USC Trojans: kevin grab

Tuesday spring practice notes

March, 27, 2013
The Trojans returned to the spring practice field on Tuesday with a full pads session that was dominated by the defense, particularly the front seven.

It’s been a familiar theme of spring to see the defense playing well, and that’s a sign that the players are picking up on the schemes being installed by new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

“We’ve got a long way to go but we like what we see so far,” Pendergast said. “We want athletic guys with football instincts. Guys who are smart, tough and competitive players.”

[+] EnlargeLamar Dawson
Garry Paskwietz/WeAreSC.comLinebacker Lamar Dawson was named MVP of Tuesday's practice session by USC coach Lane Kiffin, who called Dawson the most improved player on the team.
One of the defensive players who has played well consistently this spring is linebacker Lamar Dawson, who was named MVP of the day by USC coach Lane Kiffin. Dawson continues to alternate with Anthony Sarao at the Will linebacker spot, but it’s clear that the 5-2 system is one that plays to his strengths. In fact, Kiffin called Dawson the most improved player on the team through seven days of spring ball drills.

Another standout player from the day was cornerback Torin Harris, who had multiple pass breakups. Torin also had an impressive interception when Cody Kessler tried to hit George Farmer deep down the middle of the field, but Harris tipped the ball and came down with the pick. With Kevon Seymour out of action on Tuesday, Harris was one of the second-unit corners with Anthony Brown and Chris Hawkins running with the first unit.

“I feel healthy right now and that’s the key,” Harris said. “You can play free when you are healthy, and I feel good. This new defensive system is perfect for me because it allows the corners to be aggressive. It’s a simple defense, so we picked it up quickly but it causes a lot of problems for an offense.”

Along the defensive line, there was a lineup at one point that featured a big interior grouping of Antwaun Woods and Cody Temple as the defensive ends and Kenny Bigelow as the nose tackle.

“We just wanted to see how they looked together to get a feel for who we have,” Pendergast said. “Those are the things you look at in spring.”

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