Is Allen Bradford The Key to Fixing The USC Trojans Offensive Woes?


Ever since Lendale White took his considerable game to the NFL, the USC Trojans have been searching for that bruising back that could combine raw power with running prowess.

Pete Carroll thought he had found his man in Broderick Green, a 230 pound beast of a runner who came to the Trojans in 2007 from Pulaski Academy in Arkansas.

In limited duty, Broderick Green showed flashes of the combination of power and speed that made Lendale White such an effective alternative to the elusiveness of Reggie Bush.

But Green, like Emmanuel Moody, the 2006 running back recruit who transferred to Florida, found the competition presented too much of a challenge and, like Moody, Broderick Green transferred in 2008.

To be fair to Green, he also had family issues that necessitated his return to Arkansas, unlike Moody, who simply couldn’t stand the competition.

Since then, the Trojans have not had that bruising style of runner who they could turn to with a presumptive certainty for that combination of raw power and bruising speed.

Until now.

Allen Bradford, also a recruiting gem of the 2006 class, was recruited as a highly coveted linebacker from Colton high school in Colton, Ca.

Bradford, regarded as one of the best prep linebackers in the nation at the time, was a rare blend of speed and power at the outside linebacker position.

However, Allen Bradford was soon changed to the tailback position and there he languished until 2008 when he underwent hip surgery and sat out the year.

When spring camp opened, a new version of Allen Bradford made his abundant presence felt.

All through spring, and later, fall practices, Bradford was one of the most impressive players on the field.

Practice after practice, including the few I attended, featured an explosive Allen Bradford running around and over his stalwart defensive teammates.

For those who witnessed his impressive work, it seemed only a matter of time before Bradford found his way into the rotation with significant playing time.

That time is now.

After Bradford averaged over nine yards a carry in last Saturday’s 27-6 win over Washington State, all those who witnessed his domination of the Cougars clamored for more playing time for the now 240 pound power running back.

Then Stafon Johnson suffered his devastating weight room injury.

With Johnson on the mend in southern California, Allen Bradford is assumed to be the heir apparent to those carries that Stafon Johnson would otherwise had.

Meet the new Reggie Bush-Lendale White Trojan running back combination.

Say hello to Joe McKnight and Allen Bradford.

While Joe McKnight has a long way to go to make people forget Reggie Bush, Allen Bradford already has displayed skills that seem to surpass White, who was a great Trojan.

Like White, Bradford has the power to shed tacklers and make positive yardage out of nothing.

Unlike White though, Allen Bradford has the speed to outrun even some of the fastest in their opponent’s defensive backfield.

While last weeks performance against the Cougars was impressive, it did not come against top flight competition.

However, as those who witnessed Bradford in practice against his Trojan defensive teammates will attest, he was doing the same things against them that he did to the Cougars.

The only questions for Bradford now are those of consistency and health.

Can Allen Bradford’s surgically repaired hip withstand the rigors of his bruising running style?

Perhaps as important, can Bradford bring the same intensity and effort not only game after game but carry after carry?

If he can, Bradford will also bring a new, dynamic component to a Trojan offensive that, quite frankly, has been a disappointment this year.

This 2009 version of Allen Bradford will do wonders for true freshman Matt Barkley, who will find opponent’s defense cheating to the line to try to stop the Trojans running game.

Needless to say, this will create mismatches in the defensive secondary that Barkley can exploit in the passing game.
If this occurs, don’t be surprised to find a sickly Trojan offense getting healthy very quickly.

And don’t be surprised to find Allen Bradford the focus of opposing college defenses.

If Bradford can bring the game he is capable of bringing for the rest of the season, the Trojans will be a very tough team to beat.

Of course, the downside to this is that at the end of the year, should this happen, the Trojans will probably once again be the best team in the nation and not get a chance to prove it in the title game.

Damn you Washington.

But that’s a subject for another time and another article.