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August 17, 2012

Injury Issues

Filed under: Football,Injury,Practice — Chas @ 4:05 pm

Yes, Coach Paul Chryst is downplaying the injuries at this point in training camp. Probably with good reason. Most of them are bangs and bruises where it seems there is erring on the side of caution. There are only a handful of serious or concerning injuries or holding players out of practices.

Among the injured players are four potential starters on defense, including safety Jason Hendricks, linebackers Todd Thomas and Shane Gordon, and defensive tackle K.K. Mosley-Smith. Cornerback Lafayette Pitts had a death in his family and was excused from practice. He was replaced by Cullen Christian. Also out is wide receiver Mike Shanahan (hamstring) and backup safety Steve Williams, who had his left arm in a sling.

K.K. Smith and LaQuentin Smith returned yesterday, so there is that.

Hendricks was already coming back from a season ending injury. His struggles to stay healthy, though, could cost him his starting safety position. Pitt has the depth at the spot and at some point he falls too far behind in practice.

Todd Thomas is much more of a concern since he has the potential to be Pitt’s best linebacker this season. Definitely the most athletic. Shane Gordon has not played since the scrimmage when he got knocked out cold. Haven’t seen an actual listing of the injury, but I think it would be safe to say he’s out with a concussion or “concussion-like symptons.”

With Shanahan, the only concern is how long the hamstring injury lingers. The risk of re-occurrence, the severity, etc.

Ejuan Price seems to be slow coming back from his torn pectoral muscle from the spring. Not officially out of the practices, but by most accounts not a significant presence.

Kind of surprised at how fast he has tried to come back from that. Senior Marco Pecora just suffered his own pectoral muscle tear — which effectively ends his Pitt career — and his rehab is listed at 6-8 months. Pecora, though, will remain with the team and on the sidelines to help the coaches.

Ray Graham has been held out of a lot of practices. And when he has practiced, it has been with the limited contact jersey in place. Fine by most. In fact the speculation by the P-G and Trib beat writers seem to be competing for how many regular season games Coach Chryst should consider holding Graham out.

Werner: “There should be no need for Graham to play against Youngstown State, but then Pitt has Cincinnati the following Thursday, which could prove to be a very important Big East game. Obviously, they don’t want to rush Graham back for the opener if he isn’t ready, but then his first live action would be in a seemingly high-stakes game with no real ramp up to live action.”

DiPaola: “Actually, Chryst can end all the questions about Graham by shutting him down, not only for the rest of preseason camp, which ends next Thursday, but also for the first few games of the season. I can’t imagine a good reason to allow Graham, who still walks with a slight limp, to play Sept. 1 against Youngstown State or five days later at Cincinnati…”

Apparently Isaac Bennett and Malcolm Crockett have impressed the hell out of them in camp.

Rushel Shell is back to practice, he was out for a few because of some back issues. He’s admitted that the speed of college versus high school has caught him off-guard. I don’t see him redshirting, but carries could be tougher to come by than anyone realized. Not a bad thing for Pitt if there is even more depth at the running back spot.

One injury you haven’t mentioned could have a real impact throughout the season.

Trey Andersson apparently is again suffering from tendonitis in the wrist.

You might remember how in his first appearance or two a year ago he seemed to show a strong arm and threw the ball pretty accurately.

However, by Utah he was struggling and looked to have lost his ability to throw with any authority.

It was revealed later that he was suffering from tendonitis.

Anyone who has had tendonitis knows how painful it really is. And just because its in the wrist does not mean the pain is limited there. The whole arm can be affected due to the way the tendons run.

With only three eligible quarterbacks taking snaps right now, the prospect of two and a half or only two is pretty concerning.

Thinking more and more that Chryst is going to have to consider moving Gonnzalez or Jones over just in case.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.17.12 @ 4:41 pm

A while back I read some where that Pitt submitted a hardship waiver request to the NCAA to allow Savage to play. Chas, have you heard anything about this? I imagine it’s too late now…thanks

Comment by DJS 08.17.12 @ 5:10 pm


I think more than the NCAA is involved with Savage. I could be mistaken but I believe BIG EAST bylaws prohibit intra-conference transfers. Thus, Savage is paying his own way this year because it is against BE bylaws for pitt to even give him an athletic scholarship, much less play him.

