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June 8, 2009

Bradford back, aims to be power back

While the 2008 season was a memorable one for USC and its fans, at least one Trojan is glad to have that done with.

Running back Allen Bradford had a forgettable year filled with transfer rumors, trouble for some of his closest friends on the team and a season-ending injury.

But instead of wearing the powerful running back down, the adversity has him working even harder and primed for a breakout season.

"I'm focused on what I've got to do," Bradford said. "I haven't played since October. It feels like, man, forever. Just forever. I'm just happy to go out there again and put work in."

Bradford has been participating in players-only workouts, and he expects to be a full participant in summer conditioning drills when they begin on Monday. Bradford said he still wants to be smart about his comeback, though.

"I'm going to be able to start workouts on June 8th. No nerves or anything. I'm just happy to be back in the groove of things. I can't wait to be running out there full speed and see where my hip's at," Bradford said. "I'm going to go all out as much as I can, but I don't think I'll be doing much heavy lifting on my legs yet. I'm going to stick to my rehab with my legs and just do upper body."

Bradford enters the summer, hoping to put a tumultuous 2008 behind him. One of Bradford's closest friends on the team, Shareece Wright, broke his neck and was arrested. Bradford's roommate, Vidal Hazelton, left the team. And Bradford tore the labrum in his hip, ending his season prematurely.

But he's not thinking of that right now. He's got another focus.

"That's what I'm aiming for, to be the power back," Bradford said. "I just want to do what I can do and play. I'm going to take whatever I'm given and just run with it."

Bradford won't let USC's other running backs change his style. He knows who he is and what he can do.

"I'm just going to continue to play how I can play, the way I did before I got hurt. That's how I play. I'm not going to go out there and try to act like Reggie Bush. I'm not going to be C.J. Gable. I'm not going out there to juke everybody; I'll do it if I have to.

"Most of the time, I'm just going to go heads up."

Bradford's approaching his past the same way. He knows that he's been through some rough times, but he's taken it head on with the hope of writing a better future.

"It's over, but I have a long ways to go. I still have two years left," Bradford said. "I still have to come back in August and show them I haven't lost a step. I have to be ready in August and show them I've gotten better.

"I'm playing with a chip on my shoulder. I just want to play hard and give it all every play."


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