USC Football: Wild Week For Demetrius Wright


The Trojans’ secondary has been considered one of the weakest links in the new-look defense, as it was tested early and often in the spring game against the pass-heavy USC offense. The unit lost arguably its two best players in Nickell Robey and T.J. McDonald, leaving a gaping hole in a porous new-look secondary.

Apr 13, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans cornerback Demetrius Wright (24) during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

That being said, Coach Pendergast was not afraid to mix in his depth against the Trojans’ offense all spring long.

“We are not going to see [a group of receivers] as good as one of our guys,” Pendergast said. “We have a group of young guys, and I love what I have seen thus far. Gotta get their groups and work on studying the cut-ups over the summer.”

Senior safety Demetrius Wright was demoted to the second string on Saturday, before the game, motivating the Corona native to put his best foot forward for the Spring Game. Thus far in his career, Wright has 28 career tackles as the back up safety behind former-captain McDonald.

Chances of receiving playing time became even less likely as Wright’s reps were declining throughout practice as Su’a Cravens came on strong in camp, gaining momentum towards the starting job. Things were turning for the worst as doctors advised Wright on Monday to skip the remainder of Spring Practice and undergo hip surgery.

These setbacks were difficult to manage this week, but Wright remained focused on the task at hand.

“We moved Demetrius to the two’s and told him if he didn’t like it, than make more plays,” Lane Kiffin said.

Wright accepted the challenge of playing behind the eight-ball. “I feel great, I came out to practice and I was ready to go,” Wright said. “Of course I was upset before the game, but once the game started I regained my focus and just started making plays.”

Wright made his presence felt early and often as he finished the day with two interceptions and three tackles, with one coming for a loss.

“With the rehab I am doing, I should be 100 percent [for] summer and fall,” Wright said. “Today I didn’t feel the pain at all, it was a great feeling.”

The feeling was exhibited with the big plays the senior-safety racked in against Max Wittek’s powerful right cannon.

The first interception was a pure highlight play as Wright stepped in front of a pass from Wittek, coming down with the game’s first turnover, leading to five points for the defense. This put Wright in the discussion for player of the game, an honor Lane Kiffin bestowed upon former tight end Jeremy Galten.

The second big play came on a tip-drill as Wittek looked to connect with Nelson Agholor down the field. Wright seized the opportunity, taking the interception 32 yards the other way. As the ball fluttered for the taking, the senior worked to capitalize on his golden chance.

“All I knew was that I was not gonna let Josh Shaw catch that ball,” Wright said.

The depth chart will be released Monday, so expect Wright to rise in the rankings at the safety position. Defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast was impressed with the senior’s play, as he raved about the improvement of the entire unit, adjusting to life in the new defense.

After showcasing his ability to read the quarterback and break hard on the ball, Wright may have earned himself some major playing time in the Trojans secondary this season.