Saturday night in a tight game with the Arizona Wildcats, UCLA’s Myles Jack put in a dazzling two-way performance that helped the Bruins to a 31-26 victory. Could a Trojan do the same?
The true freshman linebacker logged eight tackles on defense, which was third on the team, got into the backfield for a tackle for loss, broke up two passes and then recovered a Ka’Deem Carey fumble at the goal line in the endzone in the third quarter. Not quite satisfied with that performance, he jumped into the injury-thinned Bruin running back rotation and ripped off 120 yards on six carries, including a 66-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter.
While fans of USC will not be particularly enthusiastic about the gem that the Bruins may have uncovered in Jack, his performance could be something to keep in mind as the Trojans move into the final year of scholarship reductions. The injury problems USC has faced this year are likely due to continue and the coaching staff, however it is composed next season, will need to find more and more ways to deal with lack of depth, particularly at key positions.
The Trojan squad is loaded with highly-rated players who played on both sides of the ball and could be useful stepping in where bodies are needed.
For instance, Jack isn’t the only linebacker in Los Angeles who has proven to be a powerhouse at running back. Tre Madden made the full-time switch and still leads the Trojans in rushing despite missing the bulk of three games. Last season, receiver Marqise Lee was tested briefly at cornerback when depth and production at that position were in dire straits.
One name that comes to mind going forward is freshman safety Su’a Cravens, who has excelled in his early career and could very well do so on the other side of the ball at receiver as well.
“He would be great,” Orgeron said of Cravens in his Sunday presser. “I’m open to discussion but not now, he has a lot of his plate.”