The wait is finally over. UT coach Tim Beckman said before yesterday's practice that quarterbacks Aaron Opelt and Austin Dantin have been cleared to play for Saturday's game against Miami. He also said Opelt and Dantin are both “95 percent” recovered from their shoulder and ankle injuries, respectively.
Dantin worked with the offensive starters Tuesday with Opelt still waiting to be given the OK to play, and then yesterday, Opelt resumed his duties with the first-team offense. During the portion of practice I was allowed to watch, Opelt looked pretty much back to normal. Granted the team was doing its pre-practice walk-through of a handful of plays, but it was nice to see Opelt actually throwing a football again and putting a little zip on it at times. Opelt had thrown previously, but not in front of the media, and yesterday was the first day he was back in his usual spot prepping for Saturday's game with the starters.
Opelt hasn't played since going down in the second quarter against Western Michigan on Oct. 10, and it's clearly been wearing on him to be kept out for so long. On Monday, Opelt was optimistic he would play this week, and he appears to have made good on his word.
As has been stated many times, the Rockets need Opelt back behind center to have any hope of reaching their remaining goals of finishing the year with a winning record and getting to a bowl game.