Allen Bradford to start at tailback for USC


It seemed like a no-brainer, but USC Coach Lane Kiffin waited until Thursday to make it official.

Senior Allen Bradford, who rushed for 223 yards last week against Washington, will start at tailback Saturday against No. 16 Stanford.

“Hopefully, he’ll be a big part of the game,” Kiffin said. “We’re going to need to run the ball. We’re going to need to run it a lot.”

Bradford was No. 1 on the depth chart at the start of training camp, but he was displaced by junior Marc Tyler, who started four of the first five games, including last week’s 32-31 loss against Washington.


Bradford, however, averaged 10.6 yards a carry against the Huskies. He is fourth in the Pacific 10 Conference in rushing, averaging 100 yards a game.

“I never lost the mind-set of being the starter,” Bradford said. “I just told myself to keep working, to keep pushing at it.”

Tyler ran multiple plays from the wildcat formation and scored two touchdowns against Washington. He anticipated before Kiffin’s announcement that he and freshman Dillon Baxter would back up Bradford.

“He’s been doing good,” Tyler said. “He deserves it.

Orgeron ready to go

USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron missed practice after being hospitalized the night before because of an infection in his right leg, but Orgeron was released Thursday and said he would travel with the Trojans and coach against Stanford.

“I’m full-speed ahead,” he said in a telephone interview. “I feel 10 times better.”

Orgeron has been on crutches because of a broken right foot suffered a few weeks ago. He said his leg had “an absurd amount of swelling” before doctors contained the condition.

Third-down conversion issue


USC’s struggling defense faces a Stanford offense that is converting 57.8% of its third-down attempts, which ranks second nationally behind Nevada (62.3%).

“That’s off the charts, so we’re going to have our hands full,” said Kiffin, whose team ranks 87th among 120 major college teams in third-down defense.

USC’s offense is 12th nationally in third-down offense, converting 51.8% of its attempts. Stanford is 37th in third-down defense.

Kicking game improves

A day after failing to make any of their field-goal attempts, Joe Houston and Jake Harfman gained confidence by converting multiple kicks, albeit from close range.

Kiffin said he had not decided who would attempt field goals against Stanford.

“Hopefully, they’ll let us not wear pads and kick the ball with the wind at our back and we’ll be fine,” he quipped.

Quick hits


Fullback Stanley Havili, receiver Robert Woods and defensive end Nick Perry were among the players Kiffin listed as limited.... The Trojans will have a short practice Friday afternoon and then depart for the Bay Area.