Just in case you weren't aware, quarterback Chandler Harnish hasn't played since his knee injury towards the end of the Toledo. DeMarcus Grady certainly has picked up his slack, proving his worth both on the ground and exponentially through the air. But then again Miami, Akron & EMU aren't top-25 teams and we are very fond of running the ball down opponents throats.
Chandler's been practicing since Sunday, so is able to play in the game today.
Here's what Kill had to say after the Tuesday practice:
"I’ve got a lot of time to decide. I’ve got two days yet," Kill said after Tuesday’s practice. "We’re going to do a little bit more than we usually do today, which we did last week. I’ll do what’s in the best interest for Chandler Harnish and our football team, but more so the best interest of Chandler. If he is not ready to play, in my opinion, he will not play. If he’s ready to play, we’ll play him."
"The way we do things, what we do, your quarterback better be 100 percent because if he’s 70 or 80, he’s only going to be able to play in certain situations," Kill said. "We’ll be careful. If we were going [Tuesday], [Harnish] would have the opportunity to play if coach Kill and [trainer] Kammy [Powell] clear him to play."
"When he can stay in the training room for 4-5 hours and get everything done," Kill said, "he can come out here and he’s in pretty good shape... [Powell] is a tremendous trainer because there aren’t very many trainers that are rehab specialists plus being a trainer. And then you throw [Eric] Klein in there with what he does with them. He’s pretty amazing."
Tracking his progression even further, here's what his status was like after Sunday's practice:
"He took I don’t know many exact plays but we basically inserted him in and were careful with his reps because I didn’t want the knee to swell up a bunch," Kill said.
Kill did say that Harnish told him his knee felt good Monday morning and that Harnish did not look rusty at Sunday’s practice.
"There are a lot of things that can happen between now and Thursday night that could change my mind," Kill said. "As a head coach you’ve always got the right to do that I guess. It’s a wait-and-see situation. I’m not going to play anybody that’s coming off a knee, something of that type of injury, it’s not like coming off a broken finger or the flu or something like that. It’s a different deal.
"I’m going to have to feel real comfortable for me to just put him right back out there."
Harnish does not have to wear a brace while moving around.
"With his situation, not having a ligament tear, it’s more of a meniscus situation, not having a ligament tear he doesn’t have to wear a brace," Kill said.
DeMarcus Grady will start today. We may or may not see Harnish play in the game.
I liken this situation a little bit to what Cincinnati's Brian Kelly is doing with Tony Pike. He said that Pike was expected to play this weekend, but is going to focus on him starting against Illinois.
The focus is on starting Harnish against the Ohio Bobcats, but it would be nice to get him some reps against Ball State. Ohio already has 7 wins whereas the Cards only have 1...over Eastern Michigan. You can see why it is important to be ready for Athens in a week.
PS - If Harnish miraculously comes back and is perfectly healthy in the next game or so, then trainer Kammy Powell needs a raise. Kill can't do a press conference without mentioning her name.