PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Freshman running back Rushel Shell watched from the sidelines as his team lost by a single point to Syracuse. He said after Tuesday’s practice on the South Side he won’t be just a spectator at Heinz Field Saturday, but he acknowledged the back spasms that kept him from a full week of practice led to his absence in the Carrier Dome last Friday.
“You can’t put someone in who didn’t get the preparation in at the beginning of the week,” Shell said. ”You’ve got to be there, you’ve got to practice. If you don’t practice, don’t expect to play.”
Shell said the back problems are a result of genetics and something he has dealt with since high school, but he expects to play this weekend against No. 18 Louisville.
“I rested a lot towards the end of the week, and now I am feeling like I am back to 100 percent,” Shell affirmed.
His back won’t be sore from carrying the team, especially with Ray Graham conquering his own health issues to lead Pitt’s running game for one more season, but Shell admits the experience of overcoming slow starts at Hopewell is helping him fight through present circumstances.
“There were times in high school we would start off by losing the first four games, and then have to win the rest of them to get to the playoffs,” Shell said. ”Now we probably have to win the rest of them to get to a bowl game. It’s never over till the last game, so we’ll keep working hard for our final goal, whatever it is.”
Speaking of Hopewell, Shell gave us some interesting–and, perhaps, unlikely–insight into his past training regimen, and told us whether or not he’s gotten the hang of pass protection at the collegiate level:
Kickoff between the Panthers (0-2, 2-3) and No. 18 Cardinals (0-0 5-0) is set for 11 A.M., with Panther Preview, featuring Gregg Giannotti, beginning at 8:00, on your flagship home for Pitt football, SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.