LOS ANGELES CA - OCTOBER 02: Running back Allen Bradford #21 of the USC Trojans carries the ball on a 16 yared touchdown run in the third quarter against the Washington Huskies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 2 2010 in Los Angeles California. Washington won 32-31. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
It has been an interesting journey for Allen Bradford at USC.
We heard about so much promise about how he was wowing everyone in camp or in practice over the years but we hardly ever saw him on the field. We may never know the reasons but we started to see some of his talent last season. With Joe McKnight heading to the NFL the 2010 season was Bradford's chance to make his mark. He was the favorite to be the starter until Mark Tyler beat him out in camp.
But Bradford would not be deterred.
He had a game for the ages against Washington, rushing for 200-plus yards and while he has had some good games earlier this season but he has also been missing in others. It was a bit of mystery but it appears that Bradford was injured.
But through it all Bradford has just chugged along, even if his USC career turned out much different than he had hoped.
"It's been a long, hard road for five years," Bradford said. "I would have expected to play a lot and be the guy.
"I'm glad (when) it's over, I'll get a chance to move to the next level and see what happens there."
Bradford revealed Thursday he did not feel well during the Trojans' 37-35 loss to Stanford but never told the coaching staff.
He suffered turf toe the week of the California game and has not been healthy since the injury.
Well, that answers why he was hardly seen Bradford recently.
Bradford could have moved on when the NCAA allowed Juniors and Seniors to transfer without penalty when they handed down the sanctions in June. He instead chose to stick it out and see if he could make his final year a memorable one.
So far that really hasn't happened but Bradford is looking forward to finishing the season strong focusing first on ASU.
He said Thursday he hid injuries but that he is now "100 percent" and ready for the Trojans' game against Arizona State on Saturday night in the Coliseum.Bradford, a fifth-year senior who was overtaken by fourth-year junior Marc Tyler for the starting tailback job in fall camp, leads the Trojans (5-3, 2-3) in their inconsistent rushing attack with 71.1 yards a game (76 rushes for 569 yards), seventh in the Pac-10. However, he has averaged just 23 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry in the past three.
We are going to need a strong performance by Bradford tomorrow.
Bradford is determined to make his last five games as a Trojan memorable ones while he looks to the future and the hopefully the NFL.
He has always been one of my favorites and I always wondered why we didn't see him more under the previous staff. But that is in the past, we can only worry about today and going forward.
I wish him all the best.