USC Spring Game 2012: Date, Start Time, Viewing Info and More
After two long years that felt like two decades, the USC Trojans have the opportunity to play for postseason football in 2012.
Not only are they bowl-eligible again, but they're the odds-on favorite to win the BCS Championship, according to Bovada.
USC returns the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, quarterback Matt Barkley, and they play in a weakened Pac-12 conference that shouldn't pose them any threat.
Their spring campaign comes a close this Saturday with the annual spring game. A number of jobs are up in the air, and this is the first time fans are allowed to see their beloved Trojans play.
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
When: Saturday, April 14 at 1:30 p.m. PT
Tickets: Now on Sale
Postion Battle to Watch: Cornerback
Going into the spring, the battle to watch was easily at left tackle, but the USC staff gave Aundray Walker the nod at left tackle and moved Kevin Graf to right tackle.
Now the focus shifts to the loaded USC secondary, where a number of players are vying for a starting cornerback spot opposite Nickell Robey.
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Isiah Wiley is penciled into the spot now, but Brian Bauchman has made a big impression so far this spring. Anthony Brown, Torin Harris and Ryan Henderson are also options, and the program is waiting to find out if Joshua Shaw is eligible (likely to find out this coming Thursday).
Almost all the players have starting potential, and the Trojans aren't going to be burned for lack of depth. They do, however, need to find which one is going to be the other starter to begin the season.
With Barkley chucking the rock, these corners will get plenty of chances to show what they've got.
Area in Need of Most Improvement: Interior D-Line
The Trojans are set at the defensive end spots with Devon Kennard and Wes Horton, but they've got some work to do on the interior.
George Uko will be the starter at defensive tackle, but the key to interior is depth. They have Christian Heyward, who is battling an injury right now, and expect to get a boost from incoming freshman Leonard Williams this fall, but they're not sure of what they have at nose guard.
They currently have as many as three options to start in J.R. Tavai, Antwaun Woods and Cody Temple, but the battle will likely rage through the fall.
Woods has been one of the more pleasant surprises thus far in camp after a disappointing first season in which he struggled with weight and conditioning.
Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was quoted (via Erin McKinney of ESPN) saying:
"He’s come along. Last fall there was no way he was ready to play. He was falling over and couldn’t finish a sprint. Now you look at him—he’s a part of the program and he has a long ways to go—but I’m really happy about him.
"It’s like getting a free agent. It’s huge. We did not know with the condition he was in, how well he was going to be able to play in a hurry. Now he’s come along to where we feel like we can play. Mentally, maturity, physically, weight-wise, technique-wise, the speed of the game. Everything.
"When you lose weight and become more familiar with playing, you get more confidence in yourself."
If Woods can continue to play at a high level, and the others follow suit, the depth of the interior D-line may no longer be an issue.
That would be huge for the Trojans.
What to Expect in 2012
The expectations are already through the roof for the Trojans in 2012, and a lot of that has to do with the dynamic duo of Matt Barkley and Robert Woods.
USC's passing game, which also includes Marqise Lee and to a lesser extent George Farmer, is as potent an attack as there is in the country.
Kiffin and his staff continue to work things out defensively, but they know they'll be able to score points with nearly any team in the country.
Having a returning 1,000-yard rusher in the backfield, Curtis McNeal, certainly helps matters.
USC will open the preseason rankings as one of the top three teams in the country, if not No. 1 overall.
They have a great chance to run the table, too.
Will USC Win the BCS Championship This Season?
The Trojans have been known to drop an unexpected Pac-12 game to an inferior opponent, but this season, their toughest conference game will be at home against Oregon on November 3rd.
Stanford will be down this year, so the September 15th trip to The Farm isn't nearly as frightening or exciting as years past.
They also get rival Notre Dame in the Coliseum this season.
It would be surprising if USC didn't represent the lowly Pac-12 South in the Pac-12 title game this season, and it would be even more surprising if they lost more than one game.
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