Tupou, while disappointed to see a teammate go down with an injury, is looking to make the most of his opportunity getting reps with the first team defense this spring.
"It's the biggest opportunity that I can get. There is only one way to do it and that is to come in everyday and work my hardest," Tupou said.
His work ethic is one thing that the USC coaches don't have to worry about. The 6-2, 275-pound sophomore from Sacramento received the John McKay Award in 2007, which is given to the underclassman with the most competitive spirit.
"We love the way the guy plays," Pete Carroll said of Tupou. "He is the most complete effort guy that you could hope for. He just chases the ball and gives you everything that he's got."
When ask what keeps him motivated for each and every practice, Tupou quickly answered, "When you sign that letter of intent there really are no excuses for not getting up everyday. That's my motivation, I put my name on the line and I am ready to go everyday."
Tupou says he's developed into a more complete player this season and credits his fellow defensive lineman, Fili Moala, for his maturation and helping him to learn the nuances of the tackle position.
"He's the leader. He's the one that is going to lead you into battle and he's the one that you want to follow," Tupou said about Moala. "I look at him as an example and use that to help me."
With a year of experience under his belt Tupou is much more comfortable in USC's defensive scheme and understands his role on the defensive line.
"I can just throw on my cleats and I already know how everything is going to go," Tupou explained. "I can just come out here and do my best and go 100 percent. It really takes a lot off of my back."
Since taking over for Spicer this spring, Tupou has impressed the coaching staff with his ability and his effort. In the Trojans first scrimmage he tied for the team lead with 4 tackles and added a quarterback sack.
"He's doing good," Carroll said of his performance. "He's a tremendous effort football player. He's got a lot to grow here but he is going to get a ton of opportunities. He's just a tremendous heart and soul effort guy. So everybody is pumped up about him."