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Penn State Football Summer Scoop: Running Backs

Evan Royster got the lion's share of Penn State's carries during his four years on his way to setting the Nittany Lions' all-time leading rushing mark last season. Fortunately for Penn State, though, it looks as though there will be plenty of guys ready to step into the void Royster leaves in the backfield in 2011.

Seniors Stephfon Green and Brandon Beachum as well as sophomore Silas Redd all figure to see time for the Lions moving forward, and each brings a different dimension to the running game.

Green has been the Lions' speed guy since his freshman year of 2008, when he posted his best season of 578 yards on 105 carries. His production has slipped since then, thanks in part to some nagging injuries, but Green is ready to show his critics he can stay healthy and contribute to the running game.Asked if he keeps criticism of his game posted somewhere, Green said there's no need.

"I don't need to keep it on no fridge, on no wall, it's all in my head," Green said at Lift for Life this past Friday. "Every time I attack a weight, every time I do something off the field for football (laughs) I'm thinking about those people.Hopefully, by God's grace, I stay injury free...I'm gonna be the last one laughing."

Many observers on the outside have pegged Redd as "the guy" to take over for Royster heading into the season. His 437 yards on 77 sometimes highlight-reel quality carries last season have a lot of fans excited about what he might be able to do without Royster taking carries in front of him.

For the moment, though, while he's ready to take over the starting job if that's the role the coaching staff wants him to play, Redd is focused on what all of the backs can bring to the table.

"With Brandon and Curtis [Dukes] we can beat you inside, we can pound you inside," Redd said. "With Stephf and myself, we can beat you outside, so I think it forces the defense to play true."

Beachum's Penn State career, like Green's, has been marred by injury. He missed all of last season after tearing his ACL at the end of 2009. He looked very solid on the few carries he got during the Blue-White game in April, and no doubt he'll be looking to improve on his career totals of 227 yards and two touchdowns on 52 carries this season.

"Beachum never shies away from contact," offensive lineman Chima Okoli said. "[He's] a lot quicker between the tackles."

Okoli, in looking at the running back competition from the outside, believes all of them will get touches and said if he had his choice, everything would be split evenly. He is however, a big fan of Redd's.

"You wouldn't think that he was a true freshman last year," Okoli said. "But despite all the ability he has, he's the most humble kid. He's stepping up, but he knows...he's not letting it all get to his head. He's real down-to-Earth, real grounded. He's a leader, but he's someone even the freshman running backs, the freshman kids can look up to."

Here's some video of Green talking to reporters at Lift for Life.