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Commentary: Don’t buy the Silas Redd hype

Courtesy of MCT

Junior running back Silas Redd put up big numbers for Penn State football in 2011, but that doesn’t mean the newest addition to the Southern Cal roster puts the Trojans in the driver seat for the national title.

Redd rushed for 1,241 net yards and seven touchdowns in 2011, but he’s not the clutch player the current hype might make him out to be. You may be hearing his name a lot right now, but don’t expect that to last deep into the 2012 season.

The featured back in the PSU offense last season, Redd carried the ball 241 times – more than 3.8 times the amount of running back Stephon Green, the Nittany Lions second-leading rusher in 2011 with 275 yards.

Redd finished the season averaging 96 yards per game, but that number was bloated by strong outings against weak opponents. 

The vast majority of the yardage Redd accumulated in 2011 – 807 yards, to be exact – came against teams with a combined record of 34-41, and included Indiana State (a Football Championship Subdivision team), Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Northwestern and Illinois.

It was against those six opponents that Redd tallied his only 100-yard rushing performances.

Those are big numbers and you can’t take them away from Redd – it’s the type of production you’d expect from a decent running back against average-to-below-average competition.

The luster dims when you look at what Redd did – or didn’t do as the case appears to be – against the Nittany Lions’ toughest opponents.

Redd averaged just 65 yards per game against Temple, Eastern Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Houston and eventual national champion Alabama – teams with a combined record of 66-26 last season. 

If you’re keeping score at home, Redd had 65 yards against the reigning national champs, 86 against Temple, 48 against Eastern Michigan, 53 against Nebraska, 63 against the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium, 66 at Wisconsin and 53 against Houston in PSU’s appearance in the TicketCity Bowl. 

That’s 434 total yards against the best team in the country, some of the best in the Big Ten and a couple other games against Mid-American Conference teams and the Buckeyes where, frankly, you’d expect better for a player getting so much hype right now. 

The best you can say about Redd’s 2011 performance is that he was consistently inconsistent. And some say he’s going to be the player that pushes USC into the realm of a definite national title contender?

I don’t buy it.

Redd is serviceable player that figures to put big numbers up against the Pac 12’s bottom and middle tier programs, but that’s all. He’s likely to be aided by the four returning starters on USC’s offensive line, though they will be missing Matt Khalil, the No. 4 overall NFL Draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings.

The numbers don’t lie – Redd’s best games came against an FCS team and the weaker half of the Big Ten. That’s all you need to know. 

Unless USC meets Northwestern in the national title game, you’ll hear Redd’s name less and less the deeper we get into the upcoming season.

Transfer update

Redd isn’t the most recent player to jump ship on PSU coach Bill O’Brien. Redshirt freshman safety was the first official transfer from the Nittany Lions program is leaving Happy Valley for N.C. State.

Junior tight end Kevin Haplea is transferring to Florida State, incoming defensive lineman Jamil Pollard has switched his commitment to Rutgers and junior linebacker Khairi Fortt is on his way to Cal.  

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