Kyle to Kyle gives No. 3 Florida potent passing combination
By MARK LONG
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) After the fourth and final Kyle Trask to Kyle Pitts touchdown at Ole Miss, "K2K" was trending on Twitter.
What's been a popular catchphrase around Gainesville for more than a year gained traction nationally.
Now, it's probably here to stay.
Trask and Pitts might be college football's most potent passing combination, surely among the toughest to defend. The 6-foot-4 Trask has a firm grasp on coach Dan Mullen's spread offense and has figured out that that his 6-foot-6 speedy tight end is a matchup nightmare for opponents.
Trask found Pitts for four touchdowns in a 51-35 victory at Ole Miss on Saturday, a two-man show that vaulted Florida to No. 3 in the polls and helped mask numerous defensive deficiencies for the Gators. It also might just be their opening act.
Florida hosts South Carolina (0-1) on Saturday in the Swamp, where minimizing the Kyle-to-Kyle connection should be the Gamecocks' No. 1 priority.
"I've yet to see it," Trask said when asked whether anyone can take away Pitts. "If they do try to that means they're going to be putting a lot of guys over him and just open up a lot of people all across the field."
The bond between the quarterback and tight end began while they were backups in 2018, both waiting for a chance to show what they could do. Trask was a sophomore playing behind Feleipe Franks and competing with Emory Jones for mop-up duty; Pitts was a freshman buried on the depth chart behind C'yontai Lewis, R.J. Raymond, Moral Stephens and Lucas Krull.
One or both could have transferred, and nobody would have blamed them - especially with the increased popularity of the transfer portal. Instead, they stayed put and went to work.
Trask nearly got his opportunity late in the season. He was slated to replace an ineffective Franks and start against South Carolina in November, but he broke his foot in practice days before the game. He waited 10 months for another shot, replacing Franks early last season and ending up with the team's most touchdown passes (25) since Tim Tebow in 2009.
Pitts had three receptions for 73 yards and a score in his first season. He flashed in practice and really showed signs of progress in spring 2019.
He was a mismatch for defenses last season, but had to share the ball with talented receivers Van Jefferson, Freddie Swain and Josh Hammond as well as versatile running back Lamical Perine. Pitts ended up with 54 catches for 649 yards and five scores. With all of those teammates now in the NFL, there're more opportunity for Pitts.
He had receptions for a career-high 170 yards and four TDs against the Rebels - the first time he's ever scored that many times in any football game.
He showed the size to go over defensive backs, the speed to run away from linebackers, a nasty stiff arm and the physicality to line up on the line of scrimmage and be a factor in the running game.
"He's kind of a unicorn, right?" Mullen said. "So unless you have a unicorn on defense to match the unicorn on offense. There's not a lot of them out there. They're kind of very, very rare to ever see one. . That's really what makes him a mismatch."
Mullen compared him to some of the NFL's elite tight ends, players like Kansas City's Travis Kelce, San Francisco's George Kittle and Tampa Bay's Rob Gronkowski.
Mullen tweaked his offense in the offseason to get the ball in Pitts' huge mitts more often. It showed in the opener.
Trask completed 30 of 42 passes for 416 yards and six touchdowns, with a huge chunk of the yardage and most of the scores going to Pitts.
"Me and Kyle, it's just, it's like a gel," Pitts said. "We just work a lot together, and I feel like it shows."
It showed up on social media, with "K2K" trending after Pitts caught his final touchdown over two defenders. It was probably his most impressive reception of the day since he had a cornerback pulling on him as the ball neared and a safety ripping at it as he came down in the back of the end zone. It also showed the chemistry and confidence Trask has in his go-to guy.
"We're just trying to go one step at a time, and just keep building, going brick-by-brick, and taking our games to the next level," Trask said. "Our connection just continues to improve, and that's huge for us in moving the ball."
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Updated September 28, 2020