One of the more intriguing position switches this off-season was the decision to move sophomore Armond Armstead from defensive tackle to defensive end.
Armstead had a productive freshman campaign at the tackle spot, recording 10 tackles and a sack for the Trojans, but was moved to defensive end just before spring practice started.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound sophomore has been a quick study at defensive end and Pete Carroll said the move would be permanent.
"He's too good at what he's doing and he's just learning," Carroll responded when asked about the possibility of moving Armstead back inside. "I think he's a real factor."
Carroll said the coaches are excited to have such a big, physical player at defensive end.
"He's a different style guy and I really like the way he is doing his stuff, because he is physical, he can rush the passer and he will chase the ball well too."
After just six practices, Carroll stated that the experiment has been a resounding success.
"This is a great move for him," Carroll said. "It was an experiment but it didn't take but a couple days to see that this a good deal for him, and for us."
Carroll's Scrimmage Review
After reviewing the tape of Sunday's scrimmage with the coaching staff, Pete Carroll was very pleased with the effort and production of the team but wants to see the offense be more careful with the football.
"Really good, solid work offensively with the exception of the turnovers," Carroll said.
"I thought Moody (Curtis McNeal) had a good scrimmage," Carroll said. "David Ausberry had a good day and the offensive line in general did a pretty nice job."
McNeal sparked the ground game with a team-high 48 yards rushing and ended the day with an 18-yard touchdown run.
Ausberry added 3 catches for 31 yards and a touchdown.
As good as Malcolm Smith looked on Sunday, Carroll said he was even more impressive when breaking down the film.
"On the other side of the ball, Malcolm Smith just jumped out," Carroll said. "He had a great day.
"He made a bunch of plays, big plays, big one-on-one tackles. It was a big touchdown play that he had and forced a fumble in another drill.
"He is just doing some real exciting things for us."
McKnight Getting Close to Returning
USC tailback Joe McKnight, who has been limited this spring while recovering from the four dislocated toes that he suffered during the Rose Bowl, could return to practice on Thursday according to Pete Carroll.
"Thursday we are going to try him out unless something changes today. The plan is to get him out here Thursday and get him ready for Saturday," Carroll said. "We will take it one day at a time but that's the thought."
News and Notes
- Curtis McNeal missed practice to concentrate on academics.
- Alex Parsons and Anthony McCoy could return to action on Thursday, but Carroll said Drew McAllister is "a ways away."
- 2009 linebacker/safety commit Frankie Telfort was in Los Angeles to watch the Trojans practice on Tuesday.
- USC safety Taylor Mays was named to the Lott Trophy watch list on Tuesday.
- Safety Will Harris leaped in front of a wide receiver on the sidelines to intercept a Mitch Mustain pass.
*Discuss more on the SCPlaybook.com message boards
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at firstname.lastname@example.org