WR Boyd hoping to emerge for new-look Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst has found plenty of answers halfway
through training camp.
Tom Savage is the starting quarterback. James Conner looks like
a starter at running back and even the job of kicker has been
effectively decided with the presence of freshman Chris
But one question – a pretty big one – remains.
Who will Savage throw the ball too besides senior Devin
Enter Tyler Boyd, arguably the gem of Chryst’s 2013 recruiting
class. The former Clairton High star has taken a major step forward
during camp after a standout prep career that included winning
three state titles.
Boyd has emerged from a crowded field after Ronald Jones, who
compiled 24 receptions over the last two years, was suspended for
the entire 2013 season for a violation of team rules. Jones’
suspension left Ed Tinker as the only receiver besides Street with
any semblance of experience. In other words, the door was left wide
open for Boyd to climb up the depth chart.
It’s an opportunity Boyd has clutched with both hands. After
entering camp as a question mark, he is the leading candidate to
start next to Street when Pitt begins ACC play on Labor Day night
against No. 11 Florida State.
”Every time they say first team, I’m in there,” Boyd said.
”I’m not trying to say I’m the first starter yet, I’m just getting
reps with the first so I’m just going to keep going and get better
Boyd’s biggest concern entering camp was dealing with the more
arduous practice schedule. He has been seasoned for the grind,
though, with some guidance from Street, who has real aspirations of
being selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.
”I’m trying to see everything (Street’s) doing,” Boyd said.
”I’m watching his steps, his reads, his blocking schemes.”
From the first day of camp, Street, who had 975 receiving yards
and five scores last year, expressed a firm belief in Boyd’s
”I think he’s definitely going to contribute for us,” Street
Street is 28 receptions away from becoming the program’s
all-time leader, and has grown into a reliable source of
information, on and off the field for the whole team.
“If he keeps leading me,” Boyd said, ”I’m going to keep
Chryst has noticed. With an open mind since Day 1, the
second-year coach has not been afraid to take chances with the
Panthers. Pitt went 6-7 in Chryst’s first season, though the
Panthers won four of their last seven games.
”He’s continuing to earn the right to get more reps,” Chryst
said of Boyd. ”I love the progress that he’s been making. I think
he’s done a great job of learning what to do.
”Our focus has been on finding out if a guy can give you
So far, so good. Boyd’s done enough to continue to work with the
starters and earn the trust of his quarterback.
In fact, Savage and Boyd have connected for multiple big plays
during practice. During one recent scrimmage, Boyd turned a pair of
long-yardage situations into big gains.
”I’m not surprised that he’s acclimated quickly,” Chryst said.
”But I certainly appreciate it.”