Injury didn't break Markowitz's resolve

After broken foot ruined Abe Markowitz's homecoming last season, redshirt junior is ready to contribute wherever he may be needed.

The 2010 season opener at Hawaii was supposed to be the culmination of USC center Abe Markowitz's efforts to earn a scholarship and significant playing time. And he was halfway there.

New head coach Lane Kiffin put Markowitz on scholarship in fall camp and the former Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou standout was set to serve as a key backup and utility lineman until he broke his foot weeks before his homecoming. And when he was set to return midway through the year, Markowitz reinjured his foot in practice.

It didn't derail his goals, merely changing his emphasis towards preparing for the future.

"My job was to take notes and learn the offense as best as I can cause I knew this year with Kris O'Dowd leaving and a bunch of other linemen that us rising redshirt juniors were going to have a chance to get a lot of playing time. It was not just a time for me to heal (but) so I can come back and compete for playing time," Markowitz said.

Still not wearing cleats during summer workouts, Markowitz admits his foot remains something of a concern going forward.

"Any surgery (where) you get a screw in your foot like I have, it can be a little bit of a concern. It's going to be one of the weaker points of my body, but I work hard everyday to improve it and I limit anything that might hurt it or stress it out in my daily life," he said.

But he has been able to do some drills with the rest of the offensive line and see the four new freshmen recruits firsthand. Getting them familiar with the system will be crucial given the inexperience and low numbers at the position.

"Since we got a lot of new guys compared to the last recruiting class, we're tying to catch up all the new guys," Markowitz said. "We know we're going to need each other to last through the season, last through practice, last through camp. We're really going to need each other."

Markowitz is impressed with Cyrus Hobbi and Cody Temple, but saved special praise for massive 375-pound Aundrey Walker.

"He's matched his body to his size. He knows how to move and groove with it," Markowitz said.

With Walker or Hobbi expected to see early playing time, Markowitz is aware that the line is regarded as a weak line and believes they will surprise.

"I know we're young and only have two guys with experience, so we understand that. But we've been waiting our chance to play on the field," he said.

Trimmed down to 290 pounds, the lightest he has been since first arriving on campus, Markowitz is even ready to push projected staring center Khaled Holmes for his spot, even as the two work together.

"We help each other all the time. I played center because that was their void when I was a young guy here, so I'm naturally more advanced at it than him. But he's always played a little bit here and there, so we've always been competing since freshman year," Markowitz said.

"Nothing in stone until the first game. It's a competition all the time here."

And even if he doesn't unseat Holmes, Markowitz will be ready to contribute elsewhere to finally reach his ultimate goal.

"I think of myself as an O-lineman, not necessarily just a center, so my job is to know the whole line. I'll play tackle if they want me to," he said.


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