Continuity could be the key to consistency for USC football defensive lineman Rasheem Green as he prepares for a big junior campaign this spring.
Rasheem Green fills out his white USC football practice jersey at 6-foot-5, 280 pounds, but he’s still striving to live up to the expectations which followed him from high school as a five-star prospect.
Getting ready to enter his junior season after a reasonably productive beginning to his Trojan career, Green is looking to progress from regular starter to defensive star by making the most out of spring camp 2017.
“I’m very far from where I want to be or where I need to be, but I feel like I’m getting better each practice,” Green said. “I’m getting better at the small things, but there’s still a whole bunch of things that I need to do to be a better player.”
Small things like hand placement, timing and get off, Green elaborated.
For defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, it’s alignment, getting on the edge of his man so that Green’s natural burst and athleticism can control the match up.
For defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze, it’s a bigger picture concern.
“The next step for Rasheem is to become a professional. That means being consistent,” Udeze said, applying the concept to all things in life — on the football field, in the classroom, in the weight room, at the dinner table.
Consistency is a word Green has heard for years. It was the same thing people talked about the offseason between his freshman and sophomore seasons.
In 2015, Green sparkled at times, coming on at the end of the year with strong performances against Oregon, UCLA and Stanford. Those flashes spoke of his five-star potential. Could he put it together and become a dominant starter for a whole season?
The 2016 campaign was a definite step forward, as the sophomore started 12 of 13 games and earned a Pac-12 honorable mention. He led the team in sacks, forced two fumbles and blocked two kicks.
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Still, it wasn’t the All-American leap that Leonard Williams took between Year 1 and Year 2.
Green knows he can be better. The Trojans coaches know it too.
“I think that he has a pretty high skill set,” Udeze said. “I just want to see him capitalize on everything that God’s given him.”
The difference now is there’s more consistency around Green to help him build his own..
Last year, Green and the defense spent the spring learning a new scheme. This year, the return of the entire defensive coaching staff means continuity.
Instead of learning, the Trojan defenders can go about the process of refining.
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“When you don’t have to think about the defense, you just hear the call and you can just focus on your alignment. I think that’s going to help [Green],” Pendergast said.
It already has.
“I think I speak for all the coaches, guys are really playing fast,” Udeze said. Green included.