Over the next 13 days, Gator Country will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season. Can you believe that the season is just two weeks away?
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at sophomore wide receiver Latroy Pittman.
Pittman graduated from North Marion High School in Citra, Florida early and enrolled at the University of Florida in January of 2012. Pittman used that extra time in spring practice to learn the playbook and was able to make an impact as a freshman, playing in 11 games – including one start – last season.
Pittman chose Florida over other scholarship offers from schools like Notre Dame, Florida State, Maryland, Michigan and South Carolina among others.
While he played a good amount of football as a freshman, Pittman was used mainly as a blocking option at receiver and caught just two passes – both against Bowling Green – the entire year.
Pittman’s biggest strength is his ability as a blocker. He is a big, strong wide receiver who can break running plays that come his way because of how effective he is at blocking one-on-one.
Pittman is a quick receiver who uses his size to get good position and can go up and get the ball at its highest point. He has good awareness and controls his body in the air very well. Pittman’s size makes him a tough player to tackle and he is most effective on slants and underneath routes where he can get the ball in space and turn up field.
Pittman needs to continue to develop as a route runner. We have seen some improvement in that area this spring but he needs to continue working on running nice, clean, crisp routes in order to develop timing with his quarterback.
Another aspect of his game that he needs to improve on is his hands. Pittman didn’t show a propensity to drop passes last spring or last season but he really struggled in the two open practices this fall with drops. For someone who is on the wrong side of the depth chart right now, you can’t have mistakes like that while you’re competing for more reps.
What to Expect
Pittman is starting to slide down the depth chart. Will Muschamp named five guys (Quinton Dunbar, Demarcus Robinson, Ahmad Fulwood, Trey Burton and Solomon Patton) as players who were standing out to him at receiver. That coupled with two lackluster performances from Pittman that we have seen this far, and you have to start to wonder if he will get lost in the shuffle this season.
Pittman is still one of the best blockers at the position and with as much as Florida is going to run the ball, there will be packages that feature him – just not as a receiving threat.