The USC spring game guide

The 2013 USC Trojans will be having their annual public spring game this Saturday at 1 p.m. in the storied Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. While there are a number of key injuries, there are still plenty of position battles and changes in defensive and offensive philosophy by Lane Kiffin to make things interesting this weekend.

Offense (listed numerically)

No. 4 Max Browne (6-5, 215, Fr.)
No. 6 Cody Kessler (6-1, 215, RS So.)
No. 13 Max Wittek (6-4, 235, RS So.)
What to watch: The battle between Wittek, Kessler and Browne has been intense and scintillating, yet friendly. Each brings a different skill set and provides a diverse feel to the offense. There will be no starting quarterback decision until fall camp.

No. 22 Justin Davis (6-1, 215, Fr.)
No. 30 D.J. Morgan (5-10, 190, RS Jr.)
No. 37 Buck Allen (6-1, 210, RS So.)
What to watch: With the emphasis on running the ball, fans should immediately focus their attention on freshman sensation Davis, who Kiffin says could end up the 2013 starter. Allen might be the most improved player on offense and has been a revelation.

No. 38 Jahleel Pinner (5-11, 225, So.)
No. 39 Simione Vehikite (5-11, 225, RS Sr.)
What to watch: Expected starter Vainuku is out (knee). Watch Pinner coming out of the backfield as a receiver, where he can be lethal.

Wide receivers:
No. 9 Marqise Lee (6-0, 195, Jr.)
No. 15 Nelson Agholor (6-1, 185, So.)
No. 80 De'Von Flournoy (6-0, 185, RS Sr.)
No. 84 Darreus Rogers (6-2, 195, Fr.)
No. 85 Victor Blackwell (6-1, 190, RS So.)
What to watch: The All-American, Lee, is set to again thrill the masses on Saturday, and Agholor is a superstar in the making. With George Farmer out for the season with a torn ACL, the competition to be the No. 3 receiver behind Lee and Agholor on Saturday should be fierce.

Tight ends:
No. 82 Randall Telfer (6-4, 255, RS Jr.)
No. 88 Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (6-5, 245, So.)
What to watch: With senior starter Xavier Grimble out (chest injury), fans can focus in on the talents of Telfer and Cope-Fitzpatrick, who is a future star.

Offensive line

Left tackles:
No. 70 Aundrey Walker (6-6, 300, Jr.)
No. 76 Nathan Guertler (6-5, 270, RS Jr.)
What to watch: All eyes will be on Walker and his battle with consistency, concentration, motivation and effectiveness on Saturday.

Left guards:
No. 63 Giovanni Di Poalo (6-4, 280, RS Jr.)
No. 75 Max Tuerk (6-6, 285, So.)
What to watch: Don't be shocked if Tuerk, who will start at left guard, plays some left tackle during the course of the afternoon. Di Poalo has been a pleasant spring surprise.

No. 66 Marcus Martin (6-3, 325, Jr.)
No. 69 Cyrus Hobbi (6-3, 285, RS So.)
What to watch: Martin has adapted well to center after being a starter at left guard. Hobbi has improved but needs to continue getting stronger. Let's see how they handle the Trojans' active nose tackles.

Right guards:
No. 59 John Martinez (6-2, 305, RS Sr.)
No. 66 Jordan Simmons (6-5, 335, RS Fr.)
What to watch: Martinez has been steady during spring, but keep your eyes on Simmons, a youngster with enormous potential.

Right tackles:
No. 73 Zach Banner (6-9. 335, RS Fr.)
No. 77 Kevin Graf (6-6, 300, RS Sr.)
What to watch: Graf is a future pro and has been a spring leader. Banner has been challenged getting comfortable with his size and technique against aggressive, smaller defensive linemen.

Defense (listed numerically)

Defensive ends:
No. 58 J.R. Tavai (6-2, 265, Jr.)
No. 90 George Uko (6-3, 275, RS Jr.)
No 94 Leonard Williams (6-5, 270, So.)
No. 98 Cody Temple (6-3, 285, RS So.)
What to watch: In the new 5-2 defense, Williams and Uko are men inside, but a key could be the development of Temple, so keep your binoculars trained on No. 98, who could provide some important depth and physicality inside.

Nose tackles:
No. 95 Kenny Bigelow (6-3, 295, Fr.)
No. 99 Antwaun Woods (6-1, 305, RS So.)
What to watch: Here's a real battle between an improved Woods and true freshman Bigelow, who is just a beast and getting better each practice.


Predator OLB:
No. 40 Jabari Ruffin (6-4, 230, RS Fr.)
No. 91 Morgan Breslin (6-2, 250, Sr.)
What to watch: It's been an adjustment for Breslin, an All-Pac-12 selection, to be in a stand-up position, and a lot is expected of Ruffin, who is still learning the new defense.

Sam OLB:
No. 42 Devon Kennard (6-3, 230, RS Sr.)
No. 53 Marquis Simmons (6-1, 220, RS Sr.)
No. 81 Kevin Greene (6-4, 255, RS Sr.)
What to watch: Kennard appears to have finally found a home, and it's as a stand-up linebacker after having played a down defensive end and middle linebacker. You'll be surprised at how mobile he looks in covering space.

Mike linebacker:
No. 10 Hayes Pullard (6-1, 235, RS Jr.)
What to watch: With walk-ons currently backing him up, Pullard has raised his game to the point where fans on Saturday might be looking at a legitimate preseason All-American candidate and a likely team captain.

Will linebackers:
No. 55 Lamar Dawson (6-2, 235, Jr.)
No. 56 Anthony Sarao (6-0, 215, RS So.)
What to watch: See if you agree that Sarao is the man inside and Dawson is the man covering space outside. The coaching staff has raved all spring about Dawson, so perhaps you'll finally see him living up to the legendary No. 55.

Right corners:
No. 14 Ryan Henderson (5-10, 170, RS So.)
No. 16 Anthony Brown (5-9, 180, RS Jr.)
No. 17 Devian Shelton (6-2, 185, RS Fr.)
What to watch: Pay particular attention to how Brown, a very competitive spirit, handles covering USC's fleet receivers and run support.

Left corners:
No. 23 Kevon Seymour (6-0, 170, So.)
No. 29 Chris Hawkins (6-0, 170, Fr.)
What to watch: With senior Torin Harris out (shoulder), it figures that the talented Seymour draws first duty on Saturday, although true freshman Hawkins is quite a competitor and will see action.

Strong safety:
No. 6 Josh Shaw (6-1, 190, RS Jr.)
What to watch: Play close attention to Shaw at strong safety because you might not see him at this position come fall. It may be a corner spot in August. Fans hoping to see freshman sensation Su'a Cravens this weekend will have to wait till fall camp due to a spring-ending knee injury.

Free safety:
No. 22 Leon McQuay III (6-2, 185, Fr.)
What to watch: A future star, true freshman McQuay will see plenty of starting action on Saturday, although senior Demetrius Wright, who was injured (hip) earlier, might see action.

Special Teams

No. 35 Kris Albarado (5-10, 200, RS So.)
What to watch: Albarado shown improvement in the spring. We'll see how he does in front of a Coliseum gathering.

No. 48 Andre Heidari (5-10, 200, Jr.)
What to watch: Heidari's leg looks like it's back to his freshman All-Pac-12 form.