In one season under Lane Kiffin, Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty rushed for 1,345 yards, 13 touchdowns and carried the ball at least 13 times in every game.
Allen Bradford again stated his case for that kind of workload, running for two long scores during Saturday's scrimmage.
The redshirt senior had touchdowns of 39 and 35 yards, sparking a rushing attack that bogged down in previous scrimmages. The Trojans totaled 157 yards on four yards per attempt, a major improvement from last week's average of 2.2 yards per carry.
Starting with Tuesday's goal-line drill, Bradford put together a dominant week. The turnaround started with Kiffin, who was offensive coordinator in Bradford's first season, showing the running backs video of that 2006 campaign.
"Coach Lane told us he wants us to go out there and just be a presence, show that we can run and be the stable," said Bradford, who had 89 yards on 10 carries. "He showed us some old film of us and how we was running. That got us kind of fired up, just came out here and ran hard and ran strong."
Despite similarities between him and Hardesty, Kiffin said Bradford must prove his consistence, citing the 71 carries Hardesty had against Vanderbilt and Kentucky to close out the regular season.
"He really showed unbelievable durability with the last two games," Kiffin said. "Allen's got a ways to go before he gets to that level.
"He's got a ton of potential because rarely do you find a guy who is 235 and runs a high 4.4. There's a ton of potential to improve in the discipline of the run game, which he did today."
No passing fancy
While the running game saw marked improvement, quarterback Matt Barkley and a depleted group of receivers struggled through an erratic session.
After throwing for 291 yards and five touchdowns last week, Barkley completed 11 of 20 passes for 73 yards.
"The defense did a better job in the secondary," Kiffin said. "Not having Ronald [Johnson], who is our go-to receiver, obviously hurts Matt."
Mitch Mustain was able to put together his best scrimmage to date, throwing touchdowns to David Ausberry and C.J. Gable to cap a strong week.
"All three practices, he really performed well having a better grasp of the offense and getting the ball out quicker," Kiffin said.
Ausberry, who has spent most of the spring at tight end, had a team-high 77 yards working out wide. He also bested corner T.J. Bryant on a 42-yard touchdown.
Fullback Stanley Havili added five receptions.
Havili and other USC players were familiar with the first two days of the NFL Draft, specifically the criticism of Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll by safety Taylor Mays, but chose not to comment.
"That's out of our control. We see that as motivation for us as a team. It speaks volumes about the season we had last year. Guys are coming out ready to play football this year," Havili said.
-Wide receiver Kyle Prater scrimmaged with a cast on his left thumb, which he sprained while blocking.
"It really says a lot about the kid that we pushed him out here and he came out here in a cast and obviously couldn't catch with that hand at all," Kiffin said.
Prater caught two passes for 21 yards and nearly came up with several other one-handed grabs.
"He tried. He actually made a couple good catches," Kiffin said.
-Running back Dillon Baxter (knee) spent the day in San Diego visiting his ailing grandmother.
-Defensive end Armond Armstead (foot contusion) did not participate in the scrimmage.
-Running back Marc Tyler suffered a sprained toe early through the scrimmage and did not return.
-Offensive tackle Martin Coleman (ankle) worked in a scrimmage for the first time this spring, working at right tackle with the second unit. Kiffin said Coleman has lost 15 pounds.
-Johnson met with doctors Saturday to have his right wrist examined. He could undergo surgery next week.
David Ausberry had a 42-yard touchdown reception on Saturday.
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