Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Penn State running back Evan Royster wants more carries this fall, but he can't control how often his number gets called.
So he's taking matters into his own hands -- literally.
Royster spent the summer trying to broaden his game and worked with several of Penn State's wide receivers on his pass-catching skills. The junior is hoping he can play a bit of slot receiver this fall in addition to his backfield duties.
"We'll see if the coaches let me do that," Royster told me Thursday. "We've talked about it, I worked on it in 7-on-7s. I think we'll get into it pretty soon in camp."
Royster ranked fourth on the team in receiving last year -- behind veteran wideouts Deon Butler, Derrick Williams and Jordan Norwood -- and hauled in 17 receptions for 155 yards. Penn State loses Butler, Williams and Norwood to graduation, so Royster and the other running backs should play a greater role in the passing game.
Nittany Lions wide receivers Chaz Powell and Derek Moye helped Royster with his receiving skills, and Royster and quarterback Daryll Clark worked on sharpening their timing on routes. Wideout Brett Brackett said Royster, an All-American lacrosse player in high school, didn't need much coaching.
"Evan's actually a really good receiver," Brackett said. "His ability to play lacrosse well has transitioned over really well. It's kind of the same thing, catching a pass in lacrosse in the net, it's hand-eye coordination. He worked with us all summer, but to be honest with you, there wasn't much he needed to work on. He was really good at it already."
When told that Royster might take his job at receiver, Brackett laughed and said, "I think he's got the tailback job under control."
Royster has legit NFL aspirations and wants to pattern his game after that of Matt Forte, the Chicago Bears running back who sizzled as a rookie last fall. Forte rushed for 1,238 yards, but he also led all NFL running backs with 63 receptions.
"He's a great back and he's one of the more underrated backs in the league," Royster said of Forte. "It'd definitely be good to be in his shoes."