When USC takes the field at home Thursday evening against Arizona, they will be welcoming back an old friend as well.
Running back Silas Redd makes his debut in 2013 when he returns from a knee injury suffered this past spring.
A returning 2012 starter, Redd will provide additional depth for a unit that already is one of the deepest on the roster, but as is the case with everything associated with USC football this year, his addition to the roster brings additional concerns.
Joining an anemic offense in 2013, Redd's presence actually muddles one of the only consistent and reliable portions of that side of the ball.
That is because running back Tre Madden has been an absolute beast this year as he has run through, around and over USC's competition with ridiculous ease.
Averaging almost 117 yards per game, Madden has made running the ball USC's only consistent threat this year.
Now Redd is back, and this certainly will change the dynamic for the Trojans in this area of the offense, right?
Probably not. At least not for the time being.
New interim head coach Ed Orgeron and his offensive coordinator Clay Helton both know that their offensive hopes rely on Madden's hard running, and they will not do anything that jeopardizes the only area that they are effective in.
Besides, Redd's conditioning will also be in question so his carries will be limited against Arizona by necessity.
So no matter what, Redd's action will be brief come Thursday evening, but what about beyond that? How do the Trojans look at this position going forward?
Again, for the most part, not too differently.
As long as Madden stays healthy, he will remain the starter in 2013. He has earned that.
What is likely to change though is the rotation that has seen true freshman Justin Davis emerge as the primary backup to Madden.
Smooth and explosive, Davis has given the fanbase a glimpse of the future, and needless to say, they like what they see.
Running with authority, Davis has averaged a ridiculous 7.4 yards per carry so far this year, and along with that gaudy stat, Davis gives the Trojans a different look as a back who could go all the way any time he touches the ball.
Still, Redd is too good of a back to not get some touches, and as a senior who left Penn State to help the Trojans seek a failed national title in 2012, he deserves not to be buried on a deep running back bench.
This is not to say that Davis will be forgotten, because he also is too good to sit.
What it does mean is that instead of two backs, Madden and Davis, seeing regular action, it now turns into a three-back rotation with Redd and Davis fighting for Madden's scraps.
So now USC has the three-headed monster at running back, and perhaps it works out for the best anyway.
Leading an offense that will rely on the run for the balance of the season, the Madden-Redd-Davis triumvirate should be effective while quarterback Cody Kessler hones his skills to hopefully create some distraction for opponents in the passing game.
At the end of the day, Redd's return won't have a huge impact on the offense, although he will take some of Davis' carries.
And what about the carries for guys like Buck Allen and Ty Isaac, two guys that only rarely toted the rock anyway for the men of Troy?
Forget about it.
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