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USC's Aundrey Walker looks to improve on his 2012 performance

Walker had his struggles at left tackle last season, and it's possible the junior will be moved to left guard this year. But he's OK with that, saying, 'I'm ready for anything.'

March 28, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • Aundrey Walker started eight games at left tackle for USC, but he could get moved to left guard this season.
Aundrey Walker started eight games at left tackle for USC, but he could get… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Aundrey Walker acknowledges that there is much room for improvement.

The junior from Ohio started eight games at left tackle last season, but struggled to block consistently in the running game and provide blind-side protection for quarterbacks.

"I'm going to be honest," he said Thursday. "I didn't have the best year."

The 6-foot-6, 300-pound Walker is making strides this spring, Coach Lane Kiffin said.

"Aundrey is so gifted, sometimes he tries to just let his ability take over and not do the really little things," Kiffin said, "He's doing better."

Whether Walker remains the starting left tackle remains to be seen.

Last season, after Walker suffered a concussion against Colorado, Max Tuerk started five of the last six games at left tackle. This spring, Tuerk has worked primarily at center and left guard.

Kiffin said this week that coaches had discussed playing Walker at left guard, and on Thursday Walker said he took some snaps at the spot.

"It was new for me," he said, "but I'm ready for anything. Whatever is going to work."

Pullard stepping forward

Junior linebacker Hayes Pullard appears to be taking control of the defense under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

Pullard, though, maintains that "everybody is a leader," starting with senior end Devon Kennard, who encouraged Pullard to set up.

"DK said, 'You've got to set the tempo every day,' so I took that initiative," Pullard said.

Pullard's emergence dates to practices for the Sun Bowl, Kiffin said.

"He made a decision this was going to be his defense and he became more vocal," Kiffin said. "You could see him taking over."

Davis breaks through

Freshman running back Justin Davis had his best day, showing breakaway speed on several long runs.

With Silas Redd sidelined following knee surgery, Davis will get more opportunities in the final two weeks of spring workouts.

The 6-1, 215-pound Davis said his transition to college football was "at first a little slow" as he learned the playbook. Now, he said, it's a matter of refining technique.

"I can't play just off straight ability anymore," he said. "I've got to have technique — just learning little things and getting rid of bad habits."

Quick hits

Kiffin complimented receiver George Farmer for several impressive catches. "We need George to make the hard plays down the field, to go up and get the ball and take it away and be physical," Kiffin said. "We know how fast he is. We know he can run by people, but you've got to make those plays and he's doing that, which is great." ... Tight end Xavier Grimble, who has a fractured rib, will be sidelined the remainder of spring practice, Kiffin said.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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