What we're watching for today

Not a 'game' exactly, but it is spring and here's what we want to see from USC's 'Spring Game' at the Coliseum.

We have the depth chart -- and the scoring chart for today's Spring Game at the Coliseum (3 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) but what are we going to see? What can we look for today? What should we look for today?

For those of us who get to see every practice, not much different from what we've been seeing the first 14 spring sessions -- except for the game uniforms including the gold pants. Otherwise, this is a normal Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday for us.

But this "game" isn't for us, it's for you. So we'll start there. Here's what we're looking to see:

*** A good crowd for this first official post-sanction Spring Game. Not going to put a number on it although 20,000 sounds good to us. The key here is for the buzz that we think is back for USC football to take hold and carry this program through the end of August until the season gets here.

*** No injuries. This one is a given. While waiting for as many as 20 extra bodies who will return and/or enter school by this summer, we don't need any losses here. The spring has been remarkably injury-free to this point. Let's keep it up one more day. You can't win any 2015 season games today.

*** Game-day coaching: No question, one area that needed upgrading coming out of last fall was what was happening -- or not happening -- on the sidelines and in the booth. And even though this will not be a game today, the more this coaching staff can get itself into game-day-like conditions, we want to see it.

*** Players making plays: Or should we say more exactly, playmakers making plays. We've seen it -- and heard it this spring. Teams with playmakers like Su'a Cravens and Adoree Jackson have to put them in position to make plays. And it doesn't stop with those two. This Trojan team is blessed with them. Now let them get it done.

*** Run the ball: Without Tre Madden yet and the trio of freshmen coming in this summer, the run game won't be where it will be. But every day, we need this team to be able to run the ball. This offensive line has to be able to block third and 2. It's that simple. It has to become a mindset. And for this still-young but second-year-as-starters offensive line, it has to happen -- every play. No whiffs. No blown-up backs hit before their second step. Consistency and confidence have to be the watchwords here.

*** Stop the run: Again, this team isn't where -- or who -- it will be up front in the fall. But even just three players deep right now, we want to see Claude Pelon, Delvon Simmons and Cody Temple show they can stop the run. Teams than can do that -- and run the football themselves -- have a swagger and a sense of themselves that carries through above all. Just rewind some of those Pete Carroll team highlights. Would like to see some of that today.

*** Get all the receivers involved: And in combination. Get Steven Mitchell and Adoree the ball in space. Find Ajene Harris wherever he is. Get Juju Smith, who seems to have hit a flat spot in practice, going again. Get the bigger guys like Darreus Rogers and Isaac Whitney those possession catches. Get that sense between these guys and quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Browne that they'll be where the're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there.

*** When we say ALL the WRs, we're talking about all the walkons: At this position more than ever, get the walkons a chance to show what they can do. Christian Tober, Robby Kolanz, George Katrib, Aaron Minor and David Mellstrom have been making plays. Keep it up in public today.

*** Showcase the 5 newcomers: For offensive tackles Chuma Edoga and Roy Hemsley, ILB Cameron Smith, QB Ricky Town and Whitney, a chance to introduce themselves to Trojans fans.

*** Some hitting here: Not sure how much live stuff they'll get to do but need to see some flying around and being in position to pull the trigger for the defenders even if they don't quite get to do it. That's been the story of the spring. Need to see it finish off that way.

*** Keep shut-down mode in the secondary: Maybe the real story of the spring, showing guys they can play press and man up so the rest of the defense can get into aggressive mode.

*** Linebackers flying around: No more waiting and reacting. Let Lamar Dawson and the guys go get 'em.

*** Putting the 'special' into special teams: With Adoree trying to do it all and a new field goal kicker, this will be a different look going forward even if it won't exactly go live today. But a hint would be nice, especially from the kickers.

*** Check out the turf: Every time we come to the Coliseum now, we can't get over how much better the turf has become. Each time we see it, we say it's better than it's ever been now that USC is in charge. And it is.

*** And finally, from noon on, three hours of talking Trojans football at the USCFootball.com Tailgate Party at Lot 6 near the Sports Arena. Be there. No better place to talk USC -- football and everything else.

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

USCFootball.com Top Stories