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After father voices frustration over playing time, Michael Pittman Jr. makes first start for USC

By in Press Enterprise on October 29, 2017

By Joey Kaufman

TEMPE, Ariz. — Some frustration had mounted.

In a series of tweets last Monday, the father of USC receiver Michael Pittman Jr. expressed frustration with his son’s limited playing time through the first eight games of this season.

Michael Pittman Sr. wrote in one tweet that he had “lost all my patience with the staff and their handling of my son” and added he was “beyond disappointed.”

USC’s coaches met with Pittman Jr. on the same day.

“I’ve had a few setbacks,” the sophomore told reporters after a practice on Tuesday, “but it’s all about being patient and staying positive and looking toward the future.”

Pittman Jr. saw his chance in the ninth game, when No. 21 USC was at Arizona State on Saturday night. With senior receiver Steven Mitchell limited because of a shoulder injury, he made his first career start and had a quick impact, hauling in a pass on the Trojans’ opening drive.

After quarterback Sam Darnold was sacked on first down, he turned to Pittman Jr. for an 8-yard completion on second down.

Pittman Jr., a 6-foot-4 target, had been expected to compete for a starting spot this offseason. He was among five receivers USC had signed as part of its 2016 recruiting class, a blue-chip prospect from Oaks Christian, and was the only one of them to not redshirt immediately. But during training camp in August of this year, he suffered a high ankle sprain and missed the first three games of this season.

It was an injury he said he reaggravated as he attempted to return to the field. Pittman Jr. made his season debut in the Trojans’ road opener at Cal. In his first five games, he caught three passes for 41 yards.

His father, Pittman Sr., was an NFL running back for 11 seasons.

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