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Nitt Picks Is Just Horsing Around

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I think we had enough drama this morning, so let's just tone it down and go over some of the headlines for today.

Jack Crawford is hoping to have a breakout season at defensive back end (BSD - Why can't someone build a spell checker to find stuff like this?) He's talking to Tamba Hali, a former Penn State player he has a lot in common with.

Hali is much more than just a teacher to Crawford, though. He’s an "older brother." He’s a role model. Hali is the player that Crawford looks up to and whose success he one day hopes to mirror.

They have already done a nice job of mirroring each other. Hali escaped Liberia at just 11 years old, having to say goodbye to his mother, who stayed in war-torn Liberia (They have since been reunited). As a high school sophomore, Crawford came to the United States to pursue a basketball career, leaving the rest of his family in his native London. Hali had no idea what football was when he came over, and Crawford didn’t gain an interest in the sport until right before his junior season.

We have been talking about Evan Royster a lot lately. He explains to the Centre Daily Times why he put on the weight this offseason.

"Speaking to some people they want to see me get 20-to-25 carries a game, to carry a team like you've seen a lot of big time running backs do," a beefed up Royster said at Friday's Lift for Life, where he weighed in at 225 pounds. "Hopefully I'll get a chance to do that this year."

To prepare for more touches, Royster added 12 pounds in hopes the extra weight will help absorb some of the blows -- though he wants to play between 218 and 220. The focus of his offseason, he said, has been to condition himself to allow for at least five more carries per game.

 

One of the unsung heroes for Penn State the past few years has been Brett Brackett. Not for what he has done on the field, but rather what he has accomplished off the field.

Senior receiver Brett Brackett's top accomplishment at Penn State hasn't come on the football field.

After spending the last three years raising record amounts of money while leading a player-organized charity dedicated to fighting kidney cancer, the converted quarterback has one season left to leave a mark while in uniform.

If only he had as defined a role on offense over the last three years as he did with the Uplifting Athletes charity group. Maybe 2010, he hopes, will be his best season yet after being moved from the outside to the H-back/slot receiver role he played in his sophomore campaign.

I can't help but root for Brackett to have a good year. He got jerked around between quarterback and wide receiver as a freshman. He had to ride the bench behind Williams, Butler, and Norwood. After having 13 catches in 2008 he only had three last year as he got passed by Moye, Powell, and Zug. Through it all he never complained and just did his job.  I'm hearing talk that he might play a lot of the flex tight end stuff we saw Quarless did last year. I hope he has some success, because he's a class act.

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