Travis Dye was a sixth offensive lineman out there for USC football last week against Rice. Some who just read that first sentence have no idea what that means. Maybe they're Stanford fans trying to get to know their enemy before they take on the Trojans this week. Because every USC fan reading this who watched the game knows exactly what Dye being a sixth offensive lineman means.
He blocked seemingly EVERYTHING he saw every time he didn't get the ball on Saturday. He manhandled defensive players flying after QB Caleb Williams, and routinely trailed players with the ball to go lay some wannabe tacklers out downfield. Check out an amazing clip of the former right here:
He even had a monster play where he went out to run a route, saw a defensive end he could knock on his behind, did indeed knock him on his behind, and then went and ran his route and caught the pass. Check out the play here:
He talked about that play in hilarious fashion this week, when asked about it during practice:
Not only was the play amazing--he SMOKED a defensive end (as a running back) in pass protection and then went out and caught a pass for a significant gain--but he just had the most perfect response to what he did when asked. Another perfect response he had was about him working on that pass-blocking as much as he did in the offseason:
And Travis Dye proved in USC football's Week 1 contest that he most certainly has been working on his pass-blocking.
Travis Dye had five carries for 20 yards for USC football, which is solid efficiency. He also had three catches for 21 yards, which is more solid efficiency and valuable yardage in the receiving game for a running back. His production in moving the ball with the rock in his hands was certainly there on Saturday. What he did in the pass-blocking game was just as important, though.
And, he's right about his "No blocky, no rocky" philosophy. In this offense, pass-blocking is what can set backs apart from each other.
The other starting RB on this team, Austin Jones, had four carries and 48 rushing yards with two scores. He also had a catch for 21 yards. The backup, Raleek Brown, led the team with 76 rushing yards (36 rushing, 40 receiving) with a touchdown himself. Even RB4 Darwin Barlow had a rushing touchdown.
There's TONS of competition in the running back room for SC this year. What will keep Dye in the mix for playing time (and what already has considering he was tied for the team-lead in touches among skill position players in Week 1), will not just be yards on the stat sheet but also some nasty pass-blocking in this balanced offense. Dye's got both departments most certainly taken care of.