USC Spring Game: Injuries to Make for ‘Practice-Like’ Showcase

The offensive line during USC football practice at the LA Coliseum. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
The offensive line during USC football practice at the LA Coliseum. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

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.

SEE MORE: Could Nico Falah Move to Tackle?

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.

RELATED: Projecting USC’s Starting Lineup, Post-Spring

“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 and at the gate.