After breakthrough season for Gators, Pitts poised for next step under Brewster

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is unable to catch a pass in the end zone as Missouri defensive back Khalil Oliver (20) defends during the first half Saturday in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

It didn’t take long for Florida’s latest tight ends coach Tim Brewster to make a positive impression on the program. 

Nor did it take long for him to leave an impression on Gators standout tight end Kyle Pitts. 

“Coach Brewster is a high-energy guy. He has a great history with tight ends he produced in the NFL,” Pitts said. “We’re just soaking in knowledge that he’s bringing and just adding to what Coach (Larry) Scott already instilled in our minds.”

While Brewster’s arrival comes with much fanfare and excitement, it’s never easy to lose a position coach when it comes to the players themselves, especially for the first time – although Pitts acknowledged Scott handled the transition with class. 

“I talked to Coach Scott, he called me the night he accepted it and he was just saying there’s things you have to do in life as far as family and stuff,” Pitts revealed. “(Then) I talked to Coach (Dan) Mullen and he told me Coach Brewster was going to be the new coach.”

It would make sense that Pitts’ expectations for Brewster are high, and that’s before considering Scott helped turn him into a bonafide pass-catcher in the SEC as a sophomore. 

The Philadelphia native hauled in a team-high 54 passes for 649 yards and five touchdowns in 2019, meaning it’s safe to say he’s Florida’s leading returning receiver despite the tight end designation. 

That versatility isn’t going anywhere, although Pitts has made his continued physical transformation a point of emphasis in the offseason. 

“I’m at 246 right now. Compared to, in season I was playing around 235,” he said. “Really just getting heavier and being able to be in-line and very versatile outside and in the slot as well.”

Along with a more muscular physique, the upperclassman Pitts is embracing a leadership role for the first time, too. Pitts’ age wasn’t an issue when it came to his production, and it won’t be one for Florida’s pass-catching unit this season either. 

“Just bringing everybody up around you and knowing that it is younger guys, but they have to fill the shoes of the older guys that left,” Pitts said. “It’s time for them to step up and be ready to play.”

With the offense embracing the challenge of replacing considerable production, the Gators know they better get used to high expectations – expectations that presumably start with a player poised for another leap in 2020 after scratching the surface as a sophomore. 

“He’s been working tremendously hard and we expect big things out of him,” quarterback Kyle Trask said of Pitts. “Just getting that great season under his belt, I know he has a lot more confidence on the field to make those plays.”