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Wolf: Ronald Jones revives thoughts of Tailback U. at USC

By in Press Enterprise on November 1, 2017

By Scott Wolf

LOS ANGELES — Ronald Jones gaining 216 yards against Arizona State is evidence that the days of Tailback U. can still exist at USC.

But the legendary workloads of O.J. Simpson and Marcus Allen are gone, when a tailback literally carried a USC offense for an entire season. Jones carried just 18 times against the Sun Devils, which is about half a game for Allen during his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 1981.

Just ponder Allen’s statistics in that season: He carried 40 times against Tennessee, 39 times against Oklahoma, 35 times against Oregon State, 40 times against Stanford, 44 times against Washington State, 46 times against Cal and 38 times against Washington and 40 times against UCLA.

Jones has carried only 132 times in eight games.

“I was at 40 carries a game (as a tailback) when I played (at Miami of Ohio),” USC assistant Deland McCullough said Tuesday. “That’s the way it was. The practices were a lot different too.

“You don’t need to do that to a guy today. (Jones) can be effective and not have diminishing returns by blowing him up.”

Still, with star freshman Stephen Carr out the past four games, one would imagine Jones would be needed for more than an average of 17 carries per game.

In a season when every play made by USC quarterback Sam Darnold gets scrutinized, Jones has quietly emerged unscathed and ready for the NFL draft if he chooses to leave after the season.

“In comparison to other players I’ve coached who have succeeded in the NFL, he compares very favorably,” McCullough said.

McCullough came to USC this season from Indiana, where he coached NFL running backs Stephen Houston, Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard. Coleman scored a touchdown in last year’s Super Bowl for the Atlanta Falcons.

Although McCullough did not sound eager to discuss Jones’ NFL prospects, he […]    

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