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USC Football: Spring Practice Begins

It is hard to believe that the 2011 season ended 4 months ago.


Spring practice began yesterday with a few questions that will need to be answered.

Are there any tailbacks left?

Senior Curtis McNeal and third-year sophomore D.J. Morgan have experience. Redshirt freshman Javorious Allen does not.

Losing Amir Carlisle hurts us here.

We know what McNeal can do. Can Morgan cure his case of the fumbles and be a productive alternative?

Is George Farmer ready to join former high school teammates Robert Woods and Marqise Lee as a star?

After a midseason move to running back, a healthy Farmer returns to receiver with hopes of utilizing his speed to win a role. Junior De'Von Flournoy and redshirt freshman Victor Blackwell also are competing for the No. 3 spot.

I would love to see trips receivers on one side and another burner on the other. That could give opposing defenses fits.

Farmer needs to catch up, Flournoy has three years in the system while Blackwell has the potential to be another Woods or Lee with his talent.

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And speaking of Farmer...

Looks like Farmer is looking to live up to his expectations.

The message was etched into the turf as USC's players entered Howard Jones Field for the first official spring practice Tuesday: "PREP NOT HYPE."

Sophomore receiver George Farmer embodied that theme.

Farmer, who had a disappointing freshman season, earned practice MVP honors after making numerous catches, including a leaping grab over a defender on a deep ball during 7-on-7 drills.

"I thought that George was very confident," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "He looks great, he looks healthy, he looks strong. He's going after the ball. That comes from his confidence."

It is only the first day so lets see how things progress. Regardless, the proof will be in how Farmer does in fall ball.

He is too important to not be productive...

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Playing down the hype...

USC will start the season out in the top three in the pre-season polls. I am not a fan of these polls because they just don't give us a complete picture.

Lane Kiffin, like his predecessor, takes the same approach regardless of the game. Still, after USC being in post-season jail the past two seasons USC looks to prove to the rest of the college football world that there is nothing that can take this program down.

The 2012 season opener is six months away, a bowl game at least nine.

But players are not immune to media chatter about the Trojans' possible return to postseason glory in Coach Lane Kiffin's third season.

"We have the same mentality that we did last year — of wanting to prove something," said quarterback Matt Barkley, who bypassed the chance to turn pro so he could lead the Trojans in his senior season. "We have something to look forward to, but we can't get caught up looking forward to that right now."

Just as he did on the first day of practice last fall, Kiffin spent much of Tuesday's workout assessing individual and team speed. And, once again, he noted the difference from when he took over in 2010.

By now everyone else in the CFB landscape knows USC targeted by the NCAA.

With the NCAA mandated bowl ban behind them USC faces the the next three season with 75 players. Another affect of the NCAA's modern day death penalty. Every player on the roster is going to have put in a little more work, they will be asked to perform at a higher level, more responsibility will be heaped upon them.

Lane Kiffin says he has a plan to address the loss of he has to implement it.

This team is itching to get out there and play for something other than pride.

They have a lot to prove in their eyes.

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Spring practice No. 1 notes - Los Angeles Usc Blog - ESPN Los Angeles

Chance for redemption for Burnett - Los Angeles Usc Blog - ESPN Los Angeles

Video: Barkley talks after spring practice opener - Los Angeles Usc Blog - ESPN Los Angeles

Video: Lane Kiffin after Tuesday's spring practice opener - Los Angeles Usc Blog - ESPN Los Angeles