Sprinting to the end of spring

Here's our position-by-position, player-by-player prescription for USC's Trojans the next 3 weeks in the second session of spring football.

After a week off for NCAA basketball, it's time to get back to football here and look ahead to a three-week sprint to the end of spring. As Steve Sarkisian has said of USC's two-tiered spring football sessions, before and after spring break, you get to go two-for-one here and that works for him better than a solo shot.

And we agree. It's a good way to go.

The two-week, six-practice preliminaries are over. Starting Tuesday, USC gets back to the final nine.

Here's how we'd like to see that work out in all three phases of putting together this football team. We'll start with special teams, then the defense and finish up with the offense over the next three days.

SPECIALISTS


*** Punter Kris Albarado: Kris increased his yards per punt by more than four yards last season when he was allowed to kick it away. Looking for another increase going forward even if there won't be a great deal of team punting this spring.

*** Matt Boermeester: USC's first blueshirt, and long-range lefty, has established his range as a basic 55-yard field goal with a normal swing. Now just the way Bubba Watson has to do it, he's got to get it right down the middle. Accuracy and consistency are the game here for "Bubba" Boermeester.

*** Alex Wood:: The walkon from Mercer Island, Wash., stepped in when USC needed a fill-in placekicker two years ago and a kickoff man last year. Now he's pushing Boermeester in the field goal race. Just keep on keeping on, Alex.

*** Reid Budrovich: The live-legged walkon from St. John Bosco, along with Minnesotan Wyatt Schmidt gives USC a pair of freshmen who will compete as punters and placekickers. Can't have too many kickers or too much competition.

*** Zach Smith: He's been perfect for two seasons as a snapper, long and short, and we're looking for the walkon from Redwood City to be one of the first scholarshipped squadmen after the spring.

*** Connor Sullivan: The multiposition holder makes it look easy and does so from both sides for righty Wood and lefty Boermeester and has their confidence in his ability to get the ball down the way they need it. We'll take it.

***Adoree Jackson: Now that he's the man here as a punt returner too, we can just sit back and enjoy this special sophomore with the talent to do something we haven't seen just about any time he gets the ball in his hands. He's just going to have to work on parceling out his time to make plays in all three phases of the game and on both punt and kickoff returns. That's the challenge: Giving offense, defense and special teams the reps he needs to get him where his talent will allow him to be. And where that might be, Adoree says, with no hesitation, is a run at a Heisman some day.

*** Juju Smith: Nice to have two young guys back who combined for 34 kickoff returns, one speed, elusive guy like Adoree and one big, fast power guy like JuJu. Just get comfortable together the rest of spring for a long run as a regular duo.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


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