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Practice Report: Team Culture Making A Difference During USC Football Spring Camp

Apr 7, 2022

USC was greeted by true Los Angeles football weather during Thursday's spring practice. Howard Jones Field/ Brian Kennedy Field was 95-degrees and sunny, but the Trojans didn't shy away from the challenge of the heat.
"You gotta embrace any situation. So we tried to come out here today and go even harder because it is hot. We just try to challenge ourselves," inside linebacker Shane Lee said.
The team's mentality has shifted as they build a new culture, led by head coach Lincoln Riley. Part of that includes pushing past what's expected daily. Lee wore a hoodie under his pads today, challenging himself in the already hot late-afternoon practice.
"I got a hoodie on, I tried to make it even harder myself. That's the mentality that we're trying to create here. We know it's gonna be hard. Let's make it even harder," Lee said.
That new culture has been discussed throughout spring camp, with veteran players noting the steps being taken to implement a system built for success.
"We've always like talked about culture, every team talks about culture, but it's another thing to really put that down on paper and have a plan of how to get that into our minds and eventually into our hearts, because that's where it's gonna make the biggest difference," defensive lineman Nick Figueroa said.
Things to note from USC's eighth practice of spring

  • USC held their first scrimmage of spring camp on Tuesday, and Riley was pleased with what he saw from the team.
    • "It was good to see these guys kind of take the training wheels off, no coaches on the field, just officials out there," Riley said. "They feel the impact of their good plays; they feel the impact of their mistakes."
  • Alabama transfer Shane Lee has quickly become a leader on this new Trojan squad, with inside linebackers/ associate head coach for defense Brian Odom praising his work ethic on and off the field.
    • "Football, being a leader, having success, he's as passionate about that as anybody I've ever been around. He's the guy you've got to kind of pull back in terms of telling him to go home, get out of the film room. Go home, you've done enough today," Odom said. "He's built up a lot of trust, equity, if you will, for this team … I trust the guy."
  • Inside linebacker Raesjon Davis was gold-plated by fellow Mater Dei High School alum Matt Leinart today, reflecting his hard work during spring camp thus far.
    •  "It's an honor to just to be able to get it and wear it. Just to be able to earn it, I feel like I've done a great job just putting all my effort in," Davis said.
  • Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has been impressed by the sophomore's performance, emphasizing how evident Davis' effort has been.
    • "He goes hard. There's times he goes in the wrong direction, which is expected eight days into spring. We can get that corrected. But it's really hard to change someone's DNA … Give me 11 of those guys, and we're going to be alright," Grinch said.
  • Defensive lineman Nick Figueroa on Tuesday's scrimmage:
    •  "I think we've had periods where we've come out fast or slow and it kind of ebbs and flows, but we just need to work on being consistent as a defense and continue to attack," Figueroa said. "Once you get going, it's just fun to be together.

Thursday's interviews