Still considering transferring, Shell given time away from Pitt team
Officially speaking, Rushel Shell remains a member of the Pitt football team while people inside and outside the program try to convince him not to transfer.
Coach Paul Chryst remains publicly sympathetic, excusing Shell from spring practice indefinitely and issuing a statement in which he vowed to be “sensitive and respectful” while calling for others to do the same for the sophomore tailback.
A university spokesman said Thursday that Shell hadn't requested transfer papers.
“As it is for all members of our team, my most important concern is his personal well-being,” Chryst said. “Rushel and his family have our full support. We are giving him time away from football to work through this situation, but he very much remains a part of our family on a daily basis.”
Later, he added: “All these guys, you want to do what's best for each individual, and you want to do what's best for your team, and you can do them both at the same time.”
Yet spring drills passed the halfway mark Thursday, and Chyrst has a more immediate concern: Finding a running game and the proper players to man it.
Which pulls junior Isaac Bennett and redshirt sophomore Malcolm Crockett out of the background.
They shared repetitions with the first team Thursday, although Bennett probably has the edge at the moment. They are trying to take advantage of the opportunity afforded them by Shell, who hasn't practiced since getting hurt midway through Friday's practice and contemplating a transfer to another school.
“A man goes down,” Crockett said, “the next person has to step up.”
Actually, they seemed to enjoy their time Thursday in the glare of the media spotlight, teasing each other over who's faster and more powerful. When Crockett said he was more athletic, Bennett was standing at his elbow.
“Watch his nose (grow),” Bennett said laughing and flashing his trademark smile. “Let him believe what he wants to believe. He's fast. Not faster than me.”
Chryst wasn't interested in discussing the differences in the two backs.
“They both run hard and they like the game,” he said.
Bennett, who at 5-foot-11, 205 pounds is listed as 1 inch taller and 5 pounds heavier than Crockett, came to Pitt in 2011 in former coach Todd Graham's only recruiting class. Half of that 22-man class is gone, but Bennett and Crockett stayed — though they were only bit players last year.
Bennett, who started two games as a freshman when Ray Graham and Zach Brown were injured, kept a positive outlook and strong focus last year even while he was moved to the third team.
Now with the Shell saga playing out in a seemingly endless stream in social and mainstream media, Bennett said he has no trouble ignoring it.
“It's not (difficult) at all,” he said. “Things happen, and you have to move on and stay focused on things that matter.”
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 offensive tackle Jones-Smith to miss season
- Pitt’s Boyd waives right to preliminary hearing
- Pitt lands 4-star receiver from Ohio
- Pitt star Conner befriends ailing Erie boy
- Pitt’s new athletic director Barnes looks to boost interest in teams
- Pitt’s Voytik to learn from the pros at Manning Passing Academy
- Narduzzi shares blame with Boyd