USC tailback Javorius Allen welcomes the challenge.
On Sunday, Coach Steve Sarkisian told reporters that he wanted Allen and fellow tailback Justin Davis to slip more tackles once they clear the line of scrimmage and reach the “second level” of the defense.
Allen, who rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown against Oregon State, said the message was received.
“Coach Sark even told me, ‘If you want to be a great back ... you’ve got to make guys miss in the second level -- and I agree with him,” Allen said. “It was nothing to shoot us down.
“He sees his backs can do better. And I thank him for saying that and pushing me.”
Allen said he works on improving his skills every day.
“It’s all about instincts,” he said. “Coach can’t tell you, ‘When you get to the second level, stiff-arm somebody, or cut.’
“It’s all about trusting yourself and trusting your preparation.”