Last spring, Lane Kiffin moved former linebacker Tre Madden to the offensive side of the ball, certain that Madden would be a much-needed addition to the running backs corps. Just as Madden was going about proving Kiffin right, he tore his ACL in April, prohibiting him from suiting up during the 2012 campaign. The Trojans then went about acquiring Silas Redd from Penn State, and the rest is history.
Nearly a year later of rehab and recuperation, Madden has been cleared for limited activity this Spring, and will soon enough be on his way to making himself an integral part of the Trojan running game.
To ESPN.com, Madden spoke of his excitement about getting back into the thick of things.
“It feels amazing to be back with the team and running. Running, especially, I appreciate that a lot more now that I went through everything that I did.”
As anxious as he is to prove what he can do, his return to the action will be tempered and he will likely not participate in contract drills until fall camp.
This winter however, he is cleared to attend players-only workouts, which will go a long way in him really immersing himself in the offensive strategy.
When Madden was asked to make the switch, the Trojans had Curtis McNeal and no really reliable back ups for him. A season later, the running backs corps couldn’t look any more different: Silas Redd is the new leader of this squadron, and the formerly fumble-prone D.J. Morgan made great strides in 2012 to show he has matured both as a person and a ball player. The Trojans also have Javorious “Buck” Allen waiting for his time, and newbie Justin Davis has been in the mix as well, doing team works out and getting a leg up on learning from the veterans.
There’s no indication yet where Madden where fall into rank, but his presence alone already bolsters this unit that was once plagued by depth issues.
New running backs coach Tommie Robinson will have a bevy of talented players to utilize in 2013, and how he tailors a running game that suits each of these guys’ strengths will certainly be interesting to follow as spring ball gets underway, and the position battles begin.