Posted: 6:00 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013
Training camp has rolled on and so far, we haven't seen any major injury announcements. However, the more running back Isaac Bennett sits out, the greater the level of concern.
Pitt's season is no longer off a great distance into the future. With the opener against Florida State in only two weeks, it's just around the corner. And while it's still early, it's fair to start wondering about expected starting running back, Isaac Bennett. According to the PG's Sam Werner, Bennett has a right leg injury and has been wearing a brace in practice.
We first mentioned Bennett sitting out back on August 9th in our Day 4 camp writeup. He actually participated earlier in practice on that day, but didn't play in the red zone offense drills after being a bit banged up earlier. Camp continued and I noted that Bennett was still out as of Thursday. That held true in Friday's scrimmage, too, as Bennett again sat out. Altogether, the running back has been out for about a week and half of practices. The Trib's Jerry DiPaola notes that he's standing for the entire practices, but that's of little consolation, obviously
It goes without saying that Pitt will be in some trouble without him. Despite the impressive play by James Conner, who could be the frontrunner to win the backup job, the real issue with a Bennett loss would be depth. After the graduation of Ray Graham and the transfer of Rushel Shell, Pitt was already thin there. Taking away Bennett for any period of time just creates even bigger roles for guys like Malcolm Crockett, Rachid Ibrahim, and Desmond Brown.
Further, even if Bennett is ready for the regular season, the missed practice time surely doesn't help. Bennett is heading into his first season as the starter and he needs as many reps as he can get. Not only is he taking on an increased workload, but he's also working with a new quarterback and rhythm is accepting handoffs, etc. is vital.
Hopefully some progress towards getting him back on the field can be made this week.