What’s up with Penn State RB Evan Royster?

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Penn State was supposed to be one of the best rushing teams in the Big Ten, senior tailback Evan Royster was supposed to be one of the best running backs in all of college football. However, through three games…well, not so much.

Royster has 110 yards on 32 carries for the season, which puts him near half the 6.1 yards per carry average he compiled in his first three seasons. As a team, Penn State is averaging 140.3 yards per game (74th out of 120 FBS team) and 4.2 per carry. Facing #1 Alabama’s run defense will hurt your stats. However, what’s most troubling about this stat is the fact the #23 Nittany Lions didn’t put up bigger numbers against the two cream puffs they faced already. And Temple is no slouch this year.

Improvement starts with Royster, a guy who was supposed to rewrite the fabled PSU rushing record book this year. Considering all the legends that list entails, becoming #1 on those lists is an elite feat.

By Paul M. Banks

I had an exclusive with the 6-1, 212 lb senior from Fairfax, Virginia at Media Day.

“We do a lot of basic type stuff, the inside zone, outside zone, and the zone reads, that’s our bread and butter, we don’t really stray too much,” Royster said when I asked him about the PSU system and how a tailback fits into the system.

“We just try to do the things we know that work. We’re not flashy, we’re kind of boring running backs, no spin moves or flashy stuff like that,” he continued.

So it’s back to basics for Royster and company to get their running attack working in 2010. Evan looked up to Emmitt Smith as a kid. “The Shield’s” all-time leading rusher, and now Pro Football Hall of Famer, Smith wasn’t known for flashiness. Neither are the Penn St. backs.

“You don’t catch us too much on the ESPN highlights, you don’t need to do all the extra stuff. I think that’s what the coaches do when recruiting guys, the basic style where it’s not all about looking good,” he said.

Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru

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