As Penn prepares to kick off a new football season, running back Kris Ryan has a problem with a new leg. Last season, Ryan sprained his right ankle at Harvard and carried only twice in the season finale against Cornell. Now, it's Ryan's left leg that is causing problems for the junior. Ryan has been sitting out of preseason practices with a high ankle sprain that has him in a cast. Penn coach Al Bagnoli described Ryan as "doubtful" for next Saturday's season opener at Lehigh. "We'll have to see about Lafayette [in two weeks]," Bagnoli said. Penn's greatest concern is that Ryan is at 100 percent for the Ivy League opener against Dartmouth on September 30. "The best way to rehab it is to try to take the weight off it and stabilize it," Bagnoli said. "When they take the cast off, they'll make an assessment. Hopefully he'll be given the green light to practice." While Penn's backups, senior Mike Verille and sophomore Todd Okolovitch, are not first team All-Ivy performers like Ryan, they do provide the Quakers with some flexibility until he returns. Verille rushed for 191 yards on 46 carries last season as he split time with Matt Thomas backing up Ryan, who led the Ivy League with 1,216 yards on the ground. "Verille and Okolovitch are the two guys," Bagnoli said. "They've had good camps, both looked good [in a scrimmage] against Millersville, and they'll give us quality play until Kris gets back." While the prospect of Ryan possibly sitting out the season's first two games is a bleak one, things could be much, much worse for the Quakers. "We're fortunate," Bagnoli said. "On a high ankle sprain, it could go a lot worse. You read about those in the NFL taking forever to heal. We're very fortunate that it was only a grade one [sprain]." Another bulletin out of Red and Blue camp that should initially raise the hair on fans' necks is that starting quarterback Gavin Hoffman sat out of practice on Monday and Tuesday. There is no great cause for alarm over Hoffman's situation, though. The junior quarterback had a tired arm, which is easily explained by seven consecutive days of two-a-day practices with Hoffman flinging the pigskin at his receivers nonstop until he finally had to sit down. "It's fairly common," Bagnoli said. "[Yesterday] was the first day in nine days that we haven't been [going twice per day]. That puts a strain -- a lot of kids have tired arms, tired legs, tired everything." Hoffman's stint on the sideline gave the backup quarterbacks -- Mike Mitchell and Tom DiMenna -- added opportunities in practice on Monday and Tuesday. "Mike was given quality time with the first unit and actually had two days that he and Tom quarterbacked the entire practices, which was very helpful for those two," Bagnoli said. Hoffman returned for yesterday's morning practice, Penn's only session of the day, with "some zing back," according to Bagnoli. Penn got some zing back as a team with the scrimmage at Millersville. On a hot day, the Quakers got to go at it with a team wearing someone else's jersey for the first time all year. "We needed to play somebody else," Bagnoli said. "We were tired of hitting each other." Millersville "won" the scrimmage, which did not last a full 60 minutes, 15-14. Penn's first unit also only played for the first half of the scrimmage. "It was fairly sloppy," Bagnoli said. "The field was a mess on that hot day. We did things right, but enough things wrong to keep the kids receptive." Most importantly, there were no more injuries for the Red and Blue in the scrimmageComments powered by Disqus
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