PITTSBURGH — Coming off of his electric performance in Happy Valley, Pitt wide receiver Taysir Mack is up to the challenge of facing yet another upper echelon defense in UCF on Saturday afternoon.
UCF is known for their man-to-man defensive principles and having their defensive backs challenge the opposing receivers one-on-one.
“Oh yeah, you know me,” Mack said of the challenge. “I’d rather go against that, than a whole bunch of zones. … But it’s fun, because you know at the end of the day, you see what type of player you are.”
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi knows what kind of player Mack is and that became clearer with his play last Saturday.
“Taysir Mack on another positive, has 12 catches, playing outstanding,” Narduzzi said Monday. “[Mack] had two key just flat plays where he just goes and gets the ball, and he did a great job.”
Wait for the replay of this Taysir Mack catch. Penn State DB with the ultimate “life comes at you fast” face pic.twitter.com/0QxyVwIq42
— Mike Goldfarb (@MikeGoldFool) September 14, 2019
Narduzzi was asked Monday whether he thinks that they could possibly throw those jump balls to players like Mack more often and not just on third-and-long situations or when the game is on the line.
“I think you can do it at any time during the game, and I think that’s something we haven’t done in the past,” Narduzzi said. “Again, it’s our guys getting a feel for who their guys are and who’s going to go make that play. Taysir can certainly make those plays, we know that.”
Mack credited Pickett and offensive coordinator Mark Whipple for putting him in the position to make those plays in that kind of environment.
“It’s not like I just went out there and was like, alright I’m open,” said Mack. “It was me and Kenny working on a lot of back-shoulder work or over-the-top work and it is paying off in the game.”
— George Fladeland (@George_W_Flade) September 15, 2019
Whipple knows the impact that Mack can and did bring to the team against Penn State.
“He made some great plays,” said Whipple. “He’s coming along. We’ve known that and have seen that in practice.
“The nice thing now, is that if you flip on the tape, you see that Ffrench had a big game, Taysir had a big game, and we got some other guys coming on. The tight ends are catching the ball a little better.”
The run game was almost nonexistent last week in Happy Valley. Whipple knows that both the run and pass games need to be clicking to win football games.
“We want to be balanced with the run and pass and be balanced with how we get guys the ball,” said Whipple
Mack knows that there’s a long way for himself and his team to go, but he was pleased with the outing at Penn State.
“It meant a lot to me,” Mack said about the Penn State game. “I’m just progressing. It’s an everyday battle.”
Mack talked about what it’s like for the opportunity to go one-on-one with some of the best defensive-backs in the country.
“It’s dog vs. dog. The best is going to come out,” Mack said. “I want everyone to know that I’m that dog and I want to come out with a victory.”