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Pac-12 Media Day: Su'a Cravens wants to teach the young guns around him

Losing Pullard and Williams will be tough on a defense that ranked in the middle of the pack in 2014, but Cravens is confident that this year's group can be better.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

BURBANK- USC hybrid linebacker/safety Su'a Cravens remembers when he was mentored by Dion Bailey, Devon Kennard, and Marqise Lee when he arrived on USC's campus in 2012. Now, with the departures of co-captains Hayes Pullard and Leonard Williams, Cravens wants to become one of the vocal leaders on defense and help those around him.

"I'm taking on the leadership by not focusing on just my game, but also on those around me, especially the young ones," Cravens said.

Despite the loss of multiple starters from a defense a year ago that ranked 46th in scoring defense (25.2 ppg), Cravens is still confident in whoever steps on the field.

"I have 100% confidence in everyone that comes in and plays," Cravens said. "Last year we were a young defense. This year, we are big on finishing, so when we get to the fourth quarter, we have to finish."

One of the points of emphasis at Friday's Pac-12 Media Day between Cravens and Trojans Head Coach Steve Sarkisian was finishing. USC lost two games in the fourth quarter in 2014 and had two or three more that went down to the wire because USC blew a double digit lead.

"We need to go out and play our best football week in and week out," Sarkisian said.

If there was one game that Sark could repeat from 2014, which one would he choose?

"ASU, I would have made sure I had a timeout at the end of the game," Sarkisian said.

Some other notable quotes:

Sark on scholarships: "We are not quite there yet and we really won't be there next year because we actually have a really big senior class so it will probably be another two more years until we get to the 85 number.... But as I have said before, that will never be a crutch for us. I will never use that excuse."

Sark: "Adoree' Jackson is one of, if not, the best athlete I have ever coached."

Sark on 2015 recruiting class: "This (recruiting) class in the end is going to win a lot of games."

Cravens said that he will play whatever position coaches ask for but sees his future in the NFL as a safety.

Tre Madden and Chad Wheeler will both be ready for fall camp, Sark said.