|USC Legends News|
USC's deep all around as the football team heads to scrimmage
The offense is not -- not yet.
But that may not be as bad as it sounds, Coach Pete Carroll said Thursday as he released the Trojans' end-of-spring depth chart heading into today's Trojan Huddle scrimmage, which is expected to draw as many as 20,000 fans to the Coliseum.
Going down the list of position groups, Carroll said the only question mark on defense was at nose tackle, where the departure of All-American Sedrick Ellis opens the spot open for the first time in three seasons.
But nose tackle is also where sophomore Christian Tupou, who has made the longest -- not to mention most unexpected -- leap into contention for future stardom, has emerged.
On learning that junior Averill Spicer, from Rancho Cucamonga, would be out for the spring with a knee injury, Tupou recalled saying to himself: "All my prayers have been answered."
The opening gave 280-pound sophomore a chance to step in for Ellis.
"I guess if you looked at it that way, it could be intimidating, Tupou said. "But I didn't come in to fill anybody's shoes."
As for the rest of the defense, name your position and pick your poison.
The rest of the defensive line, with Clay Matthews Jr. adding his 6-foot-4, 245-pound frame and 4.5 speed in the 40 to the rush ends, is upgraded.
As are the linebackers, one through nine, led by All-American candidates Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing.
The same can be said for the secondary, one through six, or seven, with a pair of potential All-American safeties, Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison, and Shareece Wright moving up to starter ahead of Kevin Thomas.
The holdover kickers, punter Greg Woidneck and place-kicker David Buehler, are both improved, as are the return men, C. J. Gable and Ronald Johnson on kickoffs with Joe McKnight on punt returns.
And despite the loss of four starters on the offensive line and starting quarterback John David Booty, Carroll said a six-man group of tailbacks could prove more productive than last year's overcrowded rushing committee of 10.
"We're really pleased," Carroll said. "Everyone is contributing. Everyone is doing good things."
Allen Bradford, one of four tailbacks projected as a starter, is coming off his best spring yet, Carroll said, adding Bradford contributed "maybe the most exciting plays."
Carroll also praised spring work of C. J. Gable, who's returning from hernia surgery that sidelined him all last season.
Bradford, a former Colton High star, expressed confidence. "I came out here and had to prove something to myself and my coaches -- and I did," he said.
With Booty's exit, the quarterback position will fall to recently designated No. 1 Mark Sanchez or challenger Mitch Mustain.
"We'll see what happens when we go back to fall camp," Carroll said.
The Trojans will feature a deeper group of receivers.
Citing 6-5 David Ausberry, Arkansas transfer Damian Williams, deep threat Ronald Johnson and late-charging Vidal Hazelton, coming off abdominal surgery, Carroll said the group "has grown up some."
Today's Huddle matchups are expected to pit the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense, then the No. 2s vs. each other, but with no kicking game.
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