Having to follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest runners in Penn State history and the school’s all-time leading rusher, Silas Redd has little room for error.
Though, Stephfon Green will get some consideration as the starter, there’s no way to get around the fact that Redd provides Penn State with the best chance to win right now because of his ability to break off the long runs and shift in-and-out between defenders.
Out of the spotlight, Redd compiled 437 yards on 77 attempts with two touchdowns in his freshman campaign. His biggest competition this offseason, Green, only ran for 188 yards and one score on just 48 attempts.
Green will be a senior in 2012 whereas Redd will be just a sophomore, but from a talent perspective, Redd has the advantage…by far.
For all the success and praise Royster received during his illustrious career at Penn State, the Nittany Lions running attack struggled as a unit to find the endzone. In the Big Ten, Penn State ranked just ahead of two schools, Purdue and Indiana, with 16 touchdowns via the run. Those 16 touchdowns are nothing compared to Wisconsin, who led the Big Ten with 39 rushing touchdowns.
Between the teams inability to receive points on the ground and the questions that remain at quarterback on whether or not Rob Boldin or Matt McGloin will be the starter, Penn State has no choice but to start Redd.
Of course, Green will receive his fair share of touches, but Redd should be the one who gets the most opportunities.
Outside of Redd and Green, the Lions have a handful of other runners, most notably Brandon Beachum and Curtis Dukes.
Beachum, an Ohio native who will be a senior in 2012, rushed for 113 yards on 24 attempts and reached the endzone once last season. He won’t compete for the starting role, but he will remain a reliable option on the sidelines.
The same can be said for Dukes, who will be a sophomore next season. He only touched the ball twice last season with one of those runs going for 11 yards against Indiana. Expect him to receive some more touches in 2012, but no more than Beachum barring injury.
The backfield situation, as it stands now, appears to be bright, mainly because of Redd and his chances at becoming the next star runner in Happy Valley.