Before Dan Mullen became head coach at Florida, there wasn’t much positivity on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators seemingly struggled in all offensive phases prior to Mullen’s arrival.
One area that was nearly nonexistent with the previous regime was the tight end group. The Gators tight ends didn’t produce nor were they put in a place to succeed.
But now in 2019, that’s all an afterthought, thanks to Mullen and Gators tight end, Kyle Pitts.
Now in his sophomore season, Pitts is starting to carve his role in the Gators offense and has become much more comfortable in the system.
“I mean I knew it (playbook), but I didn’t know it like the back of my hand, so this year I really took the time to study hard, which I feel makes me play more loosely and confident,” Pitts said after the Gators win over Towson.
After finding the end zone for the first time as a Gator last week, Pitts decided to one-up himself this week. One the Gators opening drive Saturday, Pitts caught five-yard score where he abused his man in coverage. And that wasn’t enough for Pitts.
He snagged another touchdown later in the third quarter, soaring over the Tigers defense in the back corner of the end zone. After two straight dominant performances, Pitts is showing he’s another playmaker in the Gators offense.
Calling Pitts a mismatch is putting it lightly. At 6’6, 240 pounds, he’s arguably Florida’s best mismatch and Mullen is taking advantage of it.
“Kyle’s a tough matchup on people tight end,” Mullen said postgame. “You’re starting to see him now really get comfortable within the offense.”
Mullen added that Pitts has really grown as a route runner and that helps in utilizing him in the offense. Give credit to Mullen and his coaching staff for the way they’ve trained Pitts with both the tight end and wide receiver groups.
“I think you see his comfort of really growing as a route runner… and how he’s getting open,” Mullen said. “I think you’re seeing him growing and maturing.”
The big storyline for the Gators has been the transition from Feleipe Franks to Kyle Trask at quarterback. In both of his starts, Trask seems to have made quite the connection with Pitts.
“He’s a great player and a great athlete to have on your team,” Trask said postgame. “Any time you see him with a matchup you just have to get it out there in front of him.”
The Kyle squared connection has now hooked up for three scores. In the last two weeks, Pitts has eight grabs for 90 yards to go with those touchdowns. Maybe it has something to do with sharing the same first name, because the two seem to always be in sync.
With the Gators heading into a season-defining stretch of games, Pitts production should only increase. His targets are continuing to increase and he’s shown that if you give him the chance, he will come down with the ball.
And as the season goes on, you can bet Mullen will continue to come up with ways to use him. Give an offensive mind like Mullen a toy like Pitts and good things are bound to happen.
The Gators have been absent of a playmaking tight end since Jordan Reed was wearing the Orange and Blue. In some of Mullen’s most potent offensives, there’s been that type of player at the tight end position.
The Gators lacked one for so long, but now they have a gem in Pitts.