Moala: Leader of the Line

In 2007, Lawrence Jackson and Sedrick Ellis served as shining examples for USC's defensive line, guiding the Trojans to a Rose Bowl Championship with their production and steady leadership. With the departure of Ellis and Jackson, who were both selected in the first-round of April's NFL draft, redshirt senior Fili Moala has taken it upon himself to become the new leader of the line.

In 2007, Lawrence Jackson and Sedrick Ellis served as shining examples for USC's defensive line, guiding the Trojans to a Rose Bowl Championship with their production and steady leadership. With the departure of Ellis and Jackson, who were both selected in the first-round of April's NFL draft, redshirt senior Fili Moala has taken it upon himself to become the new leader of the line.

"It rests upon our shoulders to show these guys the work ethic and give the guidance that they need because they are so young," said Moala, who started in all 13 games last season. "We want to keep the tradition alive here and make sure that we come in everyday and give our full effort.

"I don't like to talk a lot. I like to do things by example but if there is some pushing that is required of me then I am more than ready give my two cents.


Fili Moala sacks Rudy Carpenter
"I want to be an example for the younger guys and just finish off my senior year strong."

Moala is the latest in a long line of talented defensive linemen that have had great success at USC under Pete Carroll.

The lessons that were passed down from Mike Patterson and Shaun Cody to Lawrence Jackson and Sedrick Ellis, are now being taught to Everson Griffen and Christian Tupou by Fili Moala and Kyle Moore.

"All of those guys have great work ethic and that is one thing that I have picked up from them," said Moala, who has great respect for the Trojans defensive line tradition. "Nothing worthwhile is going to be easy.

"I am excited for our defensive line to perform and be productive like we have been in the past."

The 6-5, 295-pound defensive tackle was named to the "Watch List" for both the Outland Trophy and Bronko Nagurski Award this offseason but prefers to focus his energy on trying to maximize his potential as a leader and player.

"My personal goal is just to be the best version of myself, and I think I am more than capable of leading this team and being that standout player that I know I can be," Moala said.

The always-humble Moala is much more animated when discussing the team's potential in 2008.

"I am so excited to get things underway and just show the nation that we are the team, year in and year out to beat," Moala said with excitement in his voice.

"The thing about this year is we are all close to each other and we have been together for a couple years now. We are very comfortable and I think that is the most dangerous part. We have a defense that knows where each of us supposed to be and you just get real fired up because you know what to expect from the other guys.

"Our expectations are to win the Pac-10 and go to the Rose Bowl. Anything on top of that is extra. We think we are more than capable of doing that but we are just going to take it one game at a time and prove who we are."

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden
at kevin@scplaybook.com


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