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Penn State Football: Andre Robinson And Mark Allen Impress As Running Back Depth Shines

by on April 16, 2016 2:30 PM

For as much as a spring scrimmage is full of things that will mean nothing when the season finally rolls around months down the road, for many players it's one last shot to prove their worth heading into the summer.

Take for example running backs Mark Allen and Andre Robinson. Both talented, both with plenty of potential and even more skill. 

And both trying to find their place in the rotation behind Saquon Barkley and potentially incoming freshman standout Miles Sanders as well.

“We’ve got a pretty heated competition going on right now with Mark Allen and Andre. Allowing those guys to compete and play and get a bunch of reps and see how they are going to handle it,” James Franklin said after Saturday's scrimmage.

“I told them at halftime we are evaluating fundamentals, and techniques, and scheme, and alignment, and assignment obviously. But we are also evaluating mental and physical toughness right now. You are getting a bunch more reps than you typically would get in a game, we want to see how you are going to play when you get tired.”

For the most part both players passed those test with flying colors. Mark Allen picked up reps on both the blue and white squads with 14 carries for 65 yards. Andre Robinson an equally solid seven carries for 48 yards including the game's final points on a 28-yard scamper around the right edge and down the sideline untouched.

It was the kind of performance for both players that shows how many assets offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead will have to deal manage in the upcoming season. Between a growing fleet of receivers and a solid group of running backs there might be more talent than there are places to use it.

Certainly not the worst problem, but a management issues nevertheless.

“We have a great group of running backs,” Allen said. “It is hard to set yourself apart from all of these running backs. Andre Robinson had a good day today, scored a touchdown. I’m competing with everybody every day, the competition is not over. I’m ready for the summer, ready to get to the grind and ready for camp.”

Ultimately both Allen and Robinson may find more creative ways to see the field. Special teams is an area still in need of solid returners and special offensive packages for backs out of the backfield could also be an area where they find a niche. Regardless, it's safe to say, especially after Saturday, that the Nittany Lions won't be short on options when it comes to running the ball. 



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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