More importantly, they're ready for spring ball.
The 11 on 11 work continued during the players-only session, after the coaching staff departed Howard Jones Field. Players didn't look as tired as they were last week. Last Thursday, most if not all the players departed to the locker room and skipped the throwing session. On Tuesday, a little over half stayed for the double workout. This Thursday, it was just about everybody give or take a few bodies.
Tight ends coach Justin Mesa said no tight end is replacing Rhett Ellison as the position's vocal leader but hopes one will emerge in time.
Xavier Grimble talked about the difference between him and Randall Telfer. He said he thinks they are about even now and heard the talk last season that he was the better blocker of the two and Telfer the better receiver.
Now, Grimble said he wants to do and be it all. His word was "undeniable" when asked what kind of season he hoped to have in 2012. "I want people to fear me."
I mentioned him on Tuesday, but walk on running back Kamaron Germany got a solid amount of repetitions again today. It will be interesting to see if his role expands at all during spring ball.
Lamar Dawson said he's adjusting to new coach Scottie Hazelton. He also said that he is giving new linebacker Scott Starr advice "when he asks for it." Dawson said he's only 235 pounds right now but hopes to put on more muscle mass as well as improve his overall game. He believes that the Trojans have the right group in place right now to seriously compete next season.
"My plan is just to learn the defense, just to know everybody's position," Dawson said. "It's just about getting used to it, the academics and the football, just everything."
"I just believe that we have it in us [to compete for a national championship]. Just being in the system, the repetitions that's the best thing."
Both Dawson and T.J. McDonald said the defense has been making a lot of adjustments this offseason. McDonald expects to have a bigger role this year and hopes opposing offenses won't be able to tell where he's coming from.
Quarterback Max Wittek said he doesn't look at his role as the hopeful backup to Matt Barkley. He said he wants Matt's job now. The redshirt freshman said he feels much more comfortable in the huddle now. Before he said the players -- understandably -- didn't know what he could bring. Now, he knows he can tell the guys to "shutup" and they listen.