Will this be the best defensive line in the nation? If healthy, it certainly has a chance to be. The key is the return of Shaun Cody and all signs are positive that he'll be ready to go for fall camp. In addition to Cody we've got Nazel, Udeze and Patterson in the starting line-up with Frostee Rucker and LaJuan Ramsey waiting as prime reserves. The athletic department is trying to promote the name "Wild Bunch II" while radio play-by-play man Pete Arbogast used the term "8-legged freaks" but no matter what name is used this unit is going to be fun to watch.
Is it possible for us to lose three starters to the NFL and yet actually improve in the secondary? The answer just might be yes. Troy Polamalu played with as much passion as any to ever wear the Cardinal and Gold but injuries prevented us from seeing Troy at his best last year and it's not a stretch to think that Darnell Bing will at the very least be able to prevent a dropoff at strong safety. DeShaun Hill was solid at FS but Jason Leach should be more of a playmaker. At corner we will be bigger and more physical against the run and we should also have good depth.
I can't wait to see what Hershel Dennis does at tailback. It will be hard to replace what Fargas, Malaefou and the other seniors meant to the team but there is something about Hershel that makes you think he is more than up for the task. Which of the three freshmen will step up beside him to earn playing time? That remains to be seen although Reggie Bush is the early choice of most Trojan fans. It was good to see Reggie running on the USC track recently while saying his hamstring felt fine.
Will Dennis Slutak, the new graduate assistant in charge of special teams, be able to help with the kicking game? The time during practice is critical and having a coach working every day on kicking mechanics has got to be a benefit. Kileen has plenty of leg and if Slutak can improve his consistency it would be a huge boost to the special teams. I'm not too worried about Tom Malone but if Slutak can improve him as well that's just fine.
How will the depth be at tight end? Alex Holmes and Gregg Guenther are both coming off back problems with Guenther undergoing recent surgery. Dominique Byrd looked good in spring ball but the situation with potential depth problems is enough of a concern that Dallas Sartz is preparing for the possibility of seeing time on offense.