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Penn State Football: The 7 Best Offensive Players

Kevin McGuireAnalyst IIJuly 5, 2011

Penn State Football: The 7 Best Offensive Players

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    Penn State has some young players ready to take the lead on offense in 2011 but they also have a couple of veteran players looking to leave their mark on Penn State before their collegiate careers run out after the 2011 season.

    We previously took a look at seven of the top defensive players on the roster for the upcoming season but today we take a peak at some of the names everyone should know on Penn State's offense.

     

    Kevin McGuire is the national college football writer for Examiner.com. Follow his college football discussion on Twitter.

1. Silas Redd, Running Back

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    There is no player on the roster, on offense or defense, that has as much hype surrounding him as sophomore running back Silas Redd. A previous Bleacher Report preview article Redd was mentioned as one of the Big Ten players primed for a big season in 2011 and it is easy to see why.

    Redd is physical, quick and shifty. And he studies film of the greatest running backs in football history in a search for elements to add to his own game. His hard work off the field comes from a desire to be great.

    "Yes, this is my dream, and, yes, this is where I want to be," said Redd in a story by hos hometown newspaper, The Stamford Times, in Connecticut.. "But at the same time, it's still real life and you still have to work hard. You still have to do everything the right way."

    Last season Redd rushed for 437 yards, which was good for second on the team behind Evan Royster. Redd scored just two touchdowns during the season but that number is expected to multiply in 2011 as he becomes the likely candidate to be the primary tailback out of the offensive backfield. With more playing time will come more opportunities to catch a screen pass or two as well. Last season Redd recorded 27 receiving yards on four receptions.

    Redd has also been used to return kicks with 147 kick return yards on seven returns, but if he becomes the primary back his opportunities to return kicks should be limited at best.

2. Derek Moye, Wide Receiver

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    Penn State's leading receiver, Derek Moye, is back for his senior season and he is expected to be a team captain when the season begins. Moye was named to Phil Steele's pre-season All-Big Ten first team in his annual pre-season publication following a season in which Moye led the Nittany Lions with 885 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions.

    Those numbers may pale in comparison to some of the top receivers in the country but considering that Moye was the go-to receiver on an offense that struggles as much as Penn State did, he must be given some credit for his production between two quarterbacks playing behind a shaky at best offensive line.

    Moye will once again be the top receiver for Penn State in 2011 but look for Justin Brown to take a few steps in his own collegiate career after coming on stronger toward the end of the 2010 season. If Brown can continue to develop and become more consistent then Penn State could have a couple of steady wide receivers to work with. There will not be much dazzle at the position, but sure-and-steady hands can go a long way.

3. Rob Bolden, Quarterback

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    Penn State has a couple of quarterbacks with solid potential and a quarterback that some believe is capable of managing the offense. But for right now, the best player at the position, and the one who figures to give the Nittany Lions the best chance to succeed in 2011 is sophomore Rob Bolden.

    Though he was replaced by Matt McGloin during the 2010 season, Bolden looks to have more going for him in terms of who should be the starting quarterback in 2011. He has a better arm, and better mobility than McGloin and even as a freshman Bolden showed some signs that he was more than capable of running the offense.

    With a year behind him now the expectation is that Bolden learns from his freshman mistakes and improves his overall game with some smarter decisions on the field and reading the defenses a little better in clutch situations, including red-zone opportunities.

    Previously we shared some thoughts from Twitter members on why Rob Bolden should be given a second chance to start at Penn State. See if you agree or disagree.

4. Stephfon Green, Running Back

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    Silas Redd may be emerging as the next great running back at Penn State but even he will need a supporting cast. Fortunately for him he has just that at the position. Stephfon Green, who has seen his role and production diminish in each of the past couple of seasons will be looking to rebound for a strong season before he wraps up his Penn State career.

    Green finished third on the team in rushing with 188 yards last season but when healthy Green has the ability to be a terrific contrast to Redd for the offense. Green will be expected to see an increased role in 2010 with Royster moving on from the team, and the pride he has in his own game will likely lead to a work ethic dedicated to leaving a special mark at Penn State in his senior season.

    "I feel like my name is forgotten," Green said in report by the Associated Press. "So, that's why I have to re-establish myself and redeem myself."

    Penn State's running game is ranked by ESPN Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett in the middle of the conference, and Nebraska website Husker Corner agrees.

    "I can't say I'm not happy," Green said in that same AP story. "I am. It's my last season and I want to put all my marbles in," Green said. "The last good season I remember having is my red-shirt freshman year. Since then, I haven't had a good year.

    "So, I'm just looking for a lot of redemption."

5. Devon Smith, Wide Receiver

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    Devon Smith is the player that has the most ability to break free and race down a sideline for a big gain or touchdown more often than any other player on the offense, and he can do it on offense or on special teams. In fact, that is why he was labeled as one of the most important people in the football program right now, along with teammates Redd, Bolden and more.

    Smith is undersized but presents great speed. In a foot race he will be likely to beat a number of defenders down field and maybe even get some to get their feet caught below them to create some separation to work with. If Smith can trip up a defender, then watch out because a well-placed deep pass could create some big gains for Penn State's offense.

    Last season Smith finished fourth on the team in receiving with 363 yards and just one touchdown in 13 games. The averages are far from great but if the junior can grab a few more footballs in the open field then he should become a significant contributor on offense this season along Moye and a rising Brown.

6. Johnnie Troutman, Offensive Guard

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    The entire Penn State offensive line is a bit of a work in progress, but Johnnie Troutman appears to be one of the more dependable figures heading in to the 2011 season. Troutman and Quinn Barham were each named to Phil Steele's All-Big Ten fourth team this pre-season.

    Troutman (and Barham) will have plenty of work to do in order to ensure that there is protection for whoever may be taking snaps under center (Bolden or McGloin) and creating lanes for Redd and Green to maneuver through when the ball is put in their hands.

    Troutman, at 6'4" and 323 pounds, will need some help from the rest of the offensive line. He will be one of the senior leaders on the line looking to create an identity and display some stability earlier on than in 2010.

7. Brandon Beachum, Running Back

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    Brandon Beachum is almost the forgotten wild car in Penn State's offense. After missing the entire 2010 season as he recovered from a 2009 ACL injury, Beachum is back and ready to contribute as more than a reserve tailback.

    And he might just be the right player to chip in.

    When healthy Beachum showed some great poise, speed, and lateral motion and if he is fully recovered Beachum will be a great option to have to relieve Silas Redd for a couple plays or a series if needed, as well as Stephfon Green.

    Beachum rushed for 113 yards on 24 rushing attempts and one touchdown in brief playing time in 2009, his second season on the field.

     

    Kevin McGuire is the national college football writer for Examiner.com. Follow his college football discussion on Twitter.

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