Graham says he plans to play team's opener
NEWPORT, R.I. — 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.”
Graham hurt his knee Oct. 26 against Connecticut when he was second in the nation in rushing with an average of 134.1 yards. He is aware that most ACL tears take at least a year to properly heal, but he is determined to beat the odds.
“Everybody says it's a year, but it's a mind thing,” he said.
Graham said he hurt the knee when he planted his foot — something he said he has done “1,000 times” — and the turf at Heinz Field didn't support him.
“A lot of teams play on that field, and they beat that field up pretty bad,” he said. “But I am not going to give that as an excuse. (The knee) snapped when I planted. I misjudged my steps.”
Coach Paul Chryst said he anticipates Graham will be able to practice next week, but he won't rush him back to the lineup.
“I'd much rather err on playing him a day later in some drills than a day too soon,” he said.
“He has been able to go back-to-back workouts, but I don't know back-to-back practices. What will that be like compared to the workouts?”He said he will treat others returning from knee injuries, including guard Chris Jacobson and linebacker Todd Thomas, the same way.
“Let's also make sure we have them for the long haul,” Chryst said.
Meanwhile, young running backs Isaac Bennett and Rushel Shell may get significant work with the first team.
Some gaps in roster
Chryst said there have been recruiting gaps in the roster caused by repeated coaching changes, but he and his players don't dwell on the six-coaches-in-two-years scenario.
“All that stuff is real, and it's a side note,” said Chryst, who had three coaches at Wisconsin.
“But let's go. I think you have to acknowledge what happened with them all, and you have to just move forward.”
Penn State possibility
Chryst did not rule out accepting transfers from Penn State. But he also isn't publicly embracing them.
“We need to be aware of it,” he said. “I think it's unfortunate.
“If it absolutely is the right fit for a guy, then I think (Pitt) would entertain that. But we didn't want to do anything quickly.”
The only Penn State player linked to Pitt has been backup outside linebacker Mike Hull of Canon-McMillan.
Pitt No. 5
Pitt was picked to finish fifth in the Big East preseason media poll. The poll lists Louisville as the favorite, followed by South Florida, Rutgers and Cincinnati. Louisville received 24 of the 28 first-place. USF got the remainder.
“We don't pay too much attention to the polls,” senior safety Jarred Holley said.
Chryst said senior special teams ace Marco Pecora of Johnstown recently suffered an “upper body injury” that may prevent him from practicing next week. ... Paul Alexander of Root Sports and KDKA-FM will replace Jon Burton as sideline reporter at Pitt games.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt’s Dixon searching for answers in Maui
- Senior running back Bennett quietly filled role during Pitt career
- No. 15 San Diego State hammers Pitt, 74-57
- Pitt prepares for speedy Miami with bowl eligibility on the line
- Pitt football notebook: Athletic department seeking fans’ input
- Pitt center Randall rebounds from injury
- Pitt guard Jones takes away positives after loss to Hawaii
- Pitt football notebook: Panthers’ depth at RB, offensive line shows against Syracuse
- On senior day, Pitt not giving up the fight
- Pitt eager to grapple with long-standing rival Penn State on wrestling mat
- Pitt secondary coach Douglas makes needed adjustments