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August 29, 2008

Q&A: Royster ready for gametime

Penn State redshirt sophomore running back Evan Royster sat down on Wednesday morning to talk to a handful of media members via teleconference.

Answering questions about everything from the naming of redshirt junior quarterback Daryll Clark to splitting carries with Stephfon Green, one thing became very clear:

Royster is ready for some football.

Take a look at the complete transcript from the teleconference, right here!

*** Transcript ***


How have you and Stephfon and Brent split the tailback reps so far?

We're pretty much doing it the same way (as the quarterbacks). We're all taking equal reps and coach is trying to just get us all an equal shot of being a big person on the field.

How do you feel Stephfon and Brent have improved since the summer's gone on?

Well, I think they're both getting a lot better at their protections and stuff. Stephfon ran on scout team last year and didn't really get a chance to learn the protections in game situations and how they change from our basic protection. So, I think Stephfon's trying to learn that stuff. Brent, he's just getting more and more experience running game-type plays and stuff, because we change a lot of stuff from preseason going into our first game.

How much time have the coaches spent with Stephfon this year working on his pass-blocking and protection?

They don't spend any more time with him than they do with all of us. We'll split up and have a period where we work on one-on-ones with linebackers and they're blitzing us. Or, we'll do like a team protection thing so we can recognize different types of looks and all that. I wouldn't say they're putting in any extra work with Stephfon but they're just trying to get everybody to know the protection.

Earlier, Daryll Clark was honest that there would probably be a little division in the locker room with one half pro-Clark and one half pro-Devlin. Do you get a sense of that and is that something you think could carry over into the season?

I don't really see it. I think the whole team supports both of them. I don't think anybody's in favor of either one and I think we're happy with whichever one is chosen to be the starter. Right now it's Daryll but you never know, it could change. We'll be happy with either player because we know that they both can get the job done.

Why do you think Daryll would think that, then?

I don't know. He's in a completely different situation. Maybe he sees things differently. Maybe he talks to different people. I just haven't seen it myself.

Do you expect to run a good deal of option plays on Saturday?

It's hard to tell. I'm sure we'll mix some of it in. We want to try out some new things and we didn't run the option much last year so I'm sure you'll see it a little bit.

With the loss of Lee, Taylor and Baker, can you talk about the play of the interior of that front seven and how you've been able to match-up against them?

Well, they have a lot of depth on their defensive line with Ollie Ogbu and Maurice. Who else is back there? Abe and... it hasn't changed much. We've been going against the same guys all year and even if Phil and Baker were there, it doesn't change because all the guys are about the same.

How does your preparation differ from preparing for a non-conference game with a team like Coastal Carolina compared to maybe a Big Ten game?

When we play a team like Coastal Carolina, we really look for their big players because when you play a Div. IAA school like that, you really look for players that standout and are big-play players. When you're playing a Big Ten school, you've really gotta look at the whole team and you have to game-plan for their team as a whole, not as much as just for one player.

What can you guys learn about yourself as a team competing against Coastal Carolina and what can the fans expect to really learn about you guys?

I think we're all really anxious to get out and play that first game and see if we're as good as we think we can be. I think it will show the fans that we could be a big power this year and we can really show ourselves that, too.

Stephfon has gotten a lot of the hype since the spring game. How do you deal with not getting the press even though you're taking the first-team reps?

It doesn't bother me really at all. People are anxious to see him play and I'm actually anxious to see him play, too. He's done some exciting things in practice and obviously the Blue White Game. It doesn't bother me. I know that I can come out and perform every Saturday.

How close are you guys?

We don't really talk about it. We go out and compete every day. We're friendly with each other. We don't have any problems, we're good friends.

What kind of looks do you expect to see from Coastal Carolina's defense? Anything out of the ordinary? Who are one or two of those standout players on defense?

We're kind of expecting to see a little bit of a 3-3 or their 3-5 look. We don't really face that a lot in the Big Ten because a lot of people run the stacked look. They've got a pretty good linebacker in No. 55 ( ) and they've got a pretty good safety and hits pretty hard so, we're looking out for them.

How has the timing been between you and Daryll in some of the option things?

It's been going pretty well. We work on it a lot in practice. It's coming along. We had a little bit of trouble at first with our little zone-reads and stuff down at first but it's all coming along. We're getting used to it and I think we'll be all right for the first game.

How excited are you as a group of running backs that all of you have three or more years of eligibility to start something long-term at Penn State?

I don't even think we really talk about it very much. We're just anxious to get out there and play the first game and see if we really can come together as a unit and make things happen.

Can you talk about the importance of the relationship between the running back and the fullback on the field and specifically your relationship with Dan Lawlor?

I know he's really gotta know what I'm going to do in a lot of situations and I kind of gotta get a feel for him during a game but we've got a good relationship off the field and I think that carries over on the field because we can really communicate. We'll go up to each other and say, 'Hey, I think you could have done this' or, whatever. We can just make each other better during the game.

Did you work on catching more passes out of the backfield this summer?

Yeah, we've been working on that pretty hard all preseason and even before that. We go out and do some seven-on-seven stuff with the defense and the quarterbacks have been really looking at us as receivers a lot more than maybe last year with Anthony.

Are you guys more comfortable now that you know Daryll is the guy that's going to take the starting reps on Saturday?

I think it just gives us a chance to really game-plan. It gives the coaches a chance to put together some plays that they'll want to run with Daryll that they may not have run with Pat. And there are some plays that they may have wanted to run with Pat that they don't want to run with Daryll so, I think it just gives us a chance to get ready for the actual game and be ready to play, not be going back and forth about whether we're going to run certain plays or not. We can just focus on what we really need to do.

Is it easier prep with one or two or is that a big deal for you guys at all?

I wouldn't say it's a big deal but it's definitely easier with just one quarterback.

How much different is the offense with either QB in it?

Well, just in practice we run a lot of the same things with both but it's pretty obvious that in a game situation, we may be running the ball, a little more option or more zone reads where the quarterback has the option to hand it off or not, with Daryll and we'd be looking more at passing and stuff with Pat. But, both quarterbacks can do both but I think they're just going to focus on the better attributes for each.





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