Damien Mama talks spring ball under 'old school' Neil Callaway and guard competiiton

New USC coach Neil Callaway is an old-school, hard-nosed coach that has been tough on his offensive line group, which Damien Mama says is exactly what the group needed.

"Consistency. It's something I've had to work on since I've been here."

For Damien Mama, that's what he's striving for and what he believes will set him apart from the other USC offensive guard candidates, if he can achieve it. 

Mama is one of four offensive guards battling for two starting positions. But on Tuesday, new offensive line coach Neil Callaway said Viane Talamaivao was ahead of the other three, so really Mama is currently competing with Chris Brown and Jordan Simmons for the final spot. It's a battle that will likely span the summer and into fall camp, even though Callaway said he would prefer to have a set starting lineup sooner rather than later to help build continuity with that first-team unit.

"We're really fortunate to have four talented, talented players there," head coach Clay Helton said. "It's been a great battle. I think it's one that is going to be one that carries through training camp and the one who's playing the best going into Alabama will be the starter."

Spring ball is an adjustment period for the Trojans offensive line this season as the players are trying to adhere to all of Callaway's desires and techniques.

"It's my second spring now here at USC, my third offensive line coach, so it's readjusting to new calls, new terminology, new steps. Learning and living it."

Mama said Callaway is an "old school coach, old school guy. He's a hard coach." It's what the Trojans needed and Mama feels it is really helping the offensive line progress.

"Who wouldn't mind being coached really hard like that. It helps players. Tough coaching never hurt anybody," Mama said. "That's just building a tough layer of skin. We're just having fun and playing the game. Nothing can phase us now."

Callaway even got the group a new blocking sled to push, which Mama said is something he hadn't done since high school.

"We've been hitting the sleds every day. That helps and [he's] being hard on us, which is something that we need."

Above, watch Damien Mama talk about how the spring has developed under new offensive line coach Neil Callaway and what is being emphasizing to take the next step in his game. Mama also talks about how the defensive linemen are doing and which player has stood out to him.


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