Morgan Breslin, the silent star

September, 27, 2012
9/27/12
3:28
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- The surprise star of the 2012 USC football team does not like to talk, but he sure does like to sack.

Morgan Breslin, the Trojans' junior-college transfer who has been a revelation at defensive end through four games this year, has steadfastly refused media requests since arriving on campus in January as a mid-year enrollee.

And USC coaches and staffers aren't in any hurry to try to change that -- or change him.

"He does not have a personality," says a smiling Lane Kiffin, the Trojans coach. "At all. He really doesn't."

What Breslin does have is 5.5 sacks, which is tied for sixth-best nationally and second in the Pac-12. He's also the only player in the top 12 in the country with no prior collegiate experience.

He's on pace to match the recent school record of 16.5 sacks set by Kenechi Udeze in 2003.

Breslin's teammates wouldn't mind it if he talked more. Defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, one of the loudest players on USC's roster, says he often tries to make conversation with Breslin in the locker room before and after practice.

They'll make eye contact and Breslin will nod and occasionally throw in a patented, "Nice!"

That's all.

"That's his favorite word," Woods says.

Even that, though, is an improvement from how Breslin was in the spring. Back then, he would provide only yes or no answers and rarely even verbalize those, preferring to shake his head to indicate it.

"He's better now," Woods says. "He actually talks to us."

It's become a running joke: Each Friday night, with the Trojans holed up in meetings on the eve of a game, the coaches will ask Breslin to say some words during a lull.

He won't say much.

"He just says, 'Fight on,' "Kiffin said. "And Coach (Ed Orgeron) likes it that way."

Orgeron mostly just likes Breslin's relentless play. Last week against Cal, Breslin played every defensive snap with the Trojans short-handed at defensive end.

He made a tackle in the backfield on the first play of the game and a sack on the last, an effort-related note not lost on USC's coaching staff.

"That was a pretty cool story to point out to our guys," Kiffin said.

Breslin also likes to downplay his accomplishments -- according to his teammates, of course. Woods is confused as to why he's still not talking after all the sacks he's recorded, and freshman defensive end Leonard Williams says he hasn't met many like Breslin in his short football career.

"He's just a worker," Williams says. "He never brags about himself.

"If I tell him he did a good job, he just downs himself."

USC expects Breslin will talk at some point. Counting on him suddenly becoming a Woods-like character is unlikely, but maybe when he celebrates a year with the Trojans' program he'll say a few words.

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