Don't blame Brady Hoke if he wants to handle the Jake Ryan situation with kid gloves. Don't blame the linebacker if he has any hesitation about returning less than seven months after suffering a catastrophic knee injury.
It could be worse. Leading up to Saturday's game at Penn State, Hoke could be dealing with a Jadeveon Clowney-like situation.
Clowney's hit on Michigan tailback Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl may have been the worst thing to happen to the Gamecocks. Clowney has likely overshadowed his own team; his 11th-hour decision not to play against Kentucky because of a rib injury continued speculation that the defensive end is preserving his stock for when he turns pro. It forced a frustrated Steve Spurrier to give a statement saying, essentially, that he and his staff handled the situation "poorly."
Hoke had his own opinion about the situation. He alluded to it in discussing the possibility of Ryan's return.
Would Ryan make his own decision as to whether he's ready to play?
"Clowney did," a reporter offered.
"I'm not even going there," Hoke said as he walked away.
Sometimes, it's better just to walk away, as opposed to getting hit face-first.