USC linebacker Dion Bailey (18) makes an interception against the Washington… (Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images )
Dion Bailey is moving back to safety, USC’s quarterback competition will move, as expected, into summer and Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin made at least one curious move with offensive linemen.
That’s what was revealed Monday when Kiffin released his end-of-spring depth chart, though he noted that it "is very much in sand" and "does not mean a whole lot."
Bailey, a fourth-year junior, started two seasons at linebacker and sat out spring practice while recovering from shoulder surgery. He is returning to the position he played as a freshman and projects to as a pro.
USC is running a "52" scheme under new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. Junior Hayes Pullard will start at one linebacker spot, and the play of junior Lamar Dawson and sophomore Anthony Sarao during spring gave coaches confidence that they could move Bailey to safety, Kiffin said.
Kiffin reiterated that quarterbacks Max Wittek, Cody Kessler and Max Browne -- listed as co-starters -- all played well during the spring. At 6 feet 1, Kessler is shorter than the 6-5 Browne and the 6-4 Wittek, but he did not have a pass intercepted in five scrimmages and showed that USC would not have to change its offense if he emerged as the eventual starter, Kiffin said.
Freshman tailback Justin Davis was listed as a co-starter with senior Silas Redd and sophomore Tre Madden.
Davis, Browne and safeties Leon McQuay III and Su'a Cravens are first-year freshmen listed as co-starters.
The most curious movement was at right tackle, where Kiffin listed redshirt freshman Chad Wheeler as co-starter with senior Kevin Graf. Wheeler was sidelined for most of spring practice after knee surgery. Kiffin said Graf, a two-year starter, “had an up-and-down spring.”
Aundrey Walker, who struggled last season and at times during spring workouts, remains the starter at left tackle, with walk-on Nathan Guertler as the backup. Kiffin said redshirt freshman Zach Banner is “a right tackle only and he has a ways to go.”
Marcus Martin, a two-year starter at left guard, is now the starting center. Max Tuerk is the left guard.
Kiffin said the Trojans probably would have 69 scholarship players on the roster when they open the season Aug. 29 at Hawaii. NCAA sanctions limit the Trojans to 75, 10 fewer than the allowable maximum.
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