When Buck Allen took over the starting running back duties last season, the redshirt junior found the end zone with great success all while still fulfilling his duties as a special teams contributor.
Entering the season as the bonafide starter in the backfield, Allen wants to shoulder the load offensively. But Allen has also served as the "left guard" on kickoff return, "adjuster" on punt return and a backup returner all across the board.
For a player so heavily relied upon offensively catching passes and pounding the rock, the risk of possible injury certainly surfaces whenever Allen is on the field for special teams. The team-oriented tailback doesn't fear the risk of injury, wanting to put his best foot forward for whatever unit needs his help out on the gridiron.
"If you gonna get hurt, you gonna get hurt," Buck Allen said. "Either way its gonna catch up with ya, so I feel like if I go out there and get them off, I get hurt (you know) its football."
Given USC's limited numbers, entering Fall Camp with 65 healthy scholarship players, the conversation around special teams comes up on a near-daily basis.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian has mentioned that many of his best players on offense or defense will also be called upon for special teams, but they want to limit how many different units (KOR, PR, Kick/Punt Coverage) players are involved with. But for someone who made his money on special teams over his career, Allen trusts the plan of his coaching staff.
"Whatever coach put me on the field, I'm going to do my best to make plays. You know, help my team win," Allen says. "Coaches realize they got a lot of talent on this team. They put guys in position to make plays, good chance to be successful."
As the USC Trojans get prepped for the final two weeks of preparation, Allen recognizes the diversity of talent this roster possess and wants to be an integral part of that success.
"They (coaches) put us in the right position to make plays," Allen said, sincerely adding. "That's the one thing I respect most about this coaching staff, man."
Nearly two weeks gone by with another full week in sight, the grind of training camp definitely lingers. The Trojans have implemented heavy competition periods hoping their athletes will respond. Allen has certainly taken a liking to all this competition, trusting in what the coaching staff has in store for his teammates at Howard Jones Field.
"Competition has been all around man," Allen said, before mentioning the challenges of getting amped during a three-week training camp filled with long practices and loaded instillation periods.
"Mentally getting up and doing the same thing over and over. It is a mindset. Your body wants to shut down, but you know, you have to keep your mind moving."