July 7, 2009

Norton Jr. likes new LB crop

If someone where to say that the USC linebacking corps may actually be better one season after losing Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, Kaluka Maiava and Clay Matthews to the NFL, you might say he was crazy.

If the person talking is USC linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., you most certainly won't use the word crazy. Instead, you'll listen.

For Norton, things got under way this spring when Malcolm Smith, Chris Galippo and Michael Morgan played more like veterans than first-time starters.

"I'm really excited about this group. One of the things that excites me most is how this group learned from the one ahead of them," Norton said. "I thought it was really important for them to understand what the guys like Rey, Brian, Kaluka and Clay did before and learn from them. Remember, those guys were pretty good. The great thing about it is guys who here are now aren't new guys.

"They've been in the program at least two or three years."

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