TALLAHASSEE — Florida State receiver Mycah Pittman did not have to be on the field for one of the biggest plays in Saturday’s spring game.
The Oregon transfer was shaken up during pregame drills and was given the option to sit out of the meaningless exhibition at Doak Campbell Stadium. He declined.
“I’m a big boy,” Pittman said. “My dad raised me good.”
His dad is Michael Pittman, who spent six of his 11 seasons with the Bucs and was their leading rusher during the Super Bowl 37 run. Mycah clearly got a few things from his father.
The elder Pittman had 19½-inch biceps and ran with strength. Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis calls the 5-foot-11, 201-pound Mycah “a big ball of muscle.”
The toughness is there, too, as he showed during one of Saturday’s highlights. Pittman lined up at receiver, motioned to the middle, took a handoff and powered through two defenders for a touchdown.
“That’s what he’s shown consistently,” coach Mike Norvell said. “He’s a tough football player.”
One with the potential to make a big impact for Norvell’s ‘Noles this fall.
FSU’s receiving corps was mediocre last season, which is why the Seminoles added four transfers through the portal. One of them, West Virginia’s Winston Wright, is recovering from injuries suffered in a car accident last month. Another, Illinois’ Deuce Spann (Lakewood High) is still learning the position after moving over from quarterback.
That means FSU needs immediate production from Pittman and Arizona State transfer Johnny Wilson. After leading all players with four catches for 25 yards and rushing for a touchdown, Pittman looks like the surest bet.
“When I feel like it’s the opportunity to get the ball in my hand, Coach is putting his faith in me,” Pittman said. “And honestly, he’s built more confidence in myself because he believes in me.”
Pittman sees a chance to showcase his talents at FSU in a way he didn’t at Oregon. He started 12 games over three seasons with the Ducks under first-year Miami coach Mario Cristobal. Pittman caught 38 passes for 547 yards and two touchdowns and gained 151 yards on 15 punt returns.
Pittman’s opportunities were limited, though. The Tampa native and former top-100 national recruit said he didn’t get to show what he can do with the ball in his hands much.
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“I’m a guy who doesn’t shy away from contact,” Pittman said. “I’m always thinking of how I can make the DB miss, what’s going to allow me to get those extra yards.”
If Pittman can make defenders miss on offense or special teams, he’ll be an immediate, valued contributor. Norvell says his offense is built for playmakers. Either Pittman didn’t have enough of them last year, or he didn’t use the ones he had effectively.
Pittman’s strength should help seize 50-50 passes that too often went to the opposing team last season. Norvell has a history of using versatile players — backs who can catch or receivers who can rush — creatively. If Pittman builds off his strong spring, it’s easy to envision him developing into one of FSU’s most important skill players this fall.
Though he muffed a punt in the spring game, what he called an “absolutely embarrassing” mistake, Pittman has shown flashes of success for a program that’s still looking for its first return touchdown under Norvell.
If nothing else, Pittman showed his desire to grow into that role over the weekend when he returned to an exhibition he could have skipped.
“People will say, ‘it’s spring ball, who cares about it ...’” Pittman said. “The importance of spring ball for me is discovering my identity and showing the coaches what I’m capable of doing and being a guy that the team can rely on, no matter what type of obstacle is going to come my way.”
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