Position Breakdown: RB

See how things are shaking out at the running back spots during spring practice as we continue our position-by-position breakdown of the Nittany Lions.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the next two weeks, we will take a detailed look at every position on the Penn State football team. We continue with the running backs.

Running Back

WHO'S BACK: TB: Brandon Beachum (soph), Brent Carter (rs-junior), Stephfon Green (rs-soph), Evan Royster* (rs-junior); FB: Joe Suhey (rs-soph), Larry Federoff (senior)

WHO'S GONE: TB: None; FB: Dan Lawlor*

NEW FACES: Derek Day (rs-frosh), Shaine Thompson (rs-frosh)

LOWDOWN: Royster missed most of the Rose Bowl with a knee sprain. He is fine now, but as a proven commodity the workhorse from 2008 has been anything but a workhorse in the spring. He sees early first-team reps in practices and scrimmages before giving way to younger players. In the meantime, Green is recovering from two broken bones in his right leg sustained in the Rose Bowl and Carter is on the mend following an ACL injury in 2008. Both are out for the entire spring. That means Beachum should get plenty of work. Though lacking top-end speed, he has outstanding power. The staff is reportedly looking for him to show better decision-making at the point of attack. Suhey is not a prototype fullback, but rather a combo back in the mold of Matt Hahn. He has outstanding hands and better speed than you might think, and has seen time as the lone back in single-back sets. Many, including us, thought linebacker Michael Zordich would make the move to fullback this spring. Instead, walk-on Shaine Thompson has been shifted from 'backer to running back. The well-built 6-0, 214-pounder has turned heads with his speed, quick feet and power.

Shaine Thompson

THE HEAT IS ON: While hardly a do-or-die scenario for Beachum (he has been in the program from just over year), this is a chance for him to prove that he belongs at tailback, particularly as a power runner.

KEEP ON EYE ON: We'll go off script here and say receiver Chaz Powell. We think he has a chance to be better in spot action out of the backfield than Derrick Williams was last season.

BY THE NUMBERS: Royster averaged 6.5 yards per carry last season. Among the PSU greats who NEVER topped that average in a year: Curt Warner, D.J. Dozier, Curtis Enis, Lydell Mitchell, Matt Suhey and John Cappelletti.


Quarterback Breakdown


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