“You get Andrew Luck one week and then Matt Barkley the next,” said USC safety T.J. McDonald. “The preparation is on a whole other level compared to other conferences. There are great quarterbacks and great receivers and running backs. But the culture of this conference has changed. They’ve forced defenses to get better.”
It wouldn’t surprise me if, when the Week 1 depth chart comes out Sunday or Monday, Kessler and Wittek still have an “OR” between them, reps be damned. Nor would it surprise me if, as happened last year, Kiffin gave Kessler the nod, because he’s better equipped at this stage to go in and manage the offense if need be.
But defensive tackle Leonard Williams was refreshingly candid Tuesday as he described his first two weeks of practice. While most freshmen talk about how hard the transition to college is, Williams said, “I was expecting it to be a lot harder.” Then there was his position switch from defensive end to defensive tackle. “When they moved me to (defensive tackle) I wasn’t very excited,” Williams said. “Then I got used to it. I feel I have a lot more speed than most (tackles).”
USC was coming off of their breakout season under Pete Carroll but many were still skeptical if they could maintain momentum, particularly with the graduation of Carson Palmer and the venue couldn’t have been any more hostile in Auburn with the Tigers being ranked sixth in the country. The win serves as one of the most impressive overall performances by a Pac-12 team in recent history, as the Trojans shut out the Tigers in a 23-0 win led by Matt Leinart who was getting his first snaps ever as a starter.