Since Mark Sanchez led the Trojans to Rose Bowl triumph, the big news at USC has made a complete shift to covering the Matt Barkley saga.
The headlines have looked something like this:
Matt Barkley joins USC early to learn the playbook. Matt Barkley is in a competition to start. Matt Barkley falls to second to Aaron Corp. Aaron Corp gets injured, and Matt Barkley is given another chance.
It is obvious that Barkley has a legitimate chance to become the first ever true freshman starter in a USC opener. To the sports world, that is a very exciting opportunity and one worth following.
But what about the other players?
After all, USC has thrilling position battles not involving Barkley, and several troubling uncertainties. Over the next five days, I will highlight five important topics that will likely transition from the practice field to Saturday afternoons. This is the first:
1. The Revolving Door at Running Back
This season, expect more of the same from the USC running game. With several super-talented backs, Pete Carroll has no need to select a feature back.
Sure, if Joe McKnight can gain 7.75 yards per rush like he did in the last intrasquad scrimmage, he may select himself. But with CJ Gable and Stafon Johnson (a senior) fighting for carries, no back should surpass 12 rush attempt a game.
Also, keep an eye on redshirt sophomore Marc Tyler. While low on the depth chart, Tyler had some promising runs at the end of last season, and seemed to hit the hole better than any of his peers. While McKnight, Gable, and Johnson can run sideline-to-sideline, Tyler may get serious consideration for his downhill running ability.