Comment by TartanPanther 08.17.12 @ 5:53 pm

It is an NCAA issue… nothing in Big East bylaws.
He has an athletic ship for this year… otherwise I highly doubt he would be here.

Comment by Joe D 08.17.12 @ 5:58 pm

JD you are wrong he cant transfer or shold i say play for a big east team becuse he started out with a different big east school plus the hard ship bye NCAA was turned down so next year in the ACC.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.17.12 @ 6:09 pm

The big east has a 2 year transfer rule versus the NCAAs 1 year.

Comment by RayPgh 08.17.12 @ 6:22 pm

Frankcan is right. Savage can’t play for two reasons:
1. Transfer
2. transfer to a big east team

Big East does not allow players to transfer within the conference EVER. Since he began at Rutgers, he can’t play for Pitt in the BE even if he was at Arizona for a year. This was reported by numerous media outlets and on numerous message boards

Comment by Joe Bull 08.17.12 @ 6:25 pm

Here is Big East policy…
where does it state what you say…
I can’t find it…
A coach can prevent a player from going to a specific team, but that ship has sailed re. rutgers

link to

Comment by Joe D 08.17.12 @ 6:36 pm

Joe D,

Remember Darnell Dodson(basketball recruit). Once you enroll at a BE school and leave to go elsewhere, at no point can you then transfer back to a different BE school and be eligible to play.

Comment by Ryan 08.17.12 @ 6:54 pm

It takes at least one year to heal after an ACL reconstruction. Todd Thomas, if I remember correctly, had his ACL reconstructed at the end of the season, AFTER, Ray Graham. Accordingly, I would not expect much from him this year.

Comment by Gas 08.17.12 @ 6:57 pm

LB injuries are a real concern, since this unit doens’t have much experience playing together. I guess TT & SG did a little last year, but not much. What they need are a lot of reps together as a unit. That ain’t (emphasis) happening !

While it shouldn’t be a problem against YSU, it will be 5 days later (that’s right the UC game is on a Weeknite, short week) against the Bearcats.
They have an experienced, extremely mobile QB in
Munchie. And you can be sure they’re going to run alot of stuff to impact PITT’s weak link, the LB corps. I would imagine alot of passes to RB’s out of the backfield, screens, draws, and routes over the middle. Good think we went back to the 4-3, we’d have a lot more trouble trying to find 4 healthy LBs than 3.

Also with the 4-3, we could perhaps play a lot of Nickle packages and only play 2 LB’s, since we’re pretty deep at Safety and DB, but not so much at LB. Especially experience wise. So the Nickle Back would also have to be very good at run support if he’s replacing a LB. This could be a solution to our problems until Todd Thomas, Shane Gordon & Ejuan Price get healthy.

Don’t know who made the schedule and why on Earth are we playing a Conference game so early in the season. Somebody correct me, but I don’t EVER remember a BigEast conf. game being played on week 2 since say 2000. (sorry Pitt football from about 92-99 was a black hole and I try NOT to remember that period, other than PistolPete leading us over the Hoopies in 1997).

Speaking of PistolPete, here’s hoping that Sir Tino plays with the vigor, leadership and moxie that PistolPete played with his Sr. year.

Veritas et Virtus !

Comment by EMel 08.17.12 @ 7:09 pm

Time for Happy Hour !! And some bourbon, lol.

Have a good weekend fellow Panther brothers !
(we need to find some Pantherettes to start posting) surely some are interested in football, maybe some ex-cheerleaders. 🙂

Comment by EMel 08.17.12 @ 7:14 pm

JD the big east has a rule that you cant transfer from one big east team to another,
and some people were saying he was dumb for comeing to pitt becuse the big east would hold us till 2014.
but we will be in the ACC SO HE WILL PLAY NEXT YEAR.

I ask last year and said he spent a year in AZ so
he is not transfer from a big east school but they said it makes no difference he still played for a outher big east school.

reed can explain better then me but the rule is there dont know what line or page but both big east and NCAA said no play this year.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.17.12 @ 7:14 pm

pk if you are on reed has posted that 21 is all we have to give this year if every thing stays the same as it is now.
So we have 16 commits at this time and 2 transfers that we have to save 2 for that is a total of 18.
And if we save 2 for johnson and foster that only
leaves us one to give out right now or for later.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.17.12 @ 7:34 pm

Let us review. Shell was a four or five star recruit. Bennett a two I believe. Bennett was pretty damn good last year. Shell will not reach that level this year. Maybe all the self proclaimed recruiting experts don’t know jack.

