USC Football: Midseason Awards for Players and Coaches

Rick McMahan@@RickMcMahanSenior Writer IOctober 22, 2013

USC Football: Midseason Awards for Players and Coaches

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Halfway through the 2013 football season finds USC sporting a mediocre 4-3 record after their disappointing loss at Notre Dame.

    Now looking simply to break .500, the Trojans will have to regroup as the schedule only gets more difficult going forward.

    Still, there have been some bright spots in an unproductive year, and this slideshow will celebrate those players and coaches who have put smiles on an otherwise frowning fanbase.

    So pull up a seat, and let's find out who should be remembered with a midseason award in a 2013 season that is completely forgettable.

Offensive MVP: Tre Madden

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Despite missing the last game and a half, running back Tre Madden has not only been statistically the best offensive player the Trojans have to offer in 2013, but also the most consistent.

    Averaging 5.3 yards per carry, Madden has accumulated 615 net yards from the line of scrimmage and has only lost a total of 16 yards in 155 carries.

    And to prove he is not a one-trick pony, Madden has also snagged 13 passes for 198 yards (15.3 average) and 4 touchdowns, which gives him seven scores overall.

    On an offense that has struggled mightily this season, Tre Madden is the MVP at the halfway point.

Defensive MVP: Leonard Williams

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Though he was fairly quiet against Notre Dame, defensive tackle Leonard Williams has been simply dominant in 2013.

    In addition to leading the defense in total tackles with 46, Williams also has 8.5 tackles for loss, which includes 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

    If there is any doubt just how effective Williams has been, take a look around and see how many other tackles are leading their teams in that department

    I'll save you some time; you won't find many.

    And to make this all the more impressive, Williams is often double-teamed, which is part of the reason why he is the defensive MVP at this point of the season.

Best Play: Nelson Agholor's 62-Yard Touchdown Reception vs. Arizona

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    It was interim coach Ed Orgeron's first game since being named Lane Kiffin's replacement, and he needed a big play.

    Enter wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who was the featured receiver after All-American Marqise Lee was forced to miss the game due to a knee injury.

    All Agholor did was snag a long pass from beleaguered quarterback Cody Kessler and took it the house to help propel USC to a 28-3 lead in a game they had to hang on to win 38-31.

    In a season bereft of quality offensive plays, Agholor's long touchdown gets the nod as the best play at this point of the season.

Best Coach: Tommie Robinson (Running Backs Coach)

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    Tre Madden
    Tre MaddenStephen Dunn/Getty Images

    For the first four games of this season, there was little doubt that this award would go to defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, a coach who had produced a defense that was top-five in the nation.

    However, two horrible games by his charges against Arizona State and Arizona took some of the shine off his resume, and now the nod goes to Tommie Robinson, a first-year coach for the Trojans who has produced a deep and talented stable of running backs.

    In addition to the exploits of the aforementioned Tre Madden, Robinson has also produced a fine backup in true freshman, Justin Davis, who has averaged almost seven yards a carry and now sees the return of 2012 starter Silas Redd, who has looked excellent since his return from an offseason knee injury.

    Add Buck Allen and true freshman Ty Isaac to the mix, and it is easy to see that Robinson has done an excellent job in 2013.

Most Improved Player: Javorious (Buck) Allen (Running Back)

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    A tough season for the Trojans has limited the options for determining who the most improved player is in 2013.

    In a pinch, I am going to go with Javorious (Buck) Allen, a running back who has been buried on the bench for the two-plus years he has been a Trojan.

    Although his statistics are modest (27 carries for 142 yards), Allen has become a reliable option to spell the guys in front of him, and those carries also include two touchdowns and an average of five yards per carry.

    Not bad for a guy who barely saw the field of play before the last few games.

Rookie of the Year: Su'a Cravens (Safety)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    It isn't often that a true freshman finds meaningful playing time for USC, and it is even rarer when that player starts at such a crucial position as strong safety.

    Yet that is where you will find true freshman Su'a Cravens, who is not only starting but playing very well.

    Third on the team in total tackles, Cravens also has 1.5 tackles for loss and even has a couple of interceptions to boot.

    All of which has Trojan fans wondering just how good this kid will be when he gets some experience under his belt.

Surprise Star: Kris Albarado (Punter)

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    John Baxter (USC special teams coach)
    John Baxter (USC special teams coach)

    Whew, you know it has been a rough year when the "surprise star" is none other than a punter, in this case, Kris Albarado.

    Replacing Kyle Negrete, Alabarado has been solid all year long, averaging almost 40 yards per punt and placing 19 inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

    In a year where few players have distinguished themselves, Kris Alabarado has done an admirable job in his debut for the Trojans.


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    Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

    It is tough to determine worthy candidates for season awards when a team so much was expected of flops so completely.

    Still, there have been bright spots, although it should be admitted that those have been far and few between.

    Nonetheless, those who have made this humble list are deserving, and if things go right, perhaps the end of season awards will include players who have turned this season around.

    And wouldn't that make a glum fanbase happy?