The rise of linebacker-turned-running back Tre Madden was unfortunately cut short earlier this week due to a torn ligament in his knee. During Thursday’s practice, Madden was carrying the ball and went down untouched. It was later determined that as a result of this injury, Madden would miss then entire 2012 season, creating a new thorn in the side of the USC offense.
So now what do they do?
Well, the Trojans do have a few options, though none of which are particularly ideal as of yet. Madden was quickly developing into another go-to weapon for USC’s ground game, which would take some of the pressure off of Curtis McNeal. Without him USC now only has McNeal and redshirt sophomore D.J. Morgan who have in-game experience, and Morgan didn’t get all that much as he had a case of fumble-itis at various points in the season. However, as we noted earlier, USC could potentially look to incoming freshman wide receiver Nelson Agholor to do some ball carrying, as the Trojans are stacked at wide receiver and will likely not need him there next season. There is also another athlete that the Trojans could utilize, one who has flown under the radar since he became a Trojan: Javorious “Buck” Allen.
During Saturday’s scrimmage, Allen got his chance to show the coaches that he too could be an offensive weapon. We don’t know much about Allen yet as he has redshirted last year and has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury all spring, but if he plays his cards right, he could make a strong case for himself to move up the depth chart this fall.
Even if Allen or Agholor steps up to the challenge, the Trojans are still tasked with fielding an offense that really only has one reliable, experienced back. This could spell disaster for USC’s hopes of going all the way, but then again, maybe not. This coaching staff has proven over the past two seasons that they are capable of developing young talent, and doing it fast (case in point: starting WRs Robert Woods and Marquise Lee, and LBs Hayes Pullard, Dion Bailey, and Lamar Dawson are all underclassmen).
So with the story of Tre Madden officially over, the new story could be whether Buck Allen has what it takes to propel himself into the spotlight. He has one more week of spring ball to make the adjustments necessary to end camp on a good note, and to put himself in a good position heading into the fall.