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USC's Marc Tyler: "I've got my juice back"

Earlier this week Joey posted a FanShot that announced that all signs pointed to Marc Tyler being named the starting tailback over Allen Bradford.

While nothing is official until game day, it is clear that Tyler's overcoming his numerous obstacles and injuries is now paying off...

One day he's an All-American high school running back, perhaps the finest in the country and certainly one of the most coveted, the next he's a fading, injury-prone, out-of-shape third-year college player trying to rediscover his swagger.


Tyler can smile about it now after surprising nearly everyone in training camp by vaulting to the top of the Trojans depth chart at running back.

All signs point to him winning the job over senior Allen Bradford and lining up behind quarterback Matt Barkley when USC opens its season Sept. 2 at Hawaii - and wouldn't that be a crowning achievement after all the punches he has taken since leaving Oaks Christian High of Westlake Village for USC in 2006?

It was a major coup for Pete Carroll and USC to land Tyler in the 2006 recruiting class, especially when you consider his UCLA bloodlines because of his dad Wendell. That stung the bruin faithful pretty hard but instead of playing for the Roses, Tyler got the thorns.

Tyler was one of the many tailbacks that Pete Carroll recruited that year and many of us wondered just how they would all get quality playing time.

But after breaking his leg late in his final season at Oaks Christian Tyler became a bit of an afterthought. His recovery from that injury did not go as a smoothly as hoped and many of us wondered if Tyler would ever live up to the hype. But that aside, many wondered of Tyler was also a victim to the previous staff's love affair with Joe McKnight...

You can't really complain about playing time if you can't stay healthy, and there isn't a coach in the land who isn't going to lose confidence in a player who can't stay on the field.

Still, it's no secret that USC running back Joe McKnight was a favorite of Pete Carroll and former running backs coach Todd McNair.

They fancied McKnight as the next Bush, and were intent on giving him every opportunity to show it even though his performance didn't necessarily merit it.

As a result, all Tyler had to show for his first three years at USC was 41 carries for 270 yards. That adds up to a nice average of 6.6 yards per carry, but it did him a lot of good sitting on the bench either because of injury or a coach's decision.

Like it or not it happens. Players get into a bad rut or they get bumped down the depth chart for a variety of reasons.

Many thought that McKnight's untouchable status went a bit too far. McKnight may have been a better back but the lack of consistency in holding onto the ball didn't affect McKnight's status like it did C.J. Gable. Tyler not having a good record of staying healthy didn't help his cause but it is clear that it wasn't all his fault either.

Like Bradford and Gable, Tyler now has a clean slate to paint the best picture of himself with a new staff. What's done is done and Tyler can only look to the present and the future...the past means nothing now.

Tyler gets the added benefit of being coached by Kennedy Pola but also the off-field support of his dad who knows a thing or two about being a running back.

Nothing is guaranteed but Marc Tyler is making the most of this opportunity...and he likes his chances.