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USC Football Practice Report: Trojans Defense Eager To Put On Pads

Mar 24, 2022

USC's 2022 spring camp continued Thursday as the Trojans took Howard Jones Field for their second practice of the week. The team donned its NCAA-mandated uniform of jerseys and shorts, and continued the energetic tone it set on Tuesday.

"Two days into it. It's easy to say we've made progress, but we've got a long, long way to go," defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said following practice Thursday. 

The 20-year coaching veteran shared that he's gained a certain level of confidence after installing his defense multiple times over the course of his career. Grinch explained that his confidence gives him a chance to get a better feel for his players during the first initial practices, while his players become more familiar with his scheme.

"It's, in so many ways, a tremendous opportunity for those guys, in terms of a fresh start. It's a great opportunity for us in terms of the fresh start just the same," Grinch said. "Instilling expectations and habits and all those things that you do in spring football."

Grinch noted, however, that there is only so much you can evaluate at the start of camp.

"Right now I see a whole lot of weaknesses, and the strengths got to come," Grinch said. "That's not completely dissimilar to other places in terms of the first two day of spring. Certainly, we'll get the pads on Saturday and we'll get a better chance to assess some of that stuff."

Things to note: 

  • Chris Thompson, who was featured at safety in 2021, has moved to the inside linebacker position this spring. Grinch described the move as part of the staff's strategy to "maximize" the Trojans' roster.  "I think it's the best position for him as we evaluate him [and] to possibly have an impact for us. So it's something we'll evaluate as we go through," Grinch said.
  • It didn't take long for defensive line coach Shaun Nua to recognize Tuli Tuipulotu's talent. "He can play anything from corner to nose tackle," Nua said. "He's a great player but I want him to be elite … but he wants that too. So that's the beauty about Tuli. Very smart, very tough, very versatile. He's what you want."
  • Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon shared his evaluation of the talent he faces each practice. "Oh, these receivers are good … I know every day I come out here I have to bring my A-game because it's gonna be a challenge."
  • USC does not have a coach on staff solely dedicated to special teams, but place kicker Alex Stadthaus believes that it's a strength for the team. "Being able to mix it up and have different coaches coaching units has been really special because I think all the players are able to key in with every different coach teaching a meeting," Stadthaus explained. 

Thursday's interviews:

New numbers to know:


0 - WR Terrell Bynum

2 - WR Brenden Rice

4 - WR Mario Williams

6 - RB Austin Jones

8 - WR CJ Williams

13 - QB Caleb Williams

26 - RB Travis Dye

70 - OL Bobby Haskins


1 - CB Domani Jackson 

2 - EDGE Romello Height

6 - CB Mekhi Blackmon 

21 - CB Latrell McCutchin

31 - DL Tyrone Taleni

53 - ILB Shane Lee 

97 - DT Earl Barquet

Save the Date:

Fans' first chance to see the Trojans this spring will be at USC's Spring Game on April 23.