaging under 1.7 years at any job. We ran up the middle and had that sideline deep pass…that is all. That offense is very easy to prepare for. The O-line didn’t have a good showing but the play calling needs to be more creative.

srs28704
srs28704
9 months ago
Reply to  Need a new OC

Got it. Saban, Swinney, Tony Elliott, Dave Arranda, Luke Fickell, Matt Rhule, Brian Kelly all are terrible along with Narduzzi and Cignetti. Mack Brown almost on the list. And Mel Tucker if you are going to criticize him wants it done over the phone.

Rob
Rob
9 months ago

Please stop blaming everyone else. The line wasn’t bad nor the defense. Its was jurkovic and cignatti who lost the game.. Game plan was awful. Cincinnati db’s couldn’t watch pitt wr ‘ s from the start but oc waited three quarters to throw. And when your qb completes 1/3 of passes he is terrible. But regardless of anything else the D put pitt in position to win and those two failed. Period.

Alex
Alex
9 months ago
Reply to  Rob

No, the offensive line was brutal to watch. I’ve never seen so many missed blocks and linemen getting tan over. They played as bad as PJ did

srs28704
srs28704
9 months ago

Kenny Johnson should be upset with Phil, he got lit up because one of those weak passes. I think he got Gavin B. TE1 hit hard once too.
Ben Sauls sent a thank you note to QB1 for playing bad, covers up his missed FG that impacted the playcalling late in the game.

Sharon
Sharon
9 months ago

Jurkovec could not help it. He tried, He sucks.

Greg C
Greg C
9 months ago

Well stated.

Sharon
Sharon
9 months ago

Jalen Hurts apologized to his team and fans for the loss.
Jurkovec calls Pitt fans a##s.
Phil you are a baby, not a leader.

Thomas Richards
Thomas Richards
9 months ago

The boos were earned. The O-line earned them, the coaching staff earned them the receiving corp earned them, the QB earned them. It’s a team sport, there is plenty of blame to go around. My advice, play better next go round & appreciate when the boos disappear. Play great & they’ll be replaced by cheers. Next!

Giovanni
Giovanni
9 months ago

Agreed on all except for Mumpfield. He went up and grabbed some balls thrown at him and deserves some credit. Means was the opposite — hands-of-stone, just like last year.

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