Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Walker and Graf talk tackle
By Pedro Moura
We knew coming into the spring that the most interesting position battle for the USC Trojans would be at left tackle, where redshirt junior Kevin Graf and sophomore Aundrey Walker were set to compete for the right to start there in 2012.
Well, here's the thing: It never really shaped up into the type of battle we'd expect, but it did end up being pretty interesting. Graf spent the first week there before Walker took over for him after the week of spring break, and, now, it doesn't look like he's going to give it up anytime soon. So it didn't go back and forth between the two and there was no real drama, but there is, as of right now, a clear winner and a clear loser, and that means it was a battle.
Another sign it was a battle indeed: Walker's pleased with the results and Graf isn't. Of course, Graf hasn't outright said he is upset at the decision to leave Walker there long-term or anything like that, but his comments on Saturday after USC's second-to-last scrimmage of the spring make it clear he's not elated to return to right tackle.
Asked if he suspected he'd get a chance to again challenge his younger counterpart in fall camp, Graf said he had no idea.
"They haven't really talked to me about it," Graf said. "They're just trying to get through this last week of spring and when fall comes around, I'm sure they'll let me know."
For his part, the 6-6, 320-pound Walker said he was "very surprised" when the Trojans' coaches told him they wanted him to stay on the left side for the rest of spring. But he also said he feels comfortable there now and feels like he's getting better there, whereas the first week or so he simply felt like he was adjusting.
"I love the left better than the right, actually, to be honest," Walker said. "I just feel more comfortable over there."
Graf said he's fine on the right side. He played there last year and got better as the season went on, so it does make sense to keep him there for continuity purposes.
"I started getting more comfortable at right tackle, and when you start getting more comfortable you start playing better, and that's what happened," Graf said. "I've played 12 games there. I know how to play there.
"I ended the year really strong last year so I know how to play there."