Almost. Made. It.
One of the difficult things about training camp is getting through it without getting too banged up. Pitt players have suffered some minor injuries in camp, but got hit with a significant one when it was announced that backup running back Rachid Ibrahim suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.
The injury came in Monday's practice and comes just as Pitt is wrapping up camp, making it all the more frustrating. According to head coach Pat Narduzzi, it also came in a non-contact situation.
The great news is that Pitt has enough depth at running back get through Ibrahim's injury. Starter and All-American candidate James Conner is going to eat up a lot of carries right off the top. Sophomore Chris James, his primary backup, should see an increased role. Beyond that pair, the Panthers have true freshman Darrin Hall, who the staff has already said will play, and redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison.
The move leaves Pitt a little shorter on depth, but there's enough talent there that the team can even adequately get through some additional short-term injuries. Things could get interesting with another long-term injury, but as we stand right now, there's plenty of capable backs.
Narduzzi made a good point when discussing the injury in saying that it hurts to lose his experience. Pitt is very young at running back beyond Conner, so there's certainly value in that. But assuming Conner can stay healthy, the other backs shouldn't need to take on too big of a role and in the cases of Ollison and Hall, be brought along slowly.
Ibrahim's loss also ensures that Pitt should have him for two more years after this. With he, James, Hall, and Ollison, the stable of running backs projects very deep for two more seasons after this one.