The hype around Matt Barkley, Marquise Lee and Robert Woods is growing by the day around the country. But by the end of the season, and as USC marches towards a national championship birth, Silas Redd will end up being the key piece for the Trojans.
He started small against Hawaii on opening weekend, but came alive with 15 carries for 107 yards against Syracuse in Week 2.
After transferring from Penn State after the NCAA sanctions came down this summer, it was going to take time for Redd to get accustomed to the playbook and his role in the USC offense.
Well, it didn't take that long, as Redd looks poised to take the job outright from Curtis McNeal. He's the better back, which is why USC was an attractive option for the Nittany Lion transfer.
McNeal is still a change-of-pace option, and one of the fastest players on the team. But Redd brings a complete game to the Trojan backfield, and a dynamic they will need at least once or twice this season.
No one can deny that Matt Barkley is having a season for the ages. His 10 touchdowns to one interception marvel what Robert Griffin III was doing at Baylor last season through two games.
But USC will need their rushing attack to pick up the slack at some point this season, and that very well might be this weekend against the Cardinals. Stanford struggled against the passing game when facing San Jose State earlier this season, so they'll be expected to struggle against the pass.
But you can bet their effort will center around stopping USC's two All-American candidates at wide receiver, Lee and Woods, and forcing Barkley to get outside the pocket to make plays.
That plays right into the hands of USC, who wants to establish Redd as a legitimate threat in their high-octane offense. While the injury to center Khaled Holmes is a point of emphasis for the Trojan offensive line, it shouldn't be enough to derail their offense.
Redd isn't a Heisman candidate, and he won't take hold of this offense until Barkley is gone next season. But he can show Trojan faithful just what they have to look forward to when Barkley and the offense struggle, and in the future.
I think Redd is poised for a big game for USC. He should touch the ball 20 times, take the pressure off of Barkley to throw every play and open up play-action down the field. If he does, USC will win handily and Redd will add his name to national recognition.
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