USC: James Cregg

Will it be Walker or Tuerk?

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
7:06
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- USC coach Lane Kiffin didn't really hide his displeasure with left tackle Aundrey Walker after the Stanford game, saying Sunday he was going to give freshman Max Tuerk repetitions at the starting left tackle spot this week to open up the competition there.

Tuesday, Kiffin opened up about why Walker was being challenged for his starting job but expressed confidence he would retain it.

"We won't tolerate (a) lack of great effort," Kiffin said. "Not when you put on these jerseys that all these great players have worn before.

"I think Aundrey's going to respond well to this."

Walker's effort in the fourth quarter against the Cardinal was clearly subpar. He can be seen on tape standing as a defender passes him by multiple times, and that clearly didn't go over well with Kiffin or offensive line coach James Cregg.

Kiffin said Walker was doing alright earlier in the game, before Stanford took the lead and he began to tire.

"He actually had a pretty good first half," Kiffin said. "And then the second half didn't play as well as we'd like, performance-wise and effort-wise."

Asked Tuesday if he felt he gave a good effort in the second half of Saturday's game, Walker smiled.

"I'm going to leave that behind me," he said. "That game is in the past. I'm just looking forward to this week."

Tuerk took over at left tackle in fall camp when Walker was out because of an injury and seemed to improve daily. But, at 6 feet 6, 275 pounds, he's considered small and inexperienced for the college level.

He has been noted to give great effort, though.

Kiffin said Tuesday it was "too hard to make a judgment without going back through the film" of the competition between Walker and Tuerk.

"But we're looking for finish, great effort," he said. "Guys are going to get beat. Guys are going to drop balls, just like we told our team Sunday: You're going to make mistakes."

How much was Holmes missed?

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
5:59
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- USC receiver Robert Woods was asked after the Trojans practiced Tuesday if he was surprised they scored only 14 points in their Saturday loss to the Stanford Cardinal.

His answer was simple, direct and telling.

"We missed Khaled Holmes, the leader of our front," Woods said. "But we still have guys who can fill in, and we just gotta do better and play Trojan football."

Excusing the cliché in the final phrase of his comment, Woods' words have plenty of validity. Holmes' absence played in a role in USC's loss, but was it an even bigger role than initially realized? Would the outcome have been different if Holmes had started the game? It's impossible to know.

Coach Lane Kiffin has said this week Holmes will start against Cal on Saturday if he's healthy. Second in line would be senior Abe Markowitz, followed by freshman Cyrus Hobbi, who started against Stanford.

Kiffin said again Tuesday that Hobbi was put in an almost impossible situation against the Cardinal.

"Like I said right after the game, I don't care who it is, that's a hard job," Kiffin said. "Your first time really playing college football, you've got to go on the road against those guys -- we're not running the ball, so we're having to throw the ball a lot -- they did a really good job no matter who it was. In that game, people would argue that (the center was) the most important person you could miss in that game."

Offensive line coach James Cregg said he thought Hobbi did a great job considering the circumstances.

"I give him a lot of credit for playing his butt off," Cregg said. "It's the heat of the moment, and it's hard to practice that."

Markowitz said Tuesday he's healthy this week and will be ready to go against Cal if called upon -- not that he wasn't ready to go last week, when he almost was put in the game despite an injury suffered the previous week against Syracuse.

"I've been here just as long as Khaled and been in every meeting with him," Markowitz said. "I'm prepared. I'm ready to take snaps at guard or center."

Fall camp practice No. 8 notes

August, 12, 2012
8/12/12
9:30
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Here are notes from Sunday's afternoon practice session that won't make it into our other coverage from the day.

Injury updates

Left tackle Aundrey Walker did early work in practice but continued to sit out of team drills with his wrist issue. Middle linebacker Lamar Dawson also sat out, and Hayes Pullard worked at his spot again while Anthony Sarao took over on the weak side.

Defensive end Greg Townsend went down with an apparent ankle injury. Cornerback Torin Harris did not practice with a hamstring issue, but Lane Kiffin expressed confidence he'd be back on the field soon. Offensive lineman David Garness hasn't practiced this camp.

Running back Silas Redd left practice a bit early but did not appear injured.

The status of the O-line

Offensive line coach James Cregg said there are still a lot of uncertainties on the offensive line one week into camp. With Walker still out, freshman Max Tuerk has practiced at left tackle the last two days, but Cregg's not sure that would be the game plan come September.

