Pitt notebook: RB Bennett's injury lingers
After 11 days, the most significant development at Pitt training camp is the continued absence of running back Isaac Bennett, who missed his sixth day with a knee injury.
While Bennett, expected to be the Panthers' featured back, wears a large leg brace, freshman running backs James Conner and Rachid Ibrahim and sophomore Malcolm Crockett are getting most of the work.
During the team's first scrimmage Friday, Conner (6-2, 230) had runs of 24 and 34 yards and Ibrahim (6-1, 185) had an impressive 51-yard gain that included a nifty spin move.
Meanwhile, Bennett stood throughout the scrimmage, something he does every day. Friday, he took it upon himself to drop to the ground and do pushups. While wide receiver Devin Street sat out with what appeared to be a minor injury, freshman Tyler Boyd had two diving receptions in the end zone (one was ruled out of bounds).
Junior tight end Manasseh Garner, a big target at 6-2, 230, also had several catches
Quarterback Tom Savage missed more than half of the scrimmage to give his arm a rest. “Precautionary,” he said.
Quarterbacks threw five touchdown passes, two each by Chad Voytik and Trey Anderson, who hit freshman Zach Challingsworth in stride for a 60-yard score.
Chryst said the team came out “fairly healthy.” Doctors checked cornerback Trenton Coles for an undisclosed injury, which turned out to be minor. As a result, he arrived too late to practice.
Thomas still a backup
Linebacker Todd Thomas worked as a backup outside linebacker on his third day since returning from self-imposed exile. He will be allowed to wear full pads for the first time Saturday when the team practices at Heinz Field.
“He is getting his chances. He is getting back into it,” Chryst said. “He's glad to be here.”
Thomas, wearing only shoulder pads, had a 2-yard tackle for loss on Ibrahim.
“Todd is going to make his plays,” senior linebacker Shane Gordon said. “He is going to make them count.”
Pitt sent out a mass email at 7 a.m. Friday, advertising the sale of 4,000 single-game tickets for the Florida State game Sept. 2.
“Within the first hour, we had 100 sales,” Pitt director of marketing Justin Acierno said.
Acierno said Pitt has sold nearly 90 percent of its season tickets, including the entire lower and club levels of Heinz Field.
Single-game tickets for the remainder of the season will go on sale Sept. 3.