Reporting Colin Dunlap
Pitt didn’t lose Monday night because of any gameplan.
Pitt lost Monday night because they played Florida State.
That’s the end.
It was always going to be that way; Florida State was miles better.
Paced by prodigious freshman quarterback Jameis Winston — who had one of the greatest individual games Heinz Field’s lawn will ever host — the No. 11 Seminoles pasted the Panthers, 41-13.
Here’s hoping Pitt coach Paul Chryst learned something as he watched that Florida State youngster control the football game: Perhaps he should allow the most explosive young guy he has attempt to be more of the regulator when his team has the ball.
In short, get freshman athlete Tyler Boyd the rock more.
A lot more.
There should be no greater takeaway for Chryst and his offensive staff on a night when very few things to takeaway were encouraging.
Sure, senior receiver Devin Street had a nice game and senior quarterback Tom Savage had flashes of playing well, particularly early. The tight end grouping of J.P. Holtz, Manasseh Garner and Scott Orndoff look to be splendid and a precise balance of power and speed. Freshman running back James Conner was also a player who, in the sea of a blowout, floated along keeping his head firmly above the water nicely.
Make no mistake, though, the story was Boyd.
He should, though, be a much bigger story as Pitt’s schedule advances.
Boyd was marvelous (when he was permitted to be), as he carried the ball three times for 54 yards, caught two passes for 26 more and returned three kicks for 71 yards.
Eight touches for 151 yards — that worked out to almost 19 yards each time the football found Boyd’s hands.
The logical deduction is that it needs to do so a lot more.
Boyd was asked, frankly, if he should be a bigger part of the offense in the coming games.
“Oh yeah, definitely, I think I did everything I could do,” Boyd said of his play against Florida State. “I think I could have made more plays, but I made just enough plays to do right, do good.”
Indeed, he did.
As for those first-game jitters?
No. Not for this kid.
I mean, come on, it takes a lot more than a crowded football stadium against a national power to make someone from Clairton nervous.
People from Clairton don’t get nervous.
“I was just ready, pumped up,” he said. “I felt like I was ready. I wasn’t scared of nothing. I felt good going into the game.”
With his first game down, and Boyd presenting to everyone what he can do against an elite team at the collegiate level, the emphasis now thrusts to the future.
Unquestionably, Chryst has to, at the very least, tinker with running some special packages to get Boyd the ball more in the coming games.
“We would absolutely like to give him more touches,” Chryst said of Boyd. “We’re trying to find ways to get him the ball. He’s a good football player and I was impressed with the way he handled everything. There were some individual performances that were positive, but right now it’s hard to feel good about them.”
Maybe for Chryst it is, but it isn’t for me.
And it shouldn’t be hard for any Pitt fan, either.
Tyler Boyd — just a few months removed from walking the hallways at Clairton High School — was the brightest star Pitt had in a night where it was tough to find positives.
Also, moving forward, Chryst would do well to make sure the football finds Boyd’s hands with more regularity.
A lot more regularity.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weeknights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.