"We still have a lot of pieces coming in and out," Cregg said. "We need to stay in one piece and work together and find a way to manage ourselves."

Kiffin said moving right tackle Kevin Graf to the left side "probably doesn't make a lot of sense right now," so it seems Tuerk is the legitimate second option for Walker. But Cregg said he hasn't reached the point, yet, where he's worried about Walker's status.

(Read full post)

Five things we learned in Week 1, No. 2

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
5:49
PM PT
USC's out on spring break this week and not practicing, but each weekday through Friday, we'll bring you one thing we learned from the first three days of practice last week and what it might mean for the future.

Our first item covered Marqise Lee's continued progress. Second is this: The new-look Aundrey Walker is probably going to start, and it's probably going to be at right tackle.

Walker has lost at least 50 pounds over the last 14 months, and Lane Kiffin won't let anyone within earshot forget it.

Not that it'd be easy to forget -- Walker looks like a new man. The 6-6, 320-pounder says he feels "more alive" since losing the weight, and he can stay in for a series of plays during practice without appearing fatigued by the fourth or fifth.

He's good to go now, basically. With his combination of quickness, size and technique, he's worthy of a starting spot. But the question all offseason was whether he was going to be the left tackle for the Trojans in 2012 or the right, and, judging from the first week of practice, it's now safe to assume he's going to be the right.

He didn't play a snap on the left side. All the first-string snaps there went to Kevin Graf, who started on the right last season and did well in most of USC's games.

Graf has said he feels more comfortable on the left side as opposed to the right, which might be the biggest reason for Kiffin and offensive line coach James Cregg's decision to put him there. Another potential reason: Putting Walker on the right is less stressful. He'll get a chance to develop there next season and then scoot over to the left when Graf leaves, either after the 2012 or 2013 season.

The line would now appear set, with Graf-Marcus Martin-Khaled Holmes-John Martinez-Walker the likely formulation. But here's one other thing we've learned this spring: Martin's left guard spot might not be entirely secure.

Redshirt freshman Cyrus Hobbi spent some time with the first-team there last week. He did it because Martin had class, but he looked good doing it. That'll be a storyline to keep track of in the coming weeks.

Check back Wednesday for the third thing we noticed from the first week of USC spring practice.
With the final days of the year approaching, we're taking a look at the five most pressing questions surrounding Lane Kiffin's Trojans in 2012. We'll unveil one each day this week, counting down from No. 5 Monday to No. 1 on Friday.

Question No. 5 covered the Associated Press preseason top 25. Question No. 4 covered NCAA-sanctioned scholarship limits, and question No. 3 went over the new Pac-12 offensive systems.

Question No. 2, then, is this: Who will replace left tackle Matt Kalil in 2012?

There are two obvious options to replace Kalil, who earlier this month officially declared for the NFL draft as one of two USC juniors to declare. The other, defensive end Nick Perry, has clear replacements in Devon Kennard and Wes Horton, who split time across from him this year.

The first option for Kalil's slot is Kevin Graf, a redshirt junior. He started all of last season at right tackle and did so with a fair amount of success. The second is sophomore Aundrey Walker. He lost out on a chance to win the starting left guard spot in fall camp but played some in reserve throughout the year.

There's a very good chance it's one of those two guys. Anyone else would be a huge wild card.

Who has the early upper hand? It depends on whom you ask.

Graf obviously has the edge in terms of experience, with 12 starts under his belt. He performed well in most of those games -- all except Arizona State, really. Walker was a quiet disappointment, as he was clearly the first-choice freshman at left guard entering into fall camp but lost out to Marcus Martin because of work-ethic issues.

He's listed at 375 pounds but said he was closer to 350 at most points of the season. Well, if he was at 350 this year, then you can bet that the Trojans' coaches would like to see him report to fall camp at about 340 next August, with the goal of getting to around 330 for games.

As offensive line coach James Cregg said many times last season, it's not that he's incredibly overweight. He's 6-6 and a big guy. But if he's going to man the left tackle spot against some of the speedy ends in the Pac-12 conference, he needs to be a bit lighter.

USC needs Walker to start next season, really. It's just a matter of whether he can handle the left side or if he'll have to play right tackle, moving Graf over. With Martin, Khaled Holmes and John Martinez entrenched in the middle of the line, those should be the only O-line changes.

