With Pac-12 Media Day set to begin July 22, the USC Trojans will soon find out where the media believes they rank in the conference.
If it’s to be based on individual accolades, the Trojans figure to rank near the top of the Pac-12 as multiple players have been named to preseason watch lists. The recognition grew Thursday with Javorius “Buck” Allen and Tre Madden being among the 53 names to make the Doak Walker Award watch list.
Boston College’s Andre Williams took home the award last season, given annually since 1990 to the nation’s top running back. Williams finished the 2013 season with 2,177 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.
Williams averaged just over 167 rushing yards on 27.31 carries per game. However, against the Trojans, Williams managed to run for just 38 yards on 17 carries.Allen had a slow start to the season then took the lead role in the backfield — somewhat out of necessity due to the slew of injuries the Trojans suffered.
In four of the Trojans’ last six games, including the Las Vegas Bowl, Allen surpassed 100 yards and rushed for at least one touchdown. His finished with the team lead in rushing yards (774) and touchdowns (14).
As for Madden, his season was nearly the opposite to that of Allen’s. Madden was the Trojans featured back through the first five games of the season then was never able to shake free of a nagging hamstring injury suffered October 10.
Madden played sparingly the remainder of the season and accumulated 703 rushing yards and three touchdowns last season. Although Justin Davis was not named to the watch list, he too is another threat out of the backfield for the Trojans.
Whereas last season, Lane Kiffin — and ultimately Clay Helton and Ed Orgeron — utilized multiple running backs, Steve Sarkisian has operated under a different philosophy, predominantly using one featured back while at Washington.
Of course, Sarkisian hasn’t had significant running back depth since he was the Trojans’ offensive coordinator back in 2008. That season, three backs had at least 85 carries and 600 yards.
If a Trojan is to win the Doak Walker Award, they would be the first since Reggie Bush in 2005.