USC's depth is already being tested

Dave Miller

USC's starting 11 on both sides of the ball stack up against the best teams in the nation. But with scholarship sanctions making it pivotal to avoid too many mistakes on the recruiting trail, the team's depth may be the only thing standing in the way of competing for a BCS national championship in 2012.

Lane Kiffin's squad received some bad news Friday when it was announced that running back Tre Madden would be out for the 2012 season after tearing a ligament in his knee. The 6-foot, 220-pound sophomore had moved to the backfield from outside linebacker with the Trojans already lacking depth at running back. He appeared in all 12 games last season as a true freshman, recording 15 tackles and one for a loss.

With Madden's injury, the Trojans are down to three scholarship tailbacks. Now redshirt senior Curtis McNeal will be leaned on even more in a rushing attack expected to complement quarterback Matt Barkley and the team's talented receiving corps. The only scholarship players behind McNeal are redshirt sophomore D.J. Morgan and redshirt freshman Buck Allen, who will be asked to take on bigger roles with Madden shelved.

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