Missing Kalil last season would have been devastating to USC's offense. But missing him next year shouldn't be so terribly bad if Walker fulfills his potential, and it also sets up for another year of continuity in 2013. If the line is chosen as expected, only Holmes would depart next offseason.

Check back Friday for question No. 1.

Kevin Graf is a new man at right tackle

August, 7, 2011
8/07/11
9:08
PM PT


How much can Kevin Graf do now that he couldn't do last year, when he played the entire season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder?

"A lot," he said Sunday, laughing. "There's a lot of things I couldn't do. I was playing the left side so my right arm was my main use, and when I can't use that, when it's popping out on me, it's kinda hard to block. Even for pass-blocking, it just [gave] up on me.

"It was kinda hard to do everything you need to do."

Graf, USC's presumptive starting right tackle this season, doesn't know when he tore the labrum. Neither do the Trojans. But by this time last season, he was already experiencing the type of pain that plagued him throughout the year. Practicing at left tackle, he'd often feel his shoulder pop out of its socket as he attempted to block Trojans defensive ends in passing and running situations. He learned to deal with it, but he never felt 100 percent.

"Every day, and it wasn't just once a day," he said of the popping-out sensation. "It was a couple of times."

Former fullback Stanley Havili had a similar ailment last season, and it received a fair amount of publicity over the course of the season. Few knew the extent of Graf's injury -- heck, USC didn't even know. He went into surgery after the season expecting to have just one part of the labrum repaired but came to an hour and a half later than expected and found out both the front and back parts of the tendon had been torn.

Doctors repaired both and Graf sat out of spring practice while he rehabilitated the injury. The redshirt sophomore was a near-unanimous All-American as a prep at nearby Agoura High in 2008, but he hadn't shown much of the same skills in his first two years at USC, something he now attributes to the shoulder injury. As a first-year freshman in 2009 he redshirted and dealt with a few nagging injuries, like a stinger that kept him out for a time.

But, even with all that, he stayed on the field. And USC head coach Lane Kiffin and offensive line coach James Cregg have looked back on last fall now and complimented Graf for his tenacity to do so.

"Even with my shoulder problem, I still worked hard," Graf said. "I wasn't going to just give up on myself. I still worked as hard as I could and I think that's what they noticed more of, showing that I was working through my pain, working through my problems."

Does he think the coaching staff sees Graf as a new player now, with him healthy for the first time and proving to be a force on an offensive line that desperately needs another player it can count on outside of Matt Kalil and Khaled Holmes?

Yes. But it's not only the coaches who hold that opinion.

"I see a new player in me," Graf said Sunday, smiling. "I see myself firing off the ball, doing things I didn't do last year."

Assessing Walker and O-Line

August, 6, 2011
8/06/11
9:52
PM PT
USC offensive line coach James Cregg says he has coached only one other player like freshman guard/tackle Aundrey Walker in his 14 years of coaching at the collegiate and NFL levels: former Tennessee tackle Chris Scott.

Walker, a Glenville, Ohio product who the Trojans stole from under the nose of Ohio State, is listed at 6-6 and 375 pounds. Scott, a Parade All-American as a Georgia prep, was listed at 6-5, 346 while with the Volunteers, although some reports had him as high as 370 pounds at various points during his five years in Knoxville.

The comparison's valid, to be sure. But, in comparing photographic evidence, Walker seems even bigger, although a lot of the weight does seem to come from his massive frame.

"He’s not fat," Cregg said Saturday of Walker. 'He's just a big-boned kid.

"Aundrey’s in a growing process. He’ll get it down. But he is athletic for how big he is. He wants to work hard and he’s grinding, getting better on a day like today. He’s learning how to work harder."

A big-boned kid who absolutely flattened 265-pound defensive end Wes Horton on the second day of USC's fall camp this week. But the 18-year-old Walker has been wildly inconsistent in one-on-one drills, with some great performances and some not-so-great.

He's getting a look at right tackle right now, but that doesn't seem like a long-term option. Both Lane Kiffin and Cregg have layered extensive praise on Kevin Graf's early play in camp at that spot, and he's already in the early stages of solidifying a starting spot there.

