After Rushel Shell's untimely departure in the offseason, Isaac Bennett was expected to be the man. But with the surging James Conner playing well, Bennett has been reduced to more of a backup role - even as he continues to be listed as the starter on Pitt's weekly depth charts.
But a quick look at the last two games shows that Bennett's workload is getting smaller and smaller.
The junior is still getting playing time - just not as much of it. After Conner clearly outplayed Bennett in the New Mexico game, Bennett's playing time has shrunk. After getting 14 carries against New Mexico, Bennett got only 12 carries to Conner's 26 against Duke. His time shrunk even more last week when he received a paltry five carries against Virginia.
Bennett's big problem thus far is that he's not done much with the carries he's had lately. Pitt got more than twice the production out of Conner (6.7 yards per carry) than they did out of Bennett (3.2 yards per carry) against Duke. In addition, while Conner wasn't very good against Virginia (15 carries for 27 yards), Bennett was even worse (five carries for five yards). If Bennett wants more playing time, he's simply got to do more with the diminishing attempts he's getting.
Things could get even worse for him, though, if freshman Rachid Ibrahim works his way into the mix like he did against Virginia last week with four carries. Ibrahim provides a nice change of pace to Conner and with Bennett running a similar style as Conner, he could see his carries shrink even more of Ibrahim gets more playing time.
The season is still young, but so far, it's not looking all that promising for Bennett.