With a Strong Spring, Redd Poised for Big 2012 Season

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Former Penn State great Ki-Jana Carter stood alongside the practice field closest to the Lasch Football Building on Monday afternoon talking with ESPN analysts Jesse Palmer and Joe Schad while Silas Redd moved through positional drills.

At the time, Redd was working on footwork with running backs coach Charles London and the rest of the backs on an unseasonably warm April afternoon.  Looking on, Palmer and Schad asked the 1994 Heisman Trophy runner-up what he thought of Redd.

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"He is really, really good," Carter said.  "With his speed and quickness, he is great player."

Carter, who will work as an analyst for the BTN during Saturday's Blue-White Game, went on to compare Redd to some of the all-time great backs in Penn State football history.

It's hard to argue with Carter.  Redd, who is coming off a 1,200-yard season in 2011, looks to be well on his way to an even better 2012 campaign.  The Norwalk, Conn., native has been very impressive throughout the spring practice season.

Watching Redd during his first two seasons, you wouldn't think he could get much lighter on his feet, but the junior looks a step quicker this spring.  Weighing shy of 210 pounds, Redd is currently at the playing weight he is most comfortable with.

Heading into his third full season, Redd is now a veteran and a leader for the Nittany Lion offense.

"During the winter workouts, I was a little more vocal," said Redd.  "I tried to lead by example, not cheating any reps.  It is the same out here on the field.  I try to give it my all in the individual drills, when we do team work, I try to give it my all on every rep."

Redd played very well in the team's intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday.  Like the rest of the Nittany Lion offense, he has put in a great deal of time learning the new playbook.

"After I am done with my schoolwork, you have to put your head in the playbook or you aren't going to be successful out here," said Redd.

Always eager to face a challenge, Redd has enjoyed learning the new Penn State offense.

"It has been like another class for us," Redd said.  "If you are buying into it, it almost becomes fun for you."

Coach O'Brien has repeatedly said that the offense will throw the ball to the running backs.  With Redd's speed and elusiveness in the open field, the potential of more balls thrown his way in space is something Redd is really looking forward to in the fall.  He watched the Patriots do it in the NFL Playoffs, and now he is going to see it firsthand.

"What I really liked a lot (watching the Patriots) was the offense's ability to play to each player's strengths," said Redd.

Redd's talent level and work ethic have not gone unnoticed by Coach O'Brien this spring.  Coach O'Brien has often stated how impressed he is with the way Redd conducts himself on and off the field.  The two have talked about what Redd needs to work on as he pursues a career on Sundays when his time at Penn State is done.

"Coach says that most rookie running backs don't know how to block," said Redd.  "God willing, if I get the chance to go to the next level, that is something I really want to be good at."

In all, the Big Ten returns nine of its top 10 rushers from 2011.  Redd was the Big Ten's fourth-leading rusher in fall, but he is working towards more.

"I think our effort is second to none," Redd said.  "Sometimes you have to focus more on the little things, but that will come.  It is still pretty new for us.  We are buckling down and working to be successful because that is what we want to do."

Judging by the way he looks this spring, Redd is primed to take things to the next level in 2012.


Follow GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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