Practice Report: Flournoy Finds His Flow

De'Von "Dflo" Flournoy may have gone under-the-radar last season, but the senior receiver has sure made a name for himself this spring.

Few USC fans knew of No. 10 last season, or the season before that. His teammates call him "Dflo" because they knew him, they knew what he could do on the field and what he could become.

And soon, Trojans fans too will know the nickname of under-the-radar senior receiver De'Von Flournoy because he has done nothing but make a name for himself this spring.

While the absence of Robert Woods has given Flournoy increased reps, a renewed confidence and trust the coaching staff put in Flournoy allowed him to make splash plays throughout the team's offseason.

"We both caught an equal amount of balls but just, I'm old news," freshman Marqise Lee said. "Dflo knew he had to step up and Dflo stepped up. I'm very proud of him and I can't wait until the season to see how he really does."

That pride Lee feels for Flournoy is shared by Woods who has watched him closely this spring.

"De'Von has always been a great receiver making bigtime plays but he just had to be consistent. I think this spring was very good for him because he's finishing," Woods said. "He's battling an injury right now but he's practicing today and I like to see that from De'Von, being physical and coming back here."

Teammates have noticed Flournoy's recent play, reminding Woods and Lee of his daily accomplishments at practice.

"There were a lot of times when I didn't come to practice and people are texting me, 'Dflo did this, Dflo did this,' Lee said. "The main thing that Dflo and I talk about is just make sure you stay focused and get ready for the season and I think he did.

"I love him for that."

Defense Does It

Concerned Trojans worried about the lack of turnovers last fall might have to turn their eyes to the offense this spring. The defense had a spring-high four interceptions Tuesday. Kiffin said the lack of healthy scholarship players was a factor.

"You don't ever expect that many but also you understand the circumstances," Kiffin said. "It's tough for the quarterbacks because there are some guys in there that don't know what they're doing that have…just got with us this spring, just to fill some spots. It is what it is and I think we'll see those come down in the fall."

While that number may come down, this defense is noticeably improved. Cornerbacks look faster and more comfortable, safeties seem to rotate fluidly and maintain a high level of play and the linebackers are doing a good job containing the run, especially with two true freshmen inside in Lamar Dawson and Scott Starr.

"I think (the linebackers) can be really good and it is unique to have three returning starters that will only be sophomores so they're finishing up their freshman year right now so I think the sky is the limit there. Like the front seven, they're not real big, they're a little bit undersized but I think they'll make a number of plays," Kiffin said.

Despite the abundance of defensive backs already in the system, Kiffin is excited about raising the competition in the fall as two new safeties will get looks opposite T.J. McDonald.

"Hopefully we get to add two safeties to that in Gerald Bowman and hopefully Josh Shaw will get cleared so we can add some depth there as well," he said.

Final Thoughts

Early enrollee and Florida transfer Josh Shaw has sat out all spring with a fractured rib. He said Tuesday that he first felt the pain when he was with the Gators.

"I didn't know it was my first rib at the time but I would always feel something in my back pinching me when I would work out and it just kept flaring up and it got to the point where one day I couldn't stand up straight," Shaw said.

The defensive back said he expects to be fully recovered by "next week or the week after."

Kiffin said the two offensive tackles are not up to speed yet. When a reporter asked about the underperformance of right tackle Kevin Graf against a speed rusher like Devon Kennard, the head coach added that "both sides have the same issue."

George Farmer was back today, albeit still limited. Randall Telfer remained out as did Ryan Henderson. Kiffin said no date has been set on Tre Madden's expected ACL surgery.

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