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The Quiet Man

We have mentioned in the past about how important a role Stanley Havili plays in USC's offense. With so many programs looking at offensive schemes like the spread or the WCO the role of the fullback is often diminished or ignored altogether. Part of what makes SC so attractive to top recruits is that the pro-style systems that Pete Carroll runs will prepare a player for the next level provided he is good enough to make it to the NFL. Even in SC's pro-style system, with all the runningbacks SC has, its easy to forget about Havili.

If you are an opposing team that would be a mistake as Havili is a natural at the position and he sets the tone in the backfield. He often doesn't get the press he deserves every once in a while he gets some Pub.

With Havili leading the way -- often executing what is known in Trojans lingo as a "surgery" blocking technique -- USC's three leading rushers last season combined to average 6.6 yards per carry. But to limit Havili's contribution to the Trojans' offense by painting him as a fullback in the traditional sense (simply a burly road grader) would not do justice to the player who amassed the fourth-most receptions and receiving yards on the team in 2007.

"He's versatile; he is our offense," junior running back Stafon Johnson said of Havili. "Our offense runs through him because he can do so many things."

It's safe to say that how Havili goes the offense goes. It's one more weapon that opposing defenses have to keep an eye on that could spread them out. I can pretty much guarantee that if Havili is not on the sidelines in 2006 because injury SC beats ucla and goes to the tile game, that is how effective a weapon he is.

This year it couldn't be more important with a new offensive line and with Mark Sanchez taking th helm on a full time basis, not to mention his injured knee, protecting the QB couldn't be more important.

Havili's presence in the backfield could not have been more valuable than on the very first play against Nebraska last season.

USC began its offense against Nebraska on its own 4-yard-line last September. Havili trotted onto the field wondering who to block, until he heard the play call.

"We script the first 15 or so plays," Havili said. "The first play was supposed to be something else, and they said, 'Base, base,' so I knew I was going in there.

"But because of where we were on the field, I got the ball, and I just remember (tackle) Sam Baker pulling and cleaning out a whole side. I just had to run and get us out of there."

Nebraska caught Havili 50 yards later. After C.J. Gable ran for 40, Havili caught John David Booty's short pass in the end zone, and the Trojans rolled, 49-31.

it hsn't always been wine and roses as Havili's fumble deep in SC territory against Oregon enabled the Ducks to score and that was a huge momentum changer. Nothing is ever perfect, so while costly turnovers like that or the the occasional dropped pass that stall drives drive the players, coaches and fans nuts the alternative to not having Havili would be more costly.

He is just too important.