Ex-Nittany Lion Redd up to speed as a Trojan

Mike Aresco: "We live in a media age."
Mike Aresco: "We live in a media age."
Posted: September 09, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - For a brief moment, the Southern California Trojans looked in trouble or at least wobbly, suddenly less than a touchdown ahead of Syracuse. Forget about a national title march if the Trojans couldn't get past this low hurdle.

So, Southern Cal tailback Silas Redd was asked later about that brief moment, what were the Trojans thinking?

"Fight on," Redd said outside the USC locker room. "Keep pushing."

Bittersweet words for Penn Staters? You hear your familiar mantra, part of "Fight On, State," but "Fight On" is the title of the Trojans' fight song, composed by a USC dental student in 1922. Redd is every bit a Trojan now. Penn State is still a part of him, but he is no longer a part of you.

And he couldn't deny his contentment after Saturday's 42-29 victory, after he wrapped family members in bear-hugs outside the USC locker room, then was asked about highlights of his 107-yard rushing day, achieved splitting time at tailback.

"I'm a competitor," Redd said of sharing a position. "But I'm a teammate as well. I'd like to think I'm a pretty good teammate."

The only time Redd's face turned completely serious, smile gone, was when he was asked if he had happened to have seen the Penn State final score.

"No, I didn't see it actually - what was it?" Redd said.

He was told about the one-point defeat at Virginia, although none of the gory details.

"A tough one," Redd said. "A tough one. Those guys, they're strong guys. They're going to pull through."

What was unmistakable: Redd is happy now. That's what the decision to transfer from Penn State was about at its core, his father, Silas Sr., said outside the locker room. It is no revelation to know that Redd suffered through last November with so many others, that he almost decided to transfer as soon as the season was over. His father confirmed all that, then said that Redd had liked what he had seen from Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien.

Then came the Freeh report and the NCAA sanctions.

Those sanctions were the reason for the transfer?

"Too simplistic," his father said, relating how Penn State had been Redd's dream school since he was 7, that Penn State fans "are the No. 1 fans in college football, NUMBER ONE."

Had any Penn Staters hassled Redd after he decided to transfer?

"Yeah, but I knew that was going to come with the territory," Redd said. "That's the reason I got off Twitter, just to eliminate some of the distractions."

There were none here. The first people he saw when he came off the bus before the game, Redd said, were his family and a contingent from his hometown of Norwalk, Conn. He texted his mother from the locker room before the game to say how much that meant.

"Amazing - 3,000 miles away, the first thing you see is your family," Redd said. "That was incredible."

During the game, Redd played his game. A hole developed fast just off tackle. Redd got there quickly, turning the seam into a gain, a first down. Redd ran straight downfield, no fanfare, like always. He blocked off a blither on USC's first touchdown, ran the middle leg of a reverse, taking a pitch and handing off to receiver Marqise Lee for a 23-yard gainer. Later, the other Trojans star receiver went 76 yards on another reverse.

How many reverses had Redd been a part of at Penn State?

"None," he said, acknowledging there were similarities and differences in the playbooks.

Leaving Penn State was no ego play for Redd. His quarterback, Matt Barkley, is a Heisman favorite. His family paid Redd the most attention afterward.

You certainly don't have to care about Silas Redd anymore. Can you really hassle someone for choosing happiness, and for deciding to play for a national title? You can blame the NCAA for the harshest of sanctions, but if Penn State had done the right thing by Silas Redd in every respect, if the people paid to make the right decisions over the years had made them, wouldn't he still be there?

Did he feel like he deserved a little sun after what he (and many others) had gone through?

"Yeah, that's just the grace of God," Redd said. "You've got to face adversity. But you've just got to keep praying and keep your head high, because you know your due day is coming soon."

He was asked if he felt like a Trojan through and through. "Absolutely." He was asked about the Trojans being a team people root against. "They've been on top for so long. I'm just glad I'm a part of it."

He had traded iconic uniforms, and ran the way he has always run. A 40-yarder came late in the game after Redd broke two tackles near the line.

"Football is football," his father said outside the Trojans locker room. "Whether it's in Central Pennsylvania or in Los Angeles."

Contact Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or mjensen@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @Jensenoffcampus.

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