Another day of practice came and went today for the Panthers at the South Side complex. Surprisingly, it felt much more like a cool fall gameday than a hot August practice. I'm sure the players were not complaining too much though. A few different news items blew up my Twitter feed today, so let's start with them.
First things first, Paul Chryst named Tom Savage as the starter for the Labor Day bout with Florida State. This really shouldn't come as a surprise to many, he's been penciled in as the starter by everyone as far as I can tell. Here is some of what Chryst had to say on the matter:
Also today we’ve told the players that Tom [Savage] is going to be our starting quarterback. We like what he has done to this point. It’s a reflection of where Tom is at. We still think that Chad [Voytik] has made really good progress, but we feel really good and confident with Tom.”
Nothing earth shattering there. Now, onto the other big story of the day. Todd Thomas is back, no really, he's actually back this time. Chryst did not elaborate much on this:
"You guys may have noticed that Todd Thomas was back today. I was able to talk to Todd every day and had continued discussions with him. He’s back on the team, and that’s all I’m going to talk about that."
Well that's not neat. Sam Werner of the Post-Gazette notes in his practice recap that Thomas missed seven practices total. Werner also points out that, per NCAA regulations, Thomas will be limited during practice at first till he goes through an acclimation period that his teammates went through last week. It sounds more and more like Thomas made a rash decision and immediately regretted it. Nothing too surprising there, it definitely appeared that way from the outside looking in.
Other notables news: Isaac Bennett did not practice today, sporting a large brace on his knee. Obviously this has the potential to have a huge impact on this team depending on how serious the injury is. Chryst spoke around the injury, only committing to "likely not tomorrow" for a return. Freshman James Conner again saw a bulk of the carries with the first team. It is looking more and more like he will open up the season as the number two back behind Bennett, provided Bennett is physically ready to play given this knee problem.
Ejuan Price appears to be emerging as a strong candidate at defensive end, getting reps with the first team defense. Whether or not he can overtake the starting job remains to be seen, however his chances of seeing the field more are definitely improving.
Tomorrow's schedule has two practices so stay tuned for more updates.