Former Alabama offensive lineman D.J. Fluker launched the first bit of bulletin-board material in the USC vs. Alabama saga, saying his Tide will “steamroll USC.”
D.J. Fluker doesn’t think much of USC’s chances against Alabama. The former Alabama offensive lineman and current San Diego guard didn’t hold back while talking to reporters at Chargers training camp, predicting a big win for the defending national champions and questioning the Trojans’ toughness.
“Hey man I’m gonna tell you something. Alabama’s going to steamroll USC.” Fluker told reporters. “West Coast boys do not want none of that Down South football. We hard-nosed, you believe that.”
Fluker was a first round draft pick by the Chargers in 2013 after helping the Tide win national championships in 2010, 2012 and 2013. He was a first team All-American in 2012.
The comments come as Trojan head coach Clay Helton has looked to bring a bit of “Down South” toughness to the Trojans, preaching a return to a brand “hard-nosed” football himself.
As the defending national champions, Alabama certainly have a right to be confident facing a USC team which has been stricken with instability and drama. Still, as the Trojans know from personal experience, being the top dog means you have a target on your back and underestimating an underdog that’s gunning for you can lead to disaster.
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As has often been noted, USC is as talented a squad as any in the country. If Helton can successfully instill his ideals, the men of Troy should be able to compete with anyone on any day.
If nothing else, Fluker gave Helton a bit of bulletin-board material to inspire his team this summer.
The Tide are currently favored by ten over USC, but that line has shrunk since last month when it was closer to 13.
The Trojans have one at least one offseason battle with Alabama, securing the transfer of Utah defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu who was also considering the Tide and Nebraska.
It’ll be interesting to see if Fluker’s comments prompt a response from former Trojan Max Tuerk, who was drafted by the Chargers this year in the third round and is expected to compete for the starting center job. It not a response, then perhaps a friendly wager once September comes around.
USC vs. Alabama kicks off on September 3 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
UPDATE: Trojan offensive tackle Zach Banner responded to Fluker on Twitter: