Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 3/7/12

The USC Trojans took the first step towards wrapping up some “unfinished business” when they took the field for the first practice of the 2012 spring season.

After finishing their 10-2 campaign last season with a 50-0 win over their crosstown rival UCLA, head coach Lane Kiffin was pleased to see the Trojans carry that momentum into spring camp.

“Our guys look really good,” Kiffin said after practice.

USC sophomore George Farmer was the standout on Day One of spring practices

“They feel good about themselves, they feel confident, because they came off of ending the season very well. A lot of the returners were significant players….I just think in general they have a good feeling about themselves that comes from confidence, that comes from experiencing success,” Kiffin said.

Confidence was a recurring theme in post-practice interviews. The new USC assistants – Scottie Hazelton (secondary), Marvin Sanders (linebackers), and Tee Martin (wide receivers) – were confident in their first day on the field. Returning senior quarterback Matt Barkley was, of course, confident, but so was sophomore wide receiver George Farmer, whom Kiffin dubbed “MVP of the Day.”

Farmer, a former five-star recruit, was overshadowed last season by USC standouts Robert Woods and Marqise Lee and played primarily as a tailback before switching back to receiver this offseason.

“He looks great, looks healthy, looks strong, and he’s going after the ball. That just comes from his confidence,” Kiffin said. After a full season with USC and a long offseason to rehab a bothersome ankle, Farmer is working hard to get into the mix of the Trojans’ top receivers. He seems to be on track at least after one practice, drawing positive reviews from his quarterback, as Barkley told reporters that Farmer was much more focused and concentrated than he had been as a true freshman.

One area where the Trojans are less confident is at running back, which Kiffin called “a very scary position for us.” Senior Curtis McNeal is the projected starter, but the competition to be the next man up is wide open. Redshirt sophomore D.J. Morgan started strong last season before landing in Kiffin’s doghouse for fumbling, but he has more experience than redshirt freshman Buck Allen, who is finally healthy after a string of injuries dating back to high school.


Other Notes: 

  • Barkley’s backups, redshirt sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, remain neck-and-neck in the race to be QB2. For now, reps will be evenly split between them.
  • OT Aundrey Walker reportedly moved much better, and was remarkably quicker, after losing 60 pounds. Kiffin called him a “completely different” player from last season.
  • USC will hold their second spring practice on Thursday, March 8.

Injury Update:

  • Kevin Greene (ankle), Florida transfer Josh Shaw (back), Nate Guertler (hamstring) and Jesse Scrogging (hip) were out for Tuesday; Robert Woods (ankle) was limited
  • Xavier Grimble and Junior Pomee left practice with minor injuries
  • Out for spring: Torin Harris (shoulder), Kyle Negrete (shoulder), Christian Heyward, John Katnik, Chad Wheeler and De’Vante Wilson (though Negrete was seen punting throughout the practice)


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