UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's trio of running backs enjoy a healthy competition in the backfield during training camp.
Junior Bill Belton, redshirt freshman Akeel Lynch and junior Zach Zwinak all feed off the competition to individually and collectively improve from one day to the next. With training camp now in its 12th day, Penn State's corps of running backs are on track to be prime contributors to the Nittany Lion offense in 2013.
The beauty of the three running backs in the rotation for 2013 is that all three bring something unique to the field. Zwinak is a bruising back who loves to deliver the blow with his downhill running style. The hard-nosed, physical Zwinak rushed for 1,000 yards in 2012. While he has spent nearly all of camp in a non-contact red practice jersey, the Frederick, Md. native has been a full participant in all of the drills and scrimmages during practice and is ready for the season.
Belton is a multidimensional athlete with big-play ability every time he touches the ball. A superb receiver out of the backfield, the New Jersey native has put together a strong training camp. With quick feet and a shifty running style, Belton is a big weapon for the Nittany Lion offense.
"He's had a really good camp," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's running the ball well, he's catching the ball well. He's doing a nice job for us."
The third piece in the running game is Lynch, who heads into the fall on track to also play a significant role for the Nittany Lion offense. Lynch, who redshirted in 2012, is a physical running back with good breakaway speed and footwork for a player his size.
When you combine the styles of all three, you can see why Coach O'Brien is excited about the prospect of a three-headed attack in the backfield.
"We have three backs there that are good players," O'Brien said.
Penn State practiced for the 14th time in training camp on Friday morning. The Lions will return to the field on Friday night to cap off a two-a-day. The season-opener against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium is 15 days away.
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