Both guard slots are wide open, though. Cregg wouldn't say when Walker would get a shot at one of those positions -- "Shoot, it’s only his third practice," he said -- but it seems he will at some point soon.

And, for what it's worth, Scott started his Tennessee career at right guard before switching left tackle as a sophomore. There's a precedent for Kiffin- and Cregg-coached for behemoth linemen with massive potential to start their college careers at guard.

As for the other offensive linemen, there a number of players in competition for the two guard spots -- among them juco transfer Jeremy Galten and returners John Martinez and Martin Coleman. Giovanni Di Poalo, another potential player there, missed part of Saturday's practice with a shoulder injury.

With the Trojans in half-pads for the first time, the linemen vs. linemen action was amped up a notch compared to the first two days, and the offensive guys struggled to keep up. End Devon Kennard, in particular, terrorized whoever was assigned to him on many a play.

"It was a big test today with the pads and we didn’t dominate today the way we wanted to, so I’m curious to see, as camp goes on, where we’re gonna be on each day," Cregg said. "But there’s a couple core pieces in there and the guys want to do well and they’re working together, so it’s just important that we get better, day in and day out."

And, on Walker, Cregg said he's down to 364 pounds the last he'd heard. The eventual goal would be to have him at 330 or 335 in game situations. But, Cregg said, "if we could get him at 340 right now, we’d be in good shape."

Wednesday practice report: Breakdown

November, 3, 2010
11/03/10
11:20
PM PT
Notes, quotes and video from Wednesday's practice:
  • Lane Kiffin said earlier in the week that two positions -- strong safety and left guard -- were up for grabs this week, but it appears that another spot, middle linebacker, is also a re-opened competition. Devon Kennard has started the first eight games of the season at the spot but has had "some ups and downs," in Kiffin's words. Thus, Chris Galippo, who started the last two games at weakside linebacker in Malcolm Smith's place, has been granted an opportunity to compete for the Mike spot this week. "He's played well at times," Kiffin said of Kennard, adding that the sophomore hasn't been fully healthy in a few weeks. "It’s kind of been a work in progress." More on this further down, including Kennard's comments on the decision.
  • At safety, incumbent Jawanza Starling continues to battle backup Marshall Jones for the right to start Saturday against Arizona State. Starling, a true sophomore who struggled mightily against the rampant play-action fakes Oregon used last week, said he has embraced the challenge: "Competition breeds the best in people, or the worst in people," he said after Wednesday's practice. "It's up to me now just to get better."
  • At guard, Michael Reardon, a converted center, is challenging Butch Lewis for the starting spot. Lewis, we noted Tuesday, has lost his starting spot at USC in each of the last four seasons -- truly a remarkable note. Reardon said Wednesday that offensive line coach James Cregg pulled him aside Tuesday and told him to seize his opportunity, as he would be playing with the starters in practice. "You always strive to be a [starter]," he said. "And if the opportunity comes, you can't look back." Meanwhile, Lewis, still rotating in at both right tackle and left guard, appeared to play a lot more spirited than he did against Oregon, when he was largely manhandled by a much-smaller Ducks defensive line.

(Read full post)

Tuesday practice report: Breakdown

October, 19, 2010
10/19/10
2:24
PM PT
Notes, quotes and video from Tuesday's early-morning practice:
  • The Trojans were back at it Tuesday at 6 a.m. on the practice field with a quick, fast-paced practice that featured a solid 15 minutes of straight wind sprints to conclude it. Three assistants -- offensive line coach James Cregg, defensive backs coach Willie Mack Garza and linebackers coach Joe Barry -- were absent from practice, presumably already on recruiting trips. Expect coaches to filter in and out of Heritage Hall this week to utilize the bye to "flood the country" in recruiting, as head coach Lane Kiffin said Saturday.
  • Injury report: linebacker Malcolm Smith (knee), offensive linemen John Martinez and Tyron Smith (ankle) and running backs Dillon Baxter (toe) and C.J. Gable (knee) did not practice; defensive ends Wes Horton (back) and Nick Perry (ankle), tight end Jordan Cameron (knee) and running back Marc Tyler were limited.
  • More on those injuries: Gable's knee injury was originally feared to be season-ending, but it now appears he will be able to play as soon as next week against Oregon. "I'm thinking I'll be able to play," Gable said Tuesday. "I'm not gonna have anything hold me back." Horton participated in sprints at the end of practice but otherwise sat out. He was sporting a back support during the team's visit to a local children's hospital Monday. Baxter, who practiced juking some after Saturday's game against Cal, did sit-ups and push-ups with the other injured Trojans on the Brian Kennedy Field sideline. Tyron Smith said after the Cal game that he would participate in practice this week after suffering a couple sprains in his ankle last week but stayed on the sidelines.
  • In college football, bye weeks are typically used as an opportunity to get younger, less-experienced players valuable time on the practice field. That is even more important than usual for USC this week, as the Trojans will likely have to use a lot of their backups on defense against Oregon next week because of the Ducks' super-speedy offense. The problem is that the USC second-unit has been horrid this season in garbage time, giving up touchdowns again and again.

