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Penn State Football: Lynch Ready For Golden Offseason

by on February 24, 2014 1:30 PM

Penn State running back Akeel Lynch is only one of two players from Canada on Penn State's roster.

So, a few days ago, with the Olympics winding down and the the U.S. hockey team set to face the Canadians for a shot to play for the gold medal, Lynch stood strong for his fellow countrymen.

"It was great," Lynch said of Canada's eventual 1-0 victory over the Americans. "I had to make sure I was here to watch the hockey game. I was here with a bunch of the trainers and some players. It was just one man versus all, I felt like I was in the movie 300 as the only Canadian."

It may have been two against all if the Nittany Lions' other Canadian, freshman quarterback Michael O'Connor, had ventured to the Lasch Building, but either way, Lynch's smile was just a little wider than usual this past weekend. 

But his homeland's achievements aside, Lynch enters this offseason with a new chance to find a role in the Nittany Lions' offense.

Lynch saw limited action last season due largely to the successes of co-starters Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak. Lycnh's 60 carries for 358 yards and one score was, perhaps, less than fans and Lynch would have liked. But only one of the aforementioned parties will say so in public.

"Getting my weight up, my flexibility, just to get ready for spring ball," Lynch said in reference to his goals this summer. "I'm up to 218-219 and last year I was around 214. I'm just trying to gain weight without giving up my speed. I think (my playing time) was really just because I was younger I think my health was holding me back a bit so I'll need to stay healthy this year."

As a sophomore, Lynch has time to find his role moving forward. Both Belton and Zwinak enter the 2014 season in their final years of eligibility meaning that Lynch is ultimately the future of the running back corps. Even so, both Penn State fans and coaches will be happy to see Lynch contribute during the upcoming campaign.

"There are no returning starters at any position. At any position," head coach James Franklin said earlier this month. "Every single day these guys are going to wake up and they're going to earn their job. We're going to create the most competitive experience we possibly can."

So if Lynch really is bigger, faster, and stronger it might be harder to say no when it comes to his playing time.

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