The annual USC spring game will take place at the LA Coliseum on Saturday, but with injuries mounting, it won’t exactly look like a traditional game.
As seen several times in recent years, the USC spring game is going to feature a creative scoring system, pitting the offense versus the defense in a disjointed, mostly situational and simulated game.
“Very practice-like,” head coach Clay Helton said Tuesday. “It will be live in a lot of the periods [with] tackling to be able to see some young kids play in certain situations, but to be able to play a real live game right now, we’re just too limited.”
Expect the Trojans to work on live scrimmaging in the red zone, two-minute drills, four-minute drills and third-down opportunities.
In past years, it’s been the defensive line that has wrecked havoc with the spring game, but 2017’s mixed bag will be a result of a slew of offensive line injuries.
Starting right guard Viane Talamaivao was shut down after elbow surgery, center Nico Falah missed almost a month with a herniated disc and Toa Lobendahn is still recovering from the ACL tear that cost him last season.
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But while a practice-like showcase puts the Trojans in a familiar situation, Helton isn’t a coach against the concept of a real spring game.
“At some point in time, I’m hoping our numbers and our health are big enough to where we could play a game,” he said. “You have to gauge it as a head coach [and] put your team in a safe situation and still get quality work.”
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Said attempts to get in quality work should still give fans reasons to see the defending Rose Bowl champs.
Saturday will feature highly coveted defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu, along with a bevy of young talented receivers are in the midst of a spirited competition for playing time. Oh, and Sam Darnold, seen by many to be a favorite for the Heisman Trophy.
“The expectations are that every time we walk into the Coliseum, we perform at our highest,” Helton said. “The first time we got to do that last week, I thought we had our best practice of the spring.”
Now they’ll look to repeat it in front of a few thousand fans.
The USC spring game will kick off at noon at the LA Coliseum and air on the Pac-12 Networks. Tickets are $11.50 and available through both USCTrojans.com and at the gate.