(Read full post)

Friday practice report

August, 6, 2010
8/06/10
9:06
PM PT
Here are your usual notes, quotes and video from Friday's practice, the longest yet of fall camp at over three hours:
  • The latest on the Stanley Havili-T.J. Bryant situation is here. Havili was not allowed to practice Friday by coach Lane Kiffin and has been suspended indefinitely -- despite apparent "begging" from Bryant to allow Havili to escape punishment.
  • More news came when Kiffin said he had "great confidence" in what his regime did during his year at Tennessee in 2009. Of course, that comment came in response to the news that Tennessee is under NCAA investigation for a variety of alleged minor recruiting violations that occurred under Kiffin.
  • In Havili's absence, it appears redshirt freshman Simione Vehikite will be the latest Trojan to move over to fullback. Vehikite, previously a linebacker, spent all of Friday's practice at the position. On Wednesday, former tight end Rhett Ellison began practicing at the position, in a move Kiffin said was made to provide depth after the transfer of D.J. Shoemate. Kiffin has not committed to leaving either player at the spot in the long term.
  • On the subject of position changes, Kiffin said Friday he plans to try all three of the freshmen tight ends on the defensive side of the ball at some point in fall camp. Christian Thomas continued to impress during practice, while the physically imposing Xavier Grimble displayed an unusual combination of size and speed with a couple of post-catch runs. Randall Telfer has played solidly.
  • Injury report: left tackle Matt Kalil dressed but again sat out of practice because of a hamstring injury suffered last week. A trio of receivers -- freshman Kyle Prater (groin), sophomore De'Von Flournoy (shoulder) and junior Brandon Carswell (thigh) -- stayed on the sidelines during practice with injuries, although Carswell stayed a while after practice catching balls from walk-on quarterback John Manoogian.
  • Speaking of walk-on quarterbacks, the Trojans got another Friday when redshirt sophomore Emon Saee was officially announced as a new member of the team. Saee, a Calabasas native, has not played football since high school.
  • Sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley was clearly off his game Friday after a sharp performance Thursday, but Kiffin said nothing was off physically with his starting signal-caller. Midway through practice, backup Mitch Mustain was tripped up by one of his own offensive linemen during a play and looked as if he was limping for a bit of time. His first pass after the incident was an ugly flutterer that missed its intended target by more than five yards in the end zone, but the senior soon rebounded and was back to his normal self shortly.
  • An on-field highlight: when senior Allen Bradford motored around left end for a touchdown on Brian Kennedy Field early on in practice, he celebrated by spiking the ball in the end zone. But new offensive coordinator and running backs coach Kennedy Pola quickly established order by ordering Bradford to pick up the ball, run a lap, and not do it again.
  • A few final notes: Newly-minted scholarship lineman Abe Markowitz was the subject of a complimentary post-practice comment from Kiffin, who attributed the early awarding of a scholarship -- scholarship earners are usually announced at the end of fall camp -- to Markowitz' financial situation. Markowitz' father, Barry, said late Thursday that his son worked six days a week on campus to help pay for tuition and expenses. ... USC donned half-pads Friday for the first time. The first padded practice of the fall, Sunday's, will also be treated as the Trojans' first of four "preseason games" during camp, Kiffin said. ... Two USC assistants -- offensive line coach James Cregg and defensive backs coach Willie Mack Garza -- were on Kiffin's staff during his one-year tenure at Tennessee. Strength and conditioning coach Aaron Ausmus also worked for the Volunteers.

