Talked about mostly for position battles and depth-related news, the Trojans’ offensive line is loaded with immense talent and plenty of fascinating story lines during Fall Camp. The leading force behind this monstrous unit lies in Marcus Martin, the 6’3″ 315-pound presence that unifies this group.
Martin, the all-encompassing leader of the hogs, calls the shots in and amongst the huddle. “We are a team, a collective organization and family,” said Martin, the prohibitive favorite to start on the offensive line. “I am not my own judge, but I know that I come out and do the best that I can.”
Known by his peers as a fun-loving guy loaded with drive to succeed, Martin catches the eyes of his peers through rigorous mental preparation.
“Marcus is so bright and intelligent and we have a good dynamic,” Max Wittek said of his center. “Being able to have confidence in yourself, that really helps us as quarterbacks,” he continued, noting the confidence Marcus Martin has in his calls.”
The intelligent lineman is adjusting to a new position, trying to master the intended turnover-free offense from the starting center spot, after starting 20 games at left guard the last two years. Throughout two weeks of Fall Camp, the new-look center has adjusted rather nicely in run-blocking situations but wants to keep improving on the most crucial facet of his game.
“We can always improve Center-QB exchange,” said Martin, who quickly notes a major area for improvement. “Whether it be bad grass or whatever, it’s always on me to get those exchanges down pat.”
Known as the second quarterback on the field, the center on offense belts out coverages, protections, and crucial blocking calls. Following in the footsteps of all-time Trojan great, Khaled Holmes, Martin works to showcase his best from day one in the hopes of firing up his running mates.
“It’s just one of those things where you have to be a team motivator, if you are not looking out for the offense you are looking out for nobody,” Martin says about his role as a high-energy leader on offense.
Motivation that certainly comes in handy battling the top-notch defensive line on a daily basis. “When you are successful running the ball, you want to keep doing it. Put the defense back on their heels,” Martin said about his offensive scheme. “When you got two great play callers [Clay Helton and Lane Kiffin] how could you just not come out here and destroy?”
While Martin dishes plenty of compliments all across the depth chart, he receives it back from his peers and the younger guys learning under him. “When I give encouragement, I expect to get it back,” Martin said. “You look to the younger guys, as well as some of the older guys on the team, to get you pumped up each and every day.”
Teammates with Hayes Pullard since his days at Crenshaw High School, Martin has never been short on supporters or inspiration on the gridiron. “You have to turn to your brothers and unite,” Martin says, following a rough series featuring poor communication in pass protection. “If you are not united then you turn against one another.”
The Southern California native looks forward to the season opener, expecting his offensive line to set the tempo from the opening whistle by keeping their composure from the shoulder pads up. “First thing we gotta come off and get set on the line of scrimmage,” Martin says. “Once we get out and get set, and sit there and you can just relax and the picture just falls into itself.”
With composure and confidence popping from his chest, the ever-engaging and rather entertaining Martin will make life exponentially easier for any of the quarterbacks who plan on taking snaps under center this season for the USC Trojans.