The struggles of the USC football team are not going to be solved by the return of a single player but the loss of senior running back Malaefou MacKenzie for the start of the season has been a huge blow that has effected the offense in many ways.
When Norm Chow says that MacKenzie is the one player this offense could least afford to lose it says a lot about the multiple talents that Foo brings to the table because he's the player on our team who most fits the style of player that Chow needs to make the offense work. Sultan is fast but this offense places a premium at hitting a precise hole and Mal hits the correct hole more often that Sultan. We have done a good job of hitting the backs out of the backfield, primarily Charlie Landrigan, but Malaefou might have the best hands on the offense and his presence would give Chow the option of keeping him in the backfield or spreading him out wide as an extra receiver. Chow also likes to run a single back at times which requires the running back to be a good blocker and Foo might be the best of the bunch in that department as well.
On top of all that, the impact that Malaeou has as a leader on the field cannot be underestimated. Mal is one of the true warriors of the team and he has the fiery personality that many claim is needed on the offense right now. Carson has the respect of him teammates and is certainly one of the leaders but he is not a vocal leader whereas Malaefou brings a tremendous amount of energy that is noticeably missing without him. Carson and Malaefou are extremely good friends and that relationship extends itself well to the field because their personalities work well together. It isn't a coincidence that Carson put on one of the best performances of his career last year against UCLA when he had a healthy Malaefou next to him making key play after key play.
Those who were in attendance through spring ball and the early part of fall camp saw how important Malaefou was and how much of an integral part of the offense he was expected to be. The return of one person is not going to wave a magic wand and cure all of our ills but it will go a long way toward allowing us to function at a higher level.