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Sophomore RB Dillon Baxter has not played much this year, and his family asked for a meeting with coach Lane Kiffin to find out that not practicing hard was the reason; since then this has changed but he has not been effective in few appearances
USC has five good running backs, including senior Marc Tyler, junior Curtis McNeal, sophomore Dillon Baxter, freshman D.J. Morgan and true freshman Amir Carlisle. True freshman Javorious “Buck” Allen was a late report, so he is likely to redshirt this season.
Marc Tyler is the starter and is certainly the most experienced and effective in blocking and knowing what to do. However, the other players are very talented and all want to be on the field and get more playing time.
We talked about the Dillon Baxter family meeting with Kiffin about lack of playing time after the first game. The family was told that Baxter didn’t practice hard the week before the game. He agreed with that and changed his practice habits since that time, but “consistency'' issues have kept him off the field. Marcus said:
“I think that is fine. The kid came out of San Diego with tremendous promise and labeled a ‘can’t miss guy’, and then all of a sudden, he is not playing.
I don’t mind parents asking why and meeting with the coach. It shows they care and have a regular concern about the future of their son.
Maybe they need to hear it first hand from the coach and then the parents can sit down with the kid and try to say this is what you need to do. I hate to speculate.
The greater question is, why would you not work as hard? You have to recognize that what you are doing is paying dividends, and then if you decide to go in the opposite direction, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I don’t know what the staff is thinking, but you have to be accountable.”
When asked if that would have happened when he played at USC, Marcus responded:
“Not to my recollection. I don’t think my father would have done it.
I remember that I got kicked off the team in high school. This is sort of ironic because it is the reason I ended up playing RB at USC. I was kicked off my high school team because I didn’t want to play QB. What I did was fumble the ball from the center exchange five times in a row. So the coach kicked me off the team and I was the best player on the team.
I went home to appeal to my father. He said that is between you and him. You better go back and fix it. I had to go back and apologize.
I wasn’t a selfish player, but I liked hitting people, and I didn’t want to play QB. But I ended up playing QB, and as a result of me running the ball at QB, John Robinson knew that I could run. That is why he asked me to come over and play RB.
We all have blind spots as young people. Even though we can’t see some things about ourselves, other people can see as coaches. Looking back the best thing that ever happened to me was playing QB because I never would have played RB at USC.”
Marcus also noted that players would do almost anything to stay in practice when he was at USC even if injured:
“The first day in practice at fullback, I broke my nose in a nine-on-seven. It was the first play and they took me out one play to look at it and then I was back in.
We never wanted to leave the field ever. We would argue tooth and nail with the coach. We were fearful someone else would get in to play our position.”