Up And Running

Royster and company looking to keep the Penn State ground game rolling when Oregon State comes calling this weekend.

Brent Carter deemed it a "three-headed monster" after last Saturday's 66-10 win over Coastal Carolina.

The monster is the three running backs that Penn State used — starter Evan Royster, Carter and Stephfon Green.

And for the time being, the Nittany Lions plan to use all three backs.

"It's the plan we have right now," Royster said earlier this week. "But I think we'll go into every week using all three of us."

"All three guys, they're explosive players," cornerback Lydell Sargaent added. "They have a pretty good system with those three guys."

The three running backs had big days against the Chanticleers, combining for 220 yards and five touchdowns on 27 carries.

But that was against a Football Championship Subdivision team. This weekend, Penn State faces a Pac-10 defense when Oregon State visits Beaver Stadium.

Royster said that the Beavers threw out all kinds of different defensive looks in their 36-28 loss at Stanford last Thursday.

He cited interior stunting, stuffing seven or eight men in the box and two strong run-support safeties in Al Afalava and Greg Laybourn as reasons why Oregon State should do well at stopping the run.

Still, Royster believes that he and the other two running backs will get the job done.

"With our offensive line and Dan [Lawlor] at fullback, I think we'll be fine,” he said.

Last year, Royster spent time behind Rodney Kinlaw and Austin Scott.

Now, he's the starter. Though he shares time with Carter and Green, it doesn't affect him.

"It's great," Royster said. "We have three good backs that can come in and give us a break."

Royster had the fewest carries of the three in the opener, finishing with only eight. However, Royster said while it isn't a lot of carries for a starter, he understood the circumstances - a blowout in the first game of the season. And he also scored three touchdowns in his limited action.

The running backs may be aided this week by another threat from the backfield — quarterback Daryll Clark.

Clark, who rushed for 50 yards on six carries in the 2007 Alamo Bowl, did not carry the ball at all against Coastal Carolina. Nor did Clark run the option.

"It is in the playbook," Royster said. "We'll run it this week, maybe."

Having Clark running the ball makes Penn State's offense different from last year's.

Asked to compare this year's attack to the 2007 version, Royster wasn't hesitant to cite the differences.

"I think we have a more versatile offense, with a running quarterback and speed in the backfield,” he said.


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