USC: Mike Patterson

The two Mike Pattersons

March, 9, 2012
USC defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron and head coach Lane Kiffin both compared a current USC defensive linemen to former Trojans defensive tackle Mike Patterson on Thursday, but they were different players.

Orgeron said sophomore J.R. Tavai resembled Patterson in his ability to play nose tackle despite his light weight; Kiffin said redshirt freshman Antwaun Woods resembled him because of his precipitous weight loss since arriving on campus last August.

The funny thing: Tavai and Woods are competing against each other this spring for the only truly open starting spot on the USC team. Every other position everywhere else has either a returning starter or a clear-cut leader. Nose guard is totally up for grabs between Tavai and Woods with Christian Tupou graduating and pursuing an NFL career.

They're totally different, too. Tavai is the over-achieving type, a 6-2, 271-pounder who doesn't show a ton of physical potential but proved enough to get on the field as a true freshman last season. Woods has been an underachiever thus far, seriously underwhelming the USC coaches in fall camp last year when he showed up weighing 340 pounds on his 6-1 frame.

More than likely, the two are going to split time at nose tackle in 2012. If both players can't be counted on to play at least 20 or 30 snaps a game this season, USC's defensive line is going to be in trouble. Former defensive end Greg Townsend Jr. has been working at tackle so far this spring and former offensive guard Cody Temple is too, but there are no other healthy defensive tackles on the roster besides George Uko, will start at three-technique.

Patterson, of course, was a stout 6-foot, 290-pound tackle who found success at nose guard at USC after coming in weighing considerably more than that. Orgeron fell in love with Patterson's potential as a high-schooler and convinced then-coach Pete Carroll he could turn into something.

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Armond Armstead already next big thing

August, 12, 2010
As an offensive coach, Lane Kiffin is always quick to side with his offensive player when asked which side of the ball looks better in camp but not even Kiffin could sugarcoat the way his offensive linemen were getting manhandled by junior defensive end Armond Armstead. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound pass rusher returned to practice Tuesday after missing time because of dehydration and had his way with anyone who was in front of him during Wednesday’s practice.

“I thought the offense was ahead of the defense but I realized that was because Armond wasn’t practicing,” Kiffin said. “As soon as he started practicing the defense was ahead of the offense. Hopefully he continues to grow under our scheme and continue to develop his technique. Right now he just takes over practice. The only guy I remember on the front doing that while we were here even with the great players that were here from Mike Patterson to Shaun Cody to Sedrick Ellis was Kenechi Udeze. At times he could take over a game and a whole practice and it’s great to see.”



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B. Allen27614895.411
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