After one game against Florida State, true freshman wide receiver Tyler Boyd announced he was ready for college football. In that game, Boyd had only two catches for 26 yards. But he also had three rushes for 54 yards while returning three kicks for an additional 71 yards. It was a fine start for the rookie, but also just a start of what was to come.
Over the next three games, Boyd became a focal point of Pitt's offense with 21 catches for 399 yards and five touchdowns. Just as importantly, he was a legitimate deep threat for the team and really helped give the offense another dimension.
But in case you've not been paying attention, the Panthers' offense has stalled lately - and Boyd isn't getting touches.
Over the last three games against Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, and Navy, Boyd has seen his role shrink. Boyd did catch six balls against Old Dominion, but for only 46 yards and a season-low 7.7 yards per catch. All told, in those three games, Boyd has had a total of 11 catches for a meager 101 yards and only one touchdown.
I said earlier that Boyd's lack of production could be any number of things. It could be him not finding ways to get open (though some of the spectacular catches he made earlier in the season were in tight coverage), Savage not looking his way as much, different offensive playcalling or a combination of things. But one thing is for certain - the offense was running a lot better when he was involved.
Part of the problem, I'm convinced is that much of his success came on the deep ball and that's not been in Pitt's arsenal lately (more on that this week). Still, to not find ways to get him involved is inexcusable. Let him take some direct snaps, use him in a Wildcat package, throw a reverse in with he and Devin Street. The possibilities really are endless and the Panthers are shooting themselves in the collective foot by not getting him the ball.