Penn State's Redd running toward record book

Silas Redd, who took over as featured back from Evan Royster, has rushed for 566 yards in four Big Ten games.
Silas Redd, who took over as featured back from Evan Royster, has rushed for 566 yards in four Big Ten games. (JIM PRISCHING / Associated Press)
Posted: October 27, 2011

Penn State was counting on sophomore Silas Redd to assume the role of featured back this season after the departure of the record-breaking Evan Royster. But no one had a clue the Nittany Lions would be featuring him this much.

The 5-foot-10, 209-pound Redd has become the workhorse of the rushing attack, particularly since the start of the Big Ten season four games ago. He has 103 carries (25.8 per game average) in those contests for 566 yards, with a low game of 129 yards during that span.

For his career best, a 164-yard output last week against Northwestern, he needed just 18 carries, although some hurt a little more than others.

"I got pretty banged up," Redd said Wednesday. "I had a couple of stingers, so I've been trying to ice my shoulder and do a little rehab as far as that and as far as recovering during the week. I'll be ready for Saturday" against Illinois at Beaver Stadium.

Redd described a stinger as when "you hit your funny bone real hard, and it runs throughout your whole arm" after delivering a block or taking a blow.

Since Redd carried the ball only 62 times during the Lions' four nonconference games, he'd have to keep up a grueling pace - more than 24 attempts per game - to top the school record for most carries in a season, 286, set by John Cappelletti during his Heisman Trophy year of 1973.

However, even though Redd has shown himself to be remarkably sturdy to this point, the concern is that he will get worn down as the 21st-ranked Lions get to the tough portion of their schedule.

Not to worry, Redd says.

"I know my willpower, and I know the focus I have to make sure my body is right and make sure I can come out for the next game," he said. "So that's something I take upon myself to take care of.

"It's just icing and getting off my feet once practice ends. We don't really beat up each other in practice. It's not like going out and scrimmaging. It's just going through stretching, hot tub, things like that."

Coach Joe Paterno said he didn't go into the season with any plan for getting Redd so many carries because he's more concerned with team goals than individual ones.

But Redd said the coaches talked to him in preseason about a heavy workload "being a possibility at that time."

"I felt it would be something I'd be willing to do, and if they needed me to do that, I'd be fine with it," he said.

The Norwalk, Conn., native is doing it with flair, leading the Big Ten with 869 rushing yard and ranking third in average (108.6), the latter figure putting him 16th in the FBS. He's succeeding behind an improved offensive line and, in turn, is doing a better job of being patient.

On Wednesday, he was added to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, an end-of-the-year honor given to the nation's top football player by the Philadelphia-based Maxwell Football Club.

"I think he's definitely gotten better in his ability and his quickness," said tackle Quinn Barham. "He's a strong guy for being so small, and that's an asset to him. His vision has gotten a lot better. He has a tremendous upside, and he's just getting started."

Redd lauds the offensive line in the same way and said he liked being among the top rushers because "it's great for the offense's morale."

Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or


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