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August 2, 2012

Ray Graham’s ACL Round-Up

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 8:36 am

A big theme for Big East Media Day was the status of Ray Graham’s ACL. There’s no specifics on it. Just that it is coming along and Graham plans to be ready.

Senior running back Ray Graham said he plans to play Sept. 1, when Pitt opens the season against Youngstown State, but he won’t push his recovery from a serious right knee injury beyond the limits of his body.

“You definitely ease your way into it,” he said. “I think I’m Superman, but at the end of the day, we aren’t really Superman.”

He and Coach Chryst are definitely planning on taking it cautiously in getting him ready. That means protecting him in training camp.

Graham says his knee feels good, but coach Paul Chryst prefers to be cautious with his star player and won’t rush him back too quickly. Graham will open camp with a non-contact jersey, and then the training staff will take it from there to see how he does.

“No matter how your workouts go in the summer, once you start doing the football over and over, we have to be smart and say let’s make sure he’s progressing and not taking steps back,” Chryst said. “I’d rather be a little bit cautious than speed it up out of the gates too fast.

“He has to get where he can trust himself first and build the pieces of contact. So I’d err on being much more cautious with him, until you know they know they’re not thinking about it and they can just go.”

Graham says he plans on wearing a knee brace initially just to be sure he has enough stability in his knee to be able to make his cuts without thinking about getting hurt again.

“I feel good, my confidence is there. At the end of the day it’s more of a mental thing,” Graham said. “I don’t want to be out there timid because I don’t want to get hurt again. I worked too hard for this. I put too much sacrifice and hard work to getting back to being healthy.”

And let’s be really honest. Graham has NFL RB potential. That’s his economic future. He’s already going to be downgraded by NFL front offices regardless of how well he comes back because of the ACL injury. Coming back slowly lessens the chance of any setbacks — and more red flags.

Chryst is playing this very smartly. Especially as the new new head coach. He’s putting the player’s safety (and future) ahead of any needs for the team. He also has a pretty good idea of what Graham can do, and aside from working off the rust and getting to playing condition, an experienced player like Ray Graham does not need training camp like others will.

The slow go with Graham in camp will also give Pitt a chance to see more from spring practice star, Isaac Bennett. And of course, heralded freshman Rushel Shell. An added plus. Especially since all plans likely include using them in the season. Letting them get a lot more reps with the first team will help. Not to mention it encourages Graham not to take it too slow in camp.

“It is definitely going to give me a little push,” Graham said of the presence of Bennett, Shell and others.

“It will let me know that [I have] to get things going. We have these two backs who are not slouches, who are coming in thinking they are going to play, and I want to play as well.”

Beyond the teammates and even Pitt fans who were encouraging Graham, there was also his half-brother Khaseem Greene. The Rutgers linebacker and all-Big East player had his own nasty ankle injury in the Pinstripe Bowl that kept him out of spring practices.

“I never did,” Graham said. “This was one of my first big injuries. The (Pitt) players kept me happy. They brought me up when I was down. I had no reason to be mad. The fans, they acknowledged me. They show big love. That’s a big blessing right there that you never forget about.”

A major help to him throughout the whole thing was the guidance of his brother, Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene. Greene sustained a leg injury in his team’s Pinstripe Bowl win over Iowa State. As if the two needed to be closer, they were both forced to miss spring drills due to injury, not to mention having to both play for new head coaches.

“That’s crazy, right?” Graham said, referring to both having new coaches. “Whatever Khaseem was doing, I was doing. Everything happens for a reason. This could be for the better. We just have to move of forward. You can’t look back. What happened in the past is in the past.”

Even the injuries bred competition. Aided in no small part by their uncle.

“I give a lot of credit to my uncle Hakeem. He’s always been our biggest critic — he’s always been an advocate,” Greene said “There’d be days where I’d be feeling lazy and I’d have two workouts by design over my break set up, and he’d send me a video of Ray doing something — squatting, whatever it may be. And he’s like ‘Ray is out here working, what are you doing?’ and vice versa. He’d send Ray a video of me doing a workout and say ‘Khas[eem] is out here working, what are you doing?”

