Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
This time last year, Tre Madden sat on the sidelines of Fall Camp, slowly recovering from an ACL injury that stalled his transition from linebacker to running back. He returned fully recovered during spring ball but sat out of contact drills as a precaution. Now back in the saddle, Madden has shown in just four practices that he is ready to be an integral part of USC’s rushing attack.
With running mates Silas Redd and D.J. Morgan limited as they recover from minor injuries, Madden is given the opportunity to shine. He–and freshman Justin Davis, another star in the making–has received the bulk of reps with the first-team offense and he has already turned heads.
An indication of his athleticism and skill, considering this is his first fall camp as a running back.
“I’m just taking it play by play and trying to get better each and every day. It feels good just to be on the field with the family — my teammates and the coaches — and it’s a good feeling just being able to contribute out here,” Madden told ESPNLA.com.
As with any new task, there is a bit of a learning curve and mistakes that Madden has to overcome. However his tough, physical rushing style makes him not only an excellent complement to Redd, but also should serve him well in the change in philosophy brewing in Troy. It’s no secret that USC’s ground game has been largely mediocre over the past few seasons. This year, with the bevy of depth the Trojans finally have again and the type of backs they have, Kiffin is making a push to restore Tailback U to its former glory.
Madden is just one cog–though an important one–that will keep the USC rushing attack rolling.
While he competes for playing time alongside Redd, Morgan and Davis, youngsters Javorious “Buck” Allen and Ty Isaac are also vying for time. Aside from the quarterbacks and the one going on in the secondary, the position battle at running back is another one that has serious implications for how the season will go.
Though every athlete has the goal of being THE guy come game day–and with the depth around him, the competition is pretty fierce–Madden maintains to the media that he is just focused on getting better every day. Through four days of camp, he is proving to do just that.