The injury to USC running back Silas Redd early in spring practice could actually prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Trojans this season as they have been able to develop quality depth in the wake of losing their leading rusher from a year ago.
Redd rushed for 905 yards and nine touchdowns on 187 carries last season when he shared time with Curtis McNeal, and is expected to be fully healed by the time summer camp gets underway.
In his absence, a host of running backs have been fighting to be his primary backup in 2013. D.J. Morgan, Javorious Allen and true freshman Justin Davis have each had shining moments this spring. This list doesn’t even include Tre Madden, who is recovering from a torn ACL that cost him the 2012 season, and four-star recruit Ty Isaac, who will arrive this summer.
However, the two most likely to see time behind Redd this season are Davis and Allen. Davis is proving that enrolling early has been a blessing for him as he has bulked up to 215-pounds, and the four-star recruit is going to make it awfully difficult for Lane Kiffin to keep him on the sidelines him if he continues his rapid maturation.
Allen was the star of the team’s most recent scrimmage when he rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown. At 6-foot-1 and 215-pounds, he has the physicality and rugged rushing style that could be a big boost to the Trojans’ ground game this season. He has been a non-factor thus far in his career, but this spring is serving as his coming out party.
With an inexperienced quarterback taking over for Matt Barkley this season, it’s reasonable — if not likely — that the team runs the football more in the early part of the season that they have in years past. Therefore, a stable of quality and dynamic running backs is going to be a prerequisite to have success.
Redd is a solid and steady performer, but if he shows any lingering effects from his injury, Davis and Allen look more than capable of picking up the slack. Oddly enough, it’s Isaac that may have the highest ceiling of them all, but he’s unlikely to see many carries this season because of the quality backs ahead of him on the depth chart.
Having too many good running backs is never a bad thing to have, and the Trojans are set up nicely in both the short and long term and the tailback position.