Comment by notrocketscience 08.17.12 @ 7:59 pm

I provided the link to Big East… there is nothing there.
Of course Savage needs to sit out this year due to NCAA rules… but he is on athletic scholarship and counts toward the 85.

Bennett was a track star in HS… sub 11.0 in 100, Long Jump Champion for the state of OK.
he didn’t play until senior year because his HS, Booker T, is always loaded with D1 talent and he had to wait his turn. Recruiting evaluators will not give someone a high ranking unless they started as a sophmore or at least Junior.

As for Shell… and his comment regarding speed of the game.
Those who know me… know I’ve said, Wpial is slow, slow, slow.. guess your statement proved my point.
There are other things regarding Shell but I will stop there as I have been warned by Chas.

Comment by Joe D 08.17.12 @ 8:20 pm

JD savage is a walk on and wont count at this time
but we need to save one for him for next year.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.17.12 @ 8:29 pm

It takes more than stars. Just like it takes more than just intelligence is a guarantee of success in the real world. Without hard work and detrmination potential (stars) and itelligence will falter. It is also why a hard determined individual can accomplish so much more than a lazy but gifted person. When we see greatness its when high potential meets hard work. This is why I feel Pitt has been stuck in 7 to 9 win land for years. We can find potential and hard work / coaching but not since the early 80s have we had enough of both at the same time to be great. I believe (and I know Joe D will call me a dreamer) that 2 and 3 stars can win 7 to 9 games, but without enough 4 and 5 star I don’t feel win can win the ACC. This does not mean I don’t have faith in PC, and it is way way way to early to say he is a failure. Though we can not burry our heads as Pitt fans to 2 and 3 star recruits. Pitt ran Dave and Walt off for 7 to 9 win seasons. If PC is going to be here he needs high potential and hard work

Comment by Medium Panther 08.17.12 @ 8:33 pm

and even if you cant find it there is a rule that you cant transfer from one big east school to another. dont ask me were but it has been stated on heare very often. and the big ten has the same rule but they waved it for penn state players this year.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.17.12 @ 8:34 pm

JD you have made me work i dont like that.
i looked it up go to this headind what is a transfer.
it will say at the bottom of heading
these words
for example the big east does not allow any intra conference transfer in mens basketball or football
does that do it for you.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.17.12 @ 8:53 pm

EMel, speaking of the 1997 Classic Thriller Pitt victory over the Hoopies when Pete Gonzales converted multiple 4th and longs. Does anyone happen to have a tape or copy of that game? I would love to show my kids who are all budding Panther fans.

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 08.17.12 @ 8:58 pm

I’m not comfortable at all with the WR position right now. Street to me has never been a No.1 option — too inconsistent with routes, effort, etc. Saddler fit Graham’s offense better than Chryst’s in my opinion. I thought Shanahan would be the best of the bunch after his sophomore year, but he regressed last year and is hurt this year. And nobody else has much impact experience. (Maybe Jones but again, he seems more a Graham than Chryst guy).

Hopefully the TE spot (and running game) will be as effective as it has the potential to be and will allow the receivers to grow and blossom a bit. (And I haven’t even mentioned the guy who’s going to be throwing the ball to everyone…)

Really looking forward to the first week of games, though. Even the weather smells like football right now.

Comment by JW 08.17.12 @ 8:59 pm

Joe D. Savage is not under scholarship for 2013. He is a walk on and can only practice with the team this season due to the Big East transfer policies that Frank referenced above.

Comment by Reed 08.17.12 @ 9:01 pm

Big east record against ACC in bowl games is 16 – 17. I expect Pitt do hold their own next year.

Comment by DJS 08.17.12 @ 9:21 pm

Reed if we only have one more to give do you think it should be OL .
and is this same place anderson was haveing trouble with last year the same injury.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.17.12 @ 9:28 pm

REED just saw your post on outher site so is it up to 23 from 21. when i go thru the panther lair list it helps to know how many we have left to give.
when i am trying to work out who we might get or is it 24. is there a real total that is known if some one knows please post it thanks reed for trying.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.17.12 @ 10:02 pm

I’m confused about Savage. I found Savage listed on Arizona football page. Was Savage at AZ for a semester? It says he signed scholarship with the school in Feb 2011. Why would the Big East make him sit out?

link to

Comment by why me 08.17.12 @ 10:14 pm

I think that Savage can not play for any BE team, ever. The only reason he can play for Pitt next year is because we will be kicking BC and VT’s asses in the ACC! Ah trash sweet it is!

