No sane person would claim that Devin Street had an awful 2011, but it's safe to say that he didn't achieve all that we hoped. His numbers did see a spike after assuming a starting role. As a freshman, he tallied 318 yards on 25 catches and last year, bumped those numbers up to 754 yards on 53 catches. But with the loss of Jon Baldwin, many assumed Street would become the big deep threat Pitt needed and that he and Mike Shanahan would put up some big numbers in Todd Graham's offense.
It wasn't really the yardage, though, that was the issue. Street had only two touchdowns despite starting an entire season. In limited action as the third and fourth receiver as a freshman in 2010, he had two.
Street breaking out last year never materialized and a big part of that was Tino Sunseri's inability to effectively run the offense. I've been over this before, but that wasn't all Sunseri's fault since he was put in a tough situation, trying to run an offense he had no experience with.
Sunseri wasn't the only one adjusting. Street was trying to run routes he wasn't used to and he's happy that Paul Chryst has now brought back the pro style offense to Pitt.
In talking about Chryst's offense, Street sounds like a happy guy:
Chryst's playbook is a return to the familiar for the players who were recruited to participate in Wannstedt's pro-style attack rather than Graham's spread formation. It's a situation Street welcomes.
"There's a lot of different route combinations," Street said. "The terminologies are a lot better. We came in as a pro-style, so the older guys are a lot more comfortable with it and I just think it's a better scheme."
He's also a fan of new wide receivers coach, Bobby Engram:
Street's new wide receivers coach is a well-known name: 14-year NFL veteran and Penn State's all-time leading receiver, Bobby Engram.
"It's been really great," Street said of working with the first Biletnikoff Award recipient. "He's a guy who knows what it is like and has been there, so he can relate to us. I think we're building a relationship that's going in the right direction. He's molding me into that type of player that he was. I'm just feeding off of him and learning day-in and day-out."
Returning to a pro style offense is no guarantee that Street will have a big year. And I linked to this article before, but Engram says it's going to be about Street putting in the work. Chryst also said something along the same lines when he pointed out that Street kind of got into a bit of a 'lull' in the middle of the spring practices. But it's still a significant move. Maybe just as important is that Street is a year older.
Don't forget, he was only a sophomore last year. And when you think about it, catching 50 balls for 750 yards in a strange new offense when the quarterback was taking sack after sack each game is actually quite an accomplishment for a first-year starter.
Street is a year older and wiser and he should be better. With the fact that Sunseri is back and both are in a familiar offense, 1,000 yards is quite possible for Street this season.