To combat an overload of linebackers and a bare cupboard of running backs, Lane Kiffin has moved soon-to-be sophomore Tre Madden from linebacker to running back during Spring Camp. It’s an easy move for Madden in terms of reps, as he’ll get reps behind Curtis McNeal and D.J. Morgan, as mentioned in our spring breakdown of the USC backfield.
In 2006, Pete Carroll signed the two Colton boys, Allen Bradford and Shareece Wright, who were both expected to play on defense. In camp however, Carroll moved Bradford to running back and he was a big cog in the USC running game when he was healthy in 2009 and 2010. Will the move of Madden to running back be similar to Carroll’s move of Bradford or akin to Lane Kiffin’s experiment to have George Farmer in the backfield last season? That’s hard to pin-point, as Madden was better on the defensive side of the ball at Mission Viejo High School, as opposed to his time spent at quarterback.
As a senior, Madden ran for 340 yards as a quarterback on just 36 carries. He didn’t get a whole ton of chances to run the ball, but he picked his spots, including a 79-yard touchdown run against Loyola.
Madden brings speed and quickness to an already speedy backfield, as his size is more synonymous with a running back than a linebacker, as opposed to Allen Bradford that was built more like a linebacker. Madden does have enough strength to take hits however, which is a huge benefit over George Farmer, who hasn’t been healthy since the third grade. Madden stands in at 6’0″, 220 lbs., with a 40-time of 4.5 according to Michael Lev of the Orange County Register. That’s a solid mix of strength and quickness, something that USC has lacked since Bradford, as Lev points out.
Through two practices, the Madden experiment has gone smoothly for the Trojans, as coaches like Kennedy Polamalu have raved about his instincts with the ball.
Looking to get a glimpse of Tre Madden’s running before April 14th’s Spring Game at the Coliseum? Check out this YouTube clip from 2010. As you can see, Madden has the potential to make a clean switch, and if he can, the Trojans can avert was may have been a crisis of having a barren backfield.