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Pitt's Graham running well in practice

| Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, 9:36 p.m.
Pitt running back Ray Graham said his surgically repaired right knee felt better after he absorbed a hit to it during practice on Monday, Aug. 20, 2012.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt running back Ray Graham said his surgically repaired right knee felt better after he absorbed a hit to it during practice on Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

• No one is ready to declare Pitt running back Ray Graham all the way back from his knee injury, but he ran well in practice Tuesday and participated in 11-on-11 drills for the first time. “They threw me out there today,” Graham said. “I thought we got some good work.” Graham is sharing first-team snaps with sophomore Isaac Bennett, and he showed good burst in non-contact drills, caught a screen pass and ran most plays into the end zone. Running back coach Desmond Robinson liked what he saw from Graham, but he will defer a final evaluation until later in camp. “It's still early,” Robinson said. “I don't want to say too much too soon.” Coach Paul Chryst appeared to like what he saw from Graham, but he was reluctant to get too excited. “He made a nice half-speed cut,” he said. Of Graham's effort, he said: “It is gaining confidence in what you can do and knowing what you can do. If we can just keep moving forward, that will be good.”

• Coaches are handling the competition for playing time at safety equitably by allowing the pairings of Andrew Taglianetti-Ray Vinopal and Jarred Holley-Jason Hendricks to alternate days with the first team. On Tuesday, Holley and Hendricks took their turn, but Taglianetti said coaches will settle on one set after the first few days of practice in pads. “Competition breeds success,” he said.

• The team will wear pads for the first time Friday.

• Redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Tom Ricketts missed practice and had his right arm in a sling after his shoulder was wrapped in ice Monday.

— Jerry DiPaola

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