While the Trojans passing game has come and gone over the course of the first six games, coaches and players alike have certainly recognized the presence of an ever-developing running game that may have hit its fifth gear last week.
The possibility had been tossed around all week long at practice and players responses overwhelmingly showcased the support for their returning leader in the Trojans crowded backfield. With just under four minutes left to play in the first quarter Silas Redd touched the rock for the first time all season rushing to the left for three yards.
Not only did Redd make his return he came back with a bang, pounding out 80 yards on 19 carries to lead the team in rushing. This part of yet another balanced effort on offense with a monstrous 45 rushing attempts for 245 yards.
"We want to go out and get big, strong running backs," Orgeron said, following USC's victorious effort over Pac-12 South rival Arizona. "We started challenging the offensive line to be nasty and physical. That was critical for us in the end."
That's what Silas Redd brings to the table, and at 5-10, 210 pounds the Penn State transfer certainly packs a punch up the middle. The best part of this whole equation lies in the fact that the crop before him is not too shabby in their own right, managing over 150 yards rushing in every game this season.
It all begins this season with Tre Madden, who unfortunately left mid way through Thursday night's victory over Arizona with a sore hamstring, leading the charge with 611 yards rushing. The converted linebacker provides an excellent blend of power and speed in the hole, while also exhibiting the elusiveness to fall forward on almost every touch of the rock.
The third and possibly most lethal weapon down the road, is freshman Justin Davis, who finished the most recent game with 38 yards rushing including one score. The 17-year-old has shown an incredible ability to stop on a dime and cut back in the middle of the hole, eluding defenders at a prolific pace to the tune of a 6.8 yards-per-carry average.
If any back could break one open, however, it would certainly be Davis, who has already accumulated six touchdowns with some jaw-dropping moves down the sideline. That being said, if one running back deserved more carries it would be Buck Allen, the hard-nosed tailback that continues to earn massive praise from his peers, despite his limited role.
So much so, that Ed Orgeron even admitted after Thursday's 38-31 victory that he brought Allen in the second half just merely out of respect for his work, resulting in two scores on six carries of his own. All throughout spring practices and now even into fall session, Allen has been the one stable back in a trivial pursuit of carries and players on offense.
While the dilemma may seem overwhelming for these hungry backs, everyone on the team understands that the top dog will get his reps in the final moments. The type of running we saw from Redd, largely thanks to score and circumstance, showcased the full arsenal of strengths this unit can offer any given week.
"That was an honor," Silas Redd said of being the featured back to close out the final drive for victory. "I'm the old man in the bunch, and I'm just happy those guys believed in me and trusted me to get me in that situation."
The Trojans are trying to be a power running team which comes much to the delight for players like center Marcus Martin, who begin to recognize how lethal this attack has become.
Caught up in all the hysteria was one of the select Spring seven from last years recruiting class in freshman Ty Isaac, that snuck his head in the game for three carries resulting in 36 physical yards.
So not only can USC pound the throats of opponents as we saw last under Clay Helton's play-calling direction, the play action passing game directly opens up down the sideline as a result of the concerted effort to stop the rock. None more recognizable than the first passing touchdown of the game, which played right into Arizona's heavy commitment towards stopping the run.
Simply put, running back coach Tommy Robinson has a bevy of riches at his disposal and the Trojans will certainly continue to utilize that array of backs this coming week against Notre Dame. Facing a unit anchored by rockstar lineman Stephon Tuitt, the 23rd-ranked rush defense in the land will be up for the stiff challenge from USC's horses.