Trojans shift focus from spring cleaning to spring practice

In the wake of a hectic coaching change, a sobering NCAA investigation and the worst season record in nearly a decade, the USC football team is ready to put spring cleaning behind it and look forward to spring practice beginning March 30.

Practices will be held at 4 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday and at 11 a.m. every Saturday for five consecutive weeks.  The 33-day program ends May 1 with the annual Trojan Huddle scrimmage at the Coliseum.

For head coach Lane Kiffin and six other new names in the USC coaching office, this spring brings opportunity to introduce fans, the media, and the team to the future of the Kiffin administration.  Play calling, practice tempo, and roster selection are yet to be seen; Kiffin hasn’t attended a USC spring practice since he resigned as offensive coordinator after the 2006 season.

Practices will likely be left open to the public as they had been under Pete Carroll and as they were under Kiffin at Tennessee, but no official announcement has been made.

Three new enrollees will also make their first impressions this spring.  Defensive back Patrick Hall, receiver Kyle Prater and running back Dillon Baxter are all onboard early to begin training for the 2010 season.

The Trojans will have more new recruits on the field than quarterbacks — Matt Barkley should be ready to go despite recent wrist surgery, and Mitch Mustain will share snaps under center.

New secondary coach Willie Mack Garza will have his work cut out for him in his first practices as a Trojan.  USC replaces four defensive backs including All-American safety Taylor Mays and seniors Kevin Thomas, Will Harris, and Josh Pinkard.