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Pitt RB Montravius Lloyd Staying Patient On and Off the Field



Pitt football running back Montravius Lloyd.

Pitt doesn’t need Montravius Lloyd to do anything but continue to develop in the system this season, but it’s clear he’s already put him in position to see the field in the event of injuries.

The offensive scheme will rely upon multiple running backs, and with Rodney Hammond Jr. primed for a breakout of his own, the depth in C’Bo Flemister, Derrick Davis Jr. and Daniel Carter is more than capable. But in the event of an injury or two, Lloyd’s quick adaption to college ball has him in a good spot.

TJ Havison, a fellow freshman back, had a good spring, but it’s been Lloyd who has received praise from coaches and teammates alike this summer. He isn’t the biggest back at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, but he is the kind of modern running back that is just as comfortable flexing into the slot or working wheel routes out of the backfield as he is taking handoffs.

“We’ll do a show time at the end of practice and go about eight minutes of live,” Pat Narduzzi said before practicing last week. “Today we’ll just go ‘thud’ because we don’t have pads on. But Montravius has stepped up. He’s getting better every day, so there’s another tailback that you go, ‘Hm, he might be able to play for us this year.’”

Lloyd didn’t arrive in Pittsburgh until June, but he’s packed on about seven, eight pounds of muscle since dedicated himself to the grind of being a college player.

It’s working. He’s making plays in practice, growing more comfortable with the playbook and showing Narduzzi, Frank Cignetti Jr. and Andre Powell that he is listening to and processing what he’s being taught. And even though he may have played in the slot as a senior at Lakewood High, Narduzzi sees where his future lies.

“He’s a tailback,” Narduzzi said. “He’s a tailback, but we’re gonna throw to the tailback out of the backfield. He’s caught a couple of nice wheel routes out of the backfield, so he’s an athlete who can do a lot of different things.”

As a senior in the greater Tampa area, Lloyd racked up nearly 900 all-purpose yards. He carried the ball 46 times for 218 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns, and he hauled in 40 catches for 461 yards (11.5 yards per reception) and three more touchdowns. It was a stark contrast to his junior season when he carried the ball 110 times for 641 yards and 11 touchdowns and added 11 catches for 149 yards and another score.

That versatility is important in the landscape of college football these days. If you can’t catch balls out of the backfield or pass protect, you won’t be on the field. The pass pro is a work in progress, but his pass catching chops aren’t going anywhere.

“It all ties together because when you catch the ball and you in the open field, you’re a running back,” Lloyd said after practice Friday. “So, it’s all the same thing.

“It just feels the same. If they were to throw me in the wide receivers’ room right now, I’d just treat it the same way. Just grind, go through the plays and all those types of things.”

And if Pitt’s coaching staff wants to try him as a returner, he won’t say no either. In fact, if it was up to him, he’d be working as a returner right now.

Lloyd is working with Powell right now, who is the running backs coach and special teams coordinator, coincidentally, but it’s more so about trying to slow down the game and understanding what it takes to be a running back — reading defenses, understanding his pass protection keys and fitting into the offense. Powell is trying to slow the game down for him.

“The biggest thing that I think I needed to learn was just to be more patient,” Lloyd said. “Just be patient. The time’s gonna come, and when my number is called, I’m gonna be ready.

“On and off the field, just be patient. Just be patient how I run the ball and being patient and just being ready when my number is called.”

The running backs room is deep, with a lot of veterans working at the top of the roster, but Lloyd isn’t alone. He’s been talking to Harvison since before he got to Pittsburgh over the summer. And Hammond, Carter, Flemister and Davis have all been resources as he’s adapting to life in Pittsburgh.

“I’m really close with everyone,” Lloyd said. “Marquis Williams, that’s my cousin. I feel like I’m close with everyone. It’s all about creating relationships. So, that’s what helps the team gel and win games.”

He’s rooming with Jesse Anderson and Shadarian ‘Dripp’ Harrison right now, two fellow Florida kids, and he has familiarity with them, too. He played against Lakeland High and Cardinal Gibbons High back in high school, and while Harrison was unable to play due to an injury, he did line up against Anderson in coverage.

And he admitted that Anderson did get a catch against him. But it was a lucky one. And now their roles will be reversed as the pair matchup against each other every day in practice going forward — waiting for their turns to make an impact.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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