In losing Tyler Boyd, the Pitt football team will need to replace much of his offensive production. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada talked a little about that recently with ESPN. The Panthers will be looking to replace Boyd not with one player, but with several:
I think it’s a great opportunity and we’ve certainly said that to our skill players, that there’s X amount of catches that he had, and he was certainly a top player who deserved those touches. But those balls have to go somewhere else. Who’s going to step up to do that? I think we’ve done that [in the past], spread the ball around and use all our weapons. That’s something that our system does well, and has done well. It allows player to show what they can do. So I think our guys are excited about that. But that would be the case no matter what with a great player leaving. There’s a void there, and we can look at that as a negative or as a great opportunity. I think our guys are looking at it as an opportunity to have a much larger role in our production.
That's to be expected, to be honest. Pitt has several receivers that could be good but none look to be on Boyd's level right now. Dontez Ford, who figures to be one of this year's starters, took a big step forward after starting alongside him last year. However, as even he would probably tell you, he isn't Boyd.
The closest thing to a star on the current roster is perhaps four-star recruit Ruben Flowers. Flowers, of course, hasn't even played a down yet, so who knows what we can expect on that front. The wide receiver rotation looks mostly like several decent players but it's hard to find standouts there. It should be pointed out, though, that with Boyd dominating so much of the passing game the past two years, that we really don't know what else Pitt has at this point.
It's early and we don't yet know what the exact plan will be, but Canada makes it pretty clear that the passing game will rely on several receivers.
As an aside, as Narduzzi previously said, Canada is also expecting to get running back James Conner back on the field, which will help things. The stronger the running game, the more it will open up possibilities for the pass.
Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.