September 8, 2006

USC is Safe

With USC's bye week concluded, the Trojans took in a 6:30 a.m. practice under the lights at Howard Jones Field.

Trojan fans may enjoy the time off, but for USC's secondary, Friday's practice was another opportunity to gel as a unit. Injuries to Kevin Thomas and Josh Pinkard have depleted the defensive backfield of depth, but Rocky Seto isn't worried.

Seto has safety in size with Kevin Ellison and Taylor Mays. While young, Ellison and Mays are an intimidating presence in the middle, going 6-foot-2, 220-pounds and 6-foot-4, 230-pounds respectively.

According to Seto, size isn't where the similarities end.

"Relationship is the key word," said Seto. "Off the field both guys work great together, and they're really cut from the same cloth. Kevin and Taylor are football guys.

"Kevin is always studying football, he eats, breathes football, comes from a family where all his brothers played football, and Taylor is the same way.

"His dad played for coach Carroll with the Minnesota Vikings, so he has that same background. Those two guys are always trying to figure out new ways to play, so they just know football.

"In that respect, they're both exactly the same. They comminucate well on the field and have a good feel for each other. I don't think you could ask for a better combo under the circumstances."

The circumstance aren't usual either. Last season, the Trojans saw starting safeties Darnell Bing and Scott Ware both miss games with injury. In 2006, it's Josh Pinkard that will miss the entire season with a torn ACL.

His replacement may lack experience, but Ellison agrees that Mays isn't an ordinary freshman.

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