clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who Starts as USC's Tailback?

With the season opener a week away, who will be lined up behind Matt Barkley in the backfield has still yet to be decided.

Will it be D.J. Morgan?

Kiffin's biggest concern with Morgan right now might not be how he carries the ball but can he handle the playbook?

"D.J. is becoming more consistent where we feel better about him," Kiffin said. "He still has to pick up the protection side of things. But he's practicing harder and better and hopefully he'll have a better end of this week and start of next week."

Fumble the ball and ride the pine...

But did Kiffin tip his hand?

A classic motivating proclamation to his players, something he's surely been saying privately in team meetings as well as publicly in reporter scrums.

"They’re cranking it up a little bit," he said of the four Trojans fighting for the No. 1 spot in the Sept. 3 Minnesota opener and their collective last chances to earn it. "They feel it. We’ve talked to them about it.


Evidence? In his next breath, he mentioned D.J. Morgan, the redshirt freshman runner who has been up-and-down this fall. Nowhere to be found were Dillon Baxter and Curtis McNeal in his comments -- not to mention Amir Carlisle, the true freshman who was the surprise star early in camp but hasn't done anything noteworthy for several days now.

Even though he has the most game experience but I don't see Baxter as the starter. He is a multi-purpose player, where Morgan is seen as a pure back.

All these guys are going to get some playing time. They are unique in their talents so game situations will dictate their involvement.

Could it be Curtis McNeal? Unfortunately, injuries have slowed McNeal down.

Amir Carlisle has shown tremendous promise and work ethic but he has never played a college game...I see his chance at being the starter slim at best.

What about Marc Tyler?

Then Marc Tyler came along Wednesday and shuffled it up a little bit. Tyler, a senior, was supposed to be this team's starting running back before he got involved in three off-field incidents in a matter of months and found himself suspended for the opener.

He's still suspended for that opener, and not yet officially reinstated to the team, but with Tyler in the fold again, the carries are being split differently. Coach Lane Kiffin and his staff must distribute the practice rushes between five players instead of four.

Once Tyler is back with the team he is going to play...that's a given.

USC's biggest question is who will be the workhorse.

With a week to go there is still a lot of questions as to who is going to line up behind Matt Barkley.