Hi Richard, thanks for the kind words and welcome to B/R! I think the 5-2 is proven as an effective deterrent to the spread because the outside linebackers can provide lateral pursuit in support of the interior line. The key for this defense is to get some penetration from the interior line so the outside 'backers, along with the mike and predator linebackers, can turn the play "inside out."
Pendergast knows this scheme very well and has a proven track record as a defensive coordinator at Cal. I think he will do very well with this at USC!
Thanks again and welcome aboard!