***

Kiffin addressed the Havili-Bryant situation as soon as he began to speak to reporters Friday. His disappointment with Havili seemed to be a bit of a change in stance from Thursday, when he immediately defended the senior fullback. Hear all of Kiffin's comments on the altercation and its consequences in his post-practice meeting with reporters:



With Bryant being out for at least three weeks, Brian Baucham and Torin Harris are essentially embroiled in a one-on-one battle for the second starting cornerback spot. Friday, the engaging Baucham talked about that situation, addressed the 2009 motorcycle accident that limited him for much of last season and compared himself and Harris as corners:

Loss of Henderson leaves offensive line depth-free

July, 6, 2010
7/06/10
10:52
PM PT
Seantrel Henderson is — in all likehood, of course — gone, leaving USC is now dangerously, dangerously thin at the two offensive tackle spots.

The depth chart released by first-year coach Lane Kiffin at the end of his first spring practice with the squad featured just three scholarship tackles — and only two healthy ones, redshirt sophomore Matt Kalil and junior Tyron Smith.

The other tackle on the depth chart, redshirt junior Martin Coleman, has suffered from a variety of nagging injuries throughout his USC career and is unlikely to see the field for any meaningful snaps this season. In two seasons, he's appeared in one game for the Trojans — then as a reserve offensive guard.

Another option at tackle, redshirt freshman Kevin Graf, spent the spring working at offensive guard due to injuries there and appeared as the starter at left guard in front of the injured Butch Lewis on the end-of-spring depth chart.

Assuming Graf transitions back to tackle in fall camp, he will be the Trojans' only real backup for Kalil and Smith at the bookend line positions and one of only six scholarship backups across the entire offensive line.

Compounding the problem, only one of those players — undersized redshirt freshman guard/center John Martinez — stayed healthy for the duration of 2010 spring practice.

The tandem of Kalil and Smith carries a total of 13 starts, essentially one full season. Smith started the first 12 games at right tackle across before becoming academically ineligible for USC's Emerald Bowl game against Boston College. Kalil then started that game — his first as a Trojan — and performed well in USC's win.

It's worth mentioning, also, that Smith had thumb surgery prior to spring practice and that Kalil missed considerable time during his redshirt season in 2008 due to a sprained knee, and missed some of spring practice this April.

In the past, USC has prided itself on versatility among its players, especially among the offensive line. But the current depth chart on the line seems to have a limited amount of that attribute.

Yes, Martinez can play either of the three spots in the middle of the line and Lewis started seven games at right tackle in 2008. But, other than those two, the other linemen tend to stick to their positions.

Redshirt junior center Michael Reardon worked at tackle during his first year at USC but was never a serious threat for playing time, similar to Coleman. Redshirt senior Zack Heberer has spent the duration of his Trojan career at guard, as has redshirt sophomore Khaled Holmes, a likely starter in 2010. Senior Kristofer O'Dowd started the first game of his career at center in 2007 and has never played another position for the Trojans.

What does this all mean for next season?

Firstly, USC's lone class of 2010 offensive line recruit — sizably undersized center/guard Giovanni Di Poalo — probably will not redshirt. Di Poalo, a three-star recruit and the 38th-ranked guard in the class by ESPNU, is listed at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds. He'll need to bulk up immediately.

Secondly, the Trojans will simply need to avoid injuries. Counting Di Poalo, James Cregg's group will have 11 scholarship players — plus capable walk-on Abe Markowitz — available for 2010. An injury or two would put USC at only two-deep or worse for every spot, not an enviable position.

Fans will likely be reminded of spring practice, when Kiffin frequently had only six or seven linemen available for use and was forced to adjust his offensive gameplan accordingly. It wasn't a pretty sight in intra-squad scrimmages, and it surely won't be a pretty sight in Pac-10 play.

We won't know the exact extent of the depth issues until September, but we already know one thing for sure: It'll be interesting.

Cregg talks the state of the offensive line

April, 15, 2010
4/15/10
10:40
PM PT
More than halfway through the 15 scheduled spring practices, the Trojans' offensive linemen are finally meshing as a unit — but they're still far from where they want to be, according to offensive line coach James Cregg. Cregg, in his first season at USC after one season at Tennessee, said Thursday he is pleased with the performances of his linemen this spring. He also talked about his expectations for center Kristofer O'Dowd and left tackle Matt Kalil, seeing his players play in spite of being banged up, and unexpected performances from players like center Abe Markowitz:

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