With USC’s first spring practice officially completed, we now have a better idea of where several players will set up in the new systems installed by Steve Sarkisian’s staff.
On offense, it was confirmed that junior offensive lineman Max Tuerk will be starting out at center. As USC’s most versatile lineman, Tuerk could find a home in any of the positions along the line. However, his wealth of experience over redshirt freshman Khaliel Rodgers and early enrollee Toa Lobendahn give him a clear advantage in such a vital position.
With Tuerk at center, the battle for the starting right tackle is wide open, with senior Aundrey Walker and redshirt sophomore Zach Banner likely to battle it out, though both will be limited during spring because of injury.
Interestingly enough, Rodgers saw first team reps at right guard.
Sophomore linebacker Quinton Powell lined up on the outside in the first day, leaving the open WILL position to senior Lamar Dawson, who is limited during spring, redshirt junior Anthony Sarao and sophomore Michael Hutchings.
Also on the outside, redshirt sophomore Scott Starr and senior J.R. Tavai saw time at both outside linebacker and defensive end. According to Gerard Martinez of USCFootball.com, the majority of the time Justin Wilcox’s defense set up in the 3-4 as opposed to the 4-3. Wilcox has indicated that his defense can be defined by multiple sets so it is likely we will see a little bit of everything as spring progresses.
Starr and Tavai are both in the mix for positions left vacant by Devon Kennard and George Uko, with Tavai favored to find his way into the starting line up as either a rush linebacker or end.
Unfortunately, Josh Shaw has a fractured foot and could not participate in practice, so his status as either a cornerback or safety is still unclear.