Tony Hunt Ready to Roll

Tony Hunt is not very big on small talk. He's not very big on big talk, either. Come to think of it, Penn State's veteran running back isn't very big on talking, period, and throughout his career has preferred to let his play on the field speak for itself.

But with 13 senior starters having moved on from the Nittany Lion outfit that went 11-1 and captured a Big Ten title last season — including offensive captain and team spokesman Michael RobinsonTony Hunt understands he'll be counted on to provide more leadership and serve as a face for the program in 2006.

Even if it means doing more talking.

“We lost a lot of seniors,” Hunt said. “I just think it's important with what they left us with that we keep building where they left off and just keep the winning going. We don't want it to just be a one-year thing where they worked hard to get that done.”

That effort begins Saturday, when PSU's first spring practice session takes place in the Penn State football complex. Hunt is one of three senior offensive starters returning from 2005, along with tackle Levi Brown and fullback BranDon Snow.

“We have a lot of younger guys that we're going to be looking for in the spring to really step up,” Hunt said. “I think we have an idea of who those guys will be. We're just waiting and we'll be going through the spring and see what happens.”

Hunt is anxious to see who emerges on the offensive line, where Brown is the only returning starter.

Gerald Cadogan, Rich Ohrnberger and A.Q. Shipley … are three of the main guys who are really good and really on the brink,” Hunt said.

After enjoying a breakout season in 2005, one where he rushed for 1,047 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per carry, Hunt was knocked out of State's triple-overtime win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl by a high right ankle sprain before logging a single carry.

He is good to go for spring practice, even though he did not do as much running this off-season as he has in the past to allow the ankle to fully heal. Hunt said he was “not sure” where he was from a speed perspective as he skipped running 40-yard dashes “because my ankle was bothering me.” Otherwise he seems to be in good shape, having checked in at 229 pounds (just one pound over his 2005 playing weight) last weekend.

I feel pretty comfortable there,” he said, adding that he does not expect the ankle to be an issue in the spring.

The Real McCoy

Without getting into specifics, Hunt said the stories circulating about Harrisburg, Pa., star running back LeSean McCoy getting into a scuffle with Penn State players during a fall official visit have been blown out of proportion.

“Of course, people get a hold of stuff and start making things up,” Hunt said. “He was a good kid. I was actually his host, so I think a lot of this stuff is made up. He actually liked it here a lot.”

McCoy, who missed most of his senior season at Bishop McDevitt High with an injury, has since enrolled at Milford Academy, a prep school in New York. He has made a verbal commitment to Miami.

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