I'm still very unsure about all of this.
University of Louisville receiver Trent Guy practiced yesterday for the first time since being shot in the back last month, and coach Steve Kragthorpe isn't ruling out his return for the season opener.
Guy, who is 5 feet 9 and weighs 165 pounds, practiced in shoulder pads and shorts. He did not participate in contact drills.
"He's made a lot of progress," Kragthorpe said. "Certainly there's a lot of progress left to make because he really hasn't done much full speed obviously in the last six weeks."
You're right, he has made a lot of progress...in recovering from being shot in the back. Yesterday was the first time he'd done anything full speed in six weeks, and therefore his football progress is less than 24 hours removed from its foundation.
Kragthorpe was asked whether Guy would be available to play against the University of Kentucky on Aug. 31.
"Time will tell," the coach said. "We're just going to determine it based on how he feels after the week of preparation, and we'll see how he does in warmups. It will literally be a game-time decision."
OK, well this makes me feel a lot better. I completely agree that taking things slow and not jeopardizing the prolonged health of an important player at a thin position is the right way to approach this.
For a second there I thought you were going to say you're leaving the decision up to Trent.
"Ultimately it's going to be Trent's decision."
So when you said "we're" before, you meant "Trent." You can see how that might have flown over my head.
The problem here is that if Trent had just lost both of his arms in a wood chipper and you gave him the option of playing in the UK game, he'd be out there giving an on call to the sideline official with his feet on Aug. 31. You can't leave decisions like this up to guys who are as competitive as Guy is, because invariably they're going to choose an option that benefits neither themselves nor their team.
Fans, and occasionally coaches, have a tendency to embellish the abilities of injured players, especially when they man positions where the squad is particularly thin. Trent Guy is a fine player, but he is by no means an individual who can single-handedly sway the outcome of this game. He can, however, be a huge asset to this offense in conference play, if he's at full strength.
If Guy makes some sort of superhuman progress over the next nine days, then fine, let him get out there and see if he can make some plays to help pull out an enormous win. But if there's any doubt whatsoever that he might be doing himself a disservice by returning too quickly, keep him out of the Kentucky game, let him get a few reps against Tennessee Tech if he's ready, use the bye week as another evaluation period, and then hopefully have him at full strength for a big game against Kansas State.