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The Depth Chart

Its kind of hard to get worked up over the depth chart during spring ball when there are injuries and when the incoming freshman haven't taken the field yet. Every year there are questions when players move up on the depth chart due to either injuries, transfers and graduation.

With spring practice concluding today, USC released its depth chart entering next season - complete with an error regarding the offensive line.

Offensive tackle Butch Lewis, who started several games for injured All-American Sam Baker, was listed as the second-string "left tackle" behind Charles Brown.

The only problem with that was Lewis practiced Friday at right tackle and might start there in the season opener against Virginia. Lewis didn't mind because he didn't put much stock in the depth chart.

"I'm starting at right tackle right now," he said. "Either one, it doesn't matter to me."

Offensive line coach Pat Ruel said the depth chart was meaningless with such a young offensive line. "I'm just throwing guys into different places," he said. "It doesn't mean a darn thing."

Sophomore Alex Parsons is currently listed as the No. 1 right tackle.

I'm in the Pat Ruel camp, at this point it really doesn't matter. He is going to do a lot plug-and-play moves to get the right mix. A prime example from last season is Kris O'Dowd; everyone knew he was going to be good but when he started as a true freshman that changed a lot of things so to me the depth chart at this point really doesn't matter. It's more of a thumbnail sketch of the possibilities to come.

The defensive line has its own issues, not all of them bad, but again with some great freshman coming in it may be a little plug-and-play of its own.

The defensive line also remains a question mark, because Averell Spicer, who is expected to start at nose tackle, missed spring with a knee injury. Sophomore Christian Tupou started in his place and currently is listed as the top nose tackle.

Senior Fili Moala moved to nose tackle in spring practices, but he will only remain there if one of the incoming freshmen can replace him at defensive tackle during training camp.

"If one of the kids coming in does a nice job, that gives us some options with Fili down the road if we needed to," Carroll said.

Again, we really won't know until fall ball what the make-up will be here but there more than just a few options and that's always great to have.

As far as nose tackle goes someone is going to have some big shoes to fill.

Former USC nose tackle Mike Patterson was a first-round pick in the 2005 NFL draft.

Sedrick Ellis, his successor for the Trojans, is expected to be the same next Saturday in the 2008 version.

Sophomore Christian Tupou knows the recent history of the position, but he is not intimidated by it.

"I really didn't come here to fill anybody's shoes," Tupou said Friday. "I just came here to make my own mark."

Tupou did that, and more, during four weeks of spring practice that concludes Saturday with the Trojans' annual scrimmage at the Coliseum.

Junior Averell Spicer was regarded as the front-runner to succeed Ellis, but a knee injury kept him out of workouts and he had arthroscopic surgery last week. That opened the door for the 6-foot-2, 275-pound Tupou, who relentlessly harassed quarterbacks by taking advantage of a still-developing offensive line.

Trust me Christian those are big shoes to fill and many of us will be watching to see who anchors that position as it is so important in the implementation of the of Pete Carroll's defensive schemes.

I'm excited to see how this team will look in the in the fall. There are still going to some questions and the competition level in the Pac-10 will be tough as well but I think we are in a good position to make a run. Personally, and I know its way too early to speculate, but I think who ever wins the USC/tOSU game will be in the drivers seat to make their way to the MNC...but that's just my opinion.

Today's final scrimmage of spring ball will show us a few more things but the picture will still be incomplete until fall ball starts and when the freshman come in. regardless I think we are in a pretty good spot, its just going to take some time for the team to mesh and mature as a cohesive unit.

It's all good...