USC’s running game is about to improve, as 2013 starting running back Tre Madden has been re-inserted in the Trojans’ depth chart prior to this week’s game against Arizona State. The school indicated his inclusion in the weekly game notes, listed as the third tailback behind Buck Allen and Justin Davis.
Madden has yet to play –or even dress– this season due to a bout with turf toe suffered in fall camp.
The depth chart supplied to the media is far from a legally binding manifest of the practice rotation, but considering that Madden’s been listed as a disabled player for weeks, it’s a potential indicator that a return to the field is imminent.
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Michael Lev of the Orange County Register reported last week that
Madden began participating drills
, but has yet to be involved in any sort of full-contact practice.
Without Madden in the fold, the Trojans have been a mixed bag on the ground. Redshirt junior Buck Allen leads the Pac-12 carries and ranks fourth in rushing yards, while sophomore Justin Davis has shown flashes, despite being inconsistent as a change-of-pace back.
Needless to say, having Madden back in the fold would be significant for Sarkisian’s offense.
This is the third season for the junior as a running back, after he converted from linebacker in the spring of 2012. Madden redshirted that year after suffering a torn ACL in camp, but grasped the Trojans’ starting job last fall as a redshirt sophomore.
Originally given an opportunity after Silas Redd was injured to begin the year, Madden started each of the Trojans’ first six games of 2013.
He was the first USC running back since Marcus Allen in 1981 to eclipse the 100-yard mark in a season’s first three games, and did it four times in his first five outings.
In the sixth game of the year against Arizona, Madden injured his hamstring to pave the way for Allen to inherit the role of starting tailback.
The injury cost Madden three games but hindered his production drastically, as he had just 23 carries for 92 yards after first coming up lame.
Before the injury, Madden was averaging 117 yards per game. He finished 2013 with 138 carries and 703 yards, ranking tops on the team in attempts and second in yards after Buck Allen. He scored three touchdowns.