PITTSBURGH — Pitt’s tight end coach Tim Salem is known for his enthusiasm, fierce attitude, and the number of Mountain Dews he drinks through out the day.
His relentlessness to give everything he has to the Pitt football program, every day, makes him one important piece to the puzzle.
Salem isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind and he surely doesn’t shy away from what he believes. When he was asked Tuesday what he thought about how the tight ends have fared with the new offense behind coach Mark Whipple. Salem gave an answer that isn’t shocking to anyone that knows him.
Salem is known to stay around the facility all day and night preparing for the next opponent. After the big win against UCF, he made it clear that he didn’t have any time to celebrate or sleep.
“Why would I sleep?” said Salem. “It just never ends. I am probably waiting for an invitation from Disney World to come down and have a parade because we beat UCF … That’s what I’m waiting for.”
Salem did have some family time after the game with his son and daughter. His son is a UCF alum, but after Pitt took down the Knights, Salem said that his son took all of his Pitt gear back down to Florida with him. Salem hopes he’s wearing it very proudly down there right now.”
After an hour of family time and some tacos, Salem went back to work. That has included a different work load for him and his tight ends this season. After focusing mostly on the running game in 2018, Pitt’s offense has swung significantly the other way in 2019.
“I just care about winning,” Salem said. “If we have to run the ball every snap, and the tight ends don’t catch a ball … Who cares, we won the game.”
Pitt has many of the same weapons as last year, but Salem agrees that the addition of Mark Whipple at offensive coordinator has a big impact for the recent success in the passing game.
“I think the whole passing game is progressing because of what Mark Whipple’s doing,” Salem said. “It’s like eating at Golden Coral … They got a lot of stuff to choose from.”
One of the new weapons for Pitt is transfer Nakia Griffin-Stewart, who joined Pitt this spring after graduating from Rutgers. Griffin-Stewart talked Tuesday about matching Salem’s energy and how it has been playing for a coach as engaged as he is.
“You try to match it,” said Griffin-Stewart. “To see him bring that same energy every single game and how he’s the same person every day. … It motivates us to bring that same persistence and the same effort every day.”
Griffin-Stewart took a chance on Pitt and coach Salem for his final year of eligibility. He talked about what it was like meeting Salem for the first time.
“I think everyone’s first impression is just like, wow,” said Griffin Stewart. “This guy is full go, at all moments … It was eye opening.”
Former Pitt tight end Matt Flanagan played with Griffin-Stewart at Rutgers for two years and filled in Griffin-Stewart on what to expect from Salem.
“I kind of knew what he was about before I met him,” said Griffin Stewart. “When I met him, I was like, ‘he’s everything Matt was saying.’”
Pitt’s safeties coach Corey Sanders was asked if Salem was the most eccentric coach on the team.
“The most eccentric person I know,” Sanders answered with a smile. “I’ve never not seen him just rockin’ and rollin’ … He gets after it.”