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August 27, 2013

Who Will Run the Ball

Filed under: Football,Injury — Chas @ 9:58 am

I honestly don’t know, and don’t think anyone will know until Pitt’s offense takes the field on Monday Night.

Here’s Coach Paul Chryst’s comments on Isaac Bennett.

“He did some stuff yesterday in practice. He obviously missed quite a bit of time, so it’s too early to tell if he’ll be ready. But he was able to go through some things yesterday. We’ll see how he comes back today.”

Now, James Conner.

“He practiced some yesterday, so we’ll see where he’s at during practice today.”

These are the closed practices, so what that means is unknown. They could have just stretched with the team and done light jogging on the side. Or they could have been in there doing contact drills.

The point is, he essentially said the same thing for both. And said the same nothing about both.

Obviously this is by design. Coach Chryst showed last year that he falls into the category of coaches that feels revealing injury status of players is disclosing key information to an opponent.

Bennett hurt his knee well over two weeks ago, and no one even knows the nature of the injury. Only that he was wearing a brace around it.

Conner hurt his shoulder during practice. He tweeted later that it was fine, but who really knows.

So what now?

After Bennett and Crockett, Pitt has redshirt sophomore Malcolm Crockett, freshman Rachid Ibrahim and redshirt senior Desmond Brown, a former walk-on who was awarded a scholarship this past spring.

Of that group, only Crockett has recorded a rushing attempt in a college game. Last season he carried the ball 12 times for 50 yards; seven of those carries came in Pitt’s win over Gardner-Webb, and the other five came in the Panthers’ loss to Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

Crockett’s biggest concern is that he has not shown to be sure-handed.

The problem, as I have repeated, is that we don’t actually know. Conner and even Bennett may be fine. It may be extra caution and a little gamesmanship. Or they could both be still too banged up, but Chryst isn’t going to say.

All that is left is speculation and worry at the running back.

Welcome to the Coach Chryst version of the ACC 2 day ahead injury report. “They did some stuff, they might do some more stuff later, or not, really don’t know for sure, they’re really just day to day, we’ll have to see come game time, BLAH, BLAH BLAH”.

Come game time we see Bennett and Conner both on the sidelines in street clothes and Desmond Brown is out there with the ones on our opening drive. I sure as Hell hope not, but we ain’t going to learn anything from hanging on every word from Chryst over the next week.

I’m actually more concerned if Chris Blewitt is back in practice going full steam ahead or not. We need him on kickoffs.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.27.13 @ 10:10 am

Got to think Connor is going to be ready.

Crazy how he holds up carrying the load all the way through his freshman camp… then gets hurt diving trying to make a tackle during the last scrimmage.

Regardless… get ready to see Tyler Boyd getting handed the ball at least a couple of times.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.27.13 @ 10:21 am

That’s what coaches do – ‘Les Miles is mum on RB Status’ is the ESPN headline…find out at game time is the norm.

Comment by markp 08.27.13 @ 10:53 am

Pittofdreams – even though it was reported that Conner was trying to tackle someone that is incorrect – he was carrying the ball down the left sidelines on a nice gain, was tackled, and landed on the point of his shoulder.

It happened right at my feet.

Comment by Reed 08.27.13 @ 11:14 am

At least we have a long week to heal. I’ll bet they both play. But what a story if Desmond Brown comes out and runs for 100.

Comment by gc 08.27.13 @ 11:26 am

But Reed, it’s a better story the other way. The “story” is the thing; reality smeeality…

Would love to see Des Brown have a nice game. Or Bennett. Or Conner. Or Crockett. (Or Savage)

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 08.27.13 @ 11:31 am

Coach Chryst said “you know” 27 times by the time he finished answering the first question of the presser.

Throw a couple of “ehs” in there and I would have thought he was a friggin’ hockey coach.

Nevertheless, GO PITT!

Comment by apostles03 08.27.13 @ 12:15 pm

Not surprising “aboot” Chryst’s verbal tics. After all, Wisconsin is basically Canada.

The improved OL is going to make a big impact. If the wholes are there, they can get someone to run through them.

Comment by Savage the Savage 08.27.13 @ 12:36 pm

my hope is that Conner is ready. Everyone outside of Pittsburgh knew about McCoy but it would be great if Conner was the next freshman after McCoy and more like Lewis who no one expected to star to provide Pitt with a running attack.
If this happened I think Savage Boyd and Street have the talent to the best passing attack at Pitt since you name it, marino dawkins and collins (wake me up)or maybe not.

Comment by pittisit 08.27.13 @ 1:04 pm

Tyler Boyd may be the second coming of the next Gordon “Too Much” Jones, with the combination of speed, hands and athleticism.

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 08.27.13 @ 1:22 pm

If you didn’t get to see Garner in the spring game, be prepared to be impressed. I was not impressed with him when he transferred – I think he had 2 catches while at Wisky. But I was wrong – after seeing him in the spring – he’s a player.

Go Pitt.

Comment by MajorMajors 08.27.13 @ 1:36 pm

Too much was pretty good.

But I’m all for Boyd being the 2nd coming of Larry Fitz or Antonio Bryant.

Both were the best receiver in college football in their respective years.

Gordon, not so much. Neither Dawkins or Jones had much a pro career after leaving Pitt. Marino didn’t have great WR’s, imo. John Brown might have been the best of the lot and he was a TE.

Comment by EMel 08.27.13 @ 2:35 pm

Rooster Jones – LMAO…what memories that brings back!

Comment by Pitt it IS 08.27.13 @ 3:27 pm

Chryst is as secretive about injury status as Eisenhower was about the location of the
d Day invasion. (That worked out alright didn’t it.) Seriously I think we may not know who will run the ball until the game is underway. HTP!

Comment by OPFIM 08.27.13 @ 10:22 pm

Johnny Majors found Hugh Green while watching films of Rooster Jones. He wondered who that guy was who was always in the opposing team’s backfield making plays. Hence the legend of HUGH Green.

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 08.28.13 @ 8:34 am

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