The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

August 21, 2013

Receiver emerges from crowd at Pitt practices

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 Blewitt.

But one question – a pretty big one – remains.

Who will Savage throw the ball too besides senior Devin Street?

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 and 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 abilities.

“I think he’s definitely going to contribute for us,” Street said.

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 following.”

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 consistent production.”

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.”

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pitt ends its spring practices

    No tailgating.
    No trip to a local high school.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

AP Video
Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide