PSU back Belton ready to show off new look at spring drills
By Scott Brown
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013, 7:45 p.m.
Penn State released its updated football roster Friday, and it included position changes such as Miles Dieffenbach from guard to center and Malik Golden from receiver to defensive back.
One of the biggest changes when Penn State opens spring practice Monday may involve a player who didn't switch positions but apparently rededicated himself to becoming a prominent part of the offense.
Running back Bill Belton —whose sophomore season was derailed by an ankle injury, the emergence of Zach Zwinak and his own ineffectiveness outside of a three-touchdown game at Iowa — has drawn praise from Penn State's coaches for his work during offseason weight training and conditioning.
“He's lost weight. He's lost body fat,” running backs coach Charles London said. “He's really attuned to what's going on here offensively, what we're trying to do with him. We've got to be creative in some of the stuff we do for him, but he's definitely turned a corner.”
Penn State is likely to use Belton, who played wide receiver and quarterback in the wildcat offense as a freshman, as more than just a traditional tailback. That doesn't mean he won't challenge Zwinak for the starting job that Belton ceded in the latter part of the 2012 season.
London said Zwinak, who rushed for 1,000 yards last season, will open spring practice as the No. 1 running back. But Belton and Akeel Lynch, a freshman who redshirted last season, will also get plenty of work with the starters.
“Each guy's going to have his niche, but once again, they've got to go out there and compete for it,” London said. “They've got to do it every day.”
That is something Belton seems to have grasped after getting just one carry in Penn State's final three games of 2012. Belton finished with 263 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
“Bill's a very bright guy, and he's had a tremendous, tremendous offseason,” London said. “I think he learned some things through the year last year, but he's going to be a big part of our plan this year. With the offseason he's had, I expect him to go out there and have a great spring.”
In other news:
• Moving Dieffenbach, who started at left guard last season, to center appears to be a relatively recent development.
Coach Bill O'Brien said at a Penn State Shenango alumni function last month that Dieffenbach, a Fox Chapel graduate, would stay at guard while Ty Howle and Angelo Mangiro would compete to replace All-Big Ten center Matt Stankiewitch. It looks like all three will be given a look at center.
• O'Brien told ESPN.com that sophomore linebacker Ben Kline will miss spring practice as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
• Senior Nate Cadogan is listed at defensive tackle after playing offensive tackle last season. O'Brien has said Cadogan will play offense and defense during spring practice.
• Freshman Richy Anderson, who enrolled in January, is listed as a wide receiver. He is the son of former Penn State tailback Richie Anderson.
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Bylsma’s moves — yes, moves — pay off
- Former Pitt captain Cavanaugh blazes trail as entrepreneur
- Physical Columbus team is a hit in playoff opener against Penguins
- Penguins rally to escape with a victory in Game 1 against Columbus
- At least three people dead in Armstrong County crash
- Pirates notebook: Walker’s razor a right-handed swing solution
- Veteran North Huntingdon police officer fired
- 21 students, security guard stabbed at Franklin Regional High School
- New Kensington-Arnold lays groundwork for consolidation
- Penguins notebook: Goc skates, tests ailing ankle
- Power attendance lagging despite turnaround