So just like they always have, Greene and Graham pushed each other. While doing so, they hope to bear witness to each other’s success.

“At the end of the day, that’s my brother. I want to see him succeed just as much as he wants to see me succeed,” Greene said. “So like I said it’s been competitive between us all our lives, but it’s for the better. “

And here’s Graham “interviewing” Greene at Big East Media Day.





And anather one bites the dust anthony fera penn state kicker transfers to texas.
I think that is 10 lost if you count commits also

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.02.12 @ 10:28 am

do you think we could get some panther gear on that chick above?!

Comment by Pitt it IS 08.02.12 @ 10:49 am

I think that psu players can transfer until aug 27 (first games)to decide or maybe even beyond that. Should be a very interesting pre season camp.

Comment by Frank 08.02.12 @ 12:33 pm

That is true Frank but penn state has given them till aug 7 they said you are in or yoy are out we dont want any fence sitters they want to know bye aug 7

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.02.12 @ 2:27 pm

They want to know by August 7th? If I was a penn state player sitting on the fence and undecided on what to do, that kind of toothless deadline impossed by the powers to be at penn state would make my decision making process so easy, BYE!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.02.12 @ 3:01 pm

Any news on penn state LB Mike Hull who visted pitt last week end?

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.02.12 @ 4:06 pm

penn state lost one more OT ryan nowicki if you
count the commits that de commited the total is now 11 or 12 i am loseing count

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.02.12 @ 4:27 pm

frank, hull really enjoyed his visit and pitt has a great shot. one key factor for a decision time might be that psu’s semester ends on the 10th. he may want to finish out before leaving. maybe not but he enjoyed his visit

Comment by pk 08.03.12 @ 9:26 am

Even though the PSU semester ends on the 10th players can leave the team anytime they want. You’d think they will make their minds up before August 6th when the PSU training camp starts.

Paul Chryst didn’t sound like he was too excited to get any PSU players but he did say that if there was a ‘fit’ he’d take one. I assume that meant Hull.

We may see more PSU defection Sat and Sun right before camp.

I’ve a feeling he doesn’t come here though – just my gut saying that.

Comment by Reed 08.03.12 @ 10:17 am

I think I read on another thread that if a player participates in camp beginning on the 7th, then they can’t leave this season without a pennalty. They would have to wait until the end of the season, and then they could transfer with immediate eligibility to play for their new school. So who shows up for the start of PSU camp will say a lot about who is staying and who is going until after this season.

Comment by HbgFrank 08.03.12 @ 12:40 pm

HgbFrank – No, they can transfer up until the beginning of fall classes at the receiving school: (from the NCAA website = link to ncaa.org

They may even be able to transfer and play immediately for the receiving school during the season if they haven’t actually played in a game if I read this correctly.

Transfers

Football student-athletes who transfer will not have to sit out a year of competition. Any current football student-athletes who transfer to any NCAA school (all divisions) during the 2012-13 academic year will be immediately eligible, provided they are admitted through the normal process and are otherwise eligible.

Any current football student-athletes who begin preseason practice or enroll in classes at another school for the fall term of 2013 (begin preseason practice or enroll in classes at another institution) will be immediately eligible, provided they are admitted through the normal process and are otherwise eligible.

Penn State football student-athletes can decide to transfer from now until the 2013 season (before participating in preseason practice with Penn State) and play immediately at the new school.

Penn State will release any incoming student-athletes from the National Letter of Intent. Such individuals are not considered transfer student-athletes and can compete immediately at another school as long as they are otherwise eligible.

Student-athletes who transfer during the 2012 season and have not competed for Penn State during that season will be immediately eligible for competition upon transfer, provided they are admitted under the normal process and are otherwise eligible per NCAA regulations. Student-athletes who transfer during the 2012 season after having competed for Penn State will not be eligible for competition during the same season at the next institution.

Penn State will be responsible for notifying the NCAA regarding the status of all transfer student-athletes.

Comment by Reed 08.03.12 @ 1:00 pm

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