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PSU's Redd looks to expand his impact

| Thursday, April 12, 2012, 3:14 p.m.
Penn State running backs Silas Redd (25) and Michael Zordich (9) run onto the   practice field for the first day of spring football practice in State College, Pa., Monday, March 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Penn State running backs Silas Redd (25) and Michael Zordich (9) run onto the practice field for the first day of spring football practice in State College, Pa., Monday, March 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

UNIVERSITY PARK — Silas Redd has made a name for himself running the ball at Penn State.

This season, he'll get an opportunity to expand his skill set.

Redd, a rising junior, has been focused during spring practices on becoming more of a receiving threat.

“(Coach Bill O'Brien's) offense really plays to each player's strength,” Redd said. “We've been seeing that out here. We've hit guys for a couple of deep balls. We've hit guys on screens and some zone plays. ... Our motto is play fast.”

Redd rushed for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns last season but caught just nine passes for 40 yards.

Much attention has been on the tight end position's increased role in the Nittany Lions' offense.

But Redd expects to be asked to carry more of the load, as well.

Film study

Penn State watches offensive film of the New England Patriots to see the similarities between their scheme and the pro-style offense they are trying to run.

O'Brien said his players are sometimes wide-eyed as they watch, perhaps justifying why the head coach would like to see the offense further along.

“We've thrown a lot at these guys. To be fair to them they've got to go to class too,” O'Brien said. “We tried to put everything in so when they get to training camp they're not hearing something for the first time. I think the progress has been decent, but obviously, like every coach would say, it's not to the point where I'd like it.”

Bland for Blue-White

While a downtown fireworks display is planned for Blue-White weekend next week, don't expect the Nittany Lions to display many fireworks inside Beaver Stadium.

“There's 85,000 people in the stands, and I'm not sure who all those 85,000 people are,” O'Brien said Friday. “I wouldn??t expect us to show a lot, but we'll show up and we'll play hard.”

The Lions wrapped up their ninth practice of the spring yesterday, and while the quarterback position is still a three-man race between Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Paul Jones, O'Brien hopes the three will split reps at next Saturday's scrimmage.

McGloin and Bolden shared reps during the part of yesterday's practice open to the media. Jones (Sto-Rox) wasn't available because he was working on an internship.

Walking wounded

Already without starting linebacker Mike Mauti (ACL) for the duration of spring practice, the Lions could be minus linebacker Khairi Fortt (sprained knee) for the Blue-White Game.

Fortt banged up his knee about a week ago, and O'Brien said the medical staff will make a decision about the linebacker's availability by the middle of next week. O'Brien said he did not believe the injury was serious.

Receiver Devon Smith continues to recover from a sprained left foot and will miss the rest of spring, O'Brien said.

“That's precautionary,” O'Brien said. “Why bring him back in the spring when he can rehab it and concentrate on academics?”

Audrey Snyder is a freelance writer.

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