Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
December 31, 2011By Matt Herb
Blue White Illustrated
DALLAS - No disrespect to Penn State's medical staff, but when Silas Redd was asked Saturday afternoon about his recovery from a collarbone injury that slowed him in the last three games of the Nittany Lions' regular season, the first thing he cited was his mom's cooking. Redd spent five days at home in Connecticut after Penn State wrapped up its practices on campus in December and apparently did a lot of his rehab work in Yvonne Redd's kitchen.
"Her macaroni and cheese, her yams, her collard greens, fried chicken, banana pudding - just a whole bunch of things," he said.
"That food is just good for your soul."
It's also good for the Nittany Lions' chances of defeating Houston on Monday in the TicketCity Bowl. Ball control will be pivotal for the Lions as they look to keep Houston's high-scoring offense off the field for long stretches. Redd, who ranked fourth in the Big Ten in rushing during the regular season at 99 yards per game, figures to be the focus of that effort.
Redd said he's been feeling completely healthy lately. Pointing to his collarbone, he said, "I don't really feel this thing when I'm on the field. It's more so when I'm waking up after sleeping on it. Once I get it loose, it feels fine."
He was injured against Nebraska when a defensive lineman landed on top of him after making a tackle. He continued to play but was a diminished factor in games against Ohio State and Wisconsin, totaling only 20 carries.
"It was pretty tough," he said. "I tried to be there for our team. Luckily, [Stephfon Green] really went off and was a great part of our offense, so that was a great help."
The Lions will likely need Redd to be at his best against Houston, because they need to keep Case Keenum and company off the field. The Cougars have not been great against the run this season, ranking seventh in Conference USA at 171.8 yards per game.
For Penn State's offensive players, that's an encouraging stat. "Our coaches are definitely stressing ball control, time of possession," senior tackle Quinn Barham said. "So we're going to try to hold the ball as long as we can to take the pressure off our defense and put up points."
Whatever happens in the bowl game, Redd has had a marvelous debut season as Penn State's starting tailback. He was one of the Big Ten's iron men, one of only five ball carriers in the league to surpass 200 carries. He got 133 carries in October alone, and he'll surely be a major part of Penn State's transition to a new coaching regime next season, no matter who that coach happens to be.
Looking ahead to 2012, Redd talked about the need for proper nutrition, for what he called "protective lifting," a weight-training regimen aimed at building the sort of muscle that enhances durability. He talked about wearing more padding around his rib cage. But mostly, his plan for the off-season is just to maintain his intensity.
"Be a freak in the weight room, be a freak on drills, agility drills and stuff," he said. "I want to work on my craft as much as I can. I can gauge what kind of a grind it is now and really work on things for next year."