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A look at USC’s new RB coach Tim Drevno

The former Michigan offensive coordinator has moved West to USC. Is he a good fit for the Trojans?

San Francisco 49ers 2011 Headshots Photo by NFL via Getty Images

Trojan running backs have been very good and productive for a while now. Javorius Allen, Justin Davis, and Ronald Jones have all served as more than satisfactory weapons to the Trojan offense for the past half-decade. With Aca’Cedric Ware and Stephen Carr in his hands, new USC running backs coach Tim Drevno is determined to keep this tradition of success in Trojan rushers going.

Tim Drevno was actually an exceptional offensive lineman while playing football at Fullerton State, which helped him get his first job in the coaching ranks as a tight ends coach at Montana State in 1993. He started coaching running backs there in 1996 and left to coach running backs at UNLV two years later in 1998, which was his last tenure as a running backs coach until signing on with the Trojans this year.

Since serving as the running backs coach for UNLV for a year, Drevno has bounced around the college football ranks, primarily coaching offensive line for schools such as San Jose State, Idaho, San Diego, and Stanford. He even dabbled in the NFL, where he helped as the offensive line coach for the San Francisco 49ers, a team that went to the Super Bowl and had one of the top run games in the league during Drevno’s time in San Francisco.

After finding success in the pros, Drevno returned to college football where he actually spent a year with the Trojans as offensive line coach and run game specialist, helping Javorius “ Buck” Allen rush for a career-high 1,489 yards.

California v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After his first stint with USC, Drevno headed east to reunite with Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, where he faced his biggest task yet — calling the shots on offense as the Wolverines’ offensive coordinator.

Unfortunately, despite developing a strong rushing attack, Drevno did not find much success as Michigan carried a lackluster offense all throughout his tenure, even finishing 91st in points per game in 2017. This caused Drevno to mutually part ways with Michigan and seek a fresh start back here at USC.

What does all this mean for USC’s run game this upcoming season?

Let’s take a look at Drevno’s last couple of running backs that he’s worked with — Frank Gore on the 49ers, Javorius Allen on the Trojans, and Karan Higdon on the Wolverines. All of these guys are like bowling balls — power rushers who “bowl” their way over interior defenders and gain yards.

Since Aca’Cedric Ware is a prime example of a Drevno running back, I believe that he will emerge as the starter on the Trojans’ depth chart ahead of Week 1. While I undoubtedly believe that he is more talented than Ware, Stephen Carr is a more versatile back who relies more on elusiveness than power to escape from the defense. Plus, he is coming off back surgery which held him out of spring training, giving Ware the clear edge as of now.

USC v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

I envision a committee playing out this upcoming season for the Trojan running back group, with Ware being the 1A to Carr as the 1B. Nevertheless, I am excited for Drevno to bring out the powerful side in Carr, making him into a more complete back.

With his consistent success coaching running backs, the Drevno hire should make Trojans fans optimistic for the future of the running back unit.