LOS ANGELES (AP) — Silas Redd is already fitting in at USC despite having only practiced with the Trojans for two days.
“Obviously we know he’s a great football player,” USC center Khaled Holmes said Tuesday. “But he’s a great character guy as well. He’ll be able to contribute leadership on and off the field.”
Heading into the season, the Trojans’ running game was seen as a weakness by critics, one that relied on Curtis McNeal and D.J. Morgan. Now, with Redd, who transferred from Penn State, that position has added depth.
“We would have found somebody to step up but it’s a nice comfort because he’s making everybody better,” running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu said.
Morgan, who had 42 carries for 163 yards last season, sees the competition the same way.
“I came here knowing I was going to compete,” Morgan said. “No matter who it was going to be, no matter if it was a late transfer or a new recruit, this program is based off competition. A lack of depth is a lack of competition.”
While it’s likely that McNeal will be the Trojans’ main running back, the second spot could be between Redd and Morgan.
“I think D.J. Morgan has really handled it really well. It’s kind of easy on Curtis (McNeal) to just have another guy there, Curtis is a returning 1,000-yard rusher,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “D.J. I’m sure hears from a lot of people that he’s the odd-man out, which is not the case.”
Despite the difference in game experience between Redd and Morgan, Morgan feels his time in the Trojans’ offense gives him an edge.
“I just have the advantage of knowing the offense so (Redd) has to catch up, get the concepts and everything down,” Morgan said. “He did well over (at Penn State). Now he’s in a new arena and we’re still competing.”
Morgan is more than two years removed from major knee surgery and said he is fully healthy.
The Trojans also have a tailback in Javorious ‘Buck’ Allen, who looks more comfortable after having redshirted a year.
Polamalu believes that Redd coming in as a junior gives him a natural maturity and leadership that will be helpful to a group made up of Morgan, a redshirt sophomore, and Allen, a redshirt freshman.
“(Redd) is a humble young man and he works hard. And then he runs hard and he wants to be great,” he said. “It’s a really good complement to Buck, D.J., that young group. He has some maturity to him because he’s played a lot of snaps.”