When in doubt -- duck.
That's what I was thinking when it became obvious that Penn State was going to take a huge hit with Silas Redd deciding to take his football talents to Southern Cal.
I don't blame Redd.
I'm not angry about the decision he made, either.
I'm not convinced it will turn out to be the best decision he could have made for himself, but I don't necessarily think it was a bad decision, either.
Time will tell.
Because either way, I think it was a decent bet that Redd was only going to play one more season of college football anyway. Unless, of course, he was hurt or he didn't have a very good year running the ball.
Then he might have come back for his senior season.
Why? Well, because in his case college football is little more than a stepping stone to the NFL. It's all about exposure. It's all about making a name for himself to improve his chances of landing high on the NFL draft list. It's all about the money, and don't think otherwise.
I don't think that's wrong, necessarily. It's what players in most major sports do in an attempt to place themselves as high as possible on the food chain.
So to Redd, a chance to play in the Rose Bowl game against the Big Ten champion, or in the national title game, looked like too good an opportunity to pass up.
Except, in either case, that it is just one postseason game. And there is a pretty decent chance that USC won't even win the Pac-10 -- Oregon and Stanford have decent shots, too -- with Redd in the backfield.
Plus, had Redd remained at Penn State he would have had a chance to showcase his talents by playing in what might amount to be bowl-type games against two of the four best Big Ten teams -- Wisconsin and Ohio State, both top-15 preseason picks -- during the regular season.
I have a hunch NFL scouts and coaches have a pretty good idea of a college player's talents and skill level way before he gets to a bowl game. What players do during the regular season matters, too.
And I'm thinking NFL honchos could care less about collegiate national football championships. In fact, if a player they're interested in is playing in the big game, they're probably holding their breath the whole time hoping he doesn't get injured.
Anyway, I'm not so sure Redd might not have been sold a bill of goods by USC that won't add up when push comes to shove in January.
But we'll see.
No matter what, though, I don't mind too much seeing Redd head to the West Coast.
And I surely don't mind seeing quarterback also-ran Rob Bolden head south to LSU. He's not going to play at LSU, either, once they see his skill set up close. At Penn State, he went from starter to third-string in six months. Sorry, but the guy was headed in the wrong direction.
Besides, he'd worn out his welcome at Penn State. His talent was exceeded only by his self-interest and lack of performance. It was time for him to go.
In fact, of all the guys on the list of certain or potential Penn State escapees, the only one I'd truly miss -- and the most valuable in my mind -- is kicker/punter Anthony Fera, who's being courted by Texas.
Over the course of a long season, Fera might have more value than any single player.
I know, people hardly ever say that about kickers and punters, guys who stand along the sideline most of the game in clean uniforms, afterthoughts almost, until you need them to win a game for you from 45 yards out and three seconds on the clock.
Fera was selected all-Big Ten (ESPN) last year as a punter. He was a Lou Groza finalist. And he booted 14-of-17 (11-for-11 from 40 yards or closer) on attempted field goals. He's said to have an explosive foot, and you can bet he's already on some NFL scout's radar.
I'm sorry Redd is leaving.
But the guy I'll miss most if he leaves is Fera.
So I hope he decides to stay.
Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick firstname.lastname@example.org.