Cory Giger's position breakdown of the Penn State football team this fall
Starters: Sr. TB Evan Royster (6-1, 224); Jr. FB Joe Suhey (6-1, 221)
Backups: Jr. TB Stephfon Green (5-10, 197); R-Fr. TB Curtis Dukes (6-1, 242); R-Fr. FB Andre Dupree (5-10, 234)
2009 stats: Royster carried 205 times for 1,195 yards (5.7 per rush), scored six TDs and averaged 89.9 yards per game; Green carried 71 times for 337 yards (4.5 per), scored three TDs and averaged 29.0 per game; Suhey carried 22 times for 70 yards (3.1 per).
Royster's record watch: Royster needs just 481 yards to break Curt Warner's PSU career record of 3,398 that has stood for 28 years. Some players shy away from record talk, but Royster has been honest when asked how much he'd like to have it. "It crosses my mind a lot because people bring it up a lot," he said. Asked about breaking a record that has stood for so long, he said, "It would be huge for me. ... It's something that I'll talk about for the rest of my life. It's a great opportunity for me, and hopefully this one will stand for 30 more years."
Weight watchers: Royster said Thursday he weighs 224, about 10 pounds heavier than his playing weight last year. He plans to get down to 218 by the opener. He has said several times he bulked up to help better prepare his body for the NFL next year.
Green gets defensive: Maybe he was just tired of getting asked the same questions over and over, but Green got kind of defensive Thursday when asked about his role. "I don't know," he said. "Everybody keeps asking me about my role. I'm not frustrated that everybody keeps asking, but at the same time, I don't know. I'm not upstairs. I don't know what these coaches want. I don't know what their game plan is." Without even being asked what he thought about Royster returning for his senior year, Green offered this up unsolicited: "I'm not mad. I just have to wait my turn. ... For me to sit up here and say that I'm jealous because he came back is ridiculous. It's not all about me. I'm for the team. I put the team first."
The punisher: Dukes, a tailback in a fullback's body, has a chance to be a power runner between the tackles. The coaches tried to use Green like that last year, but some of those carries may go to Dukes, with Green having more chances to bounce outside on sweeps.
Best-case scenario: Royster's weight isn't an issue, he busts loose for a big season (1,400-plus yards) and Green and Dukes provide sparks off the bench.
Worst-case scenario: Teams will gear up to stop the running game until PSU proves it can pass, and the offense will sputter if the line can't open up holes.
The bottom line: It would be great to see Royster and Green in the game at the same time, with one lined up in the slot to utilize his receiving skills.