USC Spring Football Camp Opens, Officially Beginning New Era


Apr 13, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive line coach Ed Orgeron leads players Ryan Henderson (14), Devian Shelton (17), and Anthony Sarao (56), and Demetrius Wright (24) and Kevin Greene (81) on the field before the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The USC Trojans return to the practice field Tuesday afternoon, kicking off spring camp and the Steve Sarkisian era on the freshly sown greens of Howard Jones field.

Our first real taste of USC football in 2014 will feature plenty of intrigue.

Sarkisian’s new coaching staff will blend familiar faces like Clay Helton and Tee Martin with old foes like Justin Wilcox and Johnny Nansen. Outsiders from the NFL and SEC, Tim Drevno and Chris Wilson, add even more layers to a staff that will be working to find their own chemistry as well as train the young men under their care.

With new systems to install on both offense and defense, half of the challenge of spring will take place on white boards. For the fans, half the fun will be figuring out who sets up where and when in Sarkisian’s uptempo pro-style, but kind of spread offense and Wilcox’s “somewhere in between a 4-3 and a 3-4” scheme.

On the field, there are more than enough position battles to go around: defensive end, outside and will linebacker, cornerback, safety, quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tackle, guard and center. In fact, it is quicker to name the positions which don’t feature a very real competition at the top.

Injuries will play an unfortunate yet important role as usual. One player’s misfortune is another’s opportunity. With players like Justin Davis, Randall Telfer, and Lamar Dawson sitting out or limited, the likes of Ty Isaac, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, and Anthony Sarao have the chance to control their own destiny in 2014.

Then there are the early enrollees: Claude Pelon, the junior college transfer ready to make his mark; Toa Lobendahn, the lineman with starting aspiration and talent; Jalen Greene, the dual threat quarterback who could surprise everyone.

There are storylines to be explored and plenty of questions to be answered, but most of all there is Trojan football. Finally.

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