By all accounts, Steve Sarkisian’s first practice of camp as head coach of the USC Trojans was quite the energetic and uptempo affair. In just one hour and 45 minutes, the Sarkisian-led Trojans ran roughly 120 plays, which is a far cry than what was seen in Lane Kiffin’s camps.
Heading into Tuesday, where the offensive linemen would fall into place was a major talking point and it was subject to a slew of projections. No matter how one had their offensive line looking, Max Tuerk was certain to have a significant influence.
Prior to practice actually beginning, Cody Kessler let the cat out of the bag and revealed the versatile Tuerk was getting the first crack at replacing center Marcus Martin.
Tuerk admitted to being more comfortable under center now than he was before, due to the shotgun formation being an easier snap on his longer arms.
Needless to say, the Trojan offense under Sarkisian’s direction is going to look drastically different than it did last season. Kessler told reporters the offensive play calling didn’t require players to labor over discussing and were instead able to “just go.”
Similar to the offensive line, the defense is somewhat in flux, but for a different reason. Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox brings with him a hybrid 3-4 front that can adjust to what the offense is showing.
That style will call for some players, like J.R. Tavai, being able to play with his hand on the ground and standing up, when necessary. According to those in attendance, Tavai saw time as a defensive end and outside linebacker on Tuesday as the Trojans look to replace Devon Kennard.
What Sark’s saying (via ESPNLA):
I really liked the energy and focus that our players and coaches showed. We were by no means perfect, and there is plenty to learn from, but it was just awesome to get on the field finally with these guys.
Tweets of the day:
Jacob Freedman believes the atmosphere reflects that from previous years under Kiffin:
Overall, in my opinion, today’s practice had similar vibe to practice under Kiffin. Players fired up on sidelines as usual.
— Jacob Freedman (@Jacob_Freedman) March 12, 2014
Ryan Abraham details Sarkisian’s interesting means of including players who are injured:
Besides the quicker pace of practice, injured players also took part in walk-thrus and got more reps that way. #USC
— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) March 12, 2014
Future Trojans got a firsthand look at what to expect upon their arrival at USC:
Incoming freshman Adoree’ Jackson watched practice, as did top 2015 recruit Ricky Town
— Rich Hammond (@RegisterUSC) March 12, 2014
Storylines to follow: