Pitt tailback Ray Graham takes some big strides forward
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What a difference a day -- and some confidence -- makes.
Pitt star tailback Ray Graham is recovering from ACL surgery but today looked a lot like the old Graham as he ran the ball during the Panthers' practice.
Graham, who participated in every drill today including the team periods, had one play where he planted his foot, made a cut and ran into the open field. As he turned around, he had a huge smile on his face, as if to say "I'm back."
It was a big step forward from the way he played Monday as he didn't participate in team drills and was a bit hesitant to make cuts and change direction.
That should be welcome news for Pitt fans as, when healthy, Graham is one of the best running backs in the country, and obviously a very important piece of the Panthers' offensive puzzle.
After practice, Graham was all smiles and said that he felt a lot better than he did Monday and said he will continue to get stronger and more confident each day.
"I played with more confidence today, I went out there and just didn't think about things," Graham said. "The more I stretched, the better I felt and I just went out and played. The first day was a test day, just trying to see how I feel and I feel as though I am progressing as the days go on. And hopefully day three will be even better than day two. I just need to get better.
"I definitely felt a lot better, my knee is going to be sore after practice anyway. But when I made that move, I cut on my leg, it felt good. And I got tripped up earlier and I fell on it but it didn't hurt at all.
"So this is a confidence thing, it is a mental thing and like I said every time, the more I don't think about it and just do it, the better I will feel."
Pitt coach Paul Chryst was happy to see Graham's progress in just one day but was a little more reserved in his assessment of the way he moved on the field.
"I think it is about gaining confidence in what you can do and knowing what you can do so if [Graham] can just keep moving forward, it will be very good," Chryst said of the marked improvement in Graham from Monday to today. "It was better and yeah, he made a nice half-speed cut."
Chryst then laughed but Graham was the one who had the most to smile about even though it was only one day and he knows he still has a long way to go.
First Published August 7, 2012 7:19 pm