PITTSBURGH — With a new look offense under the direction of Mark Whipple, Pitt should see increased activity from the tight ends.
The 2018 season was a rough year for the tight ends as they saw very limited action in the passing game. They were predominately used as an extra blocker for Shawn Watson’s very run-heavy offense. Heading into the 2019 season however, look for a very different approach under the direction of new offensive coordinator, Mark Whipple.
At UMass, Mark Whipple had four different tight ends during the 2018 season make a significant impact in the passing game. These four tight ends including their number one tight end, Kyle Horn, who had 29 receptions and 267 total yards on the season. Pitt’s tight ends on the other hand during the 2018 season only combined for 10 receptions and 69 total yards. If past experience holds, and it looks like it will judging by Pitt’s practices so far this year, Whipple will look to expand the role of the tight ends this season.
Pitt returns two tight ends from last year, redshirt senior Will Gragg and redshirt sophomore Grant Carrigan who are the only player’s on Pitt’s roster who have any playing experience. Behind them comes redshirt freshman Kaymar Mimes, who has shown promise during spring practice and redshirt freshman, walk-on Jake Cortes.
However, come the fall, Pitt will be adding graduate transfer, Nakia Griffin-Stewart, who will offer the Panthers some much added depth and experience to a thin and unexperienced tight end room.
In his time at Rutgers, Griffin-Stewart totaled 13 receptions in his career for 97 yards. Most of his impact occurred during the 2017 season, as he was not targeted as much during the 2018 season.
New Year New Look
It remains apparent through spring practice that Mark Whipple will look to create a more steady passing game in Pitt’s offense during the 2019 season. Pitt’s receivers have been seen running a variety of different routes in each spring practice. Pitt will look to get away from their one-dimensional running attack that they used throughout the 2018 season.
Here is coach Whipple working with the Pitt quarterbacks and wide receivers at practice on Thursday:
Pitt defensive line coach Charlie Partridge has been working relentlessly with his defensive line group this spring, working on new techniques of how to shed blocks, and shed double teams in order to get to the quarterback more quickly.
Here is coach Partridge teaching some of these techniques at practice on Thursday:
Sights And Sounds
Check out the rest of the sights and sounds from spring practice no. 7: