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USC football: Curtis McNeal ready to lead Trojans running game

January 13, 2012 | 11:37 am

Mcneal.300USC might be low on tailbacks, but Curtis McNeal is not worried.

As noted in this story, the tailback corps has shrunk to three players. Marc Tyler completed his eligibility, Dillon Baxter was kicked off the team, Amir Carlisle transferred and George Farmer has been moved back to receiver.

That leaves McNeal, D.J. Morgan and Javorious Allen.

McNeal started four games and led the Trojans in rushing last season. The 5-foot-7 McNeal said his approach won’t be much different from last season, when he went from third on the depth chart to the top.

"I’m just going to go in hungry and let my play do the talking," he said.

McNeal’s offseason goals are to improve his speed by strengthening his entire body. Questions about his durability, he said, are unfounded.

"I never missed a game for injury," he said. "Everybody gets nicks and bruises; everybody plays hurt."

McNeal is now the elder among tailbacks. Morgan is a third-year sophomore, Allen a redshirt freshman.

"I have to open up my voice to the younger guys," he said. "I know the offense and I’ve been through ups and downs here. I think I have a good understanding and I think I can relate things to the younger guys."


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-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC's Curtis McNeal scores against Washington. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.