Last Saturday, Penn State's Stephfon Green did something he had been trying to do for two years.
On his 52-yard touchdown run at Illinois, Green waited for his block -- a pull from right guard Lou Eliades -- before bursting through the hole with his trademark speed and quickly separating himself from any dark blue jersey in sight. Head coach Joe Paterno had been harping on the redshirt sophomore to show such patience since early in his redshirt freshman season.
I feel like it's still a work in progress, but on Saturday, I felt I was very comfortable [waiting for a block], Green said this week.
It's all a part of Green trying to become a more complete runner instead of a guy known just for being really fast.
I'm just focused, more and more, on time of possession and getting the key first downs, Green said. If the hole opens up, then I can hit it.
"He's doing a better job going up-field and taking better advantage of the blocking, [showing] a little more patience," Paterno said. "So I think one of these days he's going to be a really good back"
Though Paterno said Tuesday that Green is banged up, the running back said he's prepared for action against Eastern Illinois this week. After the Illinois game, he received treatment on his ribs.
I'm full-go, I'm ready to play, Green said. I took a little precaution [Tuesday] and Monday in practice, but I'm fine. I'm ready to go.
Penn State rushed for 338 yards against the Illini, by far the most it has gained on the ground all year.
The Nittany Lions did it behind an offensive line that had been shuffled yet again, with left guard Johnnie Troutman making his third start of the season at left guard and Nerraw McCormack making his first career start at right tackle. Although McCormack is likely out of this week's contest with an ankle injury, Green said the offensive line has finally jelled.
It gave us a lot of confidence, he explained. We looked good, but we still have a lot to improve on.
With an FCS opponent on tap Saturday, Green said the Lions are approaching this game like any other. If anything, the players remain motivated by the stunning loss to Iowa two weeks ago.
We're not overlooking anybody, Green said.