USC redshirt freshman Broderick Green arrived last summer as Trojans’ biggest tailback, but hardly the most mature. After being bothered by the typical ribbing of his teammates, especially his fellow tailbacks, Green said he learned to ignore their comments.
“There’s been times when a couple guys and I had situations,” Green said. “They would say, “You’re too slow or you weigh 260. But I don’t take it personal anymore.
“Just when I got here, people said stuff. When I heard it, I wanted to join in. As a freshman, you should expect it. I’m fine.”
It could be worse. At least he did not experience any hazing incidents, like quarterback Mark Sanchez, who had his head shaved in training camp by a group of older players led by Matt Leinart.
“I heard about that,” Green said. “I probably would have done something.”
Green redshirted last season after suffering two stress fractures in his foot, but he’s healthy now and ready to contribute. Green offers a different facet than the other tailbacks because he is 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds.
“I feel a whole lot better than I did when I got here,” Green said. “It’s a lot easier. I watched practices with the scripts in my hand last season. When I go in now, I know what to do. I’m a whole lot better on pass protection.”
Running backs Todd McNair said Green is still learning, on and off the field.
“He still listens to what other people say too often but he’s improved a lot,”
Smith rises: Sophomore linebacker Malcolm Smith, the younger brother of former USC wide receiver Steve Smith, is getting a lot more snaps with the first team than originally planned.
With Rey Maualuga sidelined by a strained hamstring, it forced USC to move reserve Luthur Brown to middle linebacker and allowed Smith to take a majority of the work with the starting unit at weakside linebacker. The Trojans’ starting weakside linebacker, Kaluka Maiava, is out following wrist surgery.
“I’ve had some ups and downs. I’m doing all right,” Smith said. “Maybe (I can challenge for playing time). But I can’t think that far ahead.
“I have a better grasp now. I got a lot more reps. I’m getting up to speed. But you want to make sure the progress you make is legit.”
USC coach Pete Carroll said Smith’s personality is unlike that of his older brother.
“They don’t seem the same at all,” Carroll said. “One guy is a linebacker; one is a wide receiver. They’re both great athletes. But personality-wise, they are different. Sometimes you need to be when you play different positions.”