Three weeks ago, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey told said he was enjoying his new position as the pass-rushing under tackle (or three-technique) in the Trojans' defense under Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron.
In the past, Casey had been split between the three-technique and nose guard spots. He played all 12 of his games games as a backup at the nose in 2008 and started games at both positions last season. But practicing solely as the under tackle, he said, gave him more of a chance to do what he felt he was good at -- rushing the passer and disrupting offenses.
"I prefer three-technique because you can get off the ball way quicker than you do at nose," Casey said then. "At nose, you're too close to the ball so you have to anticipate what the linemen are gonna do. At three-technique, you can kinda pace yourself or strike as fast as you want to."
He also said that both DaJohn Harris and Hebron 'Loni' Fangupo were benefiting from lining up exclusively at nose tackle, where the player is expected to expend more energy clogging up blockers rather than chasing after the quarterback or going for the behind-the-line stuff of a runner.
"It just helps us out, we don't have to learn both assignments." Casey said then. "Everybody can concentrate on one assignment. You still learn both assignments because you have to know what the other guys are doing, but you can just focus on yours.
"It's much easier."
Well, there goes that.
With Nick Perry's re-insertion into the starting lineup at defensive end Armond Armstead's corresponding move from end to the three-technique earlier this week, Casey has now been moved back to the nose -- where he expects to start on Saturday against Virginia -- and Harris and Fangupo will now work as his backups. It's not clear who would be Armstead's backup at under tackle should the junior need snaps off, but Casey will be the No. 1 guy at the nose as it stands now.
"It's not disappointing," Casey said Wednesday of the change. "We need to do what's best for the team, and obviously that's moving me to the nose and having Armond step in for the three-technique. "We've just gotta go out there and keep pushing hard. We can't slow down just because we moved our front around. Everybody's still gotta play at the same pace and still work hard."
See what else Casey had to say about the switch and the defensive line as a whole in a one-on-one video interview taken Wednesday: