Will running back Ray Graham play against Youngstown State on Saturday? (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
This week, ESPN's Brett McMurphy commented about Ray Graham being likely to miss the Panthers' season opener against Youngstown State. On Monday, Graham himself also commented on the situation, so here it is straight from the horse's mouth.
Graham had this to say about his status for the opener next week:
"I missed too many games (last year), but as far as being smart and knowing what is best for my leg, instead of going out there and being selfish about it, at the end of the day, I don’t think it would be a disappointment."
That sounds pretty doubtful, but today, Graham played in a live practice and things are looking up.
After practice on Thursday, he said:
"It's looking good; it's looking good," Graham said when asked about the outlook for an appearance on Sept. 1. "We have a week and some change before the game, and it's feeling good. I'm taking it one day at a time, and as the days go on, I'm feeling that much better and confident. So when September hits, we're going to take it and see from there."
That's no guarantee he'll play, of course. But the fact that he's actually in live practices means he could at least see some time in the game against Youngstown State. And even if it's not much, I've always said if he can get at least a little bit of playing time in the opener, he'd at least have a game under his belt heading into the big one against Cincinnati.
The flip side is that with only five days between the first two games, Pitt could also be better served by giving him more time to rest. It's really a tough call.
Head coach Paul Chryst may have an idea of which way he's leaning, but this could be a situation where he doesn't reveal it until late next week to keep Youngstown State guessing. Yeah, I know - those types of things usually don't matter unless a team has to prepare for players with two very different styles of play. But we all know how this game works.