Four years later, on Sunday afternoon, Pagano could be bombarding T.J. Yates with blitzes again.
“He was in a pro-style offense there, so he was trained to do what he’s doing now. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s having the success that he’s having,” Pagano said Thursday. “Again, he’s surrounded with a ton of talent. They can run the football, which takes a ton of pressure off him. He’s always got backs and tight ends to check it down [to]. He’s doing a really good job.”
Though Pagano was in charge of the defense and Yates was a young signal-caller trying to make his mark at the college level, Pagano said he had a lot of interaction with Yates, now 24.
“He was just a young guy in a new system making his way, and watching him from afar after leaving after a year and watching his maturation process and seeing how far he’s come, he’s done really good for himself,” Pagano said. “I’m proud of the kid.”
Will that knowledge of what Yates was like in college help Pagano game-plan for him Sunday?
“Maybe understanding his strengths and weaknesses maybe a little more, but what we see on tape is what we’re going to get,” Pagano said, suggesting it won’t make much of a difference.