UNIVERSITY PARK - Evan Royster deserves credit for being honest, even if his answer seems kind of strange.
I asked more than a dozen prominent Penn State players the following question Friday at media day: Which player, on offense or defense, are you most looking forward to seeing this season?
A large percentage of Nittany Lion fans would say redshirt freshman running back Stephfon Green, who has blazing speed and big-play capability.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Penn State running back Stephfon Green will most likely share running back duties with Evan Royster this season.
Green's competition for the starting tailback job is Royster, who had a solid debut season for PSU last year with 513 yards rushing, five TDs and a 6.3 yards-per-carry average.
Asked the question, Royster gave a little smile, chuckled and said, ''I'm not going to lie. It's Stephfon. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do.''
But he's your competition, Evan.
''There's no tough love between us,'' Royster replied. ''We all know that he's an exciting back to watch, and I'm excited to see him just like everybody else.''
Green sounded sincerely humbled when told Royster had picked him.
''That's big, man,'' Green said. ''That's real good. I wouldn't expect that. I wasn't expecting anybody to say my name.''
Oh, come on now.
The electrifying Green has to know his teammates are excited to see him break off some long runs.
''It's a big compliment that they can trust me, but I wasn't expecting that,'' he said. ''I just can't wait until game day when I can actually show the guys if ya'll need me to make a big play, I can make a big play.''
Green and quarterback Daryll Clark were the most popular answers in the player survey. Clark also gave a candid but unusual response.
''I'd probably have to say myself,'' Clark said. ''I'm going to tell you why. I'm nervous, I'm not going to lie to you. I've been really, really excited, too, about getting this season going, but I'm really anxious to see how we'll perform.
''There's a lot of speculation about how I will play. Maybe it might be good, maybe it might be bad. So for all the negative people, I just hope to prove them wrong.''
Here's how some other players answered when asked to select a teammate they're most looking forward to watching:
WR Deon Butler: ''I want to see Stephfon play in some games. I've seen him do a lot in practice, so I'm ready to see what he can do in games. He's probably one of the most exciting players that hasn't got a chance to show everyone what he can do yet.''
C A.Q. Shipley: ''Daryll Clark. Nobody knows what he can do, nobody's really seen everything he can do. He's going to come out and lead our offense this year, and I'm just really excited to see what he can do.''
CB Tony Davis: ''Deon Butler. He's just been working hard all summer, and he's already had three great seasons and this is his senior year.''
LB Sean Lee (who's injured): ''I'm going to say two units - the offense and defensive lines. The offensive line, everybody's back, ton of experience, ton of good athletes, worked really hard this summer. The defensive line, I think they're the most athletic, best defensive line in the country. I'm excited to see what they can do.''
RB Stephfon Green: ''[Defensive lineman] Devon Still. He's my roommate. I've been with him when he tore his ACL, through all the crying, through all the bickering. He's just told me that he can't wait for this opportunity. He's going to get it, and I think he's going to be a real good player.''
OT Gerald Cadogan: ''I would say Daryll Clark. He's stepping up as a leader, so I'm just excited about what he can offer.''
WR Derrick Williams: ''I've got two - Daryll and Stephfon. The guys have been working hard, and we just want to see their hard work pay off during the season.''
WR Jordan Norwood: ''I'm looking forward to seeing what [receiver] Graham Zug does. He's a guy that I've always talked a lot about who can do a lot of things. I think he will get a chance to show us a little bit this season, and I'm sure he'll do a great job.''
K Kevin Kelly: ''There can't be just one player. I'm looking forward to the wide receivers getting some action. The linemen, especially Gerald. Gerald's going to pancake some people. But it's not really one player on our team this year. It's just the whole team.''
Cory Giger is at 949-7031 and email@example.com.