Today is the first day of spring practice. Here is what you need to know.
Practices are closed off to the public and start around 7 am. The Trojans have a ton of injuries at key spots. Going into the morning practice 19 players were unable to participate in contact drills. Make that 20 after Marc Tyler tweaked a hamstring and limped off the field late in practice. Dillon Baxter, redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan and junior Curtis McNeal will fill in for Tyler while he heals.
The group hit the hardest by injuries is the offensive line. They only had six available players. At least they will be getting a lot of reps.
Even though so many players are banged up, the team will still have live tackling during spring practice. After the way the defense played last year the coaches can’t overlook getting the players ready for live tackling.
Keep an eye on the backup QB competition between redshirt freshman Jesse Scroggins, Cody Kessler and Max Wittek. Wittek and Kessler are true freshman that enrolled early.
USC added more depth to the linebacker spot by moving redshirt freshman Dion Bailey to outside linebacker. Bailey was a highly touted recruit out of high school and will add speed and excitement to a position that lacked both last season.
Former walk-on Tony Burnett intercepted Matt Barkley during 7 on 7 drills. Burnett came off the bench last year after T.J. McDonald got injured in the Notre Dame game and recorded 10 tackles. He started the UCLA game and played very well finishing with six tackles. He earned a scholarship this spring and will now try and win a starting cornerback spot.
Finally freshman kicker Andre Heidari made all three field goal attempts today including a 50 yarder. Heidari, like Kessler and Wittek, is a true freshman that enrolled early to participate in spring drills.
Here are coach Kiffin’s thoughts on the first day of spring practice: