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Penn State Football: Belton, Morris Day-to-Day for Virginia

by on September 04, 2012 12:57 PM

Stephon Morris and Bill Belton are considered day-to-day with ankle sprains that are not considered serious.

Their availability for Saturday's noon kick at Virginia will be determined later in the week, coach Bill O'Brien said at his weekly Tuesday news conference. If they don't practice by Thursday, it's unlikely either will play.

If Belton can't go, Derek Day will probably be the No. 1 running back. Zach Zwinak and Mike Zordich would also see more carries, perhaps even Curtis Dukes.

But more intriguing is that it could open the window for freshman running back Akeel Lynch, who has impressed the coaching staff in the weight room and on the practice field throughout the summer.

"He's smart, he's instinctive, he's in the depth," O'Brien said. "The decision you have to make there just like with any freshman is if you're gonna play them, then you better actually play them. We’re gonna see how practice goes with Akeel."

Other notes from Tuesday's news conference:

  • O'Brien refers to walk-ons as "run-ons": "These guys don't walk. They bust their butts on the field." More on this later.
  • O'Brien said to wait until halfway through the season before making assumptions on which freshmen will redshirt.
  • O'Brien will not make any position switches to help with depth in the secondary. He said the lack of a nickel package is more because of the confidence in outside linebackers Gerald Hodges and Mike Mauti to play pass defense rather than a lack of depth in the secondary. Earlier Tuesday, safety Malcolm Willis said the defense hasn't even installed a nickel package yet. It was a staple under the previous defensive regime headed by Tom Bradley.
  • Don't expect to see Paul Jones on Saturday. O'Brien said he will stick with a one-quarterback system, and that is Matt McGloin.
  • Gerald Hodges' days of returning kicks and punts appear to over. "He's an excellent athlete, and he caught every one of them in practice," O'Brien said. "But it's a lot on his plate, and his main role in obviously as our outside linebacker."

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