This Saturday, the Trojans will take on themselves in the Coliseum, providing a glimpse of what’s to come in the fall. Though some of the starters will miss the game due to injuries and there is a no-tackle policy in place, the coaches say that Saturday will be as much of a game-like setting as possible.
With that in mind, there are a couple things to watch for that will probably be ongoing storylines once the season kicks off:
1. Who will be designated QB2?
Let’s face it: everyone knows that 2012 is Matt Barkley’s year to shine, his year to prove himself, his year to lead USC to the Promised Land. And he is going to be given everything but the kitchen sink to enable him to do so. One such element is a capable back up quarterback, and there are two people behind Barley vying for the job. Max Wittek and Cody Kessler have had a buzz around them since their senior year of high school, when they both elected to come to USC knowing that they would ultimately stand in each other’s way of success. They both redshirted last year but now one of them will have to step up and steal the spotlight. Count on coach Kiffin to utilize both Wittek and Kessler in the spring game, to see how they fair under pressure. Wittek has the better arm, but Kessler has the better huddle presence. It will be interesting to see how these two compensate for their respective deficiencies down the road.
2. Will Javorious “Buck” Allen use this time to make a name for himself?
With Tre Madden out of the mix, USC is still in dire need of a third running back option. Some speculate that incoming freshman WR could spend some time at running back this year for depth purposes, but the Trojans do have another option in redshirt freshman Buck Allen. If he plays his cards right, he could use the spring game to show the coaches that he is a viable option to get carries this season. Perhaps on the back end of the spring game, we will know more about Allen and will have a better idea of how he will fit into the Trojan offense.
3. Who is going to start opposite Nickell Robey at CB?
We all know that Nickell Robey is USC’s best cornerback and one of the best shut down corners in the Pac-12, so naturally it will be in USC’s best interest to find someone to compliment him. If they do, the Trojans could easily have one of the strongest secondaries in the conference. As of now, it looks as if Isiah Wiley will be get the nod. He was kind of thrust into the position last year as a result of injuries, so his development into a reliable, go-to corner will be something worth watching.
4. How will Aundrey Walker fair at left tackle?
At the beginning of spring ball, Kevin Graf was thought to be replacing Matt Kalil at the highly regarded left tackle position. However, as the weeks went on and he split time with Aundrey Walker, Walker started to outshine Graf a little bit. Going into Saturday Walker is probably going to be starting at LT, but that is not to say that he has absolutely won the job yet. He has rather gigantic shoes to fill coming after Kalil, and Saturday will be the first time that Walker will be able to show that he is up for the task.
The spring game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. with gates opening at 12:30 p.m. USC students get in free with ID, and it is $10 for the general public.