Found August 18, 2012 on Fox Sports West:
LOS ANGELES ---Soma Vainuku is not your average fullback. "(He brings) unique features (to the position) --the size and speed. They don't make many humans like that," said USC head coach Lane Kiffin. "It's great. If you can have a fullback that can block and be big but also can run, you have the potential to give some people some issues." The speed Kiffin speaks of was even surprising to Vainuku. Earlier this summer when USC players were timed in the 40-yard dash, Vainuku wasn't feeling like himself. He was ill and "sluggish," but figured he'd give it a shot anyway. "I thought I was going to do horrible," he said. "Afterwards the strength coaches let me know what my time was and I was kind of blown away by it." The time: 4.41. Vainuku stands 6'0, 250-pounds. He ran the fastest time of all of the USC running backs, save D.J. Morgan, who didn't run because he was sidelined with turf toe, and Silas Redd, who wasn't with the team yet. Vainuku has showed off that speed while ripping off a few long runs during fall camp. The coaches agree he's a "capable" ball carrier and the redshirt freshman did plenty of it in high school. As a senior, he ran for 2,202 yards and 38 touchdowns while leading Eureka to a CIF North Coast Section championship. In his high school career, he ran for 4,502 yards, and 79 touchdowns before originally signing with USC in February of 2010. He did not qualify academically and later enrolled in the spring of 2011. He can be a ball carrier and might even be that big back the team needs but that's not his role. "Right now, his first role is to be the fullback and he's getting better every day and then when he does get the opportunity to get the carries, he's done pretty good at that too," said running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu. "We're just trying not to overwhelm him. "He's never taken a college football snap in (a) live situation in the Coliseum or in a game situation." When it comes to carrying the ball, Vainuku sees himself as a reliever of sorts. "I feel comfortable carrying the ball. In high school, that's what I did," Vainuku said. "Here, they're giving me a couple of carries but that's just relieving some running backs, giving them a breather." The fullback in the West Coast Offense is a dynamic position with duties including run blocking, pass blocking, and catching the ball in the flat. Vainuku's predecessors were guys Polamalu says helped the offense move the chains. The coaches want him to fit that mold. "He's got to be a chain mover catching the ball, blocking, or possibly running it," Polamalu said. "Right now I'm just trying to get him in the mindset of, 'Hey, you're the fullback. Make plays with and without the football,' and he's growing every day."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

De'Von Flournoy eyes USC's 3rd WR spot

LOS ANGELES -- USC head coach Lane Kiffin will remind anyone who will listen that his wide receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are the exception. Most players don't immediately come in and make an impact as true freshmen. For most, it takes time. Fitting that mold is wide receiver De'Von Flournoy. Appearing in 10 games as a Trojan, the redshirt junior has yet to make...

Trojans get ready for second 'preseason' game

LOS ANGELES -- If you ask Lane Kiffin, it's preseason game number two. The Trojans will hit the Coliseum field on Sunday afternoon for their second "preseason" contest of fall camp. Breaking down fall camp into such increments is something Kiffin has done since he took over as USC's head coach. "It's really kind of an NFL format to get them used to...

USC Trojans battle injuries in fall camp

All three starting linebackers have missed multiple practices due to injury, but linebacker is just one of several positions where the USC Trojans have concerns about depth. The 2012 football season hasn’t even started and the USC Trojans have already had their share of injuries. USC isn’t providing injury reports during preseason camp, but numerous players have missed practice...

USC Trojans Ranks No.1 in AP Top 25

The USC Trojans are the No.1 ranked team in the nation as the Associated Press releases its initial 2012 college football rankings.   The USC Trojans received 25 first-place votes, followed by Alabama, who got 17 first-place votes and LSU with 16 first-place votes.   RANK TEAM 2011 RECORD POINTS PV 1 Southern Cal (25) 10-2 1,445 6 2 Alabama (17) 12-1 1,411 1 3 LSU (16) 13...

VIDEO: Lane Kiffin, Day 12

The Trojans returned to Dedeaux Field for day 12 of USC fall camp. It was the last scheduled two-a-days practice for the Trojans who are preparing for their final scrimmage on Sunday.

Barkley's Bucket List

USC quarterback Matt Barkley seems to be everywhere these days, just check your mailbox. The senior is making his way down his bucket list, a Sports Illustrated cover is the latest to get checked off.

VIDEO: Lane Kiffin, Day 11

USC head coach Lane Kiffin addresses the media following day 11 of the Trojans' fall camp.

PHOTOS: USC Fall Camp

The USC Trojans were back at Dedeaux Field for two-a-day practices on Wednesday. Look inside for photos of Matt Barkley, Gerald Bowman and all the action from the field.

Bailey Back on the Field

Redshirt sophomore linebacker Dion Bailey missed a few days of fall camp and was even seen wearing a sling on his left arm, but on Thursday he was back to work on Dedeaux Field for day 11 of the Trojans' fall camp.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.