There are many teams you can consider to be the favorites to win the national championship in 2012, but one of the main contenders that seems to be on everyone's radar are the USC Trojans. This is a program that has a ton of history, but this may be the most hype it has received in a very long time.
After a two-year postseason ban, these players are hungry for BCS success. They return 17 starters, including an offense that may end up shattering the record books if everything goes as planned. But in order for that to happen, it is going to take a successful fall camp from everybody involved.
With USC beginning camp just a couple of days ago, stay tuned for all of the latest news, updates and more that involve your USC Trojans.
The USC Trojans wrapped up its final scrimmage recently, as the school will now begin preparing for the regular season opener against Hawaii. And while the offense has seemed to have the upper hand throughout camp, the defense decided to save its best performance for last. (Via Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com)
[The defense] really responded. Said USC head coach Lane Kiffin following the scrimmage. Especially after a couple days where the offense outperformed the defense. To come out, in the closest thing we could simulate to a game, was very good to see, with the turnovers, the discipline, and lack of explosive plays. It was really good.
While the offense does not have many question marks, one of the concerns is the backup quarterback situation. Head coach Lane Kiffin says there still has not been any separation between Cody Kessler and Max Wittek and he doesn't seem too concerned about it either.
“There’s never been a date on that and there won’t be,” he said following Sunday’s scrimmage. “It will be more after some separation and if there’s not, we’ll just keep going.”
I guess when you have the best quarterback in the country leading your offense; the backup position is something you only worry about if you absolutely have to.
Projected starting left tackle Aundrey Walker was back on the field for the first time since the beginning of camp, as he continues to recover from an undisclosed injury. (Via Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com)
It wasn’t a physical practice. Kiffin explained when asked about Walker’s performance on Thursday. Mentally, he’s been into it. He’s done a really good job, preparing, coming in early. He’s very focused. You see that by what he did to his body. He’s serious about being really good.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Robert Woods is still not completely healthy, as he continues to recover from a surgically-repaired ankle.
“He’s still in the same format,” Kiffin explained. “He’s still on one a day. When we have the two-a-days, he sits out the morning usually.”
USC is already thin on the defensive line as it is and just suffered another blow when true-freshman DeVante Wilson tore his ACL. The former 3-star player was expected to play a backup role in the line and was likely going to see significant playing time due to the lack of depth on that unit.
Wilson will undergo season-ending surgery and redshirt the entire 2012 season.
USC appears to be a banged up football team this season, but Lane Kiffin has a new policy where the team does not discuss injuries. So, with that said, it is really difficult to know exactly what is going on with the players, and when Trojan fans should begin panicking.
Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com was recently at camp and did her best in trying to pinpoint certain injuries on the team.
Lamar Dawson has a walking boot on his leg, as well as Greg Townsend, who left a recent practice with an apparent ankle injury. Aundrey Walker is still being held out of practice, while J.R. Tavai left practice early with a heavily taped ankle.
There is also some very interesting news on wide receiver Marqise Lee, according to Thiry.
Receiver Marqise Lee did not participate in the second half of practice and was standing on the sidelines watching without pads on. There were no telltale signs of an injury, however when asked why he was not participating, Kiffin said “We don’t really discuss injuries,” so assume he’s injured.
Football can't start soon enough
Fall camp is hot, way too long, and players just can't wait for the real stuff to begin. The anticipation begins to build up and sometimes the players take out the frustration on one another. During the weekend of a goal-line drill, players got into a little scuffle, when running back Curtis McNeal and linebacker Jabari Ruffin shared a few words.
"That was the best," Lee said after practice with a big grin. "I enjoyed it a lot. It was kinda hectic, but it was fun at the same time.
"I was just yelling at everybody for the fun of it." (Via Pedro Moura of ESPN)
Football is almost here, hopefully the players can wait just a couple more weeks.
Greg Townsend goes down
One of the main concerns on this USC team is the lack of depth on the defensive line. It took another hit during the weekend when Greg Townsend went down with an apparent ankle injury, according to Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com.
Stay tuned for any updates on the projected starting defensive end.
Silas Redd is on a new chapter
USC hit the jackpot when 1,000-yard rusher Silas Redd decided to transfer from the Penn State Nittany Lions and become a Trojan. He switched schools once the NCAA sanctions were handed down on Penn State and he was eligible to leave without punishment. And while many would like to continue to ask him about his former school, Redd would like to focus on the present.
“I went to Penn State and everything was a great experience and they gave me some great opportunities,” Redd said Monday evening, “but I’m opening a new chapter in my life, so I’m a Trojan now,” (via Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com).
Redd will join a backfield that includes Curtis McNeal, who also rushed for 1,000 yards last season.
George Farmer banged up
USC has the arguably the most talented wide receiving corps in the country, but that doesn't mean there isn't any room left for some of the other players. George Farmer is somebody who is fighting for playing time this fall. The unfortunate part is that he is being sidelined early on with a hamstring injury.
"He hasn’t been able to [stay healthy] yet since he’s been here unfortunately," said head coach Lane Kiffin. "It’s not his fault, it’s just hard to develop guys, it’s hard to figure out how they can help you when they don’t stay healthy very long," (via Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com).
Farmer had four receptions last season for 42 yards. In other wide receiver news, Robert Woods says he is 100 percent and ready to begin the season. Woods has been battling ankle injuries throughout the spring and part of last season as well.
J.R. Tavai practicing at defensive end
Defensive end Devon Kennard had to undergo surgery, which is going to keep him sidelined for a few months. That has given J.R. Tavai the opportunity to move from defensive tackle and take reps at the defensive end position.
“[I] Just found out on the starting day of camp,” Tavai explained. “Coaches needed me to replace DK and that’s what I did,” (via Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com).
Tavai was a backup defensive tackle last season, but did spend some time at defensive end as well. He says he enjoys his new position, as it gives him the chance to do different things on the football field.
“Just learning the playbook,” he explained. “I get to drop now, so that’s pretty fun, turn into a linebacker, I enjoy that.”
This article will be updated throughout fall camp to provide you with the latest news, injuries, and everything else that involves your USC Trojans.