April 6, 2008
It was a mercurial Sunday afternoon on Howard Jones Field, with fortunes changing between the offense and defense as quickly and often as the weather - both were hot and cold, windy and calm. Big plays by the offense were countered with countless sacks by the defense. At the end of the day a few players had separated themselves, notably Allen Bradford and his 73-yard touchdown run.
"I trusted my O-line and my fullback Adam (Goodman) set the block for me, I cut back, hit the hole and got up field and showed off my speed," Bradford, who outran Cary Harris to the goal-line, said. "My first run wasn't how I like to run, my back was a little tight so I need to get adjusted to that. As my back started to loosen up I started to play better."
Bradford has never been a stranger to the big play, but rather it's the mental mistakes - missed assignments, fumbles, etc. - that have held back his promising career. So instead of being excited about his two touchdown runs on only three carries, Bradford was most pumped about picking up all of his blocks.
"Knowing that they can use me and I'll pick up my assignments, as well as maybe break a long one, should help me in the fall," Bradford said about building trust with the coaching staff. "Before you go out there you have to be prepared, and you also have to know that everyone around you is prepared, so you've got to trust everybody. And now we're starting to build that trust in one another with a great day.
"We scored a lot, we turned the ball over a few times, but I'm pretty pleased with the way the offense worked."
While the defense gave up a number of big plays, they also made the offense look flustered and out of sync at times. Free safety Taylor Mays is one of the many budding stars on the Trojans defensive unit who played Sunday without either of their biggest names - Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga.
"I thought it went well today," Mays said. "On the first drive we struggled a little bit as they drove on us. But we regrouped, and since this was the first time we've gone full-speed, we got used to the tempo.
"We've started to realize that we have the potential to be one of the best defenses that USC has ever had, and today we felt we took the first step towards that."as much as possible to make them proud.
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