Coaching Report: Team Culture Makes the Difference During USC Football Spring Camp


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USC was greeted by the true football climate of Los Angeles during Thursday’s spring training. Howard Jones Field/Brian Kennedy Field was 95 degrees and sunny, but the Trojans weren’t shy about taking on the challenge of the heat.

“You have to embrace any situation. So we tried to come here today and go even harder because it’s hot. We’re just trying to challenge ourselves,” inside linebacker Shane Lee mentioned.

The mentality of the team has changed as they build a new culture, led by the head coach lincoln riley. Part of that includes going beyond what is expected on a daily basis. Lee wore a hoodie under his pads today, challenging himself in the already hot late afternoon workout.

“I put on a hoodie, tried to make it even harder myself. That’s the mentality we’re trying to create here. We know it’s going to be hard. Let’s make it even harder “, said Lee.

This new culture was discussed throughout spring camp, with veteran players noting steps taken to implement a system designed for success.

“We’ve always liked to talk about culture, every team talks about culture, but it’s another thing to really put that on paper and have a plan of how to put that in our minds and eventually in our hearts, because that’s where it’s going to make the biggest difference,” defensive lineman Nick Figueroa mentioned.

Things to Note from USC’s Eighth Spring Practice

  • USC held its first scrimmage of spring camp on Tuesday, and Riley was pleased with what he saw from the team.
    • “It was good to see these guys take the practice wheels off, no coaches on the field, just officials there, Riley said. “They feel the impact of their good plays, they feel the impact of their mistakes.”

  • Transfer Alabama Shane Lee quickly became a leader of this new Trojans team, with inside linebackers/associate head coach for defense Brian Odom praising his work ethic on and off the pitch.
    • “Football, being a leader, being successful, he’s as passionate as anyone I’ve ever been around. He’s the guy you kind of have to pull out telling him to go home, get out of the movie go home, you’ve done enough today,” Odom said. “He’s built a lot of confidence, fairness, if you will, for this team…I trust the guy.”

  • Inside linebacker Raesjon Davis was gold-plated by Matt Leinart, alumnus of Mater Dei High School today, reflecting his hard work during spring camp so far.
    • “It’s an honor to be able to get it and wear it. Just to be able to earn it, I feel like I did a great job putting in all my effort,” Davis said.

  • defensive coordinator Grumpy Alex was impressed with the sophomore performance, noting how evident Davis’ efforts were.
    • “He’s going hard. There are times when he’s going in the wrong direction, which is expected eight days into spring. We can fix that. But it’s really hard to change someone’s DNA. …Give me 11 of these guys, and we’ll be fine,” Grinch said.

  • defensive lineman Nick Figueroa in Tuesday’s scrimmage:
    • “I think we’ve had periods where we’ve come out fast or slow and it’s had its ups and downs, but we just have to work to be consistent as a defense and keep attacking,” Figueroa said. “Once you’re there, it’s just fun to be together.

Thursday’s talks


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