Attack Mentality

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In his introductory interview below, new USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast announced that the Trojans will switch from a 4-3 defense to his 5-2, which is an aggressive version of the 3-4.  The new defense will mean slightly new positions for most of USC's front seven.

Kennard-INT-ND.jpgGiven the relative lack of depth on the defensive line, the Trojans roster makes it seem like they would not have enough players to fill the 5-2.  However, the new defense creates a spot for hybrid defensive ends and outside linebackers, which is actually a position with more than a few ready, willing and able candidates.

Just judging based on size, speed and athleticism, USC has at least five candidates that fit the mold starting with the return of senior Devon Kennard, who missed 2012 with a torn pectoral muscle.  Kennard (pictured) has already played defensive end, outside linebacker and middle linebacker during his Trojan career, but he is probably best suited for this hybrid role at 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds.

Morgan Breslin was expected to start opposite Kennard in the 4-3, but his pass rushing skills can easily be converted to fit Pendergast's scheme.  NFL sack leaders like Clay Matthews and DeMarcus Ware play a similar role for the Packers and Cowboys.

The young guys could also make an instant impact in an attacking role.  Redshirt freshman Jabari Ruffin was moved from outside linebacker to defensive end last year, and at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, he has the size to attack the line of scrimmage and the athleticism to play in space.

Finally, fall signees Quinton Powell and Michael Hutchings were scouted as outside linebackers by the recruiting services.  Both are listed at 6-foot-2 between 215 and 220 pounds.  In particular, Powell played defensive end in high school recording 25 sacks in his final two seasons combined.

Here is Pendergast explaining his system and the plan for the Trojans in 2013...

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I have been a USC fan for almost 40 years. I am not as old as you think. Read my post from and let me know what you think about it.

Clancy Pendergast is an excellent hire with a great track record on both levels
USC needs to take the 4-3 and Cover 2 and throw it in trash by going back to the 3-4 which SC played with great distinction for decades. The 3-4 gives you more versatility. I have the projected front seven.DT- George Uko, NG- Antwuan Woods, DT- Leonard Williams. OLBs
Morgan Breslin and Devon Kennard if he can comes back from injury. Otherwise it would be free for all. ILBs Lamar Dawson and Hayes Pullard. The CBs Josh Shaw, and Torin Harris or any of the freshmen. Safeties Dion Bailey, this is where he belongs, and Gerald Bowman who will see competition from two 5-Star enrollees.

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