USC was on the verge of a College Football Playoff berth in 2022, needing only to figure out a way to get past Utah to get there. One of the major reasons the Trojans were in that position was how opportunistic the USC defensive backs were.
Lincoln Riley‘s squad finished the season leading the country in turnover margin.
The USC defensive backs have done their best to make sure they produce similar results in 2023 and early results from the team’s spring game were quite positive. A very healthy competition emerged between the secondary and the receivers during spring football practice.
“I would say it was real competitive,” safety Calen Bullock said. “It’s been like that all spring for us, so we just were saying this is just a spring game, there’s just fans in the stadium now but at the end of the day it’s still practice. Go out here and compete with each other.”
A year ago the Trojans came away with 28 takeaways, including 19 interceptions. Only two teams produced more interceptions.
Ask Bullock and he’ll tell you spring football went similarly. The USC defensive backs got their hands on a lot of balls.
“All spring making plays on the ball,” Bullock said. “Today we was more excited because the fans in the crowd, we had to give them a show. But all spring we’ve been getting interceptions.”
At the spring game 25,213 fans were in attendance in the Coliseum, giving the Trojans plenty to play for.
The defense has a lot of areas that need work. While it was good forcing turnovers, the unit wasn’t always good getting off the field if it couldn’t force a takeaway.
The Trojans ranked 79th in rushing defense, 93rd in scoring defense, 105th in total defense and 111th in passing defense.
With Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams back and the roster reloaded via the transfer portal, USC once again has championship aspirations. The USC defensive backs will look to do their part to improve, and the group felt good about where things ended as spring football closed.
“It was really good just seeing our fans out there supporting us,” Bullock said. “That’s what it’s all about. We go out there every single day to make them happy, so it was really fun.”
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