Silas Redd makes happy return east

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Before heading east this week, USC running back Silas Redd estimated he'd have about 25 family members and friends in attendance at MetLife Stadium to support him and the No. 2-ranked Trojans against Syracuse.

It turned it he was off by a few -- about 200 showed up.

And dozens of them stayed around to greet him after his starring performance in the Trojans' 42-29 win over the Orange, many of them proudly sporting USC gear. His father, mother, brother and sister all greeted him as soon as he left the locker room after the game.

"It felt incredible," Redd said later of the gameday experience. "Especially to show out in front of my family. It's a blessed feeling."

It's funny, actually: Redd played two seasons at Penn State, a school reasonably nearby his hometown of Norwalk, Conn. But the closest game to Norwalk he played while a Nittany Lion was three hours away from home at Temple in Philadelphia.

Now, two games into his stint across the country at USC and he's already playing his closest-to-home college game yet? Things clearly lined up well for Redd at USC in 2012, with Norwalk just about an hour drive from MetLife Stadium.

And he played well, carrying the ball 15 times for 107 yards, including a 40-yard gamebreaker that was a near-touchdown. He gained positive yardage on 14 of those 15 rushes, and lost only one yard on the 15th, continuing a tendency he showed last year at Penn State.

Redd and Curtis McNeal are still running backs 1a and 1b for the Trojans as of Saturday, but Redd has put himself in position to seize an even bigger portion of the carries in the next few weeks.

But his family didn't seem all too concerned with that sort of stuff after Saturday's game. Redd's father, Silas Redd Sr., a former Marine who now works with at-risk youth with the Connecticut police, stood comfortably near the area where his son was doing interviews for several minutes and quietly observed.

A few minutes later, Redd Sr. said he wasn't worrying about how his son was adapting to the USC offense on such a quick turnaround. He's been reinforcing the same things he's been saying for the better part of the last two decades, he said.

"We really don't talk about what the difference has been in terms of schematics or style of play," said Silas Redd Sr. "The message from us, as his family, since Pop Warner, has always been, 'Work hard.'

"Whether it's Pop Warner, the Big Ten, Pac-12 or flag football, work hard and don't let anybody outwork you."

Redd Sr. didn't make the trip to L.A. the previous weekend for USC's season opener because he and his wife, Yvonne, were moving their daughter -- Silas' sister -- into college. Of his friends and family, only Redd's girlfriend was in attendance at the Coliseum for that game.

So does Redd's father think his son made the right decision to leave Penn State for USC last month amid massive NCAA sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal?

"It's about happiness," Redd Sr. said in response to that question Saturday. "If that's where he's happy, 2,000-plus miles away, then I'm happy."

Does he think his son is happy at USC?