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USC's Allen Bradford finally gets chance to run

Stafon Johnson's injury leaves an opportunity for the fourth-year junior to be USC's No. 2 tailback.

October 03, 2009|Gary Klein

BERKELEY — USC tailback Allen Bradford would have preferred different circumstances.

The fourth-year junior is saddened that his opportunity to be USC's No. 2 tailback is coming as a result of senior Stafon Johnson's misfortune.

However, Bradford said this week that he would have no problem focusing tonight when the seventh-ranked Trojans play No. 24 California in a Pacific 10 Conference game at Memorial Stadium.

The former Colton High star has been waiting for a chance to play a significant role for the Trojans.

"I'm sorry it had to come this way," Bradford said, referring to the weightlifting accident that forced Johnson to undergo emergency throat surgery.

"But when opportunity comes knocking at your door, you've got to answer."

Bradford was third on the depth chart behind starter Joe McKnight and Johnson before Johnson was injured.

Last week against Washington State, Bradford rushed for a team-best 55 yards in six punishing carries. He is averaging 8.1 yards a carry.

Bradford said he would not allow emotion to adversely affect his performance against the Golden Bears.

"I'm not going to get too over-hyped and do something I don't normally do," he said. "I'm just going to be running hard, hitting the holes and running fast."

Johnson update

Johnson was transferred Thursday night from California Hospital Medical Center to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center so he could be nearer to his personal surgeons.

After the Trojans' walkthrough at Memorial Stadium Friday afternoon, Coach Pete Carroll said he did not expect Johnson's situation to debilitate the team psychologically.

"We're counting on him being well and so I don't think we're worrying about that," Carroll said. "We miss him, we wish he was here, but other than that we miss other guys too. There's a lot of guys that are banged up that can't be with us.

"It's an emotional week, without question, but I don't think it's carrying to the game."

Barkley ready

Quarterback Matt Barkley kicked a 45-yard field goal during the typically loose walkthrough, but Carroll said he would not have the freshman try special teams duty like Mitch Mustain, who has also been working at punter during practices.

Carroll said he was looking forward to seeing how Barkley plays against a good Cal defense.

"This is where, hopefully, he can start to kind of get a foothold on the season and really start contributing in a very consistent way," Carroll said.

Quick hits

USC leads the series against Cal, 61-30-5. . . . Cal has won nine consecutive home games since losing to USC, 24-17, in 2007. . . . Former Trojans offensive linemen Sam Baker of the Atlanta Falcons and Ryan Kalil of the Carolina Panthers attended the Trojans' practice on campus before the team departed from Los Angeles.


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