Toa takes the field: Lobendahn talks return from ACL injury

Toa Lobendahn discusses his first practice back from a torn ACL, new position coach Neil Callaway and balancing his own position battle while a QB battle ensues behind him.

After tearing his anterior cruciate ligament against Utah and having to sit out USC's final six games and all of spring practice, junior offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn was just happy to be back on the field Thursday night when the Trojans opened fall camp.

"It's definitely awesome to actually feel tired during a practice rather than just watching everyone look tired," Lobendahn said. 

Lobendahn has bounced around the line in the past. He has played guard, tackle and center, but he said he is solely focused on center this season. 

"That's what I've been studying for all year. That's what they told me. That's what Coach [Clay] Helton told me he wants me to play, so that's what it's been."

While other players coming off injuries, including linebacker Cameron Smith and safety Chris Hawkins, found themselves working with the second string on the first day of camp, Lobendahn began as the first team center. He knows that he is in the midst of a competition with Nico Falah, who has had a strong offseason and filled in nicely for Lobendahn on the first day in the final team 11-on-11 segments, but Lobendahn felt him earning the initial first team reps was a sign of respect after he has started his first two seasons at USC.

Up to 295 pounds, watch as Toa Lobendahn also discusses why he was pulled out of practice before those final team segments, his thoughts on new offensive line coach Neil Callaway and balancing his own position battle with an ongoing quarterback battle behind him.

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