There hasn't been much offseason news for Pitt, but the Trib's Jerry DiPaola caught up with head coach Paul Chryst recently to get an update on some of the Panthers' injured players.
You might remember that Pitt had some key injuries during spring practices. Most notably, the running back stable was pretty light with Isaac Bennett and James Conner both missing a lot of time. Eventually, they were both ruled out for the remainder of the spring, and Pitt was forced into an odd position with Rachid Ibrahim as the only healthy running back.
Chryst, though, has some good news about their returns. The two backs, along with offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty, who has been fighting injuries for some time now, are all expected to be ready for training camp. Bennett, in particular, is progressing nicely:
"Isaac has been pretty good," Chryst said. "I think (head athletic trainer) Rob (Blanc) was getting nervous because he's ahead (of the rehabilitation schedule). You don't want a guy to do too much too soon."
Bennett, who rushed for 1,175 yards in his first three seasons, sprained his left shoulder during spring drills and had surgery in April.
"He shouldn't be (ready for the start of training camp), but I think he will be," Chryst said. "So that means don't do anything stupid with him. He shouldn't really be doing much in camp. We'll see."
The fact that all three should be ready is really good to hear. There's always the chance that players recovering suffer setbacks and it's good to see all three should be ready for the fall so that they can hopefully get as much work in with new quarterback Chad Voytik as possible.
Bennett might be getting a lessened work load and as the veteran in the backfield, that's fine. Just the fact that all three will be ready by camp hopefully means they'll be 100% for the start of the season. Looking ahead a bit, if Bennett does in fact take it easy, it should also give the coaches a good look at some of the incoming freshmen including Chris James and Qadree Ollison. Both had hopes of playing right away and if one (or even both) performs well enough in camp, that looks like it could be a possibility.
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