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July 11, 2009

Bradford one exciting story to follow

Now that fall camp is weeks away instead of months, the USC football players are starting to get a wee bit restless.

The workouts are still crisp and the players are still focused, but there's definitely a buzz whenever the players take the field.

After watching the Trojans' latest workouts, I have to admit that I got a little excited too.

Here's a look at a few things that have me counting down the days until fall camp begins (by the way, it's 29).

The return of the back

Watching Allen Bradford this spring, you can see the motivation ooze every time he gets the ball. The junior running back has epitomized hunger since the first day of summer workouts, when he delivered a profanity-laced speech to his teammates to inspire them during a difficult conditioning drill. Trojan fans have wondered when Bradford would get a serious chance. Something tells me he'll be tough to ignore if he stays healthy.

Firing up the AC

I don't know that Aaron Corp will end the season as the starter or even end fall camp as the No.1 guy, but I know he deserves to be the top guy heading into practices. Corp made a play in the last workout where he bought time with his feet, bounced to the outside and lobbed a ball to Ronald Johnson. He made the play look effortless. He's also evolved as a leader, talking and joking on the field. The best part - it doesn't seem forced one bit.

Faster AND better?

USC linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. said he thinks Michael Morgan, Chris Galippo and Malcolm Smith are a faster group than Kaluka Maiava, Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing. He's probably right, but does that make the group better? Chances are, no. But it does mean the group has a chance to be very good in coverage and very good at swarming to the quarterback and the ball. I still have questions about how they'll be against the run, but there's no doubt Norton Jr. will have his guys playing at a high level sooner than later.

The Say Hey Safety

At some point in time during last season, Taylor Mays went from being a great safety to an absolutely dominant one. He delivered some of the biggest hits of the season, separating receivers from the ball with the force of a truck. Mays has always been in the shadows somewhat though, with huge personalities like Maualuga playing in front of him. Now the spotlight is shining even more brightly on Mays, and I want to see how he'll handle it. Knowing Mays, I doubt he'll shy away from it.


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