Success coming easily to Boyd at Pitt


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After Pitt's 41-13 loss Monday night to Florida State, Tyler Boyd admitted he was surprised how easily the college game came to him against one of the best defenses he and the Panthers are likely to see this season.

Boyd, a freshman playing in his first collegiate game, racked up 151 total yards between rushing, receiving and kick returns.

On his first touch, he took an end-around handoff 18 yards. He finished as Pitt's leading rusher with three carries for 54 yards.

Boyd also had two catches for 26 yards.

In his senior year at Clairton High School, Boyd lined up all over the field for the Bears, including taking snaps out of the shotgun in a Wildcat formation. He dominated WPIAL Class A competition and rushed for 2,567 yards.

Pitt coach Paul Chryst won't deviate too much from his traditional pro-style offense and do anything crazy with Boyd, but he admitted that it was important to find ways to get the ball in Boyd's hands.

"I feel real confident that we can do it within the parameters of the offense," Chryst said. "I don't feel like we've got to get out of box. We want to make sure that the guys that can make plays are continuing to get touches."

Chryst already made one in-game adjustment Monday night. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Lafayette Pitts started the game as Pitt's kick returner, but Boyd took over those duties late in the second quarter.

The toughest part of Boyd's adjustment to college was likely remembering what it felt like to be in a losing locker room after a game. The previous time he lost a competitive football game was the first game of his freshman year at Clairton, a 15-8 defeat Sept. 4, 2009 at Laurel.

An extended break

With an open date this weekend, the Panthers have 12 days between games to figure out what went wrong against Florida State before they play New Mexico at Heinz Field.

That means the Panthers have a little bit more time to stew over the loss to the Seminoles, but also more time to go over film and correct mistakes.

"We certainly learned a lot about who we are," Chryst said. "We've got areas that we've got to improve upon. I like the way our schedule's laying out right now. We'll take advantage of [the open week]."

The Atlantic Coast Conference traditionally has scheduled an open date for teams the week after they play in the league's annual Labor Day game.

In 2012, Pitt had just four days off after its season-opening loss to Youngstown State. The Panthers traveled to Cincinnati for a Thursday night game in the second week, and lost to the Bearcats, 34-10.

A clean bill of health

Chryst was pleased to note Wednesday that, despite the loss in the opener, Pitt did not suffer any injuries in the first game.

The only player who did not play Monday night due to injury was reserve linebacker Emanuel Rackard. Players who were questionable up until last week, including running backs Isaac Bennett and James Conner and kicker Chris Blewitt, played and came out healthy.

pittsports

Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG. First Published September 5, 2013 4:00 AM


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