In the aftermath of the Penn State debacle and players leaving the sinking ship that was Nittany Lions football program, the biggest name to leave ended up with arguably the best college football team heading into 2012: the University of Southern California Trojans.
Much has been discussed about Silas Redd transferring to USC but now that they've had roughly half of fall practice, where is Redd going to fit in considering the Trojans already have a 1,000 yard rusher in Curtis McNeal? And let's not forget the speedy and shifty redshirt sophomore D.J. Morgan is the only breakaway threat that USC truly has - even though he has a tendency to fumble the ball. So will Redd start?
That's an open-ended question which can have several answers. But let's be honest and logical here. Redd is still learning the idiosyncrasies of the Trojan offense. McNeal finished strong last year and being a fifth-year senior gives him an edge. And that will more than likely translate into McNeal being the starter to open the season in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against Hawaii September 1st.
But last week's practices gave some insight into how and where Redd will fit in. During a scrimmage, McNeal went out with a hurt shoulder - which made the concern of durability for the compact McNeal the primary reason the coaching staff went after Redd. The conundrum that is D.J. Morgan was more fully represented when he ran 69 yards on only 10 carries but fumbled the ball. Again, that's why head coach Lane Kiffin made such a concentrated effort to recruit Redd. But does that mean Redd will start sooner rather than later?
Maybe, but more than whether he will start is, how many carries will he get? Players of Redd's caliber have to get some feel for the game and that requires carries.
Fresh is best?
However, keeping two top-flight running backs like McNeal and Redd fresh may be the unseen luxury that USC has attained. Who gets how many carries may not matter as much as yards per attempt and effectiveness.
But not to be forgotten is whether redshirt freshman fullback Soma Vainuku, who has been impressive this year, will grab any rushing attempts that might otherwise go to one of the tailbacks? The 6' 250 pound Vainuku may be the fastest running back on the team and he can play tailback (source - ESPN).
Kiffin hasn't concealed the idea of using three wide receiver sets which would probably give the Trojans a one-back look. So then the focus would be who fits the one-back system better? The answer to this type of question is still to be determined.
May not matter
Will Redd start? Probably. When and how it comes about is still to be determined. The competition at running back is certainly stiffer than it would have been without Redd. And at the very least, this one-two punch of McNeal and Redd seems like trouble for other teams.
All this talk about running must distress opposing coaches though because lest we forget, the leading contender for the Heisman Trophy is quarterback Matt Barkley who will be throwing to two potential All-American wide-outs in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. There are even more playmakers - so who starts at running back isn't the worry … at least at USC.
Sources - University of Southern California
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC and the Pac-12, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!