Comment by HbgFrank 08.17.12 @ 10:23 pm

2 reasons he played at a big east school so while we are in the big east he cant play for us
and he was on the az team so if you are you have to sit out a year when you transfer pratice or not
or something like that.
i think had he going to az and not going near the football field it might have been different you know just went to class and played x box.

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.17.12 @ 10:30 pm

The 1997 classic against the Hoopies. I wish I remembered that whole game. That tape exists in my head at least partially. Upon death, I beheath it to you…Hoopieland Panther.

Comment by TX Panther 08.17.12 @ 11:00 pm

Big east rules have nothing to do with Savage. He spent one year at Rutgers, then transferred to Arizona where he sat out last season, and was eligible to play this season. After the coaching change he decided to transfer to Pitt, and sit out yet another year (this season). He is a walkon this year and will be under scholarship next year.

Comment by Pitt102 08.17.12 @ 11:42 pm

the ’97 Classic was the best football game I have witnessed personally. The atmosphere in Morganhole was great. A back and fourth roller coaster game that has more emotional swings than I’ve ever seen.
I was in the endzone in a Pitt section next to fanatic WVa fans. There was a lot of sh** talk going back and fourth but by the end we were all exhausted from the game.

Comment by Jeff in CPa 08.17.12 @ 11:51 pm

Here is the link

link to

It’s on page 49 and is special note 4.

This explains the BE transfer policy within the conference.

Comment by Joe Bull 08.18.12 @ 6:34 am

And here is the ESPN story on Savage to Pitt

link to

And if these two posts don’t convince you guys, I don’t know what else to do

Just giving the facts

Comment by Joe Bull 08.18.12 @ 6:37 am

By the way, that took me 2 quick searches and less than 5 minutes to find. I love the internet! LOL

Comment by Joe Bull 08.18.12 @ 6:38 am

Emel, munchie played in a hanful of games and completed 43% of his passes….

Also, i told all of you that rushel shell would be at best the third string runningback, possibly fourth string behind crockett. You guys gave me endless crap so….

Frank, thats disappointing, however, i dont think chryst cares. It seems like hes still going hard after a bunch of recruits at every position. My guess is he gets well over 21 commits and drops some of them and some current guys

Comment by Pk 08.18.12 @ 8:24 am

@Joe Bull: Thanks for the effort and to make it even simpler for everyone:

 Student-athletes in the sports of men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football, are not permitted to
transfer (directly or indirectly) from one BIG EAST institution to another BIG EAST institution and
participate in any capacity in the sports of men’s basketball, women’s basketball or football. However,
these student-athletes may transfer (directly or indirectly) from one BIG EAST institution to another BIG
EAST institution and may participate in sports other than men’s basketball, women’s basketball or
football pursuant to the transfer parameters in the next clause. There are no exceptions or waivers to
this rule.

Comment by The Turk 08.18.12 @ 8:50 am

@ notrocketscience (and all others out there with highly polished crystal balls out & at the ready) It’s too bad that Rushel Shell has already been relegated to the scout team in your mind for this season. And I thought that he had so much potential too. But then he is from the WPIAL and everyone knows how slow those players are in western PA. I think it has something to do with the air quality in the region. Anyhow,,,,,

If Shell does not see significant playing time this season I will be extremely surprised. However, I am in agreement with you that he probably will not live up to the same freshman accomplishments attained by Sir Isaac Bennett during his coming out party in the second half of last season.

If Shell does eclipse Bennett’s numbers from last season, it might not be such a good thing anyhow because most likely that will mean the following has occurred. First, that Ray Graham has not come back from his injury 100%, or he just doesn’t have the mental attitude to play with reckless abandon as he has in the past. Or worst, he is hurt again this season, sincerely hope not.

Second, Sir Isaac gets himself injuried. Ouch! That would be really bad! Then, enter Shell, to begin his Bennett impersonation identical to how Isaac got his numbers going last season in the first place.

Now if Graham never tore that ligament, we wouldn’t even know of Bennett’s potential yet and all the talk would be around how legitimate Graham’s Heisman Trophy hopes are for this season.

So I guess what I’m saying is that the future is not ours to see, whatever will be , will be, (I could write a song about that).

What I do know is that Rushel Shell is the father of twin baby girls and if he does prove to be any good carrying the rock, and I think he kind of showed some potential in high school, that he will probably seriously consider turning pro ASAP if the NFL comes calling just to start making some money to support his family ASAP.

That is why I think that PC uses him this season, because after 3 season’s he will be eligible to enter the NFL draft. I can’t see the future like you can, but my guess will be that it will at least be a consideration for him come that time.

And that is why I contiue to buy Pitt football season tickets because I’m interested in seeing first hand, live, how that pans out. Let’s compare notes at season’s end to determine what has really transpired. As I always say, “that is why they play the games”.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.18.12 @ 8:54 am

Dr. Tom,
I highly doubt Shell will see the field this year as RB… either red-shirt or special teams… Not only is Bennett ahead of him… so is Crockett… he is even with Davis.
I’ve always said… It’s all about the speed baby.

Comment by Joe D 08.18.12 @ 9:57 am

Injuries are so important because we typically don’t have the proper depth at many positions (see OL), (see QB), (see RB), (see kicker), (see punter), (see Reed, Chaz). Ok, you get the point. I wouldn’t bring back Ray G. until 4-5 weeks into the season. That gives him more time to heal and if healthy, provides enough film on him for the next level. Let’s put the kid first and not the Team.

In my opinion, Shanahan would have made a much better TE, then WR. Too slow at the next level WR, but would be perfect as a TE. Cam Saddler is a Napoleon. Short in stature so he runs his trap and let’s his play do the talking. I agree he is awesome for the team and will be a great recruiter for Pitt when his playing days are finished. We need to build up our players and not rip them down.

Quick question, Is there a rift between Pitt and Chris Doleman? Pitt missed the boat if you ask me on making “public service announcements” congratulating those players on their induction into the hall of fame. The spots should be playing on local espn commercials. I don’t think that would be an NCAA infraction, but geezums, we should have billboards and commercial spots congratulating those guys so that every WPIAL High school player sees what can happen when you go to Pitt.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 08.18.12 @ 10:50 am

[…] the second scrimmage of training camp. As noted yesterday, plenty of minor injuries. That’s also the theme in both papers […]

Prediction… Shell will not be redshirted.

Reason #1… Doubtfull Graham will be 100 percent ready to go until mid-season at the earliest.

Reaseon #2… Pitt is going to run the ball… a lot.

Shell has looked a little shell-shocked realizing he’s no longer a man among boys.

The mistake was everyone projecting him to be the next Tony Dorsett.

Like I’ve said, if you want to compare him to someone it’s probably Maurice Clarett. Similar in height, weight and speed.

Clarett was basically a 4.6 to 4.7 guy which didn’t prove to be a problem until he tried to make it at the next level.

In my opinion, Shell will be effective in Chryst’s run-heavy offense once he learns to adapt his style of running.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.18.12 @ 12:19 pm

Shell will probably tandem with a speedy back…
NY Giants had a pair…
Thunder and Lightening
Thunder was Ron Dayne (Wisky 2000 grad)
Lightening was Tiki Barber

Comment by Joe D 08.18.12 @ 12:40 pm

Just my opinion. If Shell does not see the field this year it will in essence waste one year of his eligibility and when the rest of the world sees his development as time progresses then he becomes a real potential early draft pick. Smoke them if you got them.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.18.12 @ 6:06 pm

Hogans Heroes reference, nice!

Comment by Dan 08.18.12 @ 10:24 pm

PittofDreams you were correct in what was intimated to you as Austin Herink threw for 371-or 373 yards on 39 of 55 or 53 for two TDS (5, 67) in a 47-17 loss to defencing 6A champion Maryville at Aloca Stadium. The coach said the defeats was on him and they could not finish drives. CHS only had 16 yds rushing as opposed to 436 yds for the Rebels.

I have watched Maryville play and they are relentless in their ground attack while at the same time being opportunistic in respect to passing.

As for CHS will have to see them against a lesser opponent than Maryville to get a handle how good they can be this year. My landscaper’s son did kick a field goal and will give kudos to the dad…

Comment by Kenny 08.19.12 @ 2:20 pm

This ND blogger’s gotta get a life

link to

Comment by steve1 08.20.12 @ 9:27 pm

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