It been no secret that I have a soft spot for Allen Bradford. I have often wondered when he was going to crack the rotation and see some regular playing time. In past seasons we have heard all sorts of great things about his work, dedication and performance in either camp or practice only to seldom see him get on the field.
From Jim Alexander at the Press-Enterprise:
That Bradford still is a Trojan is significant enough. Remember, this was a program that a year ago had one of its 10 tailbacks, Emmanuel Moody, pose for a regional cover of Sports Illustrated and then announce he was leaving days after the magazine came out.
"There were times I wanted to leave," Bradford said. "But I stuck in there.
"It was hard. There are times that you come to practice and you know you ain't gonna play. Or in the game you know you're not gonna play. There's a lot of emotions. But I just dealt with it. I handled it well and I'm still here."
Chauncey Washington, Hershel Dennis and Desmond Reed, veterans of USC tailback competitions, preached patience. So did his dad, Keith Bradford, and the rest of his family.
Bradford has always had the right attitude even going back to last season.
Senior Chauncey Washington is on track to start the season at the top of USC’s tailback depth chart, a situation sophomore Allen Bradford accepts without a problem.
“I’m competing with him, but they’re going to give it to the guy who has been here five or six years,” Bradford said. “If they think I’m worthy enough to be in the rotation, then I’ll be in the rotation. If not, then I’ve got to wait till next year.”
There was some concern that Bradford would transfer out like Moody did because of the depth at running back but he chose to stick it out so hopefully it will pay off this season.
Nothing would make SC fans happier than to have another version of Thunder and Lightning but as we have discussed before this is how Pete Carroll wants to do it and for the most part it has worked.
Bradford's new approach to the game may have helped him turn the corner.
The message McNair left was that if Bradford were going to see the field with any frequency, he had to put in the time watching video, studying the demands of his position and reaching a point where he reacts instead of thinking about what to do next.
"He attacks it like a pro now, and his understanding has improved tremendously," McNair said. "The game has slowed down for him. ... You can be as big and strong and fast as you want, but if you're out there thinking or you're not sure, then you can't use that to your advantage. Now he's sure of what he's doing, so his physical attributes are showing up.
This sounds similar to what Stafon Johnson went through after he found himself buried on the bench. The jump start these players need often comes from the one place that is unexpected and its different for everyone. I can't wait to see how this "new" Bradford performs this season it should be something great to watch!