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IMHO Sunday: Spring practice will be successful if…

In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think from Los Angeles

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, more players leave through the Goux Gate exit than through the Transfer Portal exit.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, Clay Helton (photo above) has convinced his team that he meant business when it comes to team and individual discipline.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, players believe they received a fair and impartial evaluation of their skills as reflected on the final spring depth chart. Translation: No playing favorites.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, the Trojans, after intense practices, have become hostile, violent, and nasty on both sides of the ball. If they can’t, it could be more of the 2018 same.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, offensive coordinator Graham Harrell convinced the running backs they will have a rush game that’s effective, and the wide receivers bought into Harrell’s version of the Air Raid offense.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, the players believe they saw a new Clay “can a leopard change its spots?” Helton, who has addressed concerns regarding the program’s culture, discipline, schemes, personnel, and staff.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, offensive line coach Tim Drevno got buy-in from his linemen regarding the nuisances of the Graham Harrell Air Raid offense line spilts, blocking schemes, and pass protection. And did we mention being vastly more physical?

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, the quarterback competition is legit, and JT Daniels, Jack Sears, and Matt Fink believe they got a fair shake.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end 15 practices, the Trojans proved they are dedicated to throwing to their tight ends, which was shown in spring scrimmages.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast produced a defense that showed some creative movement along the defensive line and an ability not to give up the big play.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, the Trojans defensive linemen learned how to mount an aggressive pass rush, which hopefully translates into sacks in 2019, and a stout rush defense.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, sophomore superstar-to-be inside linebacker Palaie Gaoteote became a defensive leader through his spring progress.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, wide receiver coach Keary Colbert commanded respect and showed his players that he knows what he is doing and is dedicated to doing it.

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of 15 practices, the Trojans outside linebackers have become factor in containing the run and are now able to execute a blitz.

From the press box…

Spring practice will be successful if: At the end of the 15 days of practice, the secondary is technically sound, especially in one-on-one corner situations and have learned how to avoid getting called for pass interference.

The commencement update: Trojans’ spring football practice begins this Tuesday, March 5 (2:30 p.m.). This is a late time change as of Monday, March 4.

The dates: Trojans’ 2019 spring football practices are set for March 5-7-9-19-21-23-26-28-30-April 2-4-6-9-11-13.

Spring practice times and location:  Tuesday and Thursday practices are at 3:15 p.m., Saturday practices at 10 a.m. unless there are any late changes with all practices on Howard Jones Field/Brian Kennedy Field on campus (except for the April 6 practice at 11 a.m. on Loker Stadium’s Cromwell Field).

Open to the public: All of the Trojans’ 2019 spring practices are open for free to the public on a first-come basis for viewing from a designated area on the east side of Howard Jones Field, north of Goux’s Gate (for the April 6 practice, fans can watch from the Loker Stadium stands). 

Scrimmage time: The March 23, March 30 and April 6 practices will have a scrimmage emphasis.  The April 6 practice will be the USC Spring Football Showcase, televised live on the Pac-12 Network. The “Swim with Mike” event will be held that day at the nearby Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

Vacation time: The Trojans will be off for spring recess the week of March 12 and resume the normal spring schedule on Tuesday, March 19. 

The post-game show…

S&C hire: It appears that the Trojanswill hire Aaron Ausmus as the new strength and conditioning coach. Aaron is no stranger to USC as this will be his third time around. Ausmus was an assistant S&C coach at Troy from 2001-2003 and returned again to the Cardinal and Gold as head S&C coach in 2010.  

In the nick of time: With Clay Helton’s Coaches Clinic coming up this month, one of the presenters listed is Troy’s head strength and conditioning coach. How uncomfortable would it have been not to have a S&C head coach speak to and with all the coaches of all levels in attendance?

Spring media guide: The Trojans’ 2019 Spring Football Prospectus and the 2019 spring football roster will be posted on USCTrojans.com on Monday, March 4.

The combine: For those Trojans invited, the NFL Combine in Indianapolis is well underway and concludes on Monday. Former Trojans in attendance include tackle Chuma Edoga, edge rusher Porter Gustin, cornerback Iman Marshall, linebacker Cameron Smith, and safety Marvell Tell.

Pro Day: The Trojans’ Pro Day is March 20 at 9 a.m. on Loker Stadium’s Cromwell Field.  It is closed to the public.

The last word: The rain let up this past week, which allowed the Coliseum renovation to continue. Besides the removal of the old seats, can you see what else is missing? The camera might be blurry due to this weekend’s rain, but here’s the latest real time camera view: https://app.oxblue.com/open/usc/lacoliseumrenovation




Greg Katz
Author
Greg Katz

Now in his 57th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football staff writer covering USC, is also is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.


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