July 14, 2008

Bradford working to get carries this fall

It's happened plenty in practice.

The quarterback takes the snap, drops back and hands the ball to Allen Bradford, and Bradford breaks off a huge run.

It happened last fall; it happened in the spring.

Despite his success on the Trojan practice field, Bradford hasn't gotten too many chances to make something happen in USC's games.

But with another year's worth of hard work under his belt, that all could change.

"It's kind of hard to say who's going to be the guy," Bradford said. "My mindset is to do what I can do. I know myself, and I just have to show the coaches what I can do to get some playing time.

"I want to fill the power back-role. I want to bring aggressiveness and attitude to the offense, especially in the running game."

Bradford doesn't mind being known for his strength and not for his speed.

"People know I'm not slow. I don't take offense to the big back-thing," Bradford said. "I'm a big back, but I have a lot of speed. If people don't think I'm that fast, I get outside one time and they'll know."

Things started this spring, where Bradford began to feel things coming together.

"I was picking up all of my blocks this spring," he said. "I knew what was coming before it even happened. I was running a lot more patiently. During the offseason and now, I was watching film for like two hours a day.

"Now, I feel like I know what I'm doing. My first two years, I was kind of lost."

Bradford's good spring has carried over to the summer, where he's been working on a number of different things.

"I've been working hard. I've been doing stuff to get to me more explosive - like doing box jumps. I've also been doing a lot of core work, working on my abs. I feel way looser in my hips and everything than I did in the spring."

And at strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle's urging, he's also tried to step up and mentor some of the younger Trojans.

"It's an adjustment. Coach Carlisle has talked to me about becoming more of a leader," Bradford said. "Leadership comes with the territory. Once you get older, there are going to be young guys coming to you, looking to you for help. You have to be able to do things right."

After returning from a week off recharged, Bradford said it's time to kick things up.

"It felt good to get a week off. We were going hard for a long time. Now, we've got work five days a week. The season is right around the corner."

At 228 pounds, Bradford said he feels good physically. He also feels confident running behind an offensive line that he ran behind the past two years on service teams and as a back up.

"The offensive line is young, but to me, it seems like they're together as a unit. They pick up blocks perfectly," Bradford said. "My freshman and sophomore year, these are the guys I was running behind in practice. I'm used to them."

He's also used to competing with a talented group of running backs - a group that uses each other's skills as motivation on the field.

"As a whole, we stay on each other," Bradford said. "We learn from each other, and we teach each other."


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