Nov 1, 2013; Corvallis, OR, USA; Southern California Trojans tailback Javorious Allen (37) is defended by Oregon State Beavers linebacker Caleb Saulo (35) on a 9-yard touchdown run in the first quarter at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Spring Football: Sarkisian Expects Running Back Rotation, Buck Allen Stands Out


USC spring practice swung back into gear Tuesday after a week of rest over spring break, giving fresh opportunities for players to impress the new coaching staff. Among those stand outs was running back Javorious “Buck” Allen, who is neck deep in one of the more interesting position battles of the spring.

It wasn’t his running which caught attention today though, it was his performance in the passing game.

With talent to spare at running and catching the ball, Rahshaun Haylock of Fox Sports predicts Allen will be heavily involved in the running back rotation this season.

Of course the big question has been whether or not Sarkisian is prepared to use a running back stable instead of the featured-back system he relied on at Washington. During his appearance on Trojans Live after practice, he cleared up where he stands on that subject.

“When you’re a run first [uptempo] offense like we are…you start talking forty-five to fifty carries a game and one guy can’t handle that alone,” Sarkisian said. “We’re at a luxury that we have a talented group of running backs that can carry that load for us.”

Sarkisian claimed that his penchant for leaning on one back with the Huskies was a product of circumstance and that he is fully prepared to play multiple running backs like he did in his first stint with the Trojans as an assistant.

If things work out as Sarkisian hopes, there should be more than enough carries for Allen, Tre Madden, and Justin Davis, who is sitting out the spring with injury, on top of fringe contributors like Ty Isaac and even Soma Vainuku.

In particular, Sarkisian praised Allen and Madden, who have a growing comfort level with running out of the shotgun and pistol.

Tags: Buck Allen Football Steve Sarkisian USC Trojans

  • Ben Factor

    One hears conflicting theories. One theory suggests that an RB needs to get in the rhythm of the game, and that the best RB in rhythm will be more successful than a rotation. The other theory is that fresh legs are really effective, and that rotation is better.

    My own guessing is that it all depends on the stable of RBs. Referring to USC history, you don’t take OJ Simpson (or Marcus Allen) out of the game to get fresh legs. The step-down in talent is too sharp. But I don’t think USC is in that position in 2014. Buck Allen played killer, no doubt, but Madden was pretty darn effective as well, and I personally think Davis’s field vision and resultant cutting was extraordinary, particularly for freshman. I didn’t really follow Isaac too closely, but it seems he did quite well at the end of the year as well. If that’s how it looks to the coaches, fresh legs seem more appealing. OJ Simpson doesn’t come along more than once in a generation.

    • Alicia de Artola

      I think great coaches can find a nice middle ground between the theories, sticking with a guy whose hot, but knowing the right time to switch in the next guy to punish the defense with fresh legs. In that sense I’d like to see Allen, Madden and Davis all see significant time. In fact, if Sarkisian is right about running between 45-50 running plays each of those three could easily get 15 carries a game without issue, not even counting receptions.