This week has been a little bit negative in The Cat Basket but all that negativity goes out the window when thinking about Shady and his bright future. From just three games he looks like the natural progression in the Pitt running back tradition. Everything that our team has been on offense the last two games has come through him. Last game he got his chance to show the national audience what all of us at The Cat Basket have known since we recruited him. Lee Corso at halftime said that Shady was "worth the price of admission alone". Therefore we would expect ol' number 25 to be the guy behind Conredge and big Kevan, NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND.
It appears that the coaching staff is going to stick with LaRod Stephens Howling as the starter, despite Shady dominating the last two games. I realize that Shady is still going to get well over 20 carries this week and that he will need to share the ball at times with Hot Rod. There is a very scary symbolism in this move if the early reports are true. Being the starter here probably means very little to Shady because he knows that all eyes are on him and his carries are going to be there. Who Shady not being the starter is going to effect is all those kids with name tags walking around the sidelines at Heinz Field?
When a star recruit is figuring out which school to commit to they invariably look at how other recruits of similar stature have been treated at that school. What message are we sending to the 5-star recruits of the world? No matter what you do if we have an established solid starter you can't beat him out. Most big time recruits you get in modern college football are only going to be in school for three years, playing time is crucial. At running back its fine but other positions need to be the starter to get their playing time in. I think Coach Wannstedt has done an amazing job recruiting with what he was left with.
I'm going to give you three people on the current squad that we have treated oddly. Nate Byham last year got little to no playing time but still had his redshirt blown, he was the top tight end in Pennsylvania out of high school. Dorin Dickerson got very little playing time last year and lost a redshirt, was the top wide receiver in PA but is now playing linebacker. Kevin Collier was a top 10 running back in the nation when we recruited him and he has got little to no chance in play and now he has lost this season to injury.
Star recruits need to be given a chance to prove what they can do during games. Experience is great but talent needs to rise to the top of the depth chart. I hope that behind the scenes we are keeping these guys happy.
Basically just start Shady for no reason other than every carry he misses early is wasted.