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Austin Murphy at SI.com has a great article called The Year of the Running Back and as you can guess USC is prominently featured.

The USC Trojans were seated on the turf in orderly rows, stretching their hamstrings. It was the first official practice of the new season, but Ken Norton was talking the same old smack. "I guar-an- tee ," Norton, the lantern-jawed linebackers coach was shouting, "the running backs will not get a yard today. Not ... get ... a ... yard !" While it had the desired effect, generating a storm of woofing between offense and defense, Norton's declaration didn't hold up for long.

In an ensuing 11-on-11 drill sophomore tailback Allen Bradford found a crease off left tackle, but his path was quickly impeded by a freshman defensive end. This was not just any freshman defensive end. This was Everson Griffen, a.k.a. Super Freak, a.k.a. Big E, a.k.a. E Train, the nation's top-rated schoolboy at his position last season, the one defensive coordinator Nick Holt was referring to last February when he said, "The guy is a frickin' beast!"

But so, it turns out, is Bradford, who derailed the E Train knocked him on his butt with a stiff-arm to the left ear hole that served the dual purpose of welcoming the freshman to the Pac-10 and temporarily silencing Norton.

There is no question that the running game nationally will get a lot of attention this season with the liks of Darren McFadden, Steve Slaton, Mike Hart, Ray Rice and the rich crop of talent that USC has in the stable. With quarterbacks winning the majority of Heisman Trophy's the past few years, outside of Reggie Bush, it is quite possible that the string gets broken this year. Darren McFadden seems to be the odds on favorite with a number of pundits, with John David Booty a distant second to some, so the with all the talent that has cropped up behind the QB position it is quite possible we could see a run on the trophy by a bunch of very talented running backs over the next couple of years.

In the end we all win as we could witness some real explosive production by known players and some up-and-coming talent out there.

Of course this is my favorite part of the piece.

But no tailback generated more buzz than Joe McKnight (SI, July 23), the goateed freshman from River Ridge, La., whose otherworldly cuts and acceleration have drawn comparisons with Reggie Bush. Midway into the first practice, McKnight bounced an off-tackle play to the outside, turned the corner and was suddenly playing the game at a different speed from everyone else. He was 45 yards downfield before he was knocked out-of-bounds.

He is really going to be fun to watch!

Then of course there is this...

God...is it football season yet!