Can Justin Wilcox Defense Succeed in Year Two? Plus More USC Football News


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1st & 10:

First Take… Justin Wilcox is a two-year coach.

At least, that’s what he has been since leaving Boise State after four years in charge of the Bronco defense.

He spent two years in Tennessee before spending two years at Washington and now he enters his second year with USC.

For all the talk from defense players about how nice it is to stay in the same system for a second year, it is hard to tell if that will result in major improvement.

At Tennessee there was no great leap forward in year two. The Volunteers were ninth in the SEC in scoring defense in 2010. They were ninth in 2011. The same is true in other measures like yards per play.

Washington tells a similar story. The Huskies gave up an average of 24 points a game in 2012. That number improved just slightly to 22 per game in 2013, though they remained fourth in the Pac-12. While they improved in terms of yards per play, the team lagged in terms of yards per game.

In both places the turnovers generated by the team fell significantly in year two.

What does that mean for USC in 2015?

There are few telling trends to explore when it comes to Wilcox’s defense, negatively or positively. For now, spring has gone as well for the defense could have hoped. So perhaps that’s the start of an upward trend.

And Ten Links…

  1. USC may be taking the week off from practice for spring break but players like Su’a Cravens have no intention of taking time off from their preparation. (LA Times)
  2. How do USC’s defensive backs compare to the rest of the Pac-12 this spring? Chantel Jennings breaks down the position team-by-team with safety taking center stage. (ESPN)
  3. The first of five things we’ve learned this spring according to Michael Lev is that Adoree’ Jackson is on the verge of superstardom. (OC Register)
  4. We’ve got our own takeaways from the first half of spring camp, including Steve Sarkisian’s emphasis on getting his team to finish games. (Reign of Troy)
  5. USC is set to face the 21st toughest schedule in the nation this year. That is a pretty amazing conference slate when you consider the Trojans open the season against the likes of Arkansas State and Idaho. (Reign of Troy)
  6. Not only does the Pac-12 produce the most 1,000-yard rushers in the NCAA, the conference also churns out a ridiculous amount of 2,500- yard passers. (ESPN)
  7. The Trojans got a jump start on the 2017 recruiting class last week, offering four of the nation’s top 30 prospects. (Bleacher Report)
  8. Dan Weber is fed up with USC and its fans being disconnected from March Madness. (
  9. Pacific Takes are doing a 64-team bracket pitting the top Pac-12 football teams of all time against each other. USC runs away with the most representatives on the list, offering 23 teams to the field. The next best total was UCLA with seven. (Pacific Takes)
  10. USC baseball has not showed any signs of slowing down, taking the weekend series against Washington State to open the conference slate. The team is now 17-3. (RipsIt Blog)

Reign of Troy Radio:

The latest episode of Reign of Troy Radio looks back at the first few weeks of spring camp with Michael Castillo, Alicia de Artola and Josh Webb. Who has impressed at practice? Who stood out on Pro Day? Who would you rather have a beer with George Bush or Barack Obama? Questions and answers ensue.


Stat of the Day:

USC held teams to 5.3 yards per play in 2014, third best in the Pac-12.

Tweet of the Day: