The USC Trojans have held decades of success with some of the best athletes in the nation pounding the rock in between the tackles for Troy. Over the course of the entire near-century of football success, plenty of outstanding and award-winning backs have donned cardinal and gold at the Coliseum. With the likes of Reggie Bush, Charles White, O.J. Simpson, and Marcus Allen in the backfield, the Trojans have been blessed with an outstanding lineage of runners.
This season, the Trojans have a newly bolstered running back corps, one that has been largely average for the past number of seasons. Let’s take a look at what USC will bring to the table come game day.
RETURNING STARTER: Silas Redd
KIFFIN’S THOUGHTS: “We need more production out of our run game in 2013. We will make it an emphasis to establish the run. Silas Redd is a talented veteran runner and we expect a big senior year out of him.”
QUICK 2012 RECAP: A 2,500-yard career rusher (905 of those yards came last fall at USC after he transferred from Penn State), Redd made an instant impact with the USC rushing attack. The Trojans were undefeated (3-0) when the junior rushed for more than 100 yards in a game. This, in a year where Redd recorded a career-high 26 carries against Washington last season in the Trojans 24-14 impressive road victory.
HELP ALONG THE WAY:
Junior D.J. Morgan(41 carries, 201 yards, 4.9 average, 1 TD in 2012) will provide a solid change of pace option in 2013. The dual-sport athlete (he also is a hurdler on the track & field team) started twice in his career. Morgan is a shifty back in the hole and could provide a similar impact that Curtis McNeal (6.0 average per rush) supplied last season.
Sophomore Tre Madden could be the missing link for this rushing attack. The prized talent switched from linebacker to tailback in 2012 and was very impressive before suffering a knee injury that sidelined him this fall.
“Us as coaches knew losing Tre was a significant injury a year ago” Kiffin said at Pac-12 Media Day.
Sophomore Javorius Allen (6 touches, 32 yards, 5.3 average in 2012) adds quality depth. Allen accumulated two carries in three games last season (SYR,CAL,COL), racking in a season-high seven yard rush against Colorado.
FRESHMEAT IN THE WINGS:
Justin Davis (Lincoln High) enrolled at USC this past spring after graduating a semester early from high school and participated in spring drills. Davis has made a splash in first semester with Troy, showing that aside from wide receiver Marqise Lee, he has the best hands on the team. Look for him to get game day reps early in his career at USC. There’s also Ty Isaac (Joliet Catholic Academy), an incoming player that has the physique and five-star tools to make an immediate impact.
Both these freshmen will be given the chance to compete for second-string reps and should be part of the Trojans revamped efforts to pound the rock. Lane Kiffin continues to stress the importance of pounding the rock, and the backfield has a great tandem of strength, power and agility to compete with the best attacks in the Pac-12.