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Penn State Football: Belton, Day Both Practicing, But Will They Play?

by on September 12, 2012 12:21 PM

Updated at 6:20 p.m.

Penn State's top two running backs are both practicing, but the coaching staff is taking precaution with the amount of hitting they're taking.

Bill Belton (ankle) and Derek Day (shoulder) did not participate in any contact drills for the small window of practice time the media was allowed to view (15-20 minutes) on Wednesday. Zach Zwinak ran with the first-team offense during goal line work. Mike Zordich also received a goal line carry, and Curtis Dukes is expected to be fed a heavy dosage of carries Saturday against Navy as well.

"Curtis Dukes has been doing a great job," said quarterback Matt McGloin, who showed no ill signs of elbow pain while participating in throwing drills Wednesday. "He understands that we have a couple running backs banged up and he's going to be getting some carries. He's the man right now."

The fact Belton and Day, who both wore wraps around their respective injuries, are able to run around and participate in warm-ups is a good sign moving forward, but their statuses very much remain day-to-day.

Donovan Smith, Pete Massaro Held Out of Practice

Redshirt freshman left tackle Donovan Smith has been held out of practice this week, center Matt Stankiewitch said on a conference call Wednesday afternoon.

Smith wore shorts and a jersey to practice Wednesday, but he did not participate. He worked out with the strength staff on the far field outside the Lasch Football Building.

Smith injured his ankle in Saturday’s 17-16 loss at Virginia. He was not listed on the team's official injury report this week.

Mike Farrell has shifted to left tackle in Smith’s absence, and Adam Gress is running with the first-team unit at right tackle.

Smith dealt with a hamstring injury throughout part of training camp and cramped up during the Lions’ loss to Ohio on Sept. 1. He has yet to finish a full game.

Defensive end Pete Massaro (shoulder, knee) also sat out Wednesday's practice. Sean Stanley and Deion Barnes ran with the first-team unit at defensive end.

Life Without Kersey

Penn State is moving on without Shawney Kersey, the redshirt junior wide receiver who left the team Tuesday for personal reasons.

"I was close with Shawney," senior cornerback Stephon Morris said. "I really haven't talked to him. Like I said, I'm moving forward. It's about getting a W and bringing some momentum. Whatever Shawney's doing, I wish him the best, but he's not a focus right now. He's not a part of this team."

Freshman Trevor Williams is one receiver who could see an increased role moving forward. And how about Paul Jones, the quarterback/"F" tight end? Jones warmed up with the wide receivers on Wednesday, and coach Bill O'Brien said he will play him at the "F" tight end position this weekend.

NFL Presence

O'Brien has said he's going to open his program up to NFL scouts throughout the season, and several stopped by Wednesday's practice. I caught them checking out the linebackers during warm-ups, presumably players such as Mike Mauti and Gerald Hodges.

Scouts from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts were among those in attendance.

Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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