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J.R. Tavai embracing competition

LOS ANGELES -- Call it the eye of the storm, the epicenter, ground zero, or simply Nightmare on Line of Scrimmage Street. Put those descriptions all together and you probably have a pretty good idea of what it's like to play the nose tackle position for the USC Trojans.

Last season, the Trojans had one heck of a stud nose tackle, or nose guard if you're old school, in Christian Tupou, a man's man in the middle of all the violent chaos. Tupou since has departed for the NFL draft, and the Trojans have turned their attention this spring to filling the rather large cleats of a man who never took a play off and had that proverbial endless "motor" and determination.