Pitts has gone from player with potential to match-up nightmare for Gators

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Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (84) celebrates a catch and long run Saturday against Auburn at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Matt Pendleton/Correspondent]

There’s just something about the Kyles. 

Saturday’s 24-13 win over Auburn, once again featured the Trask-to-Pitts connection. 

As they did in Florida’s previous win over Tennessee, UF quarterback Kyle Trask and tight end Kyle Pitts came out of the tunnel on the same page, resulting in a team-high eight receptions for 65 yards for Pitts. 

“I was just letting the game come to me, not trying to force it,” Pitts said. “We just got the ball out fast and created mismatches on the interior and outside.” 

In a talent-laden wide receiving corps, Pitts has emerged has a reliable target for Trask, namely due to his route-running — and you can’t forget about those massive mitts that protrude from his 6-foot-6 frame and seem to seek out the pass. 

For Pitts, Saturday’s showing was simply an extension of practice; Mullen has emphasized an increased competitiveness in practice, with sound preparation throughout the week and into gameday being the desired result.

And it’s led to Florida’s passing game — sans Feleipe Franks and Kadarius Toney — firing on cylinders. 

After passing for 266 yards against the Tigers, Florida has now passed for 250 yards or more for six consecutive games for the first time since the 2004 season, while showing a knack for hitting the big play in the process. 

In Mullen’s 19 games as UF’s head coach, the Gators have passed for 250 yards or more nine times and are one of just four FBS teams to have four plays of 60 yards or more this season. 

But one thing a team can’t fully prepare for is injuries. 

Midway through the second quarter, with the Gators clutching a one-score lead, Trask rolled right as pressure came from Auburn standout Marlon Davidson, who appeared to to be pushed and fell into Trask’s leg as he was sacked. 

The crowd went silent, fearing another quarterback had been lost. 

“We didn’t want another quarterback to go down, so we were upset about it right away,” Pitts said. “Kyle’s a tough guy, and when he went down I was just hoping he would get right back up.”

That trepidation was soon replaced with relief as Trask emerged from the locker room with a brace on his left knee after suffering a strained MCL.

Yet the Gators had to maintain their focus on the slim lead, meaning the defense couldn’t drop their guard until the final buzzer. 

For a Florida team set for national recognition and respect, the turbulent and turnover-filled second-half was another chance to improve heading into another College GameDay match-up. 

As he did against these Tigers, Pitts is going to just take what the defense gives him in Death Valley — if Saturday was any indication, that’s a sound strategy for Florida’s match-up nightmare in the passing game.

“I think it was very big, so we’re going on the road next week against a very tough opponent, so this was very important,” Pitts said. “It gives us a lot of confidence, because next week it’s another tough opponent to face, so we’re going to go on the road and try and get a road win against another great team.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. ”Sans” Coach Spurrier, ”Florida has now passed for 250 yards or more for six consecutive games for the first time since the 2004 season.” It’s been 15 YEARS since U.F. passed 250 yds. or more for 6 consecutive games?!? Wow! Who knew? I guess, overall, we (Gator fans) all noticed it, but to actually see that stat in print is totally mind blowing. So good job, Florida Football. Go Gators! Just win baby!

  2. I foresee a time of the swamp being highly feared…of a swagger derived from a proven warrior that has been battle tested and nows how to win in skill and power, yet with humility and selflessness…of young men that are free in their confidence in their team members and coaches to let the reins off of their God given talents, to rise to heights only dreamed of. A time of great strength of character off the field matched only by ferocity and unrelenting force of violence and skill on the field. I foresee a time once again of something about to rise from the belly of Hogtown’s amphibious swamp monsters that now wavers mirage-like in the recesses of our memories…I SEE THE FUN AND GUN COMING DOWN ON THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WORLD WITH A TON OF UNMITIGATED DEVASTATION!

  3. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. The difference between NFL teams and college teams, save for a few teams at the top of the recruiting food chain, is having a big athletic tight end who can catch. They don’t grow on trees like other position groups. I’m glad we are fortunate to have one of them on this team. I will be shocked if Pitts doesn’t get drafted.

    • The questions his outstanding performance beg are these: 1) where was Kyle Pitts during the first 2 3/4 games this season and ALL of last season? And 2) why did CDM feel the need to keep this Rembrandt in his closet until Kyle Trask took over at QB?

      We ALL know the answers to both of those questions. It’s just a crying shame that social justice forced CDM to make the choice he made at QB going into this season, because choosing otherwise might have lost him the team.

  4. I’m not so much being hard on CDM as I’m sad American culture has reached a point where he was forced to consider the political ramifications of making a decision that should’ve been strictly based on QB performance in practice. Consider the ramifications of that choice to Kyle Pitts’ career had Franks not been injured when he was, not to mention the 2019 Gator season in general.

    Stop and think about the fact that CDM calls all the offensive plays and how few of Franks’ passes were directed at Kyle Pitts, particularly over the middle of the field. Now, consider how many of Trask’s passes are now directed at Kyle Pitts, particularly over the middle of the field. Do you sincerely believe CDM didn’t see THAT difference in spring and summer practice???

    I’ve said before, when others were screaming for a QB change, that it would take an injury to Franks for there to be a change. Now that Trask has proven successful, watch Franks’ reaction next spring to being relegated to the backup role. Bet you $5 to your $1 that he avails himself of the transfer portal, regardless of how much damage it does to the Gators QB depth situation in 2020.