nO-ffensive Line: Week Four Recap Of #USC Spring Practice

It’s (Spring) Game week! Let’s see how the Trojans are getting ready for the final week of practice until the Fall.

Tuesday

Look who has returned from his dorm room hot tub and one year hiatus from football relevance. Once the darling of college football his freshman year, Rosen is merely an afterthought. If it gets too hot for Josh in Los Angeles, he’ll have plenty of shade living under Sam Darnold’s shadow.

Not the greatest segue into another interception this Spring by Sam, but at least he’s getting the defense ready for the UCLA game.

First, it was the Sam-Burnett-dino and then it was the Velusiraptor, now Tyler “Vince” Vaughns is joining Jurassic Park.

Note: The joke here is that Vince Vaughn starred as Nick Van Owen in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”. Get it? No? Okay.

Pittman better crawl himself out of the hole before he falls even further down the depth chart.

Punishment for lack of ball security: Bear crawl gassers. People always say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. One, those people never played football, and two, don’t forget how much bears love honey. I’ve seen the shenanigans Pooh has gotten into.

Clancy isn’t giving the Heisman favorite a free pass this Spring, and it’s going to make both sides of the ball better in the long term. Really excited to see what is in store on defense this season.There is a lot of talent. There is also a lack of size and depth in certain positions. Coach Pendergast is going to pull out all the stops to get this defense up to his pedigree. With what he did in the second half of the season, I’m not too worried.

Something I’ve become very worried about is the lack of reps from some of our returning offensive linemen and their general health as a whole. With Viane out until fall with an elbow injury, USC has been working with a skeleton crew on the offensive line.

Yes, it has provided young guys with opportunities, but if this problem persists into the season and the Trojans are starting one or two freshman on the offensive line, Darnold is going to see more defensive linemen than Heisman votes.

Again, another silver lining with injuries to the starters is getting all the linemen acclimated to each position so that you can just plug in the best player if someone goes down in a game and only see the run and pass protection stay the same or worsen only slightly.

Prime example of this double training is Nico Falah, who took over for Toa Lobendahn at center after his season-ending injury last year. With Lobendahn returning, and Falah playing the first three years at USC as a tackle, USC can move Falah wherever he is needed on the offensive line.

Given Falah’s back problems, the best place for him might be on the outside instead of in the trenches butting heads against 300-pounders every snap.

USC also has the option to wait until the Fall, when one of our prized recruits, Austin Jackson, enrolls. Not sure how that much speeds helps on the line, but it certainly means no one is going to be able to rush around the edge against him. Unless being an anchor on a relay race doesn’t translate to fighting off a swim move from a defensive end from Stanford.

Running that fast with his height and weight, he may already be projected to get drafted by the Oakland Raiders when he graduates (or leaves after three years).

Thursday

“Over there is the Audi Club. There used to be more bleachers, but the school decided to get rid of them when they realized only sororities and fraternities would sit there for a half before leaving to head back to 28th street. Now, it’s covered lounge seating with an all-you-can-eat buffet for high-prized boosters. Remember you’re playing FOR THEM!”

“Look what the Rams have done since we became a family… They have won one damn game here.”

Is Falah’s back…back?

It’s nice to finally have a quarterback that can scramble and actually move around, instead of the legacy of cement-footed pocket passers, but Darnold will not be able to escape pressure on every play. I understand its April, but I have to restate how much the offensive line could be an issue for the Trojans throughout the season. It was an issue early last year, and that was one of the most experienced lines in the country.

At least we didn’t hire a new offensive line coach like we have for the past five years. No turnover there means no time and trouble for returning players to spend on adjusting to a new coaching style.

Football is a NEXT MAN UP sport and not many of the backups seem to be rising to the occasion. Need Austin Jackson to relay his way over to campus and trade that baton for some shoulder pads.

THEN AGAIN, maybe Darnold can escape pressure on every play. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve underestimated his talent.

Oh, poor Max Browne. Never had a chance (you know, besides the three starts in the beginning of the season).

Burnett took a tumble on Thursday, overextending himself for a ball and falling hard. Probably would have been an easy touchdown if the practice took place in Pasadena.

Burnett was very Deontazed and confused after that play.

Don’t worry, he’s fine.

Big fan of our new coach’s energy, and his excessive amount of props. Looks like he stole of couple of suitcases from Carrot Top.

Doesn’t look like the boxing glove on the stick helped much with the running backs’ ball security during live scrimmage.

One day on the second string was enough for Pittman.

Not quite the JUGS a 19-year-old would like to be playing with, but great to see Pittman putting in extra work after practice. First one in, last one out.

This is USC, not UNC.

Sometimes people can forget they are STUDENT-Athletes. Glad to see our Trojans getting the most out of their education (since that’s pretty much all they will be given for making the school millions of dollars).

Apparently, the precedent of studying both in the classroom and in the locker room was set by former linebacker Michael Hutchings, who decided to forego pursuing the small chances he had with a career in the NFL to become a real-estate agent.

Best of luck to Michael in his future career endeavors. Please do not give homes to any current players or their parents.

That’s how you get ready for the regular season.

This is your monthly reminder that Notre Dame went 4–8 last year.

Saturday

A special appearance from the Song Girls before USC’s annual “Swim With Mike” charity event that took place later that day.

Since “Swim With Mike” was later in the day, the Trojans practice was relatively quick. The football team swapping out helmets for banana hammocks.

Less reps, more laps.

Although maybe Chuma should stand in the shallow end. It might be hard to paddle with a club for a hand.

Not being able to use your fingers equals less holding penalties. Maybe make the club permanent?

Just kidding, holding (and not getting caught) is essential to being a successful offensive linemen.

Falah’s back… IS BACK! Great news for our offensive line. But Ryan Abraham brings up a good point: Why isn’t Nico also playing tackle? Toa was the starting center before his injury. It would be safe to assume that’s where he would return when he comes back.

I guess no spot is secure. Helton turning every position on the offensive line into a competition.

Toa Lobendahn has a lot of versatility. He’s played center, right guard, left guard and left tackle during his time at USC.

Guess this year’s offensive line is going Super Nintendo: Just plug and play.

Looks like both sides of the ball will be at their best for the Spring Game this Saturday.

If Cam Smith can start his freshman year, why can’t others? Looks like USC is trying to strike (cardinal and) gold twice with two of their early enrollees.

Speaking of linebackers, looks there’s a lot of competition for Cam’s right hand man (or left hand depending on the defensive scheme). The linebacker depth in the middle is scarce so hopefully each player is talented enough to play and allow for a healthy rotation to keep the defense rested and healthy.

Okay, not quite the alumni I want near impressionable young men. Who let his White Bronco thru security?

That’s it for week four. Look forward to seeing all the Trojan faithful at the Spring Game this Saturday.

If you want to say hello, I’ll be the guy wearing the “Saturdays Are For The Trojans” shirt.

FIGHT ON!


Special thanks to my “editor”, Johnny.

Sources: Twitter.


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