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Spring Football Game Preview

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Hey folks. First things first, sorry for stopping the Trojan Tidbits posts. I will resume them once my semester at school ends, I've been quite busy with school since my semester is ending (and I will continue to be very busy). My mornings aren't the same anymore.

The USC Football spring game (A.K.A - Trojan Huddle) is this Saturday and the whole football staff and players can't wait; and neither should you. (By the way you can buy your tickets here. Go, hurry up and buy them, do it riiiiiiiiiiiight.... NOW!)

Spring Practice started three weeks and half ago and the projected starters picture is getting more clearer day-by-day. Still, many questions have been unanswered (more on that later). The most important thing is that the players are a lot more comfortable with the coaches now.

Be most proud of: The defensive line. Coach Orgeron has made this defensive line freakin' scary. ESPN Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller says it will be the best in the nation, and I agree. Jurrell Casey is leading the charge and so far has been the MVP of the line. I will be sorely disappointed if we don't average 10.5 sacks a game.

Be worried of: The health and depth of the offensive line. We have a small, yet very talented, bunch of linemen. It's scary when a walk-on, Abe Markowitz, is backing your "All-American" starter. Kris O'Dowd has had some knee problems throughout the spring, but he's getting more healthier by the hour. Offensive guard Zack Heberer has been bothered by his left ankle and Butch Lewis has missed significant practice time because of groin problems. Scott Wolf says Lewis may not play this weekend, but then again Scott Wolf also says a lot of foul things.

More stuff after the jump...

Some notes on:

OFFENSE

Matt Barkley has established himself as the QB to run the offense. Sure, Mustain had his day last Saturday when he had three touchdowns to Barkley's one, but it's Barkley's consistency that has set them both apart. I hope everyone should note his all-star performance two Saturdays ago...

As far as our receiving core is, it's Rojo and the question marks. Johnson is the leader and teaching the pups how to get it done. Sadly, he injured his arm and wrist and wont be participating in anymore practices for the spring. Every receiver has shown his bright spots throughout spring, but none has emerged as a clear No. 2. Butler, maybe, but even he had his low-lights. Kyle Prater so far is as good as advertised. Our No. 1 prospect has made plays and is a favorite target among the QBs. He has a cast on his thumb right now, but expect him to play on Saturday.

It's no surprise that Allen Bradford is leading the running backs. It also shouldn't be surprising that Dillon Baxter, like Prater, is making a big splash. He gave us a glimpse of what he could do against the 2nd and 3rd team defense, but with more experience, I can't wait to see what he could do against legit D-I players. He missed last scrimmage to see his ailing grandmother, but he was going to miss it anyway because of a knee problem (nothing major). Gable hasn't been on par, but he made some exciting plays last scrimmage including a diving catch. Curtis McNeal has had his share of plays.

As noted before, the offensive line has suffered through injuries and the defensive line. I haven't really read on the offensive line too much, but Kevin Carden of SCplaybook.com says the left side of the line WILL kick ass. Matt Kalil is the clear cut LT and Khaled Holmes is the clear cut LG. Can't wait to see them try to handle the D-line on Saturday.

DEFENSE:

Coach Orgeron is, so far, living up to his reputation of building a great defensive line. Jurrell Casey leads this scary bunch of QB/RB/OL murderers. Nick Perry and Armond Armstead have been excellent on pass rushing, Perry needs some work against the running game. I predicted DaJohn Harris to have a breakout year this season and he's making me a smart man so far.

Probably the biggest news of the defense has been Devon Kennard transitioning from Defensive end to outside linebacker to his new home, middle linebacker. The coaches see special things in DK, and I'm not surprised. I think he will start over Galippo on Saturday as it seems now that he's won the MIKE battle. It also should be noted that the coaches are pondering of moving Galippo at SAM. Wouldn't that be a surprise...

Safety Marshall Jones has missed all of spring practice because of a neck injury that shouldn't be too serious. Drew McAllister is still recovering from hip surgery. The stars at the safety position have been two-sport star Jawanza Starling and, most recently, TJ McDonald. McDonald displayed tremendous closing speed as he tracked down Curtis McNeal and had a tackle for loss. Known as a hitter, he also had a pass deflection.

The leader of the secondary, CB Shareece Wright, is going to make a huge comeback. The man can deflect passes, intercept passes, and make big tackles. Torrin Harris has surprised Kiffin, Kiffin, and Garza. In the first two scrimmages, Harris was the unsung hero on defense, he caused a ruckus when he took out the 6-5 Prater. He'll probably start opposite of Wright on Saturday, but it will be a toss up with him and TJ Bryant, who's been very consistent.

*****

It's difficult to know which side of the ball is stronger, but that's the exciting part of this football team. This is a talented team and has all the ingredients to win a championship. The season doesn't start until late in the summer and more help is on the way, but if you've been following this team as close as I have, this team's ceiling is above the clouds.