Thursday Notebook: The Offense

Pitt offensive players discuss a wide array of topics. Tom Savage comes to the defense of Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt--who was ejected for a hit on him in Saturday's game. Devin Street and Tyler Boyd talk about what receivers coach Bobby Engram brings to the table, while we get a few words from Engram as well.

Saturday's game was a big one for the offense getting back on track.

Tom Savage completed 22-35 passes for 243 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. The senior continued to prove that he's comfortable on the run when he needs to, even if it might make his coaches nervous.

"It's nothing that we gameplan for, but he's made it work," offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph joked, earlier this week.

In the first half, Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt was ejected for a questionable hit the head after one of those runs. As Savage scrambled for a short gain, he slid to get the first down. Tuitt stopped him, and was flagged for a hit to the head, and ultimately ejected from the game.

It's the latest in a series of questionable calls surrounding this new rule. Savage, the victim of that hit, came to Tuitt's defense, on Wednesday.

"You hate to see someone get ejected from a game, especially like that," Savage said. "I put my head down, just trying to get a first down, and he hit me. It's tough for a defender to control themselves like that--I'm running at them, they're running at me. We have one yard, and we're trying to get a first down. He can't just stand up and let me run into him."

Despite the ups and downs of the offense this season, Devin Street and Tyler Boyd have been productive as a whole. Both showed up in the form of big plays on Saturday. Street has 44 catches for 766 yards and six touchdowns, including two against Notre Dame. Boyd is posting similar numbers, 53 catches for 729 yards and six touchdowns.

Street has put together two impressive seasons with this coaching staff, specifically receivers coach Bobby Engram. Prior to Engram and Paul Chryst coming on board, Street had two head coaches and three different position coaches in his first three years in the program.

He spoke specifically on what Engram has meant to him on and off the field.

"More than words can explain," Street said. "He's going to be in my life for the rest of my life, a guy I would invite to my wedding. He's meant so much. We crossed paths for a reason."

It's a little different for Boyd, who has developed the same kind of relationship with Engram, only as a first-year player. His on-the-field and off-the-field relationship with Engram has been one that has helped him adjust to college life, but also to seek improvement every week.

"He's a person that will always make me do right," Boyd said. "He's like blood to me. I've been around him since he started recruiting me. Our relationship is real strong. I don't think there's anything in the world that can break it."

It might sound challenging for a coach--adjusting his coaching style to a fifth-year senior in Street, to recruiting and developing a first-year player in Boyd. He's made it work, and is very humble about it.

"I had to be, look at me--short and slow," Engram joked. "I love that part of the game. I had some good coaches. The older I got, the more I appreciated what my coaches wanted me to do.

"(Coaching) is something I had a desire to do. I had a football camp for quite awhile. That's one of the things I enjoyed doing--working with the kids. I'm blessed to do it as a profession."

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