With the absence of Averell Spicer this spring, sophomore defensive tackle Chrisitian Tupou has been given the opportunity to show the USC coaching staff what he is capable of on the line and he hasn't disappointed.
"This is the second biggest opportunity that I have been given besides them offering me a scholarship and I am just trying my hardest to prove to these coaches that I deserve a good spot," Tupou said after his impressive performance on Thursday.
The big tackle from Sacramento has been a difference maker at just about every practice with his high-energy style and knack for making a big play at the right time.
On Thursday, Tupou spent most of his time tracking down the USC quarterbacks behind the line of scrimmage and stuffing the run in the middle.
"Really, I thought Christian Tupou had a spectacular practice. He didn't have anyone to back him up all day long and he just kept going. There was a time where he made three or four tackles in a row," Coach Carroll said after practice.
Tupou says there is no secret to his success this spring; he just comes out to each and every practice and gives his full effort.
"I just came out here and worked. It is no different from the other thirteen days that I have been out here," Tupou explained. "It's an everyday thing and I have to wake up everyday and just say ‘I got to go to work."
Goodman and Stephenson Rewarded for Hard Work
Pete Carroll informed the media after Thursday's practice that he decided to reward fullback Adam Goodman and long snapper/tight end Cooper Stephenson with scholarships.
Adam Goodman has been very dependable this spring as a leader blocker and has developed into a very capable pass-catcher out of the backfield.
"Adam has really elevated to where he is a terrific part of the team," Coach Carroll said. "We don't hesitate to play him at fullback or any of the special team situations."
With his expanded role in the offense, Goodman has solidified his spot as the second-string fullback and should see playing time in 2008.
Cooper Stephenson has taken the lead in the competition to replace Will Collins as the starting long snapper for the Trojans.
"Cooper is going to take over the snapping duties and he is also a utility tight end for us," Carroll explained. "Both of those guys have done a nice job and so we are happy to reward them starting in the summertime."
Hit of the Day
As the Bruins play "ditch day" the Trojans have put together the two hardest hitting practices of the spring this week.
Thursday's hit of the day came courtesy of safety Will Harris. Harris de-cleated Rhett Ellison when the tight end caught a pass in the flat and tried to turn up field. Harris drilled Ellison right in the chest and separated him from the ball causing an incompletion and a loud roar from the defense and fans in attendance.
Will Harris separates Rhett Ellison from the ball.
Notes from the Field
Christian Tupou had two sacks and a tackle for loss on three consecutive plays. At last count Tupou had four sacks on the day.
Patrick Turner had his most productive day of the spring.
Mark Sanchez threw touchdown passes to Anthony McCoy and Rhett Ellison on consecutive plays during red zone drills.
Michael Morgan sacked and stripped the ball from Mark Sanchez during team drills.
Stafon Johnson was met by Shareece Wright at the goal line but powered past him for a short touchdown run.
The Trojans hold their annual spring scrimmage this Saturday at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Doors open at 10 a.m., the Huddle starts at 11 a.m..
Tickets are $10 and kids 12 and under get in free (no ticket needed). Come on out to the Coliseum and get a first look at the 2008 USC Trojans.