In today’s edition of the Victory Bell Roundtable, we turn our attention to the stable of Nittany Lion running backs. With so much talent in the backfield, we ask our staff who is going to get the most touches.
Lead Editor Matt de Bear (@PSUMatt2005)
On the surface, this looks like a pretty simple question. Zach Zwinak is coming off a year where he rushed for an even 1,000 yards, in what amounted to just 10 games. He returns as the starter going into camp, and presumably, the guy that will be the focus of the rushing attack. But not so fast, Bill Belton is back, and at 100% for the first time since the first half of the Ohio game last season, and Akeel Lynch figures to see his first action after redshirting last year. I still think Zwinak will see the most action, but I have a feeling Belton is going to see plenty of the ball, especially as a receiver, and if the reports on Lynch are accurate, Bill O’Brien will need to find a way to get him the ball too. Regardless of who gets the most touches this fall, these 3 figure to be a huge part of the offense.
Staff Writer Eric Sion (@ericbsion)
Barring injury of course, I expect Zach Zwinak to get the most touches amongst the running backs this season. He hit an even 1,000 rushing yards in 2012 and that was without playing in two whole games and only recording three carries for two yards in the Virginia game. Bill O’Brien already confirmed that Zwinak will open the season as the starter and assuming that he gets roughly 20 carries every game, I believe he can accumulate at least 1,200 yards. I also think that Akeel Lynch will finish the season with more carries than Bill Belton. People have to remember that Belton was a dual-threat quarterback in high school and didn’t play the true tailback position until O’Brien came to Penn State. Hopefully Belton’s talents will be utilized in some other way so he can contribute and I fully expect Zwinak and Lynch to carry the running game.
Staff Writer Barry Leonard (@barryleonardjr)
I fully expect Zach Zwinak to lead the team in carries this season. He’s a talented, hard-nosed runner who has already proven that he’s more than capable of handling a full load in the backfield. He carried the ball 203 times last season, with the next closest person receiving 80 touches. One thing that will be different this year is the fact that he shouldn’t have to do it all on his own. Redshirt freshman Akeel Lynch is expected to make an immediate impact. A healthy Bill Belton is primed for a big bounce-back season. With more options in the running game this year, Zwinak will certainly lose some carries. However, he’s an excellent runner who is an important key to Penn State’s success. By the end of the season, Zwinak will lead the team in both rushes and rushing yards.