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The Closer

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Here is a nice story on Stafon Johnson from the OCR (above image from the OCR)...

Other than Joe McKnight starting, USC coach Pete Carroll hasn’t made too many definitive statements about his tailback rotation.

But this much is clear: Stafon Johnson will be the Trojans’ equivalent of a closer.

The senior got the call and the ball near the goal line against San Jose State when the outcome was still in doubt, and he delivered a pair of touchdowns, showing off the in-traffic niftiness Carroll had raved about during training camp.

"He’s so instinctive and creative," Carroll said Wednesday. "He ran a power play last week and was nailed in the backfield. He spun out and made a 6- or 7-yard play out of it. He’s just remarkably talented (at) making something happen when he has to.

"I don’t even know where those kinds of reactions and creativity come from. But he certainly has it. We have a lot of regard for that. When we need him, he’s going to be the guy in there. When things are most challenging, he’s the guy we’re going to lean on."

Whether Johnson will get more than six carries at Ohio State on Saturday remains to be seen. He led the team with 138 rushes and 705 yards last season despite starting only once, in the Rose Bowl. (C.J. Gable started the other 12 games; he’s now the fourth option behind McKnight, Johnson and Allen Bradford.) But Carroll’s respect for Johnson’s toughness is a sign he would get the ball if the Trojans were trying to run out the clock in a tight contest.

It really has been remarkable to Johnson transform his game and his attitude over the past few seasons. It seems like only yesterday that he was sitting on the bench because things just didnt seem to click.

Thank God he finally realized his talent and is maximizing his time at USC!