<
>

All eyes on USC's spring practice

LOS ANGELES -- Beginning Tuesday afternoon on Loker Stadium's Cromwell Field, the 2015 USC Trojans will begin 15 scheduled days of spring football practice. Spring ball will build optimism, excitement, and the foundation for what some pundits believe is a team that is a contender for the 2015 College Football Playoff.

With many of the spring practice sessions open to the public and a healthy dose of conversation, speculation, and interpretation, you can be guaranteed of the following:

• All eyes will be focused on the fans reception and attendance of the 3:30 p.m. weekday practices, many of which will begin in mild to warm sunny Southern California sunlight and end in a dark, fall-like chill.

• All eyes will be focused on Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian to see how he transitions his football team from a perceived not so “bully-on-the-block” team to a traditional USC football team, which imposes its will on opponents.

• All eyes will be focused on Trojans defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox to see if he even gives a hint of being more aggressive with blitzes and stunts.

• All eyes will be focused on sophomore wide receiver Steven Mitchell to see whether he has regained his full explosiveness shown during his senior season at Bishop Alemany High.

• All eyes will be focused on the accuracy and arm strength of true freshman quarterback Ricky Town. Let the comparisons begin between Town and crosstown rival true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen of UCLA.

• All eyes will be focused on senior linebacker Anthony Sarao to see if he picks up the leadership baton vacated by former linebacking teammate Hayes Pullard.

• All eyes will be focused on jersey numbers 8, 35, 63, and 70. Those will be the numbers of the four early enrollee freshmen, which includes in order quarterback Ricky Town, linebacker Cameron Smith , and offensive linemen Roy Hemsley and Chuma Edoga, respectively.

• All eyes will be focused on a group of veteran fans, who argue whether this USC team is truly capable of reaching the College Football Playoff or winning the Pac-12 South for that matter.

• All eyes will be focused on -- based on last season -- whether we've seen the last gasp of a USC fullback running the ball as we know it, so help me Soma Vainuku and Jahleel Pinner.

• All eyes will be focused on sophomore wide receiver JuJu Smith, who many fans will question how a sophomore can have so much poise, maturity, and leadership skills at such a young age.

• All eyes will be focused on 6-foot-4, 205-pound JC transfer wide receiver Isaac Whitney, who is being counted upon as being the big wide receiver that Steve Sarkisian has been wanting.

• All eyes will be focused on the defensive line competition to replace All-America Leonard Williams, who could be the NFL's No.1 overall draft selection come late April.

• All eyes will be focused on second-year defensive line coach Chris Wilson and his ability to mold a formidable unit without the services of Williams, a disciple of and last major high school defensive line recruit of former D-line coach Ed Orgeron, who is now at LSU.

• All eyes will be focused on senior defensive lineman Greg Townsend Jr. to see whether he can remotely do what Leonard Williams was able to do.

• All eyes will be focused on the weekday afternoon practices, which will be praised by the fans and media and quietly praised by the players, who generally practice during the cold, early mornings during the regular season.

• All eyes will be focused on who will emerge as the center backup to senior All-Pac-12 center Max Tuerk.

• All eyes will be focused on new offensive line coach Bob Connelly and his interaction and coaching transition with his new offensive linemen, which present the first-year coach with a wealth of experienced, young talent.

• All eyes will be focused on fans that claims they have heard a rumor that the Trojans will break out a new uniform design for the spring game, which will be telecast nationally on the Pac-12 Networks.

• All eyes will be focused on true freshman and Parade All-America offensive tackle Chuma Edoga from Atlanta, Georgia, and his pursuit of finding his niche along the O-line.

• Restricted to sitting in the bleachers of Loker Stadium, the fan with the binoculars will become everybody's best buddy.

• All eyes will be focused on senior quarterback and Heisman candidate Cody Kessler to see if he can manage to find a favorite target to replace Nelson Agholor.

• All eyes will be focused on true freshman linebacker Cameron Smith to see if he can be a true challenger to start at middle linebacker in place of Hayes Pullard.

• All eyes will be focused on sophomore placekicker Matt Boermeester to see if he is the replacement for Andre Heidari.

• All eyes will be focused on junior tailback Justin Davis but conversations will quickly change to incoming freshman tailback Ronald Jones II, the electrifying to-the-house running back from McKinney, Texas.

• All eyes will be focused on recognizing any of the incoming Fall true freshmen from the recruiting class of 2015 and class of 2016 commits.

• All eyes will be focused on junior All-Pac-12 linebacker Su'a Cravens and remark that this is probably their last chance to see Cravens in a Trojans spring practice season.

• All eyes will be focused on starting junior offensive right tackle Zack Banner, all 6-foot-9, 350 pounds of him, and fans will swear he has grown bigger and taller.

• All eyes will be focused on sophomore WR/DB Adoree' Jackson and debates will break out whether Adoree' should play more on offense while still maintaining his starting cornerback position.

• All eyes will be focused on junior tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, who could be a major plus to the Trojans passing game and sophomore Bryce Dixon, who will recall memories of Trojans Hall of Fame tight end Charles “Tree” Young.

• All eyes will be focused on a fan that laments loudly that he forgot about the season ticket deadline at the end of February and has lost his treasured Coliseum seat location that he has had for the past 35 years.