Boyd takes some heat off Street


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It didn't take long for freshman Tyler Boyd to answer one of the biggest questions the Pitt offense had heading into the season.

One month ago, the Panthers knew that redshirt senior Devin Street would open the season as one of their receivers, but the other receiver position remained up for grabs.

After two games, that's no longer a concern. Boyd has eight catches for 160 yards and a touchdown and has locked down his spot in the starting lineup. Perhaps most importantly, though, Boyd has given opponents a another receiving threat to worry about beyond Street.

"With [Boyd] and Street, that's as good a combination maybe as there is in the country," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Wednesday. "They're going to prove to be very difficult for not only us but for a lot of people on Pittsburgh's schedule."

Street said he noticed Florida State rolling coverage off him slightly after Boyd made his second catch in the opener. Street still has seen plenty of double coverage, but expects Boyd's emergence to open space for him down the road.

"That was in coach [Paul] Chryst's plan, put [Boyd] in a position to be successful, and he just goes out and plays," Street said. "He's a heck of a player. I think it's shown in the first two games.

"I think teams have to be worried about two weapons now, and Tyler's definitely a huge weapon in our offense."

Through two games, Street has caught 11 passes for 221 yards. He hasn't found the end zone, but came close Saturday against New Mexico. He was wide open across the middle of the field, but had to go to the turf to catch a low throw from quarterback Tom Savage.

Chryst said it was too early to say if Boyd's emergence has impacted the way teams defend Pitt, but he obviously is pleased with his progress so far.

"I think certainly with the two games, you know, they've both [Street and Boyd] done some things to earn attention, but I don't know ...

"It's always good when you've got any player that emerges, whether it be whatever position, but, certainly, we're happy that Tyler is emerging."

One aspect of the offense that Boyd and Street have demonstrated through two games is their ability to go deep. Each has recorded a catch for more than 50 yards, both long throws down the middle.

"Tyler's able to go deep, I'm able to go deep, and we have No. 7 [Savage] back there who can throw the deep ball," Street said.

"I think that's definitely going to be implemented in our offense a lot more, and coach is willing to take shots now. That's all out of confidence, and we've just scratched the surface, we can put more out there."

Street said he expects plenty of one-on-one matchups Saturday with Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell, an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection in 2012 who had five interceptions.

"He's a long guy, long arms, can run well, very patient," Street said. "I think he's going to be a great challenge. I'm looking forward to going up against him."

NOTE -- Pitt will celebrate the beginning of it's 2013-14 basketball season with a "Morning Madness" at Stage AE before the Panthers' football game Sept. 28 against Virginia. Admission is free and open to the public. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., and the event begins at 10:30 a.m. with player introductions, skits, promotional activities and a slam-dunk contest. The Panthers and Cavaliers will kick off at 12:30 p.m. at Heinz Field.

pittsports

Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG. First Published September 19, 2013 4:00 AM


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