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USC running back Justin Davis talks about the incoming freshmen

Heading into his senior season, Justin Davis has a new running backs coach and a ton of new faces to play alongside.

Last season Trojan tailback Justin Davis ran for 902 yards and seven touchdowns on 169 carries. Now a senior, Davis is putting in work this summer to end his Trojan football career on a high note.

"Summer workouts are going great," Davis said after the latest player-run practice. "It is amazing to see this group of guys out here, all this talent. Things are just rolling along and it is really exciting right now."

The team workouts over the past six weeks have been noticeably different in a good way.

"It has been a tremendous change,” Davis said. “We are trying to make it more of a team effort and building chemistry with each position group. Compared to last year the coaches didn't come out here during the summer. It is good they are around the team as much as possible because we are going to really depend on each other when we get to fall.

"It is also a much bigger team than we had in the past because of the restrictions, but it is fun to see USC starting to get back to the strength in numbers. It is real nice to see all this talent out here and that these young dudes are willing to learn and be very receptive."

New running backs coach Tommie Robinson has already had a significant impact on Davis and the rest of the backs.

"He is going to make you work and he's not going to take anything less than your full effort,” Davis said. “That is the thing that is going to set us apart from any other position group in the nation because we are always going to be working and our coach is going to make sure we will never slack."

Interestingly enough, Davis’ old running back coach Johnny Nansen is still on staff and is now USC’s linebacker coach.

"It is really cool and funny how he switched, so we always joke around about it,” he said. “It's good to have guys around like that. I love Coach Nansen as a coach, he switched over to defense but it is all the same love right now and we are just building this thing for the future."

Speaking of the future, the incoming freshmen are getting their first chance to work out with the USC coaching staff, although not the full experience with footballs and pads having to wait until the fall.

"We are going through position drills with no footballs,” he said. “There are a lot of mental drills, trying to build mental toughness. It is great to have the coaches there because they are going to be in your ear and they are going to be motivating you and that is going to make us work that much harder."

As a senior, Davis enjoys seeing the influx of new blood into the program each summer.

"This is my favorite part of the year because I get to see the young guys and see how they make their way through these first weeks as freshmen,” Davis said. “I was there, I know everything how it was. So it is fun to see them out here and see them making plays so fast because I know it took me a while to learn things. It's great to see these freshmen showing their ability out here."

Even though this incoming class is full of highly ranked players, Davis doesn’t believe the hype until he can see firsthand what they can do.

"I see some highlights here and there, but I actually want to see these athletes in person,” he said. “They are all doing great to me right now and we've got this tremendous class and hopefully we can build on it and go forward.

"I know who all of them are, but I am not going to let them know that until they get here. I kind of sit back and wait until I see what kind of person they are. Are they 100% football? I want to see how their attitude is and that is when I start making evaluations, I don't base it off of highlights."

As far as standouts go, Davis was really impressed with one position group.

"I love this new receiver group. They have got really off the wall natural talent. That is something that we didn't have in the past because of the scholarship restrictions, but now it is great to see we can go out and get guys like that."

Stay tuned to for more updates from USC summer workouts as the Trojans get ready for fall camp. 

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Ryan Abraham has been the publisher of since 1996. You can follow him on Twitter at @InsideTroy or email him at

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