I truly believe Bobby Engram has a bright future in the coaching profession. That opinion comes from talking to those involved with an/or covering the Pitt program; from the vibe you get from talking to both Engram himself and to those who are coached by him; and by the quantitative on-field results we’re seeing from some of Engram’s pupils.
The former Penn State star receiver is just in his third year as a coach; this season he has turned a raw true freshman into a Biletnikoff Award finalist. Make no mistake, Tyler Boyd is quite the talented athlete. But Engram deserves at least some of the credit for the remarkable seamless transition Boyd has made to high-level college football.
The realities of the newspaper industry limit the amount of space a story can take up, and I wanted to . But via the magic of Blogging, here are some of the other things Engram, Boyd and Pitt senior receiver Devin Street had to say early Wednesday evening:
Engram on the player who is breaking his Penn State records, Allen Robinson: “What I’ve seen –I’ve seen him play a couple times and I’ve seen some film – and he seems like a talented guy. I thought he had good athleticism, he caught the ball well. He attacked the ball, and he seemed pretty fast, so you like to see guys go out and have success like that.”
Engram on if he always wanted to coach: “I thought I did for a long time but I wasn’t sure, You think one thing then you retire and things change. But I took a year off and it was something I had a desire to do. I had a football camp for quite a while when I was playing, and that was one of the things I enjoyed to do was go out and coach and work with the kids.”
Engram on his role in the rapid development of Boyd: “I think first of all it wasn’t just me; it was a lot of guys in this building. I mean I probably talk to him more than anybody, but (offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph), (head coach Paul Chryst), (quarterback coach Brooks Bollinger). We had all hands on deck. I think you just tell him exactly what’s going to be expected, you tell him what to expect and you just paint a picture. You give him a vision and he believed in what we were saying and in what our vision is for Pitt and where we want to take this football program. And if you like a challenge and you’re a competitor, then you come on board and has worked to make this right and has accepted the challenge.”
Engram, sheepishly, after being asked about showing his players his own highlights (Street and Boyd said they watch them): “They may Google some stuff or some highlights I think of a couple ancient footages out there but it’s really about them at this point. I’ll pull up some stuff here and there just to show them a route or show them a release. But mostly I’ll show them other guys. I’ll show them the NFL, try to really focus on the guys who I saw do it at a high level – Jerry Rice and you look at the guys who are playing now, a guy like Andrew Johnson, a guy like Greg Jennings… they can see our style is a pro-style offense, so they can look at these guys and see them run the same releases, they can see them run the same routes. And it energizes the meeting – I know I get boring at times; I’ve got to keep them on edge somehow.”
Street on his relationship with Engram: “He’s just meant so much and taught me so much about life and so much about the game. And I think we crossed paths for reason.
I think that’s just how he is (with everyone), too. But I think we developed a bond just because of where I was at in that point in time in my career and our interests and our faith and stuff like that. He’s just a great guy; I can’t say enough about him.”
Boyd on Engram: “I feel like he’s blood to me. I’m real comfortable being around him from when he first started recruited me until this game coming up. I never felt differently about him.”