D.J. Shoemate doesn’t care what position he plays; he just wants to contribute to the USC football program in any way he can.
Shoemate, a freshman from Servite High, worked at a new spot during practice Monday – tailback. It’s the third position since training camp for Shoemate, who began the summer as a wide receiver before shifting to fullback. He mostly has played special teams during games.
USC coach Pete Carroll said Shoemate’s latest switch had nothing to do with tailback Broderick Green’s departure from the team. Green disclosed Saturday that he intends to transfer so he can be closer to his family in Arkansas.
Still, Monday’s practice was USC’s first since Green’s announcement – and Shoemate’s first at tailback.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to be a contributor,” Shoemate said. “I haven’t really been in the mix.”
Carroll said offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian wanted Shoemate to have more chances to handle the ball, take hits and work on his ball security.
Shoemate (6-0, 220) also can serve the big-back role on the scout team that Green often assumed. Carroll said USC’s defense will “need some thumping” this week to prepare for Stanford running backs Toby Gerhart (6-1, 232) and Anthony Kimble (6-1, 217). They have combined for 1,582 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Shoemate isn’t sure where his long-term future lies. He knows learning multiple positions only will help him in the long run.
“It make me more versatile,” Shoemate said. “I’m here to play some football – whatever I have to do to get some playing time. I just want to be a team player.”
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