warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

USC Football Spring Practice Recap: Tuerk At Center; Kessler Has Edge

Jordan Schuchmann |
March 25, 2014 | 7:43 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Cody Kessler took reps with the first team offense in the Trojans' third practice. (Jordan Schuchmann/Neon Tommy)
Cody Kessler took reps with the first team offense in the Trojans' third practice. (Jordan Schuchmann/Neon Tommy)
Offensive Line: Replacing Marcus Martin

In December, junior captain Marcus Martin announced he would not be returning to USC for the 2014 season, leaving a vacant spot at center. Offensive line coach Tim Drevno has been trying rising junior left guard Max Tuerk, redshirt freshman Kahlil Rogers and the 4-star recruit Toa Lobendahn at the position.  Currently, Max Tuerk appears to have an edge over the others. When asked about Tuerk, Drevno responded, “He’s done a great job. He’s a tremendous leader, a smart guy, executes at a high level; you couldn’t ask for anyone better than Max Tuerk there.” However, he elaborated saying the position is still open and they will continue to look for the best fit. 

Kessler Looks to Retain Starting Job

Once again a quarterback controversy surrounds USC football. Redshirt freshman Max Browne is working to take the reigns of Troy while 2013 starter Cody Kessler looks to retain his starting job. During the first three spring practices, the two quarterbacks split time playing with the first team offense; however, Kessler had a slight edge on the number of reps. So far, Kessler has played well and with confidence, allowing him to hold on to the starting job, while Browne is still adjusting to playing at the college level and becoming more comfortable. But this is only week two of practices, and the job is still wide open between the two. 

Tight Ends Look Sharp

The Trojans’ number one tight end Xavier Grimble declared for the draft, leaving space for the other tight ends to step in and earn some playing time. Senior Randall Telfer will most likely be the new top tight end in the offense. However, junior Jalen Cope-Ftizpatrick has had a very successful spring so far, showing potential to be a threat in the pass game. After practice, head coach Steve Sarkisian talked about Cope-Fitzpatrick. He said that he thought he was looking good and has become a threat going down field and sneaking behind the safeties, an improvement from the 2013 season. The other tight end, Chris Wilson, a former quarterback, is a big athletic player who works hard-- two attributes coaches look for in tight ends. Sarkisian explained that he just needs to get more comfortable playing at the new position. 

Defense Brings the Heat

The USC defense came to practice energized today and challenged the offense. Redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins had a big practice today, breaking up several passes during the team period. Junior linebacker Charles Burks saw time with the first team defense at defensive end, playing well in a new position. The defense’s energy and physicality was reciprocated by the offense, leading to a successful first practice back from spring break.

You can reach Jordan Schuchmann here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.