Marcus Allen was a bruising running back with a nose for the end zone. His running style allowed him to become the first player in NCAA history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season and win the Heisman Trophy in 1981.
Prior to being honored by the Harold Pump Foundation, Allen spoke with the Daily Trojan about the current athletes playing his old position at his alma mater.
Daily Trojan: How would your coach, John Robinson, have handled the Marc Tyler situation?
Allen: John was a great teacher, motivator and psychologist. John would have been stern, and yet tried to sit down with Marc to really take a look at the things that happened and why they happened. If he wants to have a bright future, these things can no longer happen. I have talked to his dad, [former UCLA and NFL running back] Wendell, and he is very disappointed but loves his son.
One of the things our society deals with is drinking. I thank god I never did, but that is one of the challenges for our youth. Alcohol clearly ruled the day. I like Marc a lot. I think he is a very good person. He has made some bad choices, but we all have.
DT: What do you expect from the rest of USC’s running backs?
Allen: Playing tailback, even though years have gone by and other positions have been highlighted, we always felt that the running back is the biggest single key to our success at USC. At the end of the day, you have to stop with all of the fast-break football and settle down to play a half-court football game.
If you cannot run the ball, if you cannot convert on third and short, fourth and goal, third and goal or even second and goal, you are in deep trouble. It is such a critical part of football. When it is all said and done, and all the fancy stuff is out the window, you have to bear down and hit the other guy in the mouth, and hit him in the mouth again and again. That is the essence of football, and that is what I hope we get back to.