Ever since senior wide receiver Devin Street graduated and went to the NFL, we've been looking for a complementary wide receiver to play along sophomore star Tyler Boyd. We're not the only ones, either. Even head coach Paul Chryst realizes the need for someone to develop to make things easier for Boyd. Manasseh Garner converted from tight end and won the starting job fairly early.
Garner, for the record, has played decently. He has a modest three catches for 46 yards, but Pitt's passing game hasn't been all that strong or even used very much to date. Garner also hauled in a nice catch from Chad Voytik along the sidelines of the Boston College game.
Even though it's only been two games, though, it's becoming pretty clear who the actual best complement to Tyler Boyd is:
Conner (and the rest of the running game, for that matter) is the one best equipped to take the pressure off of Boyd. The Panthers' rushers have made things look easy against both Delaware and Boston College and the best way to get Boyd the ball is going to come through a dominant running attack.
Let's face it - teams are acutely aware of Boyd. Fact is that if the Panthers can't run the ball, opposing defenses are going to take advantage and play back on defense, making it harder for Boyd to make plays. Conversely, though, if the running game is clicking, defenses will get guys up in the box to try to slow Conner and that means less attention from linebackers on Boyd and the wideouts.
A complementary receiver to Boyd would be a tremendous help and I'm pretty convinced that Garner can be that guy. As we saw last year, having two star wide receivers can open things up tremendously in the passing game. But the player outside of Chad Voytik that will have the biggest determination on Boyd's 2014 season is Conner.
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