- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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The USC Trojans are 3-1 since changing coaches and have found offensive production up and down the roster. Most recently, running back Javorius "Buck" Allen has emerged. He's coming off a breakout performance against Oregon State, where he rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns. He took some time to chat with the Pac-12 blog this week.
That Oregon State game was a long time coming for you. It had to feel pretty good to get 16 carries and make the most of them.
Buck Allen: It did. I wanted to thank the coaching staff for believing in me. My quarterback did an awesome job. My offensive line did an awesome job. My fullback did an awesome job. Without them, none of that would have been possible.
When you look at your team's depth, you guys have been hit hard. But tailback isn't an issue. What's it been like trying to find your niche among that group of talented runners?
BA: [Running backs] Coach [Tommie] Robinson does a great job rotating us all. He knows us and has a great feel for all of our running styles, and he does a good job rotating us all. He believes in all of us. He gets a lot of credit for knowing us and knowing what we all do best and knowing when and how to use us.
You guys are 3-1 since the coaching change. How difficult has the transition been for you guys and how have you been able to handle it?
BA: It hasn't been difficult. We all love Coach [Ed Orgeron]. He's a player's coach. He loves us, and he wants to see us happy and have fun. We really play off of that, and we want to win for him.
Getting burgers and shakes probably helps.
BA: Oh yeah. Definitely.
What do you see from Cal on film defensively?
BA: They are a good defense. You can never judge a team by their record. We're just going to execute the game plan the coaches have for us, and we'll go from there.
Despite the rollercoaster season, you guys are still in the thick of the South Division race. What's the confidence level like in the locker room?
BA: We're confident. But we're really focused on ourselves and getting better every day and every game. That's all you can do.
What's been the best thing about coach Orgeron so far?
BA: He's really good at interacting with us. He wants to see us happy. He's really good at making it all about us. That's the one thing that I love about him, and I think the other guys do too.
What are your thoughts on Cody Kessler? He seems to be settling more into the position.
BA: He's a great player, and we have a great offense. The coaches all put us in the right position to be successful.
Do you feel like you guys are starting to establish an identity?
BA: Absolutely. We have a good running game, and that sets up our passing game. We go with the game plan the coaches give us and execute, and it's been working.
Where does the nickname Buck come from?
BA: I was a freshman [in high school] on varsity, and there were two Javoriuses -- they stated calling me young buck. Then by my sophomore year, everyone was just calling me Buck.