Redshirt junior Jordan Simmons switched from the offensive line to the defensive line this offseason. Through the first part of USC fall camp Simmons has been learning the ropes and making progress with his new unit.
“It’s going good. I’m learning, moving all around the line, just picking up stuff like guys I’m playing," Simmons said after practice. "[I’m] still getting used to the D-line techniques and just how they play. But it’s going good, I’m just learning as I go.”
The first few days of camp in jerseys and helmets are a challenge for the linemen, but the intensity picks up once the pads come on.
“You really don’t think about that, but the intensity raises when you're in full pads, like the war drill or one-on-ones and other stuff, but you really don’t think about it," he said. "Before you might, but after it’s irrelevant, because it’s already practice time and you can’t do anything about it.”
The former five-star offensive lineman can use his experience as a blocker to help take on blocks and rush the passer.
“Some tendencies you pick up on, but you don’t want to cheat yourself because you want to play [with] technique and make yourself better as a player," he said. "Eventually as you learn more on the field you can start to cheat things or see which receivers have gone down the field. You’ll learn as you go, but since I’m new I don’t want to cheat myself from learning this stuff."
Veterans on the defensive line have welcomed Simmons with open arms and have supported his position switch.
“Honestly, they’re encouraging as I’m out here because I’m new to this position," Simmons said. "Some days are going to be good [and] some days are going to be bad. I have my good days and bad days, so they’re actually motivating me and encouraging me as each day goes by.
"They’re helping me, Antwaun Woods and all of the other older guys like Claude Pelon, Delvon Simmons, BKU [strength coach Kenechi Udeze], Coach Chris Wilson, and all the guys defensively.”
Simmons started out at nose guard, but the coaches have moved him around trying him out at another spot on the line.
“They threw me at the four technique [defensive end next to the nose] so I’ve just got to go when my name is called," he said. "Mostly I’ve been playing the nose, it’s really not different to be honest with you.
"For me right now I’ve got to learn how to play with my hands; not to grip the guy to me but extend, because I’m still trying to lose my O-line tendencies while I’m doing it.”
Simmons came into the program closer to 350 pounds, but right now he is looking good at 328 pounds. Besides his work on the defensive line, Simmons is also getting work on special teams a protector on the punt team.
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates on Simmons and the rest of the Trojans from USC fall camp.