Running back Silas Redd told the Associated Press he hopes to return for USC's Pac-12 Conference opener Saturday against Washington State, but if the senior is not fully recovered from an offseason knee injury, the Trojan ground game should be just fine.
Since the two-headed, backfield monster of Reggie Bush and LenDale White left USC after the 2005 season, the program has sought replacements in the run attack. An assembly line of backs have come through the program, most highly touted recruits, with varying results.
USC may have its long-awaited dynamic duo in youngsters Tre Madden and Justin Davis.
Davis and Madden each acquitted himself well last Thursday against Hawaii, taking on many of the carries that would have gone to Redd had he been available. Their efforts were particularly impressive given the inconsistencies the Trojan passing game struggled through with neither Cody Kessler nor Max Wittek establishing rhythm.
To that end, USC is a team built to operate through the rush until the quarterback—whomever that ultimately is—is up to speed.
The true freshman Davis was as good as advertised in WeAreSC.com's spring practice assessment. Head coach Lane Kiffin singled Davis' 14-carry, 74-yard collegiate debut as a high point during Tuesday's teleconference call.
Davis went for a third quarter touchdown that effectively slammed the door on the Warriors. The Stockton, Calif. product exhibited explosive, breakaway speed against Hawaii that should make him a regular facet of the Trojan offense throughout the season.
Madden rushed with the physicality one would expect of a former standout linebacker. His power rushing style yielded extra gains against the Hawaii defense, en route to 109 yards on 18 carries.
That power and speed combination could net significant yards against a Washington State defense that surrendered nearly 300 to Auburn in Week 1.
When Redd returns to the lineup, that's one more option to attack on the ground, drawing in the opposing defense to maximize wide receivers Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor through the air.
Inserting a rusher with nearly 2200 yards in the last two seasons back into the offense hardly seems like a gamble—because it isn't. Redd is a grinder with a proven ability to keep plays alive for extra yards.
With Redd, the Trojans know exactly what they are getting. His presence certainly helps the USC offense. But his absence also allows Kiffin to see just what he has in his promising young talents.
Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Kyle on Twitter @kensing45.