FAYETTEVILLE — According to Florida head football coach Dan Mullen, the Gators will be without tight end Kyle Pitts tonight and possibly next week as well.
Mullen revealed the news of Pitts on SEC Nation earlier this morning on the SEC Network.
Pitts took a big hit from a Georgia defender last Saturday who was charged with targeting. Pitts left the game at that point with a concussion. Sam Pittman, who also will miss the game tonight as he has COVID, likes the two tight ends behind Pitts as well.
“Well, Pitts is awesome,” Pittman said. “I mean, he is really, really good. (Kemore) Gamble is really good, then they have the young guy – No. 9 (Keon Zipperer). Those guys have three of the best tight ends in the country on the same team. I was thinking, ‘There’s going to be a drop.’ Well, listen, there is a drop because Pitts is incredible. But not much (of a drop). They have with (Kadarius) Toney and the tight ends and the guys coming out of the backfield, they have so great a skill, so it’s going to be difficult. I’m sure Coach Odom will figure out a way.”
Pitts has caught 24 passes this season for 414 yards and eight touchdowns. Gamble has caught five passes for 78 yards and one touchdown while Zipperer has added three receptions for 53 yards. Mullen talked about what Pitts means to his team.
“I think one of the things you saw in the middle of the game last week that he came out in the second quarter of the game and those guys jumped in and I thought did a great job,” Mullen said. “You get to the point you are not gonna compare them to Kyle. Kyle is a special, different kind of player. And so it’s not fair to compare people to him and the other tight ends to him.
“But when you look at Kemore and Keon Zipperer and look at the ability they have obviously we have a lot of confidence in them. The team has a lot of confidence in them and you look at them. They are both very, very good players for us. I think you are able to see that with the production. They were able to come into the game and starting in the second quarter. With them in the game it doesn’t change what we’re gonna do. They can do everything that Kyle can do. Kyle just maybe does it at a level that you shake your head at sometimes. That was pretty special and he makes those plays and you go ‘wow’. You cover him and it really doesn’t matter sometimes he still makes those plays. Those other guys come in and they can do everything he does and it’s not gonna change our offensive scheme.”
No matter who lines up at tight end tonight, they will have one of the better quarterbacks in the nation throwing to them. Kyle Trask has completed 125 of 182 passes for 1,815 yards, 22 touchdowns and three interceptions. He has added 70 yards on the ground on 22 attempts.
“Lot of confidence and a lot of help,” Pittman said. “I mean, the guy can throw any ball, but he has some outstanding skill players. I mean, they’re outstanding. But, he’s getting rid of the ball, he’s getting good protection and the guys are getting open. And he doesn’t have to hold the ball long. I mean, he’s not holding the football because obviously knows where he wants to go, he’s got guys that can get open, and he’s throwing the football and it’s hard to get to him.
“Georgia had a hard time getting to him, and Georgia’s a really good defense. Played a lot of man coverage, and if you play man coverage they’re going to pick you apart. But I understand you have to play man, you have to play zone, have to play two-, you have to play three-, I get all that stuff, two-man. But, you’re going to have to mix it up on him because if they understand what you’re doing it’s difficult to stop them.”
Arkansas and Florida kicks off at 6 p.m. CT tonight on ESPN. Arkansas (3-3) and Florida (4-1) have both lost to Texas A&M. The Hogs also fell to Georgia and had a controversial loss to Auburn.