Spicer Ready to Step Up

While most fans across the nation will be paying close attention to the quarterback competition between Mark Sanchez and Mitch Mustain, USC defensive tackle Averell Spicer will be hard at work trying to fill the void left by the departure of All-American Sedrick Ellis. "I have worked a long time to get to this point," said Spicer.

While most fans across the nation will be paying close attention to the quarterback competition between Mark Sanchez and Mitch Mustain, USC defensive tackle Averell Spicer will be hard at work trying to fill the void left by the departure of All-American Sedrick Ellis.

Spicer, a 6-2 290-pound defensive tackle from Rancho Cucamonga, is the latest in a long line of talented defensive tackles that have played at USC in the Pete Carroll Era. The distinguished list of tackles includes Shaun Cody, Mike Patterson and Sedrick Ellis.

USC's defensive tackle tradition isn't lost on Spicer, who says it is one of the main reasons he chose to become a Trojan in 2005.

"It's an honor. That is pretty much the main reason that I came here. I saw that the tradition with the defensive line was so strong and saw all the guys that had played before me," Spicer explained.

"That's what really made my decision because I felt that coming here they would be able to shape me into a premiere defensive linemen like Mike Patterson, Sedrick Ellis and Shaun Cody."


Averell Spicer
Playing behind Sedrick Ellis the last three years Spicer had the chance to watch and learn from arguably the best defensive linemen in the country.

"First and foremost I learned that you have to go hard everyday and I also learned what moves are most successful for my position and how to play against certain blocks," Spicer said of his experience playing with Sedrick Ellis, which he feels was instrumental in his development as a player.

While Spicer enjoyed watching Ellis wreck havoc on opposing team's offensive line, the big defensive tackle says he is now ready to take over the starting role and showcase his talents on the defensive line.

"I have worked a long time to get to this point. I feel like I have earned the right to show that I am capable of being a starter," said Spicer. "It feels good."

With the opportunity to be the next great defensive tackle at USC within reach, Spicer has stood out as one of the hardest workers during the Trojans off-season workouts with Coach Carlisle and the strength and conditioning staff.

"To be a Trojan you have to be dedicated and hardworking. That's one thing I know about our team, everyone on our team works hard and if you don't the guys are going to get after you," Spicer replied when asked about his off-season workout regimen. "We work hard all of the time so when you get in the game it is easy."

"I have just been working on getting off the ball. I learned if you get off quickly and make a fast move that it is hard for them to block you, especially if you are a big guy like me."

The strength of Spicer's game is his ability to stop the run but he also hopes to be able to pressure the quarterback like his predecessor, "I want to have at least a five sack season," Spicer said with a big smile. "I feel like if I play the way I am capable of playing then there shouldn't be any problems."

"The way our defense is traditionally played gives the defensive linemen the opportunity to showcase their skills. Our defense plays so fast that our defensive linemen get a chance to make a lot of plays."

When asked what the goal is for the 2008 defense Spicer explained, "We just want to get out there and show that our defense is solid and we play good when the game is on the line."

"We want people to know we are dominating. A lot of teams know that but we haven't been No.1 like we should be."


Averell Spicer (right) working hard with Coach Carlisle.


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