Poll: Which RB should get the most carries for USC?
“I can’t talk today. I might say anything.”
C.J. Gable and Joe McKnight were kidding. Sort of. Before I even approached the two running backs they were declining interview requests from an SID.
With most everyone giving their two cents on USC’s running back rotation — Coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday the team is “still searching” — I figured it’d be a good idea to see what the four so-called co-starters thought.
One-on-one with Allen Bradford:
Question: Do you know your role and what is it?
Allen Bradford: Pound the run, be physical, bring attitude to the running back group. Mac (running backs coach Todd McNair) just tells me punishment. Last game I didn’t get carries. It’s hard. What I said yesterday (to media) is frustration.
Q: How can you be most effective?
Bradford: If I don’t get my carries I can’t be effective. I think I just need carries. I’ve been here for years so people know what I can do. Virginia, I had some good runs. I ran hard. It was real hard having no carries (against Oregon State). I just got to go out there and keep going, try to get some carries and be physical.
Q: How many carries do you need to get into a rhythm?
Bradford: Just a couple touches. Just a couple touches and I’ll be at it. It don’t take that long for me to get riled up. When I get out there in my mind I feel like I can take every one to the house. But five yards and I’ll be cool. I know as I get the ball more and compete I’m going to run harder.
Q: Is the rotation keeping the rushing game from being at its best?
Bradford: I think Oregon State was really prepared for us. I had a couple plays early. I was in on the second play but they audibled. Then I had the play with Joe but he kept it. It just didn’t work out. I think the coaches feel what I’m saying. I talked to Coach (Pete) Carroll, he understands me, he understands my frustration. I’m not sure if that’s going to get me more carries.
Q: When did you talk to Coach Carroll and what did you talk about?
Bradford: Today. It was probably 10 minutes. I’m just frustrated. He understood. I know he read it in the paper. He understands. He just told me to go out there and keep running hard. He understands why I feel that. I don’t get carries after all the work I put in. I’m not saying my time will come because I feel that my time should be now. That’s how I feel.
The running back situation is a rotation. I just got to keep dealing with the rotation. I just got to suck my pride up, I guess. He just told me to keep running and he understands. He understands everything. He said he knows what type of player I am and I’ll never stop fighting.
How do you feel about your meeting now?
Q: I’m not a selfish player. I’m not going to just go up there and say give me the ball. I just told him what I felt and what was on my mind. After I talked to him I felt a little better. We’ll see how the game goes this (week), what they do. I just had to vent some. It’s not just what he told me but I had to let it go.
Q: Do you think somebody should get at least 10 carries, even if it isn’t you?
Bradford: I don’t know about 10, but Virginia we all had nine and Joe had six. You can’t complain. The first two games, I think the distribution was 18, 14, 13, 13. It’s even. I was just mad at the fact I did not get one. One would have been cool. Just one. I think that’s why I was so frustrated. I still have catches on the season. But it don’t feel like I’m a part of it, that was the whole thing.
Q: If someone has the hot hand should they get the bulk of the carries?
Bradford: If we did that a lot of people would be leaving. We’re all too good. If it happened to anybody else they would be the same boat I’m in. They would feel the same way. I think it would be the same situation. Dishing the ball out to everybody, how they’re doing it, how they did it the first two games was good. We all know, like Coach Mac said, if someone gets hot, we’re going to keep dishing them the ball. The first game, we all did good the first game. The second game, Ohio State, Joe was hot. Give him the ball. Last game. Stafon.
Q: And still, Stafon got only seven carries. Should he have had more?
Bradford: Think about it, we only ran the ball 22 times.
Q: But if he would have gotten more carries, you might have had more first downs and this ran more plays, right?
Bradford: You don’t know what would have happened. I just felt like I wasn’t a part of it.
Q: How do you keep a good attitude about the situation?
Bradford: I really don’t know. It gets to me but I try not to show it. Don’t show it at all. Don’t show my frustrations. I just keep on running.