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February 23, 2011When Brandon Beachum suffered a catastrophic knee injury near the conclusion of the 2009 season, the true sophomore running back was the Nittany Lions' fourth leading rusher behind Evan Royster, Stephfon Green and Daryll Clark.
Although Beachum had every intention of returning for the 2010 season, eventually ration won out, sending Beachum to a redshirt season and leaving the void for true freshman tailback Silas Redd to fill.
Without a doubt, he picked up right where Beachum left off, supplementing Royster's 1,014 yards on the ground with 437 yards of his own, plus two touchdowns, on 77 carries this season while partially supplanting Green in the process.
Now, Penn State's career rushing leader is getting set to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, leaving the starting running back duties open to competition between Beachum, Green, Redd and Curtis Dukes this winter, spring and summer leading into the 2011 football season.
Blue White Illustrated caught up with Redd for our first official interview over the weekend to talk about his involvement with THON and the 'Make-A-Wish' program he participated in at the Lasch Building on Saturday, plus his progress in winter workouts, and the brewing battle to take over the starting tailback role this fall.
Check out the complete interview and transcript below!
BWI: What does it mean to you guys to be able to participate in this THON 'Make-A-Wish' program?
Redd: It's just a chance to give back to the community and show the fans and people of Penn State and the program that we really appreciate the things they do for us, the way they support us, and we just want to let them know that we support them as well. So, I'm going to make it an annual thing to do to Make a Wish. I can't wait for next year.
BWI: Was this your first year?
Redd: This was my first year doing it. I took part in the pep rally at THON last year, but I didn't get a chance to do Make a Wish, so, I can't wait to do it next year.
BWI: How much does this provide you guys with some perspective? Not that everybody doesn't have it, but you're bigtime college athletes and then get to interact with people that have struggles. Does it stay with you for a bit?
Redd: It's a humbling experience. It's an eye-opener. It does so many things for you to make you realize what people have and don't have. It makes you appreciate them even more than you already do.
BWI: It also comes in the middle of what is a grind of winter workouts. Is it nice to break that up a little bit?
Redd:It's definitely the most positive part of winter workouts and the offseason, so when THON weekend comes around, it's definitely a time where we get to sit back and relax and really enjoy the kids and everything.
BWI: How are winter workouts going?
Redd: They're tough. They're ferocious. They're fierce. Whatever adjective you want to use, that's what they are. I think we're really just pushing each other to finish and get to spring ball. It's a time when everybody is working hard and the team is just that, a team, and a family and we're working together.
BWI: With Evan gone, the door is finally open. What kind of an opportunity is that for you and what's your mindset about it?
Redd: Well, it's open season for all the candidates, for the starting spot. Myself, Beachum, Stephfon and Curtis, and we're all going to puch each other and work for that spot. Whoever gets it, the thing is between us, there's no animosity. Whoever gets it, we're going to push that person and continue to push that person through the season and hope nothing but the best and have their back.
BWI: Every new year has a new team personality and character. What's this year's like?
Redd: Family. Really, we're sticking together because this season wasn't the season we anticipated to have. I think that just united us even more. Through the season, through the bowl experience, through this off-season. It's brought us that much closer. That's really the foundation, really the nucleus of this team is the family aspect of it.
BWI: When there is so much talk about the disappointment of 7-6, what does that do to you guys? Does that bring everybody together?
Redd: Absolutely, and it gives us extra motivation. It's just extra motivation to... I'm sure there's the same talk for this year. We just want to prove everybody wrong who doubts us and give our fans, family and the program just a great showing this year.