USC RB Allen makes most of opportunity in backfield

LOS ANGELES — Through the first five games of the season, Javorius “Buck” Allen carried the ball 14 times for 78 yards. In that sixth game, there was an emergence of sorts. He carried the ball six times for 37 yards and found the end zone twice — the first two scores of his career.

If that wasn’t a coming out party for the redshirt sophomore out of Tallahassee, last Friday certainly was.

Allen had 16 carries for 133 yards and three touchdowns — all career highs — in the Trojans 31-14 win at Oregon State.

Allen was arguably the team’s most productive back through training camp but didn’t see that translate into meaningful carries once USC opened the 2013 campaign.

After Ed Orgeron took over as interim coach, a door opened for Allen. In one of the first staff meetings with Orgeron in charge, running backs coach Tommie Robinson spoke up for Allen.

“He kept on saying ‘Hey, I really like Buck Allen,'” Orgeron recalled. “When a coach likes you and a coach wants you to play and wants to give you a chance, it means a lot to the young man.”

A major change under Orgeron was allowing position coaches to determine game reps. Robinson came up with a rotation and the result was Allen reaching the end zone for the first two times in his career in the first game post former head coach Lane Kiffin.

Last Friday, Tre Madden carried the ball just once before leaving the game and a greater opportunity was placed in front of Allen. He “made the best of it.” 

After countless service team reps through his first season and a half, the spotlight was finally on Allen.

“I always knew I had it in me,” Allen said. “Coach O seen it but he really didn’t have no control. So I just want to thank him and the whole coaching staff for believing in me.”

Included in that group is Robinson, who Allen’s thankful for. The two have forged a bond since Robinson joined the staff last February.

Robinson, in his Southern drawl, jokes Allen is the only one in the running backs room that can understand him. Allen says Robinson is like a father figure to him and reminds him of his own family back home.

The Southerners’ impact on last Friday’s game helped USC come away with their first win in that part of the Pacific Northwest in nearly a decade.