Lane Kiffin told the media after Saturday’s scrimmage that RB Silas Redd suffered a torn meniscus when he went down during Thursday’s practice, and will have surgery next Tuesday. He will miss the remainder of spring camp, but should be ready to go come the fall.
With him out of practice, the happenings in the running back corps just got that much more interesting.
Javorious “Buck” Allen, D.J. Morgan, and newcomer Justin Davis are actively vying for the No. 2 running back spot, with Tre Madden also attending practice in a limited capacity while he continues to fully heal from the ACL injury that sidelined him last year. With Redd now out due to injury, this trio will find themselves splitting opportunities when the team returns from spring break. Any of them can use this time to get an advantage over the others, and to show Kiffin why he should be the compliment to Redd.
Davis has been impressing early in camp, with an aggressive, relentless style of play. He quite possibly has the best hands on the team of the offensive skill position players, and that kind of ball control is something that Coach Kiffin is certainly going to notice. He made the most of the limited amount of carries he got before spring break, and now with Redd out, his work ethic could see an increase in responsibility and opportunity for the rest of camp.
Morgan has also been impressive as of late, which goes a long way for him, as he has spent much of his career with Troy in Kiffin’s dog house. Fumble-itis plagued him repeatedly in his token appearances during the 2011 season, which saw him benched for the majority of it. He cleaned up his game in 2012, and even had some standout performances against Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, where he showed his ability to make tacklers miss as well as his improved hands. Now is a good time for him to show the coaches that he is ready to take the No. 2 spot not just for his maturity and knowledge of the system–an advantage he has over the younger tailbacks–but also for his increasing aptitude for keeping the ball in his hands.
Allen is probably having the quietest spring camp of the active running backs, but not for lack of productivity. Kiffin noted last week that he had a couple strong practices, most specifically the one last Thursday. When practice went live, Allen capped his performance in the scrimmage with a 4-yard touchdown run and followed that with with a 20-yard dash to the house on the final play day.
Not only do the Trojans have these three guys already in the mix, but they can expect to have Madden back by the fall, as well as to welcome newcomer Ty Isaac. When Redd returns, USC should have a strong idea not only of what their go-to ground game is going to look like, but also of who they will want to look to as reliable alternates.
The Trojans find themselves with a bevy of talent in the running backs corps, and with the building blocks to reestablish a resemblance of Tailback U.