Penn State Football: 5 Expectations for Silas Redd This Season

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2012

Penn State Football: 5 Expectations for Silas Redd This Season

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    Silas Redd will be the focal point of this year's Nittany Lion offense, and he will be one of the Big Ten's premier players.

    That much is certain.

    His exact numbers, and new role in Bill O'Brien's offense, is not as easy to predict. But I'm going to try.

    Penn State's offense will go as Redd goes, and I have a hunch that he will exceed expectations this season.

    Let's take a look at Penn State's running back and what Nittany Lion fans should expect from him this season.

250-Plus Carries

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    I think some people equate Bill O'Brien's attack to the New England Patriots' aerial assault, but that isn't necessarily the case.

    O'Brien was Georgia Tech's offensive coordinator in 2001 and held the same position with Duke in 2005.

    Yellow Jackets' running back Joe Burns had 282 carries in 2001. Three other Georgia Tech backs had at least 20 carries a piece.

    Duke used a "running back by committee" approach under O'Brien in 2005. No one had over 200 carries, but the Blue Devils had 435 carries as a team.

    So, what does this mean?

    It means O'Brien adapted to his personnel under Bill Belichick in New England. They didn't have a running back to speak of so he didn't run the ball.

    But that doesn't mean he won't. In fact, with Silas Redd, he will.

    Redd had 244 carries last season. Guessing 250 this year is a safe bet, but the number could be even higher.

1,500 Yards

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    Redd's 1,241 yards last season negate any boldness attached to this expectation. But it will be challenging nonetheless.

    I already discussed the increase in Redd's carries. Given his talent, I expect his yardage to jump accordingly.

    Another year of experience in the Big Ten will help Redd traverse its blue-collar, physical environment even easier this year. He has added strength, understands his capabilities and is completely capable of finding himself in Bill O'Brien's attack.

    Redd will benefit from more touches this year. A new offensive line could hamper him, but they will only be wet behind the ears for so long.

    He was able to run for 1,200-plus yards in his first year as a full-time starter. With his talent, that number should only go up.

20 Catches

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    Penn State fans can expect to see Silas Redd catch more passes this season. According to Dustin Hockensmith of The Patriot-News, "In O'Brien's offense, Redd said it's a 'great possibility' he'll haul in six to eight passes per game."

    If Redd pulls in that many passes, Penn State's offense will be better than anticipated. Giving Matt McGloin a dynamic safety valve out of the backfield will take the pressure off and allow him to relax under duress.

    Redd has only caught 13 passes in his two-year Penn State career. His ability to adapt to Bill O'Brien's system will enhance his production and his NFL draft stock.

    Fans should be excited. The idea of Redd catching passes on the edge will create more playmaking opportunities for the electric running back.

    That will only end well for Penn State's offense.

Stronger Running North-South

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    Silas Redd is one of the strongest, pound-for-pound players on Penn State's roster, according to Stefanie Loh of The Patriot-News.

    Redd's work ethic will pay off this season.

    Fans have come to expect Redd's open-field shiftiness and breakaway ability. Adding strong, north-south running will only sweeten the deal.

    Redd's explosiveness gives him the ability to burst through the line of scrimmage. His added strength will give him the chance to break more arm tackles from second-level defenders. This will increase long runs and make him a better all-around player.

    Penn State will rely on Redd to provide a little bit of everything for their offense this year. A stronger Redd will be even better than anticipated.

First Team All-Big Ten

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    This one is a bit tougher. The Big Ten is littered with several quality backs, and Redd will have a tough time cracking this group.

    But I am confident Redd will outperform the one of the first team's top three candidates: Montee Ball, Rex Burkhead and Fitz Toussaint. The latter two are more likely.

    Penn State cynics will point to Penn State's dismal attack and discount Redd, but that isn't logical. He's a year older, a year stronger and has had another year to adjust to the rigors of the Big Ten.

    Redd will enjoy an enormous year.

    The brunt of Penn State's offensive expectations will be on his shoulders. Expect Penn State's offensive line to overachieve, and Redd will do the rest.

    The Nittany Lion offense will be frustrating at times, but Redd is always worth watching.

    By the end of the season, he will be recognized as a top-two back in the Big Ten.