PITTSBURGH — Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, has two solidified threats at wide receiver (Taysir Mack and Maurice Ffrench), but he has been looking for one of his other guys to take another step in production.
Sophmore Shocky Jacques-Louis just might be that additional option that the Pitt passing game has been looking for.
The Panthers will start to see even more focus on Mack and Ffrench, with just five regular-season games remaining. Whipple thinks Jacques-Louis has what it takes to be that next man up.
“He’s a confident guy,” Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple said Tuesday. “He’s the fastest receiver that we have –We missed him early (this season when he was injured). … He gives us another guy to take the top off (of the defense).”
Jacques-Louis will be playing in his fourth consecutive game, after he was banged up early on in the season. In Pitt’s last two road wins against Duke and Syracuse, Jacques-Louis made some key grabs for the Panthers (5 catches for 50 yards).
“It feels good — real good to be back out there making plays,” Jacques-Louis said.
“When (Whipple) pulled (the playbook) out and started showing me what we got — We were practicing (before the season), I knew (the offense) was going to be something special,” Jacques-Louis said.
Jacques-Louis will be looking to continue his progression this Saturday against a program that he is especially familiar with. Jacques-Louis is a Fort Myers, Florida native. He said that he grew up about two house from Miami’s campus.
“You know, I’m from the crib (referencing Florida),” Jaques-Louis said. “I can’t wait to play those boys.”
Pitt’s game last year, at Miami, Jacques-Louis had a number of family and friends in attendance.
This years matchup is extra special for Jacques-Louis.
Jacques-Louis also mentioned how he will have a little extra motivation, knowing that Miami never ever looked at him, when he was coming out of high school in Florida.
“They didn’t ever look at me,” Jacques-Louis said. “It sticks with me in the back of my head — But I don’t really think about it now — I’m a Pitt Panther.”
Jacques-Louis did mention that if he were still in high school and knowing how Whipple runs this more dynamic passing offense — that his decision to come to Pitt would have been even easier, at the time.
“I know if I was a recruit right now, this would be the perfect spot for me,” Jacques-Louis said.
The Fort Meyers product wasn’t necessarily happy with the way that the Pitt offense played last year down in Florida in front of his family — But he thinks this year, that they are a totally different unit, under Whipple.
“We’ve come a long way from last year,” Jacques-Louis said “We are definitely ready to beat them this year — Last year shouldn’t have happened like that (Pitt lost 24-3 to the Hurricanes).
Pitt will look for their fifth consecutive win this week against Miami. The Panthers haven’t went on a five-game winning streak since 2009, when they won six straight under Dave Wannstedt.
“We’re going to see the results on Saturday,” Jacques-Louis said.