Zach Banner Calls Bob Connelly Best Offensive Line Coach and More USC Football News


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1st & 10:

First Take… Bob Connelly was the opposite of what you would term a “sexy” hire when he was signed up to replace Tim Drevno as USC’s offensive line coach back in February.

More from Reign of Troy

The former Oklahoma State assistant had a long resume, but few highlights. He was well-liked, but when the leading accomplishment cited by the Trojans upon his hire was his having coached a future Outland Trophy Award winner as a freshman, the bar seemed set pretty low.

Skepticism was the general reaction, but entering the final week of spring camp, Connelly has clearly won over his players, particularly junior tackle Zach Banner (via USC’s RipsIt Blog).

"“He’s the best one I’ve had,” said Banner. “He cares about our football life and our personal life. Some meetings will be 10 percent football and 90 percent life. He knows how to take young guys and turn them into older guys and take older guys and turn them into veterans. He’s working on things with me that will not only get me to the next level but help me dominate on Saturdays.”"

That’s high praise coming from a player who was under the tutelage of one of the most well-regarded offense line coaches in the country just a few months ago.

Whether Connelly can parlay that praise into a standout season for an offensive line group looking to take the next step in 2015 is another discussion.

For now, the Trojans newest assistant has earned cause for respect this spring.

And Ten Links…

  1. Max Browne’s grasp of the long ball has come a long way since he stepped on campus as a freshman, Scott Wolf notes. Saturday he showed it off to great effect. (Daily News)
  2. Darreus Rogers has proven to be USC’s most consistent and reliable receiver this spring, according to Michael Lev, which is great news for the Trojans who were hurt by his inconsistency in multiple moments last year. (OC Register)
  3. Nelson Agholor would fit in perfectly in an NFL West Coast scheme, says Ian Wharton, as he breaks down the best fit for each of the drafts top receivers. (Bleacher Report)
  4. Chris Hawkins has thrived after a position change to safety this spring and Su’a Cravens is partly to thank for suggesting the move, according to Rahshaun Haylock. (Fox Sports)
  5. Cravens motto this spring has been “every day,” a challenge to be at his best all the time, as Dan Webber lays out. (
  6. Linebacker has become a surprise position of strength for USC this spring, even before the arrival of the big three linebackers this fall. That’s because, as Gary Paskwietz points out, players like Lamar Dawson, Quinton Powell and Cameron Smith have come on strong. (ESPN)
  7. Though the top two spots at quarterback appear set in stone, the Trojans under center have each used this spring to up their game and put their name in the competition. (LA Times)
  8. With the NCAA tournament set to wrap up tonight in Indianapolis, Lev checked in with Andy Enfield for injury updates and scholarship openings on the basketball team. (OC Register)
  9. Jake Davidson breaks down the keys to making USC basketball a powerhouse, beginning with coaching and retaining veteran leaders. (Daily News)
  10. In case you missed it, last week Wolf weighed in on USC’s response to the NCAA sanctions, laying out the options the Trojans have for restitution. Interestingly, he quotes an unidentified administrator who confirms that USC feared the “death penalty” if they fought the sanctions too harshly. (Daily News)

Stat of the Day:

USC gave up more than 30 sacks in each of the past two years. The Trojans gave up no more than 20 sacks in the eight years prior.

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