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USC's Marc Tyler on a new track

Being suspended and and separated from the team must have made a significant impact on Tyler because he has a whole new attitude.

Tyler's suspension and the reasons for it are old news, but Lane Kiffin has changed the culture around the program and

Tyler felt that change first hand.

Tyler sums up that incident and the fallout from it as "everything I’ve been through." He said it has made him mentally tougher.

I think Tyler needed that kick in the pants.

There is no question that the team missed his presence as we all saw last Saturday with the significant amount of playing time he saw against Utah.

He never expected to get 24 carries against the Utes, and if he did, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to handle that load. But he fought through rust, fatigue and two thigh bruises to help the Trojans preserve a slim second-half lead. Scoring an early touchdown only made him yearn for more.

"Last year I would get that one touchdown, and I’d be satisfied for the rest of the game," Tyler said. "This year, even when I did get tired, when I got those two bruises, I still stuck it out."

The question now is how will use that going forward.

Once D.J. Morgan put the ball on the ground significant paying time Tyler was there for the taking...and he made the most of it.

Marc Tyler was prepared for the game, if not the workload.

The tailback's 24-carry, 113-yard rushing performance in USC's victory over Utah last week was more than he anticipated.

Much more.

"I didn't think I was going to get the ball 24 times," Tyler said Tuesday.

Tyler, suspended for the opener against Minnesota, said he suffered thigh bruises in each leg during the Trojans' 23-14 victory.

Kiffin put a significant load on Tyler to show him that this team needs him but not at the expense of putting egg on the teams face.

Can he do it the rest of the year?

There are no givens, Tyler has yet to named the starter for this weekends game against Syracuse.

Marc Tyler, who made his return from suspension to much fanfare on Saturday against Utah, is still being forced to compete with the other running backs in practice this week while Lane Kiffin and the USC coaches attempt to decide whom to go with against Syracuse.

But, yes, it does seem as if Tyler will end up starting. He was the first running back to get snaps Tuesday. Kiffin talked highly of him. He didn't do anything to mess up that status during practice. For now, though, he's still in a four-man tandem -- not that he minds it or anything.

"It feels good to be down there with the first-team offense and not be over there with the black jerseys on and just be with all the guys and feel like you're a part of something again," Tyler said after Tuesday's practice.

It is clear that Kiffin is using the carrot and the stick approach.

Tyler will probably start but there is no need for Kiffin to name the starter now. It is best to keep these guys sense of entitlement here.

Tyler's suspension was the right call, one game was the right amount. It looks like Tyler got the message...his return also puts some pressure on the younger guys to step it up, as there is no guarantee that they will decent playing time unless the put in the effort.

Kiffin won't say it publicly but if he could he might say mission accomplished.