Sirmon, 'They've improved every practice'

USC linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Peter Sirmon discusses spring practices, the development of his position group, and Trojan recruiting in 2015...

USC linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Peter Sirmon discusses the development of his position group and the Trojans 2015 recruiting…

USC linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Peter Sirmon is one of five assistant coaches who came to Troy with coach Steve Sarkisian from Washington.

With so much familiarity within the staff, the transition for Sirmon has been smooth, the introduction to his position group nearly seamless.

USC returns its two starting linebackers from 2013, Hayes Pullard and Anthony Sarao. Both of whom have embraced leadership roles in a young defense.

The Trojans are also waiting for the return of Lamar Dawson, who started the first half of the 2013 season before suffering a knee injury.

Pullard started Thursday's practice grabbing an interception on a Cody Kessler pass during 11on11 drills.

"Hayes has been nothing short of what everyone told me he would be," Sirmon said after practice. "He's a great leader, he practices hard, you can tell he has a lot of reps under his belt.

"Anthony has had a great spring as well. I think we're asking him to do some things that really fit him well. He has good quickness, he's got good instincts, he's a smart guy who in a pinch I think will play multiple positions for us."

Sirmon played college football at Oregon before spending seven seasons playing for the Tennessee Titans. Sarao says Sirmon's NFL experience is making it easy for players to buy in to his methods.

"I love everything he does," Sarao said. "He played the game for awhile and he teaches you things where, if you were just a coach of the game, you probably wouldn't know cause you got to get on the field to learn things. He teaches me stuff that is definitely sticking in my head."

The Trojans are installing a new defense for the third time in three years. In 2012 they ran a 4-3 defense under defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Before the 2013 season they switched to a 3-4 or 5-2 when defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast took over. Now, with Justin Wilcox as the new DC, the Trojans are running what they call a 'multiple defense'.

Sirmon explained, "We are going to have the opportunity to pick and choose [our defense] off a menu. We are going to have a pretty good menu, we have a lot of defense in right now and we'll be able to draw upon on what we want to play. Is the quarterback going to run the football? What kind of schemes are we getting up front in the run game? What do we want to do in the pass game?

"It's a little expensive early in spring when we have to get a lot of defense in, but fortunately it's something we can do because we get so many reps in practice that it allows us to put a lot of defense in and still be efficient at it."

Sirmon also serves as the Trojans recruiting coordinator.

With 25 scholarships to give in his first season at USC (USC was reduced to 15 scholarships the last three years due to NCAA sanctions) he says there's plenty of excitement around the program to build a strong 2015 recruiting class.

"Finishing up 2014 has been - we finished up just how we could've scripted it. It was just exactly how we wanted to finish. 2015 is a fantastic year for the state of California, so we have to do a great job of getting those relationships, getting those kids on campus, communicating with the coaches and then ultimately going out here and playing good football and getting the kids excited."

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