Zwinak Ready to Perform

Zwinak Ready to Perform

Junior wants to back up 1,000-yard season.
UNIVERSITY PARK, CENTRE COUNTY - No matter who Penn State's starting quarterback is - whether it's Tyler Ferguson or Christian Hackenberg - he'll be surrounded by some skill players coming off break out years. 

There's Big Ten wide receiver of the year Allen Robinson, Freshman All-American Kyle Carter at tight end, and thousand-yard rusher Zach Zwinak in the backfield.

Zwinak has a special tie to week one opponent Syracuse, one that goes back to high school.

“We tried to recruit him here,” Syracuse head coach Scot Shafer says of the Maryland native. “He's just a big strong kid. He runs hard. He's faster than people realize.”

Zwinak's speed has fooled more than opposing coaches and fans.
His deceptive skills even surprised Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien last season.

“Judging by the fact that I had him as the third or fourth team running back at the beginning of the year,” O’Brien says, “I would say that that's some bad coaching because I think, in about, whatever it was, 8 1/2 games, he gained 1,000 yards.“

The breakout year has hardly changed how Zwinak has prepared this offseason.
The junior never took time to rest on his laurels.

“For me I just kind of came out continued to do the things I did,” Zwinak says. “Work hard; lead by example.”

“He's very hard on himself,” O’Brien says. “He demands perfection of himself.” 
While physicality will still define Zwinak's style, he has learned how to be more elusive from the other members of Penn State's three-headed rush attack, Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch.
All in the name of staying healthy in 2013.
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