Tailback U Visits Lincoln

The USC Trojans have talent at the running back position, but the starter and contributors against Nebraska and the next several games are not set in stone. SCPlayBook gives you an inside look and breaks down the current Trojan Backfield.

How the Tailbacks Stack Up for Nebraska

During the Pete Carroll era at USC, save the Junior season of Lendale White and Reggie Bush, tailbacks have had to prove their abilities on a weekly basis. Remember Justin Vargas, Sultan McCullough and Sunny Bird? Every tailback will have a chance to contribute under Carroll's system.

Likely contributors for the Nebraska game this Saturday, September 15, 7:00 p.m., Central Time will be as follows:

C.J. Gable

Gable is one of the tailbacks that will be called upon for this game. His numbers for the Idaho game were impressive, 8 for 68 yards (8.5 yards  per carry). Gable also caught a pass for a touchdown in that contest. Gable blocks well and has good hands.

Stafon Johnson

Given Johnson's contribution against Idaho (12-64 yards, 2 touchdowns), and his work ethic/performance this fall, he will be looked upon as a major contributor for this game. Look for Johnson to turn in a solid game at Lincoln.

Allen Bradford

An all-purpose back, Bradford played fullback last season, and will be called upon to share the duties at tailback, and relieve both Johnson and Gable.

Desmond Reed

Likely to be used on third down situations and punt returns, Reed is fast enough to gain yardage on the ground or through the air. In the contest against the Vandals, Reed (5-36 yards) had a healthy 7.2 yards per carry average.

Joe McKnight

Joe McKnight has battled minor injuries the last couple of weeks. If available, he will be lined up at several positions on the field and has breakaway speed that can turn the momentum of the game around on one play. McKnight was given a couple days of rest to heal injuries. If ready, look for him to turn in some exciting plays.

Hershel Dennis

A sentimental favorite, Dennis has a wealth of experience with the ball club. His years on the team is valuable, he has an in-depth knowledge of the football system. Dennis has finally been cleared to play, but given his inactivity for several weeks, he will not be ready for significant contact. This week's short practice schedule will determine how much he may be able to play at Lincoln, if at all.

Marc Tyler

This true freshman has great speed and elusiveness. Like Dennis, Tyler was just recently cleared to play, so significant playing time is unlikely. Depending on his practice week, look for Tyler to get a little playing time, just to get him familiar with the college game, and to see if he can perform at this level.

Chauncey Washington

Washington is a hard running, punishing tailback, who gains extra yardage through strength and determination. Also coming back from injury, Washington is anxious to get on the field. Pete Carroll has said they are still awaiting medical clearance for Washington.

Broderick Green

Last Tuesday, Green underwent surgery and will be out 6-8 weeks. Green believes his cast will be removed in a couple weeks and he will start the rehabilitation process. Green looks forward to contributing to the team this year.


In all likelihood, Gable gets the nod, but Johnson will have as many carries. Bradford will be given a chance to run the ball. Reed will get his turn, but his main duties will involve punt returns. McKnight will get a few turns at tailback, but he will also be put in motion and line up as a receiver.

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