Through his first two career starts, Silas Redd has shown some of the electric things he can do with a football in his hands. The sophomore has rushed for 169 yards on 34 carries (about 5 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. The speedy running back is dangerous in the open field, can break tackles running up the middle and has a dynamic spin move that could shake college football's most-skilled defenders.
But after Penn State’s first drive against Alabama last Saturday, during which Redd ran the ball eight times for 32 yards, Redd and Penn State’s running game was held in check. The Crimson Tide held Redd to 34 yards on 14 carries the rest of the day. Back-up Brandon Beachum added 13 yards on just three carries, while neither fullback - Joe Suhey or Mike Zordich - carried the ball.
As a unit, the offense stalled against Alabama. When Penn State visits Temple at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, Redd said the running backs need to simply keep doing what they have been doing to be successful.
It won’t be easy, as the Owls defense has given up just 82 rushing yards per game thus far.
“We played a great defense last week,” said Redd, who scored the Nittany Lions’ lone touchdown against the Crimson Tide on a one-yard run with 1:53 left in the game. “I think keeping fresh legs in the game will be a big part of wearing defenses down on those long drives. But for the most part, I think we’re doing a good on the run game.”
"Two games doesn’t define our offense and we know that. We're looking to improve and get better and show the nation how good of an offense we really are.”
Alabama’s defense made adjustments and did a good job stopping the run, Redd said. He said his experience playing the Crimson Tide, in which he had 22 carries, will help prepare him physically and mentally for the rest of the season.
“We’re definitely putting pressure on ourselves just to improve and get better after last week. But the tempo and the enthusiasm is still there,” he said. “We’ve got our heads up and we’re moving forward.”
In addition watching film of Temple’s defense from this season to prepare for Saturday, Redd said the offense has studied some tape of last year’s Outback Bowl, when Penn State lost to Florida. The co-defensive coordinator for the Gators then was Chuck Heater, now the Owls defensive coordinator.
The Owls head coach, Steve Addazio, was Florida’s offensive coordinator. When he was with the Gators, he recruited Redd out of high school.
“I knew he was an explosive guy then and obviously he’s having a lot of success at Penn State,” Addazio said. “He’s got great quickness and vision, change of direction. I remember back recruiting him I felt that way about him. And I think he’s a very, very talented back. I think he’s a great weapon for Penn State for sure.”
Saturday will mark the second time that Redd, and many other Nittany Lions, will play in an NFL Stadium. Penn State played Indiana at FedEx Field in Washington, D.C. last November.
“That was a great experience,” said Redd, a Norwalk, Conn. native. “So I’m happy and excited to do it again especially knowing that my (New York) Giants play there (a week from Sunday).”