Will 2013 season see return of 'Tailback U' at USC?
LOS ANGELES – If you mention the name LenDale White to new USC running backs coach Tommie Robinson, it'll bring back memories.
Not the pleasant, feel good memories of USC fans. Instead, thoughts of what could have been.
"I remember recruiting LenDale White," Robinson said. "We didn't get him."
While White was running wild over USC competition in 2004 and 2005, Robinson was an assistant at Georgia Tech. Future NFL running back Tashard Choice arrived in 2005 and having him team up with White could've provided promise for the Georgia Tech running game.
Still, he didn't let the disappointment of not being able to get White in a Yellow Jackets uniform stop him from admiring the running back's work some 3,000 miles away.
"LenDale White was a good power back," Robinson said. "A big back that did big back things.
"I was a fan."
Thoughts of White and Reggie Bush roaming the backfield for the Trojans brings shades of the good old days to USC fans.
It's been eight years since White and Bush ran for a combined 3,042 yards in their last season together as Trojans in 2005. The program has yet to field a running game as productive since.
2013 may not boast the celebrity and the firepower of a Bush-White backfield, but it's generating a buzz nonetheless.
"We got a nice running back group," one USC parent said. "Six-deep, like the old days."
USC head coach Lane Kiffin made a rousing statement at Pac-12 Media Day when he declared the 2013 group of running backs was similar to what the school enjoyed in 2004 and 2005. He took it a step further, declaring there would be more emphasis on the running game in 2013.
Silas Redd, your thoughts?
"You see the smile on my face, right?" Redd said.
Entering his second season as a Trojan after transferring from Penn State, Redd is the leader of the running back corp that has Kiffin and fans so giddy.
He's joined in the backfield by freshmen Ty Isaac and Justin Davis, who Kiffin says "looks better than he did at the end of spring." Also in the fold is Tre Madden, who is the big back of the bunch, as well as returners Buck Allen and D.J. Morgan.
The pieces are in place. Training camp will be spent setting the table for 2013 to be a return to glory for "Tailback U."
Redd and Robinson are appreciative of the emphasis on the running game but want nothing to do with the comparisons of the Bush, White days.
"I would never put my name in (a category with) Reggie Bush or LenDale, but we got some great guys in this corp," Redd